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Library blogs and user participation: a survey about comment spam in library blogs

Fatih Oguz (Library and Information Studies Department, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA)
Michael Holt (Odum Library, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia, USA)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 8 March 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to identify and describe the impact of comment spam in library blogs. Three research questions guided the study: current level of commenting in library blogs; librarians' perception of comment spam; and techniques used to address the comment spam problem.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative approach is used to investigate research questions. Informal interviews were conducted with four academic and three public libraries with active blogs to develop a better understanding of the problem and then to develop an appropriate data collection instrument. Based on the feedback received from these blog administrators, a survey questionnaire was developed and then distributed online via direct e‐mailing and mailing lists. A total of 108 responses were received.

Findings

Regardless of the library type with which blogs were affiliated with and the size of the community they served, user participation in library blogs was very limited in terms of comments left. Over 80 percent of libraries reported receiving five or fewer comments in a given week. Comment spam was not perceived to be a major problem by blog administrators. Detection‐based techniques were the most commonly used approaches to combat comment spam in library blogs.

Research limitations/implications

The research focuses on the comment spam problem in blogs affiliated with libraries where the library is responsible for content published on the blog. The comment spam problem is investigated from the library blog administrator's perspective.

Practical implications

Results of this study provide empirical evidence regarding level of commenting and the impact of comment spam in library blogs. The results and findings of the study can offer guidance to libraries that are reconsidering whether to allow commenting in their blogs and to those that are planning to establish a blog to reach out to their users, while keeping this online environment engaging and interactive.

Originality/value

The study provides empirical evidence that level of commenting is very limited, comment spam is not regarded as an important problem, and it does not interfere with the communication process in library blogs.

Keywords

Citation

Oguz, F. and Holt, M. (2011), "Library blogs and user participation: a survey about comment spam in library blogs", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 173-188. https://doi.org/10.1108/07378831111116994

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited