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Abstract

The AIS/ISWorld Mailing List is the premier global communication tool for academics in the information systems area. This paper employs content analysis of archival data to report on an exploratory study of the usage of ISWorld over a four-year period between 2002 and 2006. We develop a coding scheme based on two theoretically distinct levels of communication and examine how ISWorld community members use the mailing list for the purposes of information dissemination, knowledge exchange, and knowledge creation. Our analysis yields important insights regarding the evolution of the ISWorld Mailing List, user characteristics and communication patterns, as well as the alignment between the community’s stated organizational goals and the design of the communication tool. Our findings show that the ISWorld Mailing List offers a highly efficient communication tool for knowledge dissemination to the IS community but also that its usage has been shifting more strongly towards information broadcasting and away from interactive knowledge exchange and creation. The paper concludes with some design and governance related recommendations for making ISWorld a more effective communication tool for the IS community.

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