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Researching public library programs through Facebook events: a new research approach

Mia Høj Mathiasson (Department of Information Studies, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Henrik Jochumsen (Department of Information Studies, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 21 June 2019

Issue publication date: 21 June 2019

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748

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on a new approach for researching public library programs through Facebook events. The term public library programs refers to publicly announced activities and events taking place within or in relation to a public library. In Denmark, programs are an important part of the practices of public libraries and have been growing in both number and variety within recent years.

Design/methodology/approach

The data for the study presented in this paper consists of Facebook events announcing public library programs. In the study of this data, grounded theory is used as a research strategy and methods of web archiving are used for collecting both the textual and the visual content of the Facebook events.

Findings

The combination of Facebook events as data, grounded theory as a research strategy and web archiving as methods for data collection proves to be useful for researching the format and content of public library programs, which have already taken place.

Research limitations/implications

Only a limited number of Facebook events are examined and the context is restricted to one country.

Originality/value

This paper presents a promising approach for researching public library programs through social media content and provides new insights into both methods and data as well as the phenomenon investigated. Thereby, this paper contributes to a conception of an under-developed researched area as well as a new approach for studying it.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper reports on a research approach for studying public library programs first presented by the authors at the 2018 Libraries in the Digital Age conference in Zadar, Croatia. The authors would like to thanks the organizers of the conference for being a part of this experience and for the inspiring exchange of ideas. A special thanks to Librarian Edith Beckett, Professor Marie Radford and Assistant Professor Amy Vanscoy for fruitful comments and discussions. The authors would also like to thank IT Consultant Stavris Solo for helpful support and assistance during the processes of data collection and data visualization and Associate Professor Camilla Elisabeth Moring for constructive and critical feedback on earlier versions of this paper. Your point of view is highly appreciated. Finally, the authors are grateful for the comments and suggestions provided by the reviewers on the first revision of the final paper. The research reported in this paper is part of the international research project Archives, Libraries and Museum, Digitalization, and the Public Sphere (ALMPUB) funded by the Research Council of Norway.

Citation

Mathiasson, M.H. and Jochumsen, H. (2019), "Researching public library programs through Facebook events: a new research approach", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 75 No. 4, pp. 857-875. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-08-2018-0137

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited