Influence of Social Networking Sites and Library 2.0 as a Gateway to Information Access and Knowledge Sharing in Prof. Festus Aghagbo Nwako Library
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to access the influence of social networking and library 2.0 as a gateway for information access and knowledge sharing in Prof. Festus Aghagbo Nwako Library, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. Specifically the study seeks to;
- Identify the various social networking sites used by PFAN library.
- Identify the level of use of library 2.0 tools in PFAN to provide information access and knowledge sharing.
- Identify the level of influence of social networking and library 2.0, on information access and knowledge sharing in PFAN library.
- Identify challenges to use of social networking and library 2.0 in PFAN library.
- Identify possible solutions to these challenges.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
This chapter shall review related literature for this study under the following sub topics;
- Conceptual Framework of Social Networking Sites and Library 2.0
- Library 2.0/Social Networks Tools used in the Library
- Influence of Social Networking and Library 2.0 Tools on Information Access and knowledge Sharing.
- Challenges to Use of Social Networking and Library 2.0 for Knowledge Sharing
- Strategies to Overcome these Challenges
Conceptual Framework of Social Networking Sites and Library 2.0
The term “Social Networking” refers to a range of web-enabled/IT-enabled software programs that allow users to interact and work collaboratively with other users. According to Mishra (2009) social networking includes the ability to browse, search, invite friends to connect and interact, share film reviews, comments, blog entries, favorites, discussions, events, videos, ratings, music, classified ads, tag and classified information and more. A social network allows individual to join and create a personal profile, then formally connect with other users of the systems as social friend. It can be expressed as social connecting sites among the social user in web 2.0 domain. The potential of social networks to be relevant to information seeking and sharing from the more specialist web 2.0 sites.
Boyd (2007) defined social network sites as web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.
In addition, social networking sites ( SNSs) are spaces that enable users to articulate and make visible their social networks.
According to Lenhart and Madden (2007) they are considered as sites where a user can create a profile and build a personal network, and then can share and exchange information with others. Also, they enable communication among ever-widening circles of contacts, inviting convergence among the hitherto separate activities of email, messaging, website creation, diaries, photo albums and music or video uploading and downloading (Livingstone, 2008, p. 394). SNSs are Web- based services which allow users to connect with others, share information and show their interests to others. They are a type of site in which people have the ability to share and create their own content. Another description of the term is given by Ahn (2008), who describe SNSs as private spaces for individuals, which allow them to establish a forum for discussion, to share news and exchange photos. They support people in establishing an online presence, building social networks and maintaining their relationships with others. Ellison, Steinfeld, and Lampe (as cited in Cain, 2008) define SNSs as online spaces that allow individuals to present themselves, articulate their social networks, and establish or maintain connections with others.
In this study, SNSs are defined as an online information access and knowledge sharing tool in which individuals as well as organizations can build online profiles in order to share information, exchange messages with others, maintain relationships in social networks and to communicate with the majority of SNS members. And this is the basis upon which library 2.0 was established.
The term library 2.0 was derived from web 2.0 and it is pertinent to understand what web 2.0 is about before venturing to define library 2.0. Web 2.0 is the collection of server-based solutions that have allowed the web to become a publishing platform (Abram, 2005). Instead of the traditional one-way form of web authoring, these solutions invite all Internet user to share, collaborate, and contribute in the process of website development.
A shorter definition of Web 2.0 described Web 2.0 as the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an “architecture of participation,” and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences(O’Reilly, 2005). ‘Web 2.0’ simply refers to the emergent generation of web tools and applications. Since its debut in 2004, the Web 2.0 phenomenon has made a significant impact on the information landscape and the library have adapted this tool.
The concept of Library 2.0 as pointed out above was borrowed from web 2.0, and follows similar philosophies of this concept. Since its introduction, it has changed the concept of literary communication. Library 2.0 is a mixing concept that focuses on a number of ongoing conversations around the changing ways that libraries should make themselves and their services visible to end users and to one another. Maness (2006) defined “Library 2.0” as the application of interactive collaborative and multimedia web-based technologies to web-based library services and collections. It is the application and implication of web 2.0 principles and technologies in the field of library and information services. So, it is just a paradigm shift of library in the field of internet library epoch. Libraries and information centers can underscore the importance of Library 2.0 because it breaks the cycle of “plan, implement, and forget” that many services and plans suffer (Miller, 2005). Library can be a part of web 2.0 by harnessing the concept, principles and technologies for rendering exemplarily services to user in electronic world. It’s a framework for incorporating all changes made at all levels in the management of library.
