The purpose of this article is to investigate and critically examine conceptualisations of information sharing activities in a selection of library and information science (LIS) literature.
In order to explore how LIS researchers define the concept of information sharing, and how the concept is connected with theory, empirical material and other supporting concepts, a literature review and a conceptual meta‐analysis was carried out on 35 papers and one monograph. The analysis was based on Waismann's concept of open texture, Wittgenstein's notion of language games and the concept of meaning holism.
Six theoretical frameworks were identified. These are not found to be incommensurable, but can be used as building blocks for an integrative framework. Ambiguous conceptualisations are frequent. Different conceptualisations tend to emphasize different aspects of information sharing activities: that which is shared; those who are sharing; and the location in which the sharing activities take place. The commonalities of the people involved in information sharing activities are often seen as a ground for the development of information sharing practices.
The findings provide a guide for future research which intends to explore activities of information sharing.
The article offers a systematic review of recent LIS literature on information sharing, and extends the theoretical base for information sharing research.
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