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Towards a visibility of Algerian librariesin the social media era / Bentenbi CHAIB DRAA TANI Print E-mail
العدد 29، سبتمبر 2012

 

Towards a visibility of Algerian librariesin the social media era

 

Bentenbi CHAIB DRAA TANI

Library and Documentation Sciences

University of Oran Essenia, Algeria

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Abstract:

Social media including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others, now represent the new reality of communication and exchange of information and seem to provide more visibility to institutions anxious to be closer to their users.

The present paper, based on a survey conducted at a national level, attempts to give a state of the art of how social media are used in Algerian academic librariesand attempt to know what are the barriers that prevent some of them to increase their presence both on the web and social media web sites.

 

Keywords:

Library, Social media, Social network, web 2.0, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Algeria.

 

How to cite

TANI, Bentenbi CHAIB DRAA.Towards a visibility of Algerian librariesin the social media era.- Cybrarians Journal .- No. 28 (March 2012) .- Accessed <State here the date you accessed the article> .- Available at: <Copy here the URL of the current page>


 


 

 

  1. Introduction

      Although libraries have always been one of the major institutions for giving access to   knowledge (Kalpana Das Gupta) and have always connectedpeople with information, a study from the OCLC (Online Computer Library Center)reveals that the percentage of library website users decreased from 30 per cent in some countries such as Canada, UK and USA in 2005 to 20 per cent in these same countries in 2007. Similarly, in Algeria some loan statistics show a sharp drop in both attendance at libraries and the use of its resources (Temmar Nadia, 2010). This is because of growing number of information providers outside libraries (P V Konnur, M K Bhandi). On the other hand, the 10th Web Survey conducted by Georgia Tech's Graphics, Visualization, and Usability Center disclosed that approximately 85% of respondents located web pages with the help of search engines (Kehoe, &Pitkow, 1999) such as Google and yahoo that bring results from visible web only. These statistics reveals that libraries have to do more efforts and use other marketing tools to be visible and keep in touch with both permanent and potential users who are nowadays more attracted by other information and documentation resources including social media websites.

 

Social media are considered and recognized among the most powerful communication vehicles that allow organizations to connect and engage with many different audiences.These new media are attractive marketing and promoting tools, which can also be applied to the library world, both for quality and quantity of information among users and for reaching  new ones (Curtis R. Rogers).From Twitter to Facebook, social media tools have found their way into the library world and have been successfully used to support many libraries marketing and reference strategies (Megan Radomski, 2010). Librarieslink up with social networking sites or video sharing in order to promote their activities, their new products and services, and / or increase their visibility.

    We believe as it has been mentioned in the Scottish library and information council “Guide to Using Web 2.0 in Libraries, that strong web presence, including representation on social

media sites, improves awareness of library services and contributes to a progressive and modern image, which may in turn lead to increase physical visits.

 

  1. Some samples of using social media in libraries

      Social media are: "a group of online applications that rely on ideology and technology of Web 2.0 and enable the creation and sharing of content generated by users” (Michael and Andreas M. Kaplan, 2010). It seems that these new media encourage conversation more than traditional media which also provide content, but does not allow user to collaborate in its creation and development. People who understand the challenge of integrating Web 2.0 and social media in libraries report that: "The use of Facebook for the library or other social networking continues the logic of an ongoing search for new ways to communicate and enable users and non-users access to its services” (Bianchi, Florence, 2009). Moreover, their main interest lies in traffic generation related to their viral marketing aspect (Matthew Richardson and Pedro Domingos, 2002), which is not without interest for our libraries, especially since many libraries over the world have implemented the use of the social media (Mohmed Hanif N, 2009). We can give as an example of which can be found from theNanyang Technological University (NTU) Library in Singapore (Nurhazman Abdul Aziz, Chia Yew Boon and Hazel Loh, 2010), where a full range of such media has been implemented for the past five years. Other web 2.0 applications are also used in libraries such as blogs at the Latvian Library (Riga, Latvia), RSS feeds in Edmonton Public Library (Edmonton, Canada) or in Hennepin County Library (Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA), Instant Messaging in Saint Joseph Public Library (South Bend, Indiana, USA), a social media page (Facebook) like Bryant University Library (Smithfield, Rhode Island, USA), podcasts as in Worthington Libraries (Worthington, Ohio, USA), tagging as per University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA).

