Online Communities of Practice Typology Revisited

Photo of (l-r) Noriko, Shannon, and Pnina

SLIS faculty members Noriko Hara and Pnina Shachaf, and SLIS doctoral student Sharon Stoerger, recently co-authored an article published in the Journal of Information Science. The full-text article is available online through Sage Publications - on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), a professional association in the U.K.

• Hara, N., Shachaf, P., & Stoerger, S. (2009). Online communities of practice typology revisited. Journal of Information Science, 35(6), 740-757.


This paper outlines a typology for online communities of practice. The typology is based on findings from observations of three online communities of practice, a content analysis of messages, and a review of the existing literature. The three examples of communities of practice are of electronic discussion lists that cover topics of interest to university webmasters, librarians, and educators. This work expands on a typology that consolidated prior research and focused on online communities of practice within organizational settings by extending it to be inclusive of open online communities of practice that are not constrained by any organizational context. Characterizing communities of practice in this manner enables various aspects of them to be analysed, which can illuminate ways to support the implementation of effective online communities of practice for specific purposes.

See Related SLIS News Story:

Posted December 14, 2009