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A survey of WeChat application in Chinese public libraries

Chunmei Gan (School of Information Management, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 21 November 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the current characteristics and status of WeChat application in Chinese public libraries.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a sample of 46 sub-provincial and provincial public libraries in China, this study collected data from their WeChat official accounts. Statistical analysis and content analysis were employed for data analysis.

Findings

The results show that 82.6 percent of the 46 libraries had applied for WeChat accounts and offered services, of which the earliest created time was March 20, 2013. Differences were found among history information regarding their numbers, types and contents. Moreover, as for service mode, 84.2 percent of the libraries present custom menus, and 68.4 percent provide self-inquiry information. In addition, three types of reference services are revealed: real-time services (28.9 percent), services via telephones or e-mails (36.8 percent) and menu services (7.9 percent).

Originality/value

This study illustrates an overall picture of WeChat application in Chinese public libraries. Extant research has mainly focused on Web 2.0 applications in university libraries, and less attention has been paid to the application of mobile social media in public libraries. This study attempts to fill this research gap.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71403301). The author thanks Jiaojiao Zheng for her work on data collection.

Citation

Gan, C. (2016), "A survey of WeChat application in Chinese public libraries", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 34 No. 4, pp. 625-638. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-06-2016-0068

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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