Overhyped Fad or Missed Opportunity? A History of Academic Libraries and the Social Web

Joseph Deodato

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Scopus citations


    The emergence of social media has radically transformed the way we create and consume information. These changes have in turn given rise to new models of librarianship centered on principles of participation, interaction, and collaboration. Over the last decade, academic libraries have eagerly adopted social media as a means of enhancing services and connecting with a new generation of users. But how exactly has this technology changed libraries? In what ways has the social web transformed library services or our relationships with users? This article attempts to assess the impact of social media on academic libraries in the United States through a review of the literature published since 2005. In particular, it looks at how academic libraries have used social media to improve or develop new services. By comparing published case studies with the theoretical literature, this article seeks to separate theory from practice and determine the extent to which the social web has transformed library practice. The author concludes that, despite several noteworthy examples, the majority of social library applications ultimately fail to live up to the transformative potential promised within the literature and that this failure may have more to do with philosophical rather than technical limitations.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1-27
    Number of pages27
    JournalJournal of Web Librarianship
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Computer Science Applications
    • Library and Information Sciences


    • Web 2.0
    • academic libraries
    • social media
    • user-generated content


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