The project at hand explores contemporary Finnish loaning and reading culture and its information service systems to the end that this project's results would help the officials to elaborate upon Finnish public library services.

As its empirical material the project utilizes the data collected by Vantaa City Library in Finland's metropolitan area. This systematically collected and digitally preserved data offers information of several thousands of people's loaning behavior. In the project, this huge data will be dealt with in three different ways.

First (sub-project 1), the project asks what kind of picture of contemporary Finnish loaning and reading culture the data at issue mediates. The project clears up, for example, if classics of Finnish literature still attract loaners and readers or if these loaners and readers favor more entertaining fictional literature and contemporary international fictional literature. Likewise, the project clears up how well library services reach younger generations that use to consume cultural products by means of electronic and digital media. In this sense, the project is steered by a theoretical interest of knowledge.

Secondly (sub-project 2), the project clears up in what way present-day Finnish public libraries' information services function and how they can be elaborated upon. In this sense, the project has a clear-cut practical interest of knowledge.

Thirdly (sub-project 3), the project develops methods by which scholars can analyze and interpret the huge and mainly quantitative data that concerns public libraries' loan activities. We may say that this goal forms our project's methodological aim.

On a more abstract level or on meta-level the entire project wishes to show how large digital material, new computational methods and literature-sociological research questions can be integrated into the study of contemporary literary culture. This is the project's most important scientific benefit both in national and international respect. The project's main practical or societal benefit lies in that its results offer a basis for the reorganization of library services.

The projects's research team is rather unique, in the sense that it consists of literary sociologists and literary scientists (University of Eastern Finland), experts of technology (The Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd) and scholars of computational science (Åbo Akademi University). Through this, the project is well-equipped for its research task.



May 22-23, 2019
University of Turku, Finland, Sirkkala Campus

Abstracts and presentations
Conference website

Libdat project has received funding from Academy of Finland.