 

Algerian libraries are not far away from these changes that may be taken into consideration in their marketing strategy, to achieve the following strategic objectives:

-  Create both real and virtual social network, because of the impact of social networking sites and their importance in scholarly research, communication, and the information cycle (Heather Moulaison., Joseph Murphy 2009). Also because of the necessity for the libraries to evolve their service models through the use of new technologies and augmentation of online services in an interactive way (Nurhazman Abdul Aziz, Chia Yew Boon and Hazel Loh, 2010).

- Co-create online content with the user.

 - Position itself as a leading source of information and documentation for our youngsters who are faced with a lot more content from overseas.

 

  1. Objective

      The main objective of the study is to stimulate discussion about the importance and the impact of web and social media on both:

      a/ Algerian Libraries (information and knowledge access is no longer exclusively linked to the library as a source of information as well as a physical site where to find it).

      b/  Algerian Librarians (they are no longer the only information and documentation specialists).

 

The other major objectives of the study were to answer some questions according to Algerian libraries in order to know if the later are aware of the challenges imposed by social media? Are they planning for their use at short or medium term? What are the benefits of using these new media? And what about the barriers that seem preventing the use of such as technologic tools in some of Algerian libraries?

 

  1. Methodology:

      Keeping in view the objectives of the study, a structured and brief questionnaire was designed and used to collect data.10 questions revolving around three interrelated components of the trio: librarian, library and user were distributed to   218 libraries being part of the university network, related to the Algerian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research that has been for us a valuable information resource to Algerian academic libraries websites, or emails[1]. A total number of 140 libraries out of 218 answered the survey, giving a response rate of 64.22%. Questionnaire has been sent exclusively by email over a period of 15 to 27 July 2010. The response times ranged from less than 24 hours for 18 libraries (12.85%), three days for 67 libraries (47.85%) and one week for the 55 other libraries or (39.28%).

 

  1. Data analysis and discussion

 

      5. 1 Category of libraries

     Table 1 indicates that   most of answers came from university libraries (80%), including  central libraries (17%) and  faculty libraries (63%). The other answersare divided between the academic center libraries (6.5%), national higher school libraries (6.5%),  those of higher school  (1%), library of preparatory schools (4%) and finally those of research centers (2%), thus covering a significant part of academic institutions on the national territory.

Table 1: Category of libraries

Libraries respondents by attached structure

Number

%

University libraries

Central libraries

24

112

80

Faculty libraries

88

Academic center libraries

9

6.5

National higher school libraries

9

6.5

Higher normal school libraries

2

1

Preparatory school libraries

5

4

Research center libraries

03

2

TOTAL

140

100

 

 

Fig 1: Category of libraries

 

    5.2 Geographic distribution of libraries surveyed

    Libraries from the centre of the country are the most represented within 54 responses (39%), followed by the West (32%) and finally the East (29%). This allocation is based on the one adopted by the university-network that was for us a valuable source of information to library sites. It should be noted that the western region also includes the universities and academic centers located in the southwest of Algeria such as Adrar and Bechar.

Table 2 : Geographic distribution of libraries

 

Geographic area

Number of libraries

%

 Center

54

39

West

45

32

East

41

29

 Total

140

100

 

 

Fig 2: Geographic distribution of libraries

 

    5.3 Respondents rank position

    From table 3, we observe that most of respondents have a library curator position (33%), followed by library directors (23%), then library associates (18%), chief curators  (16%) and finally project managers; particularly computer project managers (10%) whose opinion matters as well. These statistics are justified because, the survey has been from the beginning , oriented to make decision library personals.

 

Table 3: Respondents rank position

Rank position

Number  of answers

%

Chief curator

22

16

Curator

47

33

Director

32

23

Library associated

25

18

Project managers

14

10

TOTAL

140

100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig 3: Respondents rank position

 

       5.4 Age of respondents

    Table 4 shows that the age of respondents ranges from a young population between 20 to 35 years old (23%), a second one older: between 35 and 45 years old (46%) to a third tier closer to retirement, represented by 31% of answers. In our hypothesis, age is an important factor that may influence the answersand therefore, the opinion on the use or non use of social media. Young people probably need to make less effort to adapt themselves both physically and mentally to technological methods and tools.

 

Table 4: Age of respondents

Age

Number of answers

%

20-25

5

4

25-30

9

6

30-35

19

13

35-40

39

28

40-45

25

18

45-50

21

15

>50

22

16

TOTAL

140

100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig4: Age of respondents

 

  5.5 Use of social media  in Algerian libraries

  The presence of Algerian libraries on social media sites is scarce and is first divided between the use of micro blogging such as Twitter (12%) and social networking sites including Facebook (8%). Sharing sites including YouTube and Dailymotion video as well as those designed for photo sharing as Flickr are little or not used at all.

