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Content analysis of academic libraries Web pages with digital library development indicators

Stojanovski, Jadranka (2011) Content analysis of academic libraries Web pages with digital library development indicators. Doctoral thesis, Sveučilište u Zagrebu.

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Abstract

This research is undertaken in response to the issue of the importance of academic library Web sites as a tool for the content representation. The aim is to investigate the content offered via library Web sites in order to identify main content elements which are present in a substantial extent, as well as to recognize important content elements which are reflecting the presence of some new trends in academic libraries development. This thesis contribute to the recognition of the present state of library Web sites and will enhance the knowledge about today's academic libraries and the way they are using Web technologies to promote their services, present their collections to satisfy users' needs, and to manage the library in general. The examination of academic library websites could be of great value to academic libraries as well as to LIS researchers in general. The research method applied to this study is Web content analysis. The thesis presents the application of content analysis method to analyse the content of library websites in order to create quantitative and qualitative measuring tools. The sample consists of 366 academic library websites from seven English speaking countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom (UK), and United States of America (USA). In total 65.670 collected Web pages have been harvested, stored and examined. The general framework for defining a set of content elements for academic library websites, established by created taxonomy, falls into three main content categories: general information about the library, library collections and library services. These top content categories, with 290 subcategories and 1300 words, phrases and rules which presence was recorded, make this study unique in the identification of the content elements. One of the most important contributions of this research may be it’s value for both academic and practical purposes in the creation, organization, labelling and maintenance of library websites. According our knowledge there is no study conducted on such a big sample of libraries, using a comprehensive and rich taxonomy developed as a part of this research, which makes this study unique. In this study, the research rationale is to gather information from available literature and set of collected test data, and apply it to define content categories and their hierarchical structure. The website content analysis uses these content categories as a coding scheme, and collected Web pages and anchor texts as body of information, e.g. corpuses. The parallel study was conducted at three levels: a complete set of all collected Web pages, library homepages and anchor texts, in order to identify common content as well as possible differences. Additional analysis were conducted using variables as country, library identifier, and level in Web tree structure, to ensure the data necessary for comparison of different countries, libraries and to take an insight in the Web structure characteristics. As a result of the study, the main content categories were identified in library websites. The results suggest that academic libraries use ICT technologies to improve and enrich existing library services and access to their, mostly digital, collections. Some new services were established too, providing access to digital content and computer and network infrastructure. Limited presence of the new library services was recorded in some of library Web sites, but there is no evidence of the significant development of new library services, supporting teaching and research at the university. Library collections are mostly directed towards commercial publishers and their products, somewhat neglecting valuable open source scholarly resources. Comparison of the studies conducted separately on all Web pages, homepages and anchor texts resulted in matching of the main content categories ranking, which approved that homepages or anchor texts can be used as representative corpus for content analysis in order to identify main content categories. Some differences in the content analysis by country have been detected showing cross-national differences in more specific content categories, which might be seen in terms of differing economic, social, and cultural factors, although all seven countries share top-level content categories and their representation rates. Recorded data about the existance of a hyperlink to the library at the university homepage showed significant differences between countries, e.g. only 50 percent of British library Web sites were properly linked from their university Web sites. The majority of academic libraries included in the analysis offer rich and variety content. Academic library websites have shallow information hierarchy depending on massive menu pages, and average homepage includes 117 hyperlinks. In spite of numerous digital library initiatives and programs, either with local efforts or in collaboration with other libraries and related institutions, it’s presence at library Web sites is not in respective rate. Alternative instances in form of digital archives and institutional repositories are improving occurrence rate in certain extent, but not significantly. Only by broadening the concept of digital library to other library collections in digital format, online services and specific user categories, e.g the whole academic library in a Web environment, the proportion will grow to a proper extent. The shift towards adopting more digital library features and functionalities could be one of the future trends in the library virtual space development.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral thesis)
Uncontrolled Keywords: library Web sites; content analysis; data mining; taxonomy
Subjects: TECHNICAL SCIENCES > Computing > Information Systems
SOCIAL SCIENCES > Information and Communication Sciences > Information Systems and Information Science
SOCIAL SCIENCES > Information and Communication Sciences > Library Science
Divisions: Centre for scientific information
Depositing User: Jadranka Stojanovski
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2012 16:03
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2014 16:08
URI: http://fulir.irb.hr/id/eprint/414

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