Library 2.0/Social Network Tools used in the Library
Consequent upon the variety of social networking platforms currently in place (social) communication is now much easier than ever before. In this respect, social networking sites provides platforms not just for one-to-one or one-to-many individuals to interact or chat, but also for organizations and various professional bodies, associations and other establishments to employ the services it offers to get across to their respective audience. The usefulness of social network tools in the library and information service cannot therefore be over emphasized. And some of those tools are as follows:
The methods used for this study are arranged according to the following subheadings:
- Research Design
- Area of the Study
- Population of the Study
- Sample and Sampling techniques
- Instrument for Data Collection
- Method of Data Collection
- Method of Data Analysis
The research design used for this study is the descriptive survey design. A descriptive survey design is concerned with condition or relationship that exists, opinion that are held, process that are going on, effect that are evident or trends that are developed (Akuezilo & Agu, 3003). This design is deemed appropriate for this study because data will be collected from a sampled population.
Area of Study
The geographical location used for this study is Prof. Festus Aghagbo Nwako academic Library Nnamdi Azikwe University Awka, Anambra state. This area was chosen due to the modern nature of the library and its proximity to the researcher.
Population of the Study
The population of the study consists of all the professional librarians in PFAN library. There are about 23 professional librarians in PFAN library and these are what made up the population of the study.
PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA
The researcher presented here the findings and the summary of the findings.
Research Question 1: What are the various social networking sites available in PFAN?
DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSION, RECOMMENDATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDIES
This chapter discusses the findings of this study, the appropriate recommendations and suggestions for further studies.
Discussion of Findings
The discussion of findings was done under the following subheadings;
- Social Networking Sites Available in the Library.
- Extent of Use of library 2.0 Tools to Provide Information Access.
- Level of Influence of Social Networking Sites and Library 2.0 in Accessing Library Services.
- Challenges to Using Social Networks and Library 2.0 For Information Access.
- Strategies to Overcome the Challenges.
Social Networking Sites Available in the Library
The findings of the study revealed that social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Instant Messaging and Linkedin were the only social networking sites available. This is obviously not enough as library users are known to use other social networks such as Youtube, MySpace, Wiki and so on for their studies. However, the available ones are of immense benefit if properly put to use. For instance, Grinter and Palen, (2002) affirms that IM systems support Internet-based synchronous text chat, with point-to-point communication between users on the same system. They noted that a window is dedicated to the conversation, with messages scrolling upward and eventually out of view as the conversation ensues. This offers the opportunity of virtual reference services. As noted by ALA (2004) which defines virtual reference as a service initiated electronically, often in real-time, where patrons employ computers or other Internet technology to communicate with reference staff, without being physically present. The Association cites the examples of communication channels used frequently in virtual reference as chat, video conferencing, Voice over IP, co-browsing, email and instant messaging.
Furthermore, available social networking site such as Facebook, opens a whole new window for marketing and provision of library services. Halloran (2012) affirms from studies that more than half of business-to-business (B2B) marketers agree that Facebook is an effective marketing tool. More than half of small businesses agree that Facebook is beneficial to their business. More than one-third of marketers say Facebook is ‘critical’ or ‘important’ to their business. Also The number of marketers who say Facebook is critical or important to their business has increased by 83 percent in two years. 67 percent of business-to-consumer (B2C) and 41 percent of B2B companies that use Facebook for marketing have acquired a customer through this channel. Other available social networking sites such as Twitter, Blog and Linkedin could boost the library’s influence if properly utilized.
Extent of Use of library 2.0 Tools to Provide Information Access
The result of the study revealed that the extent to which library 2.0 tools were used to provide information access in the library was very low. In other words, library 2.0 tools such Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Blog and Instant Messaging were available in the library; they are not being used to provide information access. This negates the concept of library 2.0, which was meant to expose the library to their digital users. Maness (2006) defined “Library 2.0” as the application of interactive collaborative and multimedia web-based technologies to web-based library services and collections. It is the application and implication of web 2.0 principles and technologies in the field of library and information services. According to Miller (2005) Libraries and information centers can underscore the importance of Library 2.0 because it breaks the cycle of “plan, implement, and forget” that many services and plans suffer. Library can be a part of web 2.0 by harnessing the concept, principles and technologies for rendering exemplarily services to user in electronic world. It’s a framework for incorporating all changes made at all levels in the management of library.
In addition Mishra (2009) submitted that, Social Networks or library 2.0 tools can be used for providing user centric service in social library environment. Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) can be performed by wikipedia. Librarians can plan, design and disseminate information to patrons by KM Wiki. Marketing of library services can be possible by using social software tools like Podcast, YouTube, Blogger, SecondLife, Ning etc. also librarians can catalogue some of their library books on library thing. Professionals can put their collections on flicker. Footnote.com may be used to learn about history of library. And it will be helpful to provide the means to learn more about students, which can help libraries, better meet their needs.
However, the low use of of this tool in the library, puts the library at risk of having most of the services underutilized which invariably will result to poor academic performance of the university students who wouldn’t visit the physical library.
Level of Influence of Social Networking Sites and Library 2.0 in Accessing Library Services.
Question three sought to explore the level of influence of social networking sites and library 2.0 in accessing library services. From the findings, the level of influence of social networking sites and library 2.0 in accessing library services is very low. This is to say that despite the availability of some of the social networking sites in the library, they are hardly being used to propagate library services and as a result they are not been used by the library patrons. This situation is so deplorable because the library seems not to understand the potential of social networking sites.
In discussing the influence of social networking and library 2.0 tools, Curtis (2013) noted that with about 225 million users, LinkedIn is probably one of the most popular professional and, or business-to-business social networking sites. Not only that influence that Facebook platform has on students in African Universities is not completely different from the experience in other parts of the world. In a study carried out in Ghana,by Ayiah and Kumah (2011) revealed that when researchers sought the respondents view on the most visited social network site, 508 respondents representing 93.9% indicated Facebook as the most visited social-networking site. When asked if they would like to have a library wall on social network like Facebook, 79.5% indicated that they would like to access the library wall on their social network. Similarly, 79.5% offered their reason and said they would like to access the library’s page on a social network since they would be able to post comments and send suggestions on relevant issues on such a page. This therefore buttresses my point that social networking sites has a lot of influence on information access and knowledge sharing in any library. And it would be better if the library could utilize the influence of these social networking sites to boost library services.
Challenges to Using Social Networks and Library 2.0 For Information Access
Findings from research question four which sought to determine the challenges to using social. Networking sites and library 2.0 for information access and knowledge sharing revealed that some of the challenges were lack of ICT skill by librarians, poor internet service by service providers, cost of ICT equipment and internet service and the fact that social networks is also a medium of distraction for students. Most of these challenges especially lack of ICT skills by librarians is a major problem and should be given serious attention. This is because today’s information landscape requires information providers to be at the cutting edge of technology if they must remain relevant. The lack of ICT skills and social media know-how by librarians will not only hinder the provision of library services on the social networking sites but also it will prevent them from understanding the of their digital client. Also, another challenge that should be noted is the potential of social networking sites to distract or waste student’s time. For instance, in a study on the Effects of Facebook on the life of Medical University students, Farooqi, et al (2013) noted that majority of the users are highly addicted and showed multiple signs of Facebook addiction, without them (the students) realizing it. The authors’ further noted that those that realize the addiction and wanted to quit found it difficult. They note that the students could hardly be diverted to do other things at the time they surf or chat on Facebook.
Furthermore, the students who get involved in activities on social media sites while studying experience reduction in their focus of attention, reduction in their academic performance, and concentration to study well. Junco and Cotton (2011) observed that instant messaging is detrimental to learning because it requires students to split their attention in an academic setting. All these shows that libraries will also face challenges especially that of distraction or divided attention when serving their users online as social media involves so many other things than library services. This therefore makes it more difficult for libraries to reach potential users since they could be distracted by other things while on the platform.
Strategies to Overcome the Challenges
Findings from research question five revealed that the strategies that could be used to overcome the challenges of using social networking sites and library 2.0 for information access and knowledge sharing were training of librarians on the use of ICT and social media, organizing a training for students on social media use behavior, seeking for alternative avenues for income, creation of awareness of available library services on the social media. Although all the strategies outlined above are important. There is no doubt that the best strategy is ensuring that librarians are adequately trained. According to Farcas (2006) librarians should have the ability to embrace change, comfort in the online medium, ability to troubleshoot new technologies, ability to easily learn new technologies and to keep up with new ideas in technology and librarianship, which he describes as enthusiasm for learning. Farcas further suggests that Library schools should help by teaching students how to develop a strategy for continuing their education once they are out of library school, how to develop skills for learning new technologies and how to develop a strategy for troubleshooting technologies. Needless to state that given the demand in the practice of today, the librarians that lack the knowledge, skills and tools required to keep pace with effective and efficient information service and practice are living in an age that no longer exists.
Finally, irrespective of the problems that the social media may bring, the benefits far outweigh the problems it generates. It depends on whose hand the tool is. Consequently, the librarians are challenged to understand the radical shifts in how today’s college and university students use information and communication technologies (ICTs) and social media in particular and attempt to meet them in their familiar terrain. It is however important to note that as librarians meet the students in the familiar territory, they owe the students the responsibility to effectively train them in the art of responsible use of social media.
