Libraries and Digital Media

Libraries and Digital Media

Jessica R. Olin (Wesley College, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8310-5.ch007
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Both academic and public libraries have, since the inception of the internet and the world wide web, experienced a seismic level of change when compared to the past. The impacts of such specific issues as social media, open access, and the digital divide, and how they change both the short and long term operations and planning for libraries, are considered here through the lens of recent research on these topics. Some attention is also given to gaps in the current research and recommendations are made for further study. Particular attention is given to ways in which these issues overlap for academic and public libraries.
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Social Media

Succinct Overview of the Research

Social media are an inescapable part of much of modern culture, and as a result they are very much a part of the lives of the communities most public and academic libraries serve. This means social media are necessarily a part of those same libraries. While definitions vary, most people agree that social media are an expression of Web 2.0, a somewhat misleading term that captures those places on the internet where the content is cooperatively created by the users and the owners of websites. Social media, as an extension of that, are applications and websites where the purpose of the cooperative creation is primarily “social” in nature. This, therefore, describes everything from the (mostly) anonymous conversations being held on some applications known only by a few that exist almost exclusively between and among smartphone users to the web, and identity based discussions on platforms that are broadly known and available pretty much worldwide. While libraries exist or are at least discussed in every permutation of social media, from Yik Yak (an anonymous social networking application that has conversations structured around the physical location of the users) to Facebook (an almost ubiquitous social network), the research relating social networks to libraries is much less extensive. Further, so much of what has been written is opinion based (described as “best practices” which, many times, comes down to “lots of people do it this way, so we think everyone should do it this way”) so, even when it is peer reviewed, it is not necessarily helpful research. Much of the actual research that has been done in this area is capturing a baseline and assessing the “lay of the land” for libraries and social media. That kind of research is important, but we need to move beyond that to learn how to best serve our constituents with these powerful tools. Thankfully, some of what was reviewed in preparation for this chapter is moving in that direction.

Key Terms in this Chapter

ROI: Return on Investment.

Open Access: Scholarly works available with unlimited access and unlimited reuse.

Web 2.0: Websites that are built on collaborative sharing and building principles.

College Returner: An individual who attended college in the past and took a semester or more off before going back.

NCES: National Center for Educational Statistics, the United States Department of Education department responsible for gathering pertinent statistics.

Digital Repositories: Collections of digital objects, such as documents or photographs, organized and typically made available through a web interface.

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