The Connecting School: A Qualitative Evaluation of Intranet Development and the Role of the School Librarian in Scottish Secondary Schools.
Cater, M. (2004) The Connecting School: A Qualitative Evaluation of Intranet Development and the Role of the School Librarian in Scottish Secondary Schools., no. 322.
This study investigates the development of intranets in Scottish secondary schools and within that development the role of the school librarian. There is little written on the development of intranets in schools. There has been a lack of recent research on the role of the school librarian in the UK, and in particular there have been no studies investigating their involvement in ICT. This research adopted an interactionist approach which has been used in studying the social impact of computing (see Hiltz 1992). A grounded methodology has produced original substantive theory. Methods include a questionnaire to Scottish education authorities and semi-structured interviews with key individuals at authority level and in fifteen Scottish secondary schools. Schools which have successfully developed their own intranets were found to have a supportive culture which enabled key individuals to work on the intranet and develop content relevant to the internal curricular needs and ethos of the school. Examples of materials on the intranet was important in encouraging further content through a snowball effect. The key individuals were defined as activators (people with the technical skills to create content), mediators (people willing to encourage, provide ideas and examples) and to a lesser extent gatherers (who collected content from school staff). A predictive model for intranet development has been produced based on these findings. There appears to be flexibility within the role of the school librarian for individuals to take on a variety of roles. This research on intranet development found that the librarians who qualified within the last five years focussed on the intranet as a way of developing and promoting their role. Their involvement with the intranet has put school librarians in the role of intranet builder, intranet manager and content creators. Most significantly they have operated as activators and mediators in intranet development. Some librarians have broadened into network administration roles. This is increasing the difference between recently qualified librarians and longer serving school librarians. However it was found that the more recent graduates involvement with these more technical roles is not distancing them from their traditional areas of work. There is evidence that through these new roles, close curriculum cooperation has been achieved.