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Information exchange in virtual communities: a typology

Author(s): Gary Burnett

Journal: Information Research: an international electronic journal
ISSN 1368-1613

Volume: 5;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 82;
Date: 2000;
Original page

Keywords: virtual communities | CMC | interpersonal | informational | interactions | social spaces | environmental model | human information behaviour | information exchange | typology | information behaviour | behavior

While there is wide agreement that virtual communities - and other phenomena utilizing CMC technologies - have the capability to provide both interpersonal and informational interactions, the degree to which they can be seen as specifically information-oriented social spaces has been open to some question. Drawing upon theoretical and empirical work that emphasizes an environmental model of human information behaviour, a foundation is developed for a model of information exchange in virtual communities, and a typology of the varieties of information behaviour to be found in virtual communities is proposed. This typology will provide a mechanism for assessing the characteristics of virtual communities in terms of their support for information exchange, and has the potential to enhance our understanding of virtual communities as information environments.
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