Librarians networking with users online
It is still early days, writes David Stuart, but there are plenty of potential benefits.
“Whenever a new social network site appears, librarians are often amongst the first to be found putting it through its paces (…)
However, if you delve below the surface, you quickly discover a far more complex information landscape. There are vast differences in the extent to which libraries are making use of the social network site opportunities, from the academic libraries that have been quick to embrace the potential of social network sites, to the corporate sector, which has been more circumspect. (…)
… there is the problem that other methods of communication, such as email and the phone, are already well established within many organisations. According to the principle of least effort, if the established methods of communication are ‘good enough’, most users won’t make the effort to try something new.
The challenge for libraries is to find ways to embrace social network sites and technologies without killing their potential. To do this they need to strike a balance between the risks of an open system and the lack of communication in a closed system. They must also balance strict rules that protect an organisation from potentially damaging staff behaviour with giving staff the room to innovate.
Stuart, David. Librarians and researchers network online. Research Information, August/September 2010, pp. 12-13