Fandom and literacy – A conversation with Ludi Price

The latest instalment of Scripturient, my column for Information Professional, is out now.

In this series, I’m looking at how we can push the boundaries of literacy in the 21st century, to encompass new areas of representation. What does it mean to read the future? To read risks? To read the forces that underpin our relationships and drive us psychologically? To read the signs and signals which exist in the natural world? If we look outside of the institutional and habitual ways of doing things, will we find fresh and useful insights?

In the latest issue of Information Professional, I talk to the librarian and scholar Ludi Price about her research into fan information behaviour: the ways in which communities of people with a shared passion for pop culture manage, organise, and distribute information relating to their fandom.

You can read Ludi’s thoughts about “fan literacy” in a PDF download here, or get your own copy of Informational Professional magazine here. And you can also hear our full conversation in podcast form on Soundcloud.

Fandom & Information Literacy: Discussion with Ludi Price

Sometimes – often – the most interesting ideas comes from the margins. The status quo is best challenged from the borderlands and fringes, the shadows, anywhere that is overlooked.

In our digitalised world, new ways to create, manage, and share information are emerging all the time. The most innovative and rewarding approaches might not come from the institutions that are longest established, have the best trained staff, or the most substantial budget.

They might come from places where people are driven by passion to experiment with something new.

I recently sat down for a chat with Dr. Ludi Price, China & Inner Asia Librarian at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, and an Honorary Visiting Fellow at City University’s School of Library & Information Science. Her research has focussed on fan information behaviour: the ways in which communities of people with a shared passion for pop culture have managed, organised, and distributed information relating to their fandom.

What can information professionals, the institutions and communities they serve, learn from the way that fans deal with the same challenges and opportunities faced by those who deal with information for a living? Ludi has some answers.

Play Without Limits: The “Immeasurable” Value of Libraries

I’m presenting today to Portugal’s [Re]Pensar conference, an event for public librarians to reimagine their services, with a focus on gaming and maker technology.

You can listen to the presentation via YouTube above, or read the text (PDF download) here.

We The Humanities: Interview with Ludi Price, City University London

This week you can find me over at @wethehumanities, a rotating Twitter account where people working in the humanities get to share ideas, experiences, and stories. I’m using my week to talk about the grey areas between fact and fiction, dream and experience, stories and everyday life – as well as people who cross back and forth over the walls of universities and academic institutions.

Today I’m joined by Ludi Price, who is a fanfiction writer, doctoral candidate at City University’s School of Library & Information Studies, and also works as a librarian in the Far Eastern Languages collection at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

Ludi began by telling me about her doctoral thesis.

In a nutshell it’s about the information behaviour of fans on the internet. That means, how fans create, collect, organise, disseminate and share information on digital platforms. Of course, information can be instantiated in many different forms, from books to magazines to wikis to library catalogues – and much, much more. A lot of the information fans deal with are fanworks (what might be termed derivative, fan-created works, such as fanart and fanfiction), and, almost by their very nature, the circulation of these cultural artefacts is through, for and by informal channels. In an age of crowdsourcing and social tagging, this is something that is very interesting to me.

How did you come to choose fandom as a topic?

In short because I’m a fan myself! It’s been a huge part of my life since I was a child, when I used to write Malory Towers and Sailor Moon fanfiction, and draw Little Mermaid fanart. Read more