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The Use of Microblogs and Social Networking Services: A Comparison Between Academic Libraries of the United States and China

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Journal of Web Librarianship

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In this exploratory study, the researchers examined the use of microblogs and social networking services by academic libraries in the United States and China with data collected from library Web sites, social media accounts, and search engines. The top 100 universities from each country were included in the study, and the use of these two types of social media by the main libraries of the universities was examined over a period of about four months. The findings indicate that the adoption rates of these social media were higher among the U.S. libraries as measured by the number of libraries that had an account in each type of social media studied. However, the number of accounts for the Chinese libraries was increasing faster during the study period. In the area of microblogs, where the data from the two countries were more comparable and in-depth analysis was feasible, the U.S. libraries were found to have started using the social media earlier, but the Chinese libraries attracted more users measured by either the absolute or the relative number of followers of the libraries' microblog accounts. The Chinese microblog user base was also developing at a faster pace during the study period. © 2016 Liwen Vaughan and Yijun Gao.

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