Friday, August 09, 2013

Digital visitors, digital residents

Yesterday we had our journal club in the virtual world Second Life and discussed a paper on the information behaviour of young people. There is information on this information behaviour project here. A key way that the authors were analysing their data was by looking at "resident" and visitor" behaviour. This is an alternative to the Prensky "native" / "immigrant" categorisation of digital use. The resident/ visitor categorisation does not include assumptions about age; residents are people who (essentially) have part of their identity online and see their presence in various online environments as part of their life (so I would categorise myself as a resident). Visitors go online for specific purposes, and go offline when they are done: they do not build up an online identity in the same way as residents.
There is a proper explanation in a blog post here: and at greater length in this article:
White, D. and Le Cornu, A. (2011) "Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement." First Monday, 16 (9).

There is a presentation ("The new digital students, or 'I don’t think I have ever picked up a book out of the library to do any research – all I have used is my computer.'") based on the same project, presented by Lynn Connaway at the UK Serials Group Conference in April 2013, here:
Photo by Sheila Webber: Bee on blackberry flower, August 2013

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