Volunteer-based IT Helpdesks as Ambiguous Quasi-Public Services - a Case Study from Two Nordic Countries

Camilla Christensen*, Nils Ehrenberg, Jörn Christiansson, Erik Grönvall, Joanna Saad-Sulonen, Turkka Keinonen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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In this case study we take a Nordic perspective on the tension between increased digitalisation of public services and the insufficient support for citizens with limited digital literacy. Volunteer-based IT helpdesk services in public libraries have emerged as an attempt to address this tension. Drawing on examples of volunteering in public library-based IT helpdesk services in two Nordic countries, this paper considers the IT helpdesks as quasi-public services. Based on interviews, observations and workshops, we explore: the work of IT helpdesk volunteers, the characteristics of helpdesk services offered, and the implications of these services being offered by volunteers. The services offered are of acceptable quality to the users while the ambiguity and lack of institutional support is making the service fragile. In spite of the challenges of the quasi-public IT helpdesk service we also note how it offers a potential platform for the co-design and support of new public services.

Camilla Christensen and Nils Ehrenberg are shared first authors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 12th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (NordiCHI’22)
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-9699-8
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2022
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventNordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction - Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 8 Oct 202212 Oct 2022
Conference number: 12

Publication series

NameInternational Conference Proceeding Series (ICPS)


ConferenceNordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction
Abbreviated titleNordiCHI
Internet address


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