The purpose of this paper is to examine the challenges and benefits presented by search engine visibility for public libraries. This paper outlines the preliminary results of a pilot study investigating search engine visibility in two Canadian public libraries, and discusses practical approaches to search engine visibility.
The study consists of semi-structured interviews with librarians from two multi-branch Canadian public library systems, combined with quantitative data provided by each library, as well as data obtained through site-specific searches in Google and Bing. Possible barriers to visibility are identified through thematic analysis of the interviews. Practical approaches are identified by the author based on a literature review.
The initial findings of this pilot study identify a complex combination of barriers to visibility on search engines, in the form of attitudes, policies, organizational structures and technological difficulties.
This paper describes a small, preliminary pilot study. More research is needed before any firm conclusions can be reached.
A review of the literature shows the increasing importance of search engine visibility for public libraries. This paper outlines practical approaches which can be undertaken immediately by libraries, as well as delving into the underlying issues which may be affecting libraries’ progress on the issue.
There has been little original research investigating the reasons behind libraries’ lack of visibility in search engine results pages. This paper provides insight into a previously unexplored area by exploring public libraries’ relationships with search engines.
Dickinson, Z. and Smit, M. (2015), "Being where the people are: the challenges and benefits of search engine visibility for public libraries", Library Hi Tech News, Vol. 32 No. 10, pp. 11-15. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHTN-08-2015-0055
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