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Environmental scan: A methodological framework to initiate digital library development for communities in Canada’s North

Dinesh Rathi (School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta , Edmonton, Canada)
Ali Shiri (School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta , Edmonton, Canada)
Catherine Cockney (Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Inuvik, Canada)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 16 January 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose an evidence-based environmental scanning model that will provide a methodological framework for conducting community-engaged and community-focused research, with a particular emphasis on northern communities in Canada.

Design/methodology/approach

The study has adopted a multifaceted environmental scanning approach to understand the Inuvialuit Settlement Region communities. The research design is informed by various environmental models as discussed in literature from a broad range of domains such as business, library and information science (LIS), and a sophisticated multimethod data gathering approach that included field trips, observations, surveys, as well as informal methods of community engagement.

Findings

The paper proposes an environmental scan model as a novel approach to community-focused digital library (DL) development. The paper identifies both macro- and micro-environmental landscapes as applicable to the development of a DL for communities in Canada’s North. The macro-environmental landscapes include: geographical, historical and sociocultural, political and regulatory, economic, technological, competition, and human resource. The micro-environmental landscapes include: stakeholder and community, linguistic, information resource, and ownership.

Originality/value

The environmental scanning model and its key components presented in this paper provide a novel and concrete example of a project that aims to organize information for increased access and to create value through the design and implementation of an infrastructure for a cultural heritage DL. The environmental scan model will also contribute to both research and practice in the field of Library and Information Science (LIS), particularly in the area of DL development for rural, remote, and indigenous communities.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Insight Grant. The authors would like to convey special thank to Robyn Stobbs, Sandy Campbell, Sharon Farnel, Anastasia Piltingsrud and Elaine Maloney for their invaluable contributions.

Citation

Rathi, D., Shiri, A. and Cockney, C. (2017), "Environmental scan: A methodological framework to initiate digital library development for communities in Canada’s North", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 69 No. 1, pp. 76-94. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJIM-06-2016-0082

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited