Understanding User-Librarian Interaction Types in Academic Library Microblogging: a Comparison Study in Twitter and Weibo

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academic libraries, interactions, social networking, twitter, weibo

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This research examined the ways in which academic librarians and users interact when using social media tools such as Twitter and Weibo as well as end-users’ and librarians’ perceptions of the types of interaction through social media. The study conducted an analysis of 1600 microblog posts sampled from twenty university library Weibo (Chinese Twitter) sites and twenty library Twitter sites in English-speaking countries. The results were compared using Chi-Square analysis. Results indicated that at present academic librarians in English-speaking countries use post information relevant to the library (news and events) and respond to information/research inquiries. And academic librarians in China are likely to use Weibo to communicate with users and to disseminate library news. Given the lack of previous research on how social media such as micro-blogging in general facilitates communication between librarians and library users in academic libraries between in English-speaking countries and China, this study provides valuable information concerning librarians’ and end-users’ interactions of information/knowledge sharing activities, which will enable libraries to be better positioned to promote user engagement through SNS usage.

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Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 43, issue 4, p. 329-336