What Constitutes Adoption of the Web: A Methodological Problem in
Assessing Adoption of the World Wide Web for Electronic Commerce
Marilyn Domas White, Associate Professor
Eileen G. Abels, Associate Professor
Laura Gordon-Murnane
College of Library and Information Services
University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742

        This paper reports on methodological developments in a project to assess the adoption of the Web by publishers of business information. The total project looks at the extent of adoption among the general population of business publishers, characterizes adopters and non-adopters, analyzes the rate of adoption among adopters, and surveys the nature of adoption. This paper addresses a methodological task associated with characterizing the nature of adoption. As innovation studies have shown, adopters of an innovation tend to make an innovation their own, that is, they modify it to suit their purposes. Preliminary research indicated considerable variations in the use of the Web by business publishers and the need, therefore, to develop a typology that will characterize the nature of use that constitutes acceptance of the knowledge on a relative basis.The paper describes an approach used on a sample of 20 business publishers to identify five clusters of publishers ranging from traditionalist to innovator. Variables used in developing the clusters include factors such as source of revenue, relationship to former publications, extent of tailoring.

        Paper presented at the ASIS Annual Conference, 1998, Pittsburgh, PA.

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