This review aims to provide an overview of the ideas, theories and research relating to the diffusion of innovations. It seeks to place the relationship between librarians and the Internet and related networked information within the context of diffusion research. It includes a brief background to diffusion research and a description of the basic model proposed by Everett M. Rogers. The theory of change agents and change agencies is discussed with the role of weak ties in the diffusion of ideas through communication networks. The implications of the need to achieve a critical mass in some applications of networked communication are outlined together with theories about critical mass. The review identifies the characteristics that make these technologies unique and discusses the implications for future research. Finally, the relevance of diffusion theory to librarians seeking to introduce new communicationbased technologies into academic departments is discussed.
The Electronic Library – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 1997
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