It evident from the findings of this study that although a good number of the major social networking sites are available on the library website, most of them are used to a very low extent. This low use of these social networking sites in the library through library 2.0, have resulted to a low level of influence of use of social networking sites and library 2.0 tools for accessing library services. This is to say that the myriad of opportunities available due to the influence of social networking sites on young library users are not only been under utilized in the library but are not being used at all. This is the cause of a major set back in the library in terms of attracting and keeping more users, because both current library users and potential library users are now using the Internet to meet most of their information needs and without the library deploying their services online and on social networking sites, they will be relegated to the past as most information providers in the information industry now have a shop front on the web and enough social media link embedded in it. It is therefore imperative the library revamps its social networking sites links, by updating their social media pages, informing both current and potential users of available services and training of librarians who are techno-savvy to operate and update these links.
Implication of the Study
This study was conducted to explore the influence of social networking sites and library 2.0 as a gateway to information access and knowledge sharing in PFAN library. The findings have the following implications:
- Social networking sites and library 2.0 as a gateway to information access and knowledge sharing has a huge influence on whether the library can remain relevant in the information industry or not.
- The non-availability of social networking sites and consequently library 2.0 means that the library’s online visibility is very low. This inadvertently leads to underutilized resources as users may not know what the library has.
- Without a well-trained library staff on the use of ICT, the library cannot serve or meet the needs of its physical clients talk more of its online clients.
The following were recommended based on the above findings.
The library should employ fresh graduates from library school as these are young and understands the needs of their peers in terms of providing library services through social networking sites. Not only do they understand these needs they also possess the prerequisite knowledge on the use of these social media tools, also they can easily be trained in the area they are lacking. This will solve the problem of training old library staff on the use of ICT and social media. This is because even though old library staff possess a wealth of experience on meeting library user’s needs, most of them already have a mindset of what the library needs and expects the library users to conform to these needs instead of the other way round. Also, no matter how much experience old staff have on meeting the needs of their users, they can never be able to anticipate what a young user needs more than a young library staff who is well trained.
Furthermore, more the library should have a department in charge of social media updates. This should be made up of young librarians who will be online any time to give updates in library events and answer questions from the online users.
- Abram, S. (2005) Web 2.0 – huh?! Library 2.0, librarian 2.0. Information Outlook. 9 (12), 44-46.
- O’Reilly,T.(2005)What is Web 2.0? Oreillynet.com, 9(30) http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web- 20.html#mememap.
- Maness, J. M. (2006) Library 2.0 Theory: Web 2.0 and its implication for libraries. Journal of Webology, 3(2), 25. http://www.webology.ir/2006/v3n2/a25.html.
- Miller, P. (2005) Web 2.0: Building the New Library. Ariadane Magazine, 4(45), http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue45/miller/. [ Accessed on 21 May 2017]
- Boyd, D.M. & Ellison, N.B. (2007) Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship’, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13, 1,34-46.
- Cain, J. (2008) Online social networking issues within academia and pharmacy education, American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education,72,1, [Online], Available: http://ukpmc.ac.uk/ articlerender.cgi?artid=1272624 [2 April 2017].
- Lenhart, A. & Madden, M, (2007) Teens, privacy, & online social networks. Pew Internet and American Life Project Report’, [Online], Available: http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Teens_Privacy_SNS_Rep ort_Final.pdf [14 May, 2017].
- Livingstone, S. (2008) Taking risky opportunities in youthful content creation: Teenagers’ use of social networking sites for intimacy, privacy and self- expression, New Media and Society, 10, 393–411.
- Marshall, B. (2007). Information today: Computers in libraries. Accessed on 12 May, 2017, on http://www.librarytechnology.org/ltg-displaytext.pl?RC=1273 New Media Consortium and EduCause Learning Initiative.
- Danah, B., & Nicole, E. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1).
- Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). List of social networking sites. Retrieved May 2, 2017 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites
- Wiktionary. (n.d.). Wiki: Social networking. Retrieved April 5, 2017, from en.wiktionary.org/wiki/social_networking
- Calvi, L., Cassella, M, & Nuijten, K.C.M. (2010) ‘Enhancing users’ experience: a content analysis of 12 university libraries Facebook profiles’, In T. Hedlund & Y. Tonta (Eds.), Publishing in the Networked World:
- Transforming the Nature of Communication. 14th International Conference on Electronic Publishing 16-18 June 2010, Helsinki, Finland (pp. 258-269). Helsinki: Hanken School of Economics. [Online], Available: https://helda. helsinki.fi/handle/10227/599 .