Social media and research

At least in academic libraries, one of the main goals is to support students and faculty with research. Not so much with getting them to read or recommend what to read but to assist them in fulfilling their research needs.

Social media seems to be mostly for outreach. But is there a tie/functionality between social media and research? Am I missing something?

I went through our research databases — we are mostly an Ebsco campus, but we also have SIRS, CQ, Credo, Proquest, Lexis/Nexis, Gale, etc. As far as I can tell, there is no use of social media within them. Should there be? Could there be? We integrate our chat reference service into Ebsco databases but that is not social media. We all know that the students are just ‘going to the Internet” to do their research. Will social media be a way to bring them back to authoritative sources? Will there be a way to put an authoritative seal on self-published wikis and blogs, similar to that of published journals and books? It made me cringe to listen to a woman in one of our videos about the demise of email talk about Wikipedia, how we didn’t trust it before and now is as or more authoritative than The Britannica. Really???

In listening to the Ebsco presentation, their social media efforts are aimed at their clients (the libraries and librarians). How do we, libraries and librarians, bring our users in?

If social media is for outreach at this point, how do we get our users to like us? We have a Facebook presence — our library that is. It has been liked by a mere 116 folks — and a good number of those are library staff. Our postings don’t get many views and with Facebook ever changing rules on how posts appear in people’s news feed, the situation looks grim. We don’t pay Facebook to promote our postings so not even those of us who personally like the page necessarily see the new postings. Our students are in Facebook — our campus page is faring much better in the likes count (5,454 as of this morning) — they just haven’t gotten to like our library page.

I’m looking forward to this class to learn how to effectively use social media to achieve the missions of our libraries.


3 thoughts on “Social media and research

  1. J. Andrews

    Pictures and links on Facebook are pushed to newsfeeds more often than regular text status updates. And the more people like, comment on, and share your posts, the more they’ll see posts from you in their feed and the more that particular post will show up in other people’s feeds. So, post interesting pictures and links! I think it also helps to ask questions. ‘What book are you reading this weekend?’ ‘Who’s your favorite vampire?’ Just something to encourage people to comment.

    And encourage staff members to like and comment.

  2. Christy Confetti Higgins

    For research databases like EBSCO and others, they are including rating and commenting in their databases that you can turn on to have some social aspect within their databases. Is that what you are looking for?

    Also, social tools can provide another view when doing research. LIBR 286 in some semesters is about using social tools for research – learning about topics, companies, competitors, etc. by mining social tools. Really interesting stuff!

    I like your thinking regarding how to engage your audience with tools like Facebook and hopefully in this class it will give you some time and ideas of what others are doing to engage their users with social tools. The thing that needs to happen when creating a presence is to then market that presence so your audience knows you are there. Are there other pages your audience is looking at that you can post to let them now about your FB site?

    Looking forward to learning from you and how some of the learnings from the class might help your library engage.

    1. bibliolge Post author

      Learning to engage is what I’m aiming for!
      I’m looking for direct use of social media in research databases. How can social media be tools that make research more effective, or is it? Or use social media tools, other than for marketing purposes, to direct users to research tools?
      Social meida is more for marketing, word of mouth….
      Our students like and look more a the College Facebook page. Maybe more collaboration there…


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