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Exploring the Digital Medusa: Ssnakes, Sstorytelling, and Sserious Leisure

  • Author / Creator
    Borynec, Anna
  • This research project collected a sample of nine single-authored websites of classical mythology in order to determine whether they could be conceived of as a serious leisure activity under Robert A. Stebbins' Serious Leisure Perspective. Data was manually collected from these websites using a customized rubric that focused on the authors of these websites, rather than on their users, and which evolved organically throughout the data collection process. The respective articles on each website about the mythological figure of Medusa was used as a case study for all such articles. Analysis of these authors and their websites was done using three branches of investigation represented by each of the three chapters: applying the Serious Leisure Perspective (SLP) in order to understand how these websites function as leisure activities and fit into existing models of leisure; applying three perspectives borrowed from Library and Information Studies/Science(s) (LIS) (Information Behaviour, Information Architecture, and Bibliometrics) in order to identify and analyze the information phenomena occurring on these websites; and applying the perspectives common in studies of Adaptation in order to understand these websites as a part of a larger interpretive and expressive tradition in an interdisciplinary context. Inductive qualitative analysis was then performed on the results of each branch of analysis—tying the three approaches together—and revealing the extensive dedication of these authors to their websites, urging scholars to take them (and other similar hobbyist websites) as seriously as their creators do. This project concluded that the websites in question were expressions of their authors' knowledge about classical mythology, gathered as a part of their belletristic liberal arts hobby. It also demonstrated that mythological stories can be considered, in themselves, a source of information, and that the work of creating adaptations is, in itself, a serious leisure activity. Furthermore, the activity of adaptation—that is, the gathering, understanding, and re-presentation of knowledge about a particular narrative—comprises a complex and recursive interplay of information behaviours suitable for further study. Therefore, this research project provides insight into the Serious Leisure Perspective, Information Behaviours, and Storytelling as a method of information exchange, furthering the understanding of stories as information and leisure across multiple disciplines. This project also demonstrates that, while challenging and somewhat limiting, it is possible to conduct this style of analysis on documented leisure activities without interacting with leisure participants or using computer-aided data collection and analysis methods. Finally, this project identifies paths for future inquiry and further analysis into these and other, similar hobbyist websites.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2019
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts/Master of Library and Information Studies
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-8pj2-qj76
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.