Some libraries using several social media at the same time, are more advanced on Twitter than on Facebook. This applies, for example, to BIBLIOUNIV library portal, a project launched by CERIST (Research Center on Scientific and Technical Information).

Among (64%) who confirmed not using any social media, 59% added that these media were used by their users, knowing that this issue has not been explicitly asked. This “spontaneous” reaction seems to be positive and reflects that our librarians are up to date about the practices of their users.

 

 

Fig 5:    Social media websites that Algerian libraries use

 

   5.6 Obstacles behind the use of social media in Algerian libraries (Table 4)

   Some 42 respondents (30%) ignore the real reasons of the use of social media in their libraries, or do not see the importance of their use. They are nevertheless open to the idea of studying this issue in the near future.

It should be noted that lack of time, lack of hardware and lack of qualified personnel were represented  respectively by 23%, 15% and 16%  of answers,  appear to be real barriers to the use of these communication and sharing information and knowledge tools in Algerian libraries. Among 8% of respondents believe that Social media may provide unverified information and that they can sometimesharm the reputation of the library (5% of answers). Only 3% of respondents consider that these media are not more than the latest fad.

 

Table 5: Obstacles that seem preventing the use of social media in Algerian Libraries

Nature of the obstacle

Number of answers

%

Lack of time

33

23

Lack of qualified personnel

21

15

Problem of hardware

22

16

Social media don’t offer any information security

11

8

Social media harm the library reputation

7

5

Social media are not more than the latest fad

4

3

Don’t know and will think about in the near future

42

30

 

 

 5.7 The importance of using social media in Algerian libraries

   From the table 6, we can conclude that although the majority of Algerian libraries do not use social media, a lot of respondents (69%) believe that these tools are important (very important 18% and important enough 51%). This reflects positive attitude towards such practices in spite of the obstacles. 10% are against the use of these tools in Algerian libraries and 21% admit to be less informed and prefer studying this issue in the near future.

 

Table 6:     Respondents point of view about using social media in Algerian libraries.

Using social media in Algerian libraries

Number of answers

%

 Very important

25

18

Important enough

71

51

Not important at all

15

10

Not informed yet

29

21

Total

140

100

 

 

 

Fig 6: Importance of social media in Algerian libraries

 

    5.8 Benefits that can social media bring to Algerian Libraries

   A significant number of respondents believe that social media could help their library to:

-       Improve its image on the web (27%).

-       Promote its products and services (21%).

-       Build both real and virtual networks in the context of possible collaborations in library projects (17%).

 Some respondents see the social media as a tool of communication among users (4% of answers), or between them and the librarians (8%). According to 9% of respondents, social media could also help the library to reach new users. 14% of respondents were not informed at all and seem to have no idea.

 

Table 7:   Benefits of using social media in Algerian libraries

Benefist of using social media in algerian libraries

Number of answers

%

Promote its products and services

63

21

Develop communication among users

12

4

Improve communication between users and librarians

23

8

reach new users,

27

9

Build both real and virtual networks in the context of possible collaborations in library projects

53

17

Improve its image on the web

82

27

No idea

41

14

 

Fig 7: Benefits of using social media in Algerian libraries

 

5.9  Respondents point of view about what users would think of the presence of    

their libraries on social media sites

 

       The figures reflect that respondents are aware that users increasingly use these means of communication, and that they would be happy (67% of answers) to see their libraries using web 2.0 tools, which hopefully will soon be achieved.

 

Table 8:Librarians point of view about users attitude on using social media in Algerian libraries

Do you thinkusers would be interested in using social media in your library?

Number of answers

%

Yes

93

66.50

No

03

2.00

Not informed yet

44

31.50

Total

140

100%

 

 

Fig 8:usersattitude on using social media in Algerian libraries

 

   5.10   Respondents point of view about users' implication in developing web 2.0 products and services for Algerian libraries

 

   The statistics confirm once again the quite positive attitude of respondents towards these new practices, although many of them (50%) had doubts about the ability of their users, contrary to the fundamental idea of O'Reilly (O’Reilly 2004). According to 8% of the respondents, only skilled information specialists should be put in charge of the creation of such services, an idea contradicted by both web2.0 and social media philosophy.

