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Evaluating Web 2.0

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Results of a study on user experiences with public library blogs

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Evaluating Web 2.0

  1. 1. Evaluating Web 2.0: user experiences with public library blogs<br />Michelle McLean - Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation<br />Paul Mercieca – RMIT University<br />
  2. 2. Aims<br />While Libraries, especially public libraries, are heavily involved in develop of Web 2.0 environments, there is a need to understand how these environments are being used<br />Focusing on Blogs as an initial pilot investigation, we attempt to map client use of blog posts developed by CCLC<br />The results from this pilot can be extended to a larger investigation<br />
  3. 3. The Blogs<br />
  4. 4. CCLC Website<br />
  5. 5. The need for the investigation<br />CCLC has invested in the development of the blogs, yet there was a need to understand their use and potential impact on the service as a whole<br />Some general trends were identified through current statistics and use logs<br />However there was a need to determine if the blogs<br /><ul><li>Meet the original goals and purpose
  6. 6. Were being used
  7. 7. How they were being accessed
  8. 8. And opinions of Non-users</li></li></ul><li>Method<br />Survey administered Monday 24th August to Monday 7th September 2009 <br />Administered electronically and in print<br />Promoted through <br />posts placed on each of CCLC&apos;s five blogs<br />highlighted feed on CCLC&apos;s homepage<br />Banner added to the top of the homepage<br />printed surveys were administered in the two largest branches and in one of the smaller branches. <br />
  9. 9. Method<br />99 usable survey results were received<br />52 online and 47 in print<br />All results were exported (via an Excel file) to SPSS<br />Caveats <br />Pilot survey to identify initial trends of blog use within a single public library organisation. A larger participant sample will determine if the trends are statistically significant<br />Sample was self selected<br />
  10. 10. Respondent characteristics: Gender<br />
  11. 11. Respondent characteristics: Age<br />
  12. 12. Frequency of use of website and blogs <br />
  13. 13. Multiple blog use<br />Each blog has a specific information focus and is targeted towards different readers<br />An assumption was that blog readers would tend to focus on the blogs that are relevant to their information needs<br />However counts of the use of the blogs suggest that:<br />A total of 40 participants, out of the 99 survey responses (n=99) have used at least one blog on a single occasion<br />Those who have engaged with a blog tend to read more than one blog.<br />Of the 40 participants who have read at least one post, 24 participants (60% of the blog users n=40) have read more than one blog. <br />In considering the promotion of public library blogs <br />While use may be ‘casual’<br />There may be benefit in cross promotion of blogs<br />
  14. 14. “Hidden” use<br />‘hidden usage’ of the blog posts was identified<br />While some participants were not directly reading the blogs themselves, they were accessing ‘blog feeds’<br />Through email / RSS feeds<br />Through posts being fed to the home page of the CCLC website<br />
  15. 15. “Hidden” use ...<br />Email / RSS feeds<br />26 participants (26% of the respondents n=99) indicated that they had set up either a post feed to their email account or to an RSS reader<br />feeding to an email account was the preferred method as this was established by 21 of the 26 participants who had set up a feed<br />Of the 26 participants, 6 participants indicated that they had not (“never”) used any of the blogs<br />This suggests such participants had not actively visited the individual blogs, yet still benefited from the blogs as an information source to their email accounts.<br />
  16. 16. “Hidden” use ...<br />Feeds to the CCLC homepage<br />
  17. 17. “Hidden” use ...<br />Feeds to the CCLC homepage ...<br />
  18. 18. “Hidden” use ...<br />63% of the respondents read the feeds that are displayed on the library home page, even if this was, for some participants, a ‘skim read’ of the content<br />Degree of follow through to the actual blog<br />46% reading the extended version of the feed<br />38% reading the blog post on the original blog <br />
  19. 19. Demographic impact<br />The various frequencies of use of the blogs was recoded into ‘use’ and ‘non-use’<br />Chi-square tests were used to see if there was a difference in use by age and by gender<br />Age and Gender did not make a significant difference in use for most of the blogs<br />local history blog ‘Links to Our Past’ did show a difference for Gender, where males tended to use the blog site more than females<br />
  20. 20. Benefits of the blogs<br />
  21. 21. Results<br /><ul><li>Confirmed expected usage of blogs – use as CMS to disseminate content to users – being read for blog purposes
  22. 22. Unexpected result – amount of use, nearly ½ users had at least scanned content
  23. 23. Unexpected result – number of users who had done so through the library website – importance of our website feeds and dynamic content</li></li></ul><li>Implications<br />Content of the blogs may have relevance to the library users, but the primary access point to this content is through the library homepage<br />Participants were probably not aware that the ‘news items’ were being fed from a blog infrastructure and thus this use is a ‘hidden use’ of the blog content.<br />While the relevant information could simply be posted directly onto the library webpage, the use of blogs allows:<br />Multiple contributors to post content<br />Content to be regularly ‘fed’ from a number of blog sources<br />Constant updating of the library home page. <br />Where there is interest in specific items, the reader can then link through to the original posting for further information. <br />
  24. 24. Implications<br /><ul><li>More in-house promotion of blogs
  25. 25. Re-use and redirect users to blog content
  26. 26. More links to blog content from other online presences
  27. 27. More research needs to be done</li>

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