With the development of network technology,social networking becomes a cultural phenomenon. Its applications in the library attract more and more attentions and have become an important feature of the modern library. In 2007, social networking became a new research theme in Library and Information Science, and its application expanded from the original BBS, entertainment SNS to the current micro-information age. This paper is a systematic review of the application of SNS in the library.
The author used “Social Networking or SNS or Facebook or Twitter or Myspace” and “Library or Libraries” as keywords to retrieve the literature in foreign databases such as Web of Science、LISTA、Emerald etc. and on the Internet. Meanwhile, the author also used “Social Networking or SNS”, and “library” or “renren” or “microblog” or “wechat” as keywords to retrieve the Chinese articles in CNKI databases.
Through using content analysis and inductive methods, the author reviews the research progress from seven aspects:SNS application advantages in the library; library-centered case studies; library using SNS to provide services; attitudes of users using SNS; libraries and librarians survey; evaluation of SNS services; problems in SNS applications.
The research purposes is trying to gain a deeper understanding of the achievements and limitations of social networking applied in the field of Library and Information Science, and to predict the future research directions. Through literature review, the author gets the following conclusions: 1) On the time dimension, SNS have been applied earlier in foreign libraries, but developed faster in China; 2) In the practical application dimension,SNS are used widely at home and abroad. According to the survey, the majority of the American library websites applied SNS as regular service and the feature of the modern library. In China, social networking technology application developed rapidly and attracted more attentions in recent years, but the quality of library services applied the technology were uneven; 3) On the theoretical research dimensions,the number of theoretical researches is less in abroad than in China. In abroad the study object is one-fold (centralized on Facebook), but the research level is higher, mainly for there are diverse research topics and empirical researches. In China, the researchers more emphasize the macro-theoretical discussion. The research topics are relatively resemble and lack strong empirical research articles; 4) On the social networking application attitude dimensions in the library, compared with foreign countries, we lack research articles about user's attitudes on using SNS, libraries and librarians attitudes on SNS. These indicate that the application of a new technology abroad is relatively rational. Through understanding the acceptance of the new technology by the related people, the libraries can cope timely with the problems caused by new technologies. This has important reference value to the related researches and practice in China.
Combined with the trend of SNS technology and the characteristics of the library, the author thinks that future research should include library crisis management of SNS, information literacy, SNS evaluation and sustainable development. It should be recognized that SNS is the technical means to expand the service of the library, but not the objective. The library should return to the value rationality of the service from the technical rationality. 1 tab. 74 refs.