Journal Club: What do health librarians tweet about? A content analysis

Meeting date: March 28, 2017

Presenter: Lance Fox

Citation: Neilson, C.J. (2016). What do health librarians tweet about? a content analysis. The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 11(1).

Article abstract: Many libraries have adopted Twitter to connect with their clients, but the library literature has only begun to explore how health libraries use Twitter in practice. When presented with new responsibility for tweeting on behalf of her library, the author was faced with the question “what do other health libraries tweet about?”. This paper presents a content analysis of a sample of tweets from ten health and medical libraries in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Five hundred twenty-four tweets were collected over 4 one-week periods in 2014 and analyzed using a grounded theory approach to identify themes and categories.

The health libraries included in this study appear to use Twitter primarily as a current awareness tool, focusing on topics external to the library and its broader organization and including little original content. This differs from previous studies which have found that libraries tend to use Twitter primarily for library promotion. While this snapshot of Twitter activity helps shed light on how health libraries use Twitter, further research is needed to understand the underlying factors that shape libraries’ Twitter use.

Reason for  selection: I came across this article and thought it would make for a very interesting discussion about a topic that is quite different than what we have been reading and discussing over the last several months. I know that some of us are using Twitter and social media to connect with our users and some of us are not, but this can still provide a good group discussion around marketing, promotion of services and resources, different ways of connecting with our users, etc.