Exploring academic libraries’ use of Twitter: a content analysis

Date02 November 2015
Publication Date02 November 2015
AuthorSultan M. Al-Daihani,Suha A. AlAwadhi
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Information & communications technology,Internet
Exploring academic libraries’
use of Twitter: a content
Sultan M. Al-Daihani and Suha A. AlAwadhi
Department of Library and Information Science, Kuwait University,
Kuwait City, Kuwait
Purpose This research aims to analyze academic libraries’ Twitter content and present a
categorization framework for the study of their tweets.
Design/methodology/approach The research adopted a statistical descriptive analysis in
addition to a content analysis of the tweets. Consequently, many categories and subcategories were
created to classify the tweets according to different aspects. A total of 17 academic library accounts
were examined.
Findings – The ndings show that academic libraries used Twitter as a multifaceted tool. “News and
announcements” received the highest score as the type of information most often posted on Twitter by
libraries, followed by “library collections” and “library services”. The subcategories that received the
highest scores were “library marketing and news”, “answers and referrals” and “books”. Academic
libraries showed a penchant for posting links more often than other content. Other results show
different patterns of communication and interaction between libraries and their Twitter followers.
Practical implications – The categorization of tweets provides a framework for understanding how
academic libraries use Twitter.
Originality/value – As little research can be found in the library and information science literature on
Twitter content analysis, this research is expected to contribute signicantly. It will also support
academic libraries and librarians in using Twitter more efciently and effectively.
Keywords Academic libraries, Web 2.0, Twitter, Content analysis, Social networking,
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
As social media has become more commonplace in various aspects of contemporary life,
it has been progressively incorporated into the activities of libraries and information
services (Aharony, 2010;Anwyll et al., 2013;Keenan and Shiri, 2009). One of the most
commonly cited benets of libraries using social media is the ability to improve
connections and communications between libraries and their patrons (Cuddy et al., 2010;
Kim et al., 2012). For example, social networking sites provide a new, rich environment
for libraries to engage with the community by sharing information (Anwyll et al., 2013;
Stuart, 2010) and exchanging data with users (Al-Daihani, 2009). Therefore, similar to
other domains, such as business and education, libraries have started adopting social
network platforms as a means to expand the scope of their services and increase their
The authors are grateful to Maali Al-Ghnimi for her contribution and assistance in the initial data
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Received 29 May 2014
Revised 2 September 2014
Accepted 30 September 2014
TheElectronic Library
Vol.33 No. 6, 2015
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/EL-05-2014-0084

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