 

Table 9: Librarians point of view about involving users in a possible creation of Web 2.0 services for Algerian libraries

Users implication in developing web 2.0 products and services

Number of respondents

%

Very positive

11

8

Positive

12

8

Positive, but not sure they would be technically able to do so

70

50

Negative

3

2

Very negative because the creation ofsuch services is the soleresponsibility of informationspecialists

11

8

No idea

33

24

 

 

Fig 9: Users implication in developing web 2.0 products and services

 

Conclusion

Despite the considerable efforts that Algeria is investing heavily in information technology to improve its ranking in the World Economic Forum[2]and the important resources devoted to Algerian libraries including academic ones, the invisibility of the Algerian libraries on the Web and even more on the social media, partly reflects the poor visibility of the structures to which they belong, including universities who are currently taking their first steps on these new media. Lack of time, hardware and qualified personals seem creating real barriers preventing the use of social media in our libraries. However, the results of our investigation seem promising since they do not preclude the desire to enroll in a social media strategy. More than that, 69% of librarians think that the use of these new media is important for their libraries. Still, so far we don’t know if users really need a virtual presence of libraries, and whether some of them are not considering social media sites as fun space where libraries are only a nuisance.

 

Annex:

Fig 2:Bibliouniv page on Facebook

(captured on the 29 of March 2011)

 

Bibliographical references

-       Andreas M. and Haenlein, Michael,2010. Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media, Business horizons, 53 (1), 59-68

-       Bianchi, Florence. Facebook : une communauté pour le livre ? http://bbf.enssib.fr/consulter/bbf-2009-03-0075-001(accessed august 4, 2010)

-       Hanif N, Mohmed, 2009. Need for Web 2.0 Technology for the Libraries, TCS, Mumbai, India.Kaplan,

-       Kalpana Das Gupta.Towards an Inclusive Knowledge Society : Role of Joint Use: Libraries in Indian Academic and Public Library Sectors

Available at http://crl.du.ac.in/ical09/papers/index_files/ical-80_228_484_4_RV.pdf

(accessed April 2011)

-       Konnur P V, Bhandi M K. Academic Libraries for the 21st Century

Available at:ttp://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/dxml/bitstream/handle/1944/308/04cali_2.pdf?sequence=1

-       Moulaison, Heather and Murphy, Joseph, 2009. Social Networking Literacy Competencies for Librarians: Exploring Considerations and Engaging Participation. Fourteenth National Conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries, March 12-15, 2009, Seattle, Washington pages, lieu d’édition, etc.

-       Nicholas, David ; Rowlands, Ian ; Fieldhouse, Maggie ; Williams, Peter and Huntington, Paul,  2008. Google generation: information behavior of the researcher of the future. Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, Vol. 60 No. 4, pp. 290-310.

-       Nurhazman, Abdul Aziz ; Chia, Yew Boon and Loh, Hazel, 10-15 August 2010, Gothenburg, Sweden, World Library and Information Congress: 76th IFLA general conference land assembly. Sowing the seeds: towards reaping a harvest using social web applications in Nanyang Technological University Library Singapore.

-       OCLC

[Available at]:

http://www.oclc.org/reports/sharing/default.htm

-       O’Reilly, Tim, 2004. What Is Web 2.0 : Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software.  in Oreillynet.com [available at]: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html

              (accessed august 3, 2010)

-       Radomski, Megan,  2010, Bringing Social Media to Any Library [available at]: http://s36.a2zinc.net/clients/sla/sla2010/custom/handout/speaker0_session248_1.pdf(accessed october 9, 2010)

-       Richardson, Matthew and Domingos, Pedro, 2002. Mining Knowledge-Sharing Sites for Viral Marketing,Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington.

-       Rogers, Curtis R.,  2009. Social Media, Libraries, and Web 2.0: How American Libraries are Using New Tools for Public Relations and to Attract New Users. GERMAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE: "Deutscher Bibliothekartag in Erfurt" (2nd to 5th of June 2009).

-       Scottish library and information council. Guide to Using Web 2.0 in Libraries.

Available at: http://www.slainte.org.uk/files/pdf/web2/Web2GuidelinesFinal.pdf

-       TEMMAR Nadia, 2010. The participatory aspect of Web 2.0: a marketing asset for the Algiers School of Banking library?Satellite Conference, pre-conference of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). Management & Marketing Section. Stockholm 7-8 August 2010.

 


[1]These include: 36 Universities, 15 University centers, 16 National higher schools, 05 Higher colleges, 10 Preparatory Schools and 02 integrated preparatory schools. We have also to mention, that Universities and university centers include several faculties and departments and each of the different academic institutions cited above has its own library. More details about the university network are available on the Algerian Ministry of higher education website: http://www.mesrs.dz/indexf.php