Ethnography in Libraries

I am engaged in a user research project that incorporates ethnographic methods (interviews with faculty and students, photo diaries, observation) here at Syracuse University Library. I’m interested in hearing from others who are using this technique, perhaps having participated in one of the CLIR (Council on Library and Information Resources) workshops conducted by Nancy Foster. You may also know of literature in this area.

Particularly with the recent publication of Studying Students (The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester), I think this approach may be gaining ground as a research method in libraries. I’d like to find out more about who is doing what and to share strategies, etc.

If you are not familiar with the the Rochester work, I recommend it highly. It’s available to download from the Association of College and Research Libraries at []


One Response to Ethnography in Libraries

  1. C. Todd White February 1, 2008 at 9:50 am #

    Hello Nancy!

    I am currently working with Dr. Foster on a follow up to the Studying Students project. My work focuses on doctoral students here at the University of Rochester and uses a slightly different mixed-methods approach. You can download a resent PowerPoint presentation that I gave here to learn more about my study:

    I’d love to talk more about this if you are interested. My email address is I hope to be publishing and presenting on the study and its findings soon.


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