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The Management and Role of Library E-Presence: A Study Into British Academic Library Websites

Zorba, Ioanna (2014) The Management and Role of Library E-Presence: A Study Into British Academic Library Websites. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This thesis sought to undertake a primary, holistic and contextual investigation of the management and the role of academic library Web presence as it has evolved since its beginnings in the early 1990s. Most of the data collection took place in 2008 and it focused on the practice in British universities. Previous research on this topic was limited and published studies reported only limited investigations which had explored only some elements of the issue. Furthermore Web technologies have become crucial and integral part of library’s Web presence and activity. The study reviewed, analysed and determined the range of library web site role. It examined the library web site management within its context. Relations between the roles and management approaches were examined and factors, which affected both, were investigated. A mixed methods approach was used; four data collection methods were used (descriptive survey, content analysis and desk research, interviews) to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Data was examined and analysed structurally and “triangulation” was used. The study has provided evidence for the general understanding of the phenomenon and it has identified crucial factors and issues for further investigation; for instance the factor of authority over the library web site management and the issue of understanding of the web publishing by the library web managers. Unlike the wide and increasing potential of Web technologies, the web site for the academic libraries operated only as a simple provider of information about the library and its electronic services to library users. Moreover, an interesting finding was that when the parent institution was involved in the management of the library web site, two parallel and not so co-ordinated management procedures took place; one by the library and one by other(s) university unit(s). In addition, the development and completeness of LWS management processes undertaken by libraries was affected also by a trend for the LWS publishing as a project; rather than as a continuous library activity.

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