Are Libraries Utilising the Full Potential of Weblogs? - the Blog Experience in New Zealand and Australia
Weblogs (widely known as blogs) are widely promoted as a potentially useful tool of promotion and information dissemination for libraries. They are also advocated as an easy way for libraries to get involved in Web 2.0 applications. As a result, in the past year alone, the number of weblogs established in New Zealand and Australian libraries has grown substantially but little was known about how library blogs were being used or whether they were being used successfully. This study aimed to discover how blogs were being used in New Zealand and Australia and whether they were being utilised to their full potential. Content analysis of 73 blogs was carried out in combination with a survey of 46 people involved with library blogs and five interviews. The results indicate that blogs are being used for a variety of reasons and differing purposes recommended in the literature. Most blogs are being updated regularly and are regarded as successful for disseminating information in a timely manner. The majority of blogs provide links to useful information within the blog posts which readers can also access at a later time through archives. Few library blogs, however, provided categories or a search function to make this access easier. It appears the conversational aspect of the blog is not being realised. Comments are still rare. The potential for marketing and promotion of library resources through the blog and of the blog itself does not appear to be fully utilised in most cases. Nevertheless, library bloggers enjoy the medium and feel it is worthwhile continuing with the development and establishment of blogs. Blog numbers are growing rapidly, therefore many blogs are still in their infancy and have not yet utilised the full potential of this interactive medium.