The purpose of this paper is to explore the frequency with which Internet-based social media (namely, wikis, blogs, forums and electronic mailing lists) are used by cataloguers to seek what Judith Hopkins (2002) defines as “specific (and immediate) current awareness” and “general current awareness”. The aim is to provide some insight into whether social media play a part in day-to-day practice and on-the-job learning of cataloguers.
A survey research was conducted. An online questionnaire was made available to self-selecting respondents via electronic mailing lists (AUTOCAT, CatSIG listserv, NZLibs listserv) and 176 responses were received.
The study found that general current awareness information was more frequently sought via Internet-based social media than specific (and immediate) current awareness. A statistically significant, weak positive correlation was found between the variables of “number of cataloguers working in an organization” and “frequency of accessing social media to seek out cataloguing-specific information”. A weak positive correlation was also found within the sample between the variables of “number of cataloguers working in an organization” and “frequency of accessing social media to seek general current awareness information”. Qualitative data were also gathered concerning the reasons respondents sought both specific and general current awareness information.
This research examines the assumption that cataloguers use social media tools to access what Hopkins has dubbed a “community of cataloguers” as one means of accessing informal continuing education.
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