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Physical Trace Measures

for LIS 9004
by Dustin Biel on 12 March 2013

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Transcript of Physical Trace Measures

LIS 9004 Physical Trace Measures What are physical trace measures? Erosion The two types of physical trace measures Physical Trace Measures in the Library Advantages References When people engage in behavior, they often leave behind some sort of evidence of that behavior. (Gray 224) A Recap: Unobtrusive Measures Examples of Studies Accretion Erosion measures are when the degree of selective wear yields the measure. Accretion measures are research evidence consisting of some deposit of materials. Activity Disadvantages Conclusion The End Questions? Examples Individually, or in pairs, look for physical traces in NCB.

E = Erosion / A = Accretion Come back in 5 minutes. Activity Questions What are some advantages or disadvantages of this method? 1. Records the results of actual behavior

2. Are usually non reactive and unobtrusive

3. They can be quantified and compared

4. They are readily available

5. Human cooperation is not usually required.

6. Not very expensive to examine

7. A variety of interrelated behaviours can
often be studied at once. 8. Traces are cumulative and often record the total effects of long term processes or cumulative behavior.

9. They can be studied over long time periods. (Rathje 77-78) Disadvantages

1. Traces are physical and can often occur in clusters where new traces continually overlay or eradicate old traces. They are easily obscured or altered.

2. Many behaviors leave no permanent traces.

3. Different behaviors can produce similar traces or lack thereof. Advantages (Rathje 78-79) Problem: Historical Representation and Bias Selective Deposit
Some individuals and societies are more likely than others to have placed their beliefs and experiences into the historical record. Selective Survival
Some have a better chance of surviving the ravages of time than others. (Palys & Atchison 228) Erosion or Accretion? (Webb et al 7) The deposit of almost any object or material by humans can be an accretion. Even garbage. (Berg 205) (Webb et al 7) The wear on an object gives evidence of use. Four dimensions of trace measures: 1. Formal - physical properties of the trace

2. Frequency - number of occurances of a trace

3. Spatial - exact location of a trace

4. Relational - placing traces in context relative to other traces. (Rathje 76) http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lzq3y7dVwZ1qd6tewo1_1280.gif Berg, Bruce L., and Lune, Howard. "Qualitative research methods for the social sciences, 8th ed." Boston: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2012. p. 280-99.

Gray, David E. Doing Research in the Real World. London: Sage Publications, 2004.

Palys, Ted, and Atchison, Chris. "Research decisions: Quantitative and qualitative perspectives, 4th ed." Scarborough, ON: Thomas Nelson, 2008.

Rathje, William L. "Trace Measures." In L. Sechrest (Ed.), "Unobtrusive measurement today." San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass, 1979.

Webb, Eugene T., Campbell, Donald T., Schwartz, Richard D., Sechrest, Lee, and Grove, Janet B. "Unobtrusive Measures." Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981.

Wildemuth, Barbara M. "Applications of social research methods to questions in information and library science." Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2009. http://www.corbisimages.com bobgroves.com Cool people who use physical trace measures: Archaeologists Rely extensively on physical traces...sometimes there is not much else left. CSI Physical traces are everywhere. Often splattered. Sherlock Holmes The example given by most of the books. Due to being awesome. Other places to use trace measures: Libraries, of course. Another limitation to keep in mind is that trace measures need to be used in combination with other methods of observation in order to create an accurate picture. mumbyatthemovies.blogspot.com www.fanpop.com fandangogroovers.wordpress.com Laura Mounce, Matt Bohun, and Dustin Biel www.ageofarmour.com www.flickriver.com www.flickr.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/jellalyn24/ Examples davesdistrictblog.blogspot.com THIS EVIDENCE IS A PHYSICAL TRACE MEASURE Physical Trace Measure = Unobtrusive Method Non-reactive: The presence of the researcher cannot disturb the study results.
Inconspicuous, inexpensive and anonymous
Lack of interaction, selective deposit and survival Therefore: the strengths and weaknesses of unobtrusive measures are the strengths and weaknesses of physical trace measures. REMEMBER (McKechnie moments prior) Using the rate of tile replacement in a museum as an index of exhibit popularity.
Using naturally eroded paths between apartment buildings as an index of interaction among apartment dwellers.
Using the setting of buttons on car radios as an indicator of listening preferences.
Scrutinizing garbage to reveal consumption practices.
(Webb 1981) (Outside of LIS) What did you discover?
Write an example on the board. If you can, include a brilliant and critical hypothesis as well. Like this: chewing gum stuck to the underside of a desk in the GRC -- insecure artist slowly creating a shrine to William Wrigley? Ethics: similar to general unobtrusive measures Controlled vs. Natural Accretion and Erosion Examples from a Library Setting Controlled Vs. Natural Controlled accretion or erosion means that the researcher has deliberately modified an item in order to gather information on its usage.

Natural accretion or erosion means that the researcher has not modified or otherwise interacted with the material sources of information.

Gray, 2009 Examples of Controlled and Natural
Accretion and Erosion in the Library Library Studies using Physical Trace Measures Odd Things found
in Libraries:
Natural Accretion www.fromthebathroomwall.com  Matt's phone nanookofthesouth.wordpress.com www.freerepublic.com Controlled:
The 'Glue-Seal' Method
RFID Natural:
Wear on the floor
Graffiti More Examples Controlled: hit counters, user tags with controlled vocabulary, limiting the number of items available, and posting signs.

Natural: garbage accumulation, wear on materials, wear on pathways into and around the library, pages marked in books, items left in books or in the library, and marginalia. http://www.flickr.com/photos/58558794@N07/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/open-library/ A Social OPAC in the Ann Arbor Library - John Blyberg, 2006
Management of RFID in libraries - Karen Coyle, 2005
Observations of browsing behavior in an academic library - Johanna Ross, 1983
Potential collection development bias - Dave Harmeyer, 1995
Toward an understanding of library patron wayfinding - Lauren Mandel, 2010
Toward assessing in-house use of print resources - Ridley & Weber, 2000
Assessment and decision-making - Ridley & Weber, 1997 http://www.aadl.org/catalog http://www.aadl.org/catalog http://www.aadl.org/catalog &
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