An investigation into the viability of LibraryThing for promotional and user engagement purposes in libraries
Purpose – LibraryThing is a Web 2.0 tool allowing users to catalogue books using data drawn from sources such as Amazon and the Library of Congress and has facilities such as tagging and interest groups. This study seeks to evaluate whether LibraryThing is a valuable tool for libraries to use for promotional and user engagement purposes. Design/methodology/approach – This study used a sequential mixed methods three-phase design: the identification of LibraryThing features for user engagement or promotional purposes, exploratory semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire. Findings – Several uses of LibraryThing for promotional and user engagement purposes were identified. The most popular reason libraries used LibraryThing was to promote the library or library stock, with most respondents using it specifically to highlight collections of books. Monitoring of patron usage was low and many respondents had not received any feedback. LibraryThing was commonly reported as being easy to use, remotely accessible, and having low cost, whilst its main drawbacks were the 200 book limit for free accounts, and it being a third-party site. The majority of respondents felt LibraryThing was a useful tool for libraries. Practical implications – LibraryThing has most value as a promotional tool for libraries. Libraries should actively monitor patron usage of their LibraryThing account or request user feedback to ensure that LibraryThing provides a truly valuable service for their library. Orginality/value – There is little research on the value of LibraryThing for libraries, or librarians' perceptions of LibraryThing as a Web 2.0 tool.
Citation:Richards A. and, Sen B. (2013) An investigation into the viability of LibraryThing for promotional and user engagement purposes in libraries. Library Hi Tech, 31 (3), pp. 493-519