Web 2.0 use in academic libraries of top ranked Asian universities

Publication Date03 June 2019
Date03 June 2019
AuthorB. Preedip Balaji,Vinay M.S.,Shalini B.G.,Mohan Raju J.S.
SubjectInformation & knowledge management
Web 2.0 use in academic libraries
of top ranked Asian universities
B. Preedip Balaji,Vinay M.S. and Shalini B.G.
Library Department, Indian Institute for Human Settlements Library,
Bangalore, Karnataka, India, and
Mohan Raju J.S.
ITC-University of Twente, Twente, The Netherlands
Purpose This paper aims to explorerecent trends of how Web 2.0 applications were used in 75 academic
librariesin Asia through their library websites.
Design/methodology/approach The Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2016 was
considered for this study and out of 200 top universities ranked, 75 universities were selected for data
collection. Using a multi-method approach, this study evaluated key design elements, library service
platforms and website contentof each academic library website, examining their site features, Web 2.0 types
and applications.The criteria for selecting the websites were rst the website was in English and second had
Web 2.0 applications integrated into the main website. For the ranking of websites, a library web service
index was developed, benchmarking from these groupsresource discovery tools, Web 2.0 applications, e-
resources,mobile applications, library guides, digitalreference services and digital inclusion as indicators.
Findings The authors foundthat over two-thirds of Asian university librarieshave deployed one or more
Web 2.0 applications, though theirpopularity and implementation vary greatly. Most widely used Web2.0
applications are Facebook (61.3per cent), RSS (53.3 per cent), Twitter (46.7 per cent) and YouTube (37.3 per
cent). Instant messaging (5.3per cent) and podcasting (4 per cent) were least applied. With an average of 44
per cent, the diffusionrate of Web information is moderately high among the majority of the Asian university
Originality/value Many studies exploredWeb 2.0 applications from developed countries.However, this
study attempts evaluating the use of Web 2.0 applications through content, sites and features of academic
librariesin Asia, from developing countries perspective.
Keywords Academic libraries, Asia, Web 2.0, Library websites
Paper type Research paper
Academic librariesare evolving in their services to serve users and the valuesthey create for
research impact. Since the revolutioncaused by social media, functionally and Web use has
changed the perceptions, approaches and accessibility among library users, enhancing
library services and leveraging their potential to obtain the desirable benets of access,
dissemination and impact in a networked online environment, which is critical for libraries
in service provision and outreach (Connaway,2015;Qutab et al., 2014;Shafawi and Hassan,
2018). Academic libraries facilitate information literacy, learning outcomes and scholarly
communication increasingly through social networking sites (SNSs) as reference uses
(Fields, 2010;Steiner, 2009). As a result, they have gained worldwide attention to
The authors would like to thank the TEL Editor and two anonymous reviewers for their critical
comments in revising this paper.
Received21 December 2018
Revised14 March 2019
Accepted9 April 2019
TheElectronic Library
Vol.37 No. 3, 2019
pp. 528-549
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/EL-12-2018-0248
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
communicate, share information,and in bringing a closer relationship between librariesand
users. As hubs of information, referenceand research, academic library sites are embracing
new web-based technologieswhere discoverability of resources is critical through content,
functionalities and site structures (Cohen and Still, 1999). The changing web has
necessitated this transition for libraries with substantiveimplications to embracing Library
2.0 principles and the adoption of Web 2.0 tools (Maness, 2006;Wordofa, 2014). Moving on
from monolithic sites, academic libraries have embedded weblogs, folksonomies, wikis,
podcasts and vodcast services to promote interactive, learning-centric tools in exible and
adaptable systems (Coombs, 2007). As onlinecommunities grew, social media enhanced the
perception, usefulness and values in online library services (Spiteri, 2009). Web 1.0
connected information,but Web 2.0 connects, represents meaning, and brings all theseitems
closer together to build the user experience by adding layers of meaning on top of the
existing web with social, scholarly and semantic extensions (Balaji et al.,2018;Bolinder,
A new generation of Web 2.0 applications calls for a diversity of use and web-based
services are moving towards resilience, inclusion and adaptability. This is to provide
accessible digital resources for all to be intelligent, interconnected and personalised in a
humanised service environment (Kelly et al., 2009;Zhang, 2013). Web 2.0 is about the
architecture of participation,where users contribute to reuse content and involves collective
intelligence for libraries to infuse a sense of belonging, empowerment and self-service in a
democratic way (Barsky and Purdon, 2006). Cloud computing and mobile devices took
centre stage; searching technologies and user-generated content became the norm (Belling
et al.,2011).
Academic library websites became responsive in design, using different technology
adoption models and integrated resource discovery tools for facilitating use. Socializing
through social media among various communitiesof practice, academic libraries work with
the mandate to ensure users effectively use ideas and information to communicate and
produce creative information. They provide for the millennial users on information
landscapes support, reference services and instruction using SNSs (Currie, 2010).
Academic librarianship has deliberately discussed, as the web evolved, designing library
websites by structure, look, aesthetics, navigability and quality of information throughout
the past two decades, breaking down the unnecessarily strong walls between the silos of
library management systems and pathways for integration for searching and accessibility
(Clausen, 1999). Figure 1 is adapted from Oakleaf and Kyrillidou (2016) and exhibits the
common focus areas of Web 2.0 applications at academiclibraries in a broader institutional
Related literature review
As Web 2.0 has become mainstream, academic libraries have widely examined the early
adoption of web applicationsand various theories of Library 2.0, discussing the growth and
implementation of Web 2.0 services. Wang and Hubbard (2002) analysed the University of
Alabama Librarieswebsite based on principal characteristics and services provided, even
as the Web 1.0 applications evolved. They found that the librarys site had changed the
culture of the library, necessitating plans to host electronic resources and provide access
remotely. Acknowledgingthe importance of Web 2.0 for libraries, Maness (2006) pointed out
the implications of Library 2.0 theory and underscored the essence of using tools such as
synchronous messaging and streaming media, blogs, wikis, social networks, tagging, Rich
site summary (RSS) feeds and mash-ups for adoption in libraries to allow access to library
collections and services. Linh (2008) found that among47 Australasian university libraries,
Web 2.0 use in

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