You are here

PhD Thesis

Resource Centre Sites: The New Gatekeepers of the Web?

This thesis introduces and analyses the emerging Website genre of Resource Centre Sites. RCSs are sites which combine news, rumours and background information as well as community discussion and commentary on their chosen topic, and frequently serve as a first point of entry for readers interested in learning more about the field. They also offer spaces for virtual communities of specialists orenthusiasts to emerge, who in the process and as a product of their interaction on these sites collate detailed resource collections and hyperlink directories for their fields of interest. Therefore, Resource Centre Sites significantly involve their users as content contributors and producers, turning them into what is here termed 'produsers' of the site.

Aiming to evaluate all the content relevant to their field that is becoming available online, and to coopt or at least link to this information from the news and resources collection that is a central part of the RCS, Resource Centre Site produsers engage in an adaptation of both traditional journalistic gatekeeping methodologies and librarianly resource collection approaches to the Web environment: in the absence of gates to keep online, they have become 'gatewatchers', observing the publication of news and information in other sources and publicising its existence through their own sites.

Their operation is studied here through a number of case studies of major existing Resource Centre Sites from various fields of interest. These sites are analysed both based on their available Web content, and using backgroundinformation obtained in a series of email interviews with RCS creators. In combination, this offers insights into the operating philosophies of sites and site editors, and provides an opportunity to assess to what extent these ideas have been translated into everyday practice.

Available Files

  • Abstract and Table of Contents (PDF, 540 kB)
  • Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)