Purpose - Social networking sites (SNSs) are gaining popularity in various areas. Library and information services also are attempting to utilize them for increasing the library user traffic. Considering the lack of SNS studies in academic library services and various SNS usage patterns according to user type, it is necessary to compare the usage patterns across different user groups. This paper thus aims to explore the usages of a SNS by different university users. Design/methodology/approach - Data were collected through semi-structured and open-ended interviews conducted with undergraduates, graduates, and faculty members at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. Data were analyzed according to the three groups (undergraduates, graduates, and faculty members) and within each group SNS user perception and use were examined across the three different user activity groups (active users, semi-active users, and non-active users). Findings - The analyses indicated that the three groups of users demonstrated distinct patterns of SNS use. Although undergraduates used the profile service more than the community service, graduates used the community more than the profile service. Most faculty members were not active users. Six factors that affected these different usage patterns were identified: desire for expression, peer influences, familiarity with information technologies, sensitivity to privacy, nature of using the internet, and perception of the SNS. Practical implications - A differentiated approach is necessary for SNS-based academic library services. Originality/value - The paper makes useful and initial suggestions for implementing SNS-based library and information service in academic settings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Science Applications
- Library and Information Sciences