To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Public libraries and the social web: a review and analysis of the existing literature

Namjoo Choi (School of Information Science, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA)
Lindsey M. Harper (University Libraries, Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia, USA)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 28 August 2019

Issue publication date: 7 January 2020

Downloads
491

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to update Carlsson (2015), which examined the research on public libraries and the social web published from 2006 to 2012, and it also intends to go beyond Carlsson (2015) by including six additional variables.

Design/methodology/approach

Literature searches were performed against Web of Science Core Collection and EBSCOhost databases. By adapting Carlsson’s (2015) three level key phrase searches, which were then complemented by chain searching, a total of 60 articles were identified and analyzed.

Findings

In comparison to Carlsson (2015), this study shows that the recent research, published between 2012 and 2018, leans toward a more general acceptance of the social web’s usage to improve the services provided by public libraries; that the public library is rarely premised to be in a state of crisis; and that the social web is mostly perceived as having a complementary relationship with librarianship and library services. The findings from analyzing the six additional variables are also presented.

Research limitations/implications

The findings from this study provide LIS professionals a greater understanding of where the research stands on the topic at present, and this study also identifies gaps in the literature to offer insight into the areas where future research can be directed.

Originality/value

Given the continued popularity of social web usage among public libraries, this study examines the literature published on the social web in the public library context between 2012 and 2018 and offers implications and future research suggestions.

Keywords

Citation

Choi, N. and Harper, L.M. (2020), "Public libraries and the social web: a review and analysis of the existing literature", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 76 No. 1, pp. 197-211. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-04-2019-0073

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited