City Research Online

Serious Leisure In The Digital World: Exploring The Information Behaviour Of Fan Communities

Price, L. (2017). Serious Leisure In The Digital World: Exploring The Information Behaviour Of Fan Communities. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This research investigates the information behaviour of cult media fan communities on the internet, using three novel methods which have not previously been applied to this domain. Firstly, a review, analysis and synthesis of the literature related to fan information behaviour, both within the disciplines of LIS and fan studies, revealed unique aspects of fan information behaviour, particularly in regards to produsage, copyright, and creativity. The findings from this literature analysis were subsequently investigated further using the Delphi method and tag analysis. A new Delphi variant – the Serious Leisure Delphi – was developed through this research. The Delphi study found that participants expressed the greatest levels of consensus on statements on fan behaviour that were related to information behaviour and information-related issues. Tag analysis was used in a novel way, as a tool to examine information behaviour. This found that fans have developed a highly granular classification system for fanworks, and that on one particular repository a ‘curated folksonomy’ was being used with great success. Fans also use tags for a variety of reasons, including communicating with one another, and writing meta-commentary on their posts. The research found that fans have unique information behaviours related to classification, copyright, entrepreneurship, produsage, mentorship and publishing. In the words of Delphi participants – “being in fandom means being in a knowledge space,” and “fandom is a huge information hub just by existing”. From these findings a model of fan information behaviour has been developed, which could be further tested in future research.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Library & Information Science
Doctoral Theses
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
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