Academic Library Websites Show Heavy Use of Web 2.0 Applications
Keywords:evidence summary, academic libraries, Web 2.0, social media
AbstractA Review of:
Boateng, F., & Liu, Y. Q. (2014). Web 2.0 applications’ usage and trends in top US academic libraries. Library Hi Tech, 32(1), 120-138. doi:10.1108/LHT-07-2013-0093
Objective – To explore Web 2.0 application use in academic libraries through determining: Web 2.0 applications used, the purpose of using these applications, and how the use of Web 2.0 is changing.
Design – Exploratory survey of academic library websites using content analysis of websites, blogs, and social networking service platforms.
Setting – Websites of academic libraries in the United States, blog platforms, and social networking services.
Subjects – 100 academic libraries.
Methods – The researchers based their selection of academic library websites on the US News & World Report’s 2013 list of the top 100 best colleges in the United States. The authors created a checklist to determine which Web 2.0 technologies were used by the academic libraries on their websites and for what purposes. The researchers searched for Web 2.0 applications on the main page and one subpage down from the main page. The researchers also used keyword searches on the library’s website to find Web 2.0 applications and searched blog platforms and social networking sites.
Main Results – The authors found that Facebook and Twitter were the most popular Web 2.0 applications and that all of the libraries analyzed used social networking services. Blogs were the second most popular Web 2.0 tool at 99% participation rate, followed closely by RSS (97%) and instant messaging (91%). Libraries used these Web 2.0 tools for information sharing including: outreach, promotion, providing online reference services, subject guides, tutorials, highlighting resources, and posting announcements.
Conclusion – The academic libraries analyzed in this study use Web 2.0 applications to a much greater extent than previous research had shown. The researchers expect to see increased use of Web 2.0 applications by academic libraries in the coming years. They suggest that future research focus on Web 2.0 use by historically black colleges in the United States and on collaboration between academic libraries and other academic units when offering Web 2.0 services.
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