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An Ethnographic Study on the Digital Literacy Practices of Role-Players in a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game

  • Journal of Korean Library and Information Science Society
  • Abbr : JKLISS
  • 2019, 50(4), pp.429-467
  • DOI : 10.16981/kliss.50.4.201912.429
  • Publisher : Korean Library And Information Science Society
  • Research Area : Interdisciplinary Studies > Library and Information Science
  • Received : November 20, 2019
  • Accepted : December 13, 2019
  • Published : December 31, 2019

Jonathan Michael Hollister 1

1부산대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Various digital literacy and critical competencies are crucial for success in the information and media-rich 21st century game of life. This study explores and describes the digital literacy practices of role-players in WildStar, a science fantasy Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG). Active role-players create and participate in group-driven interactive stories while in-character. A hybrid ethnographic method integrating overt participant observation and engagement, collection of community artifacts across multiple sites (such as wikis, discussion boards, and social media), and semi-structured interviews was employed to understand how role-players seek, use, evaluate, and manage information, media, and technology. Role-players used various media and technologies to supplement, simplify, and make role-playing more immersive. The relative digital literacy skill levels of individuals varied, leading role-players to leverage the skills of more proficient or experienced community members. Given the broad appeal of online games and educational benefits of role-playing, implications and applications for digital literacy skills instruction and library programming are also discussed.

Citation status

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