Ringing in the New Year with Info Science Conferences: What social media do you use?

Early January was a busy time for information science scholars, with two major conferences held in the United States.  Both the Association of Library and Information Science Educators (ALISE) Conference, and the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) were held from January 4-7 this year.  Researchers from the Social Media Lab attended each to present some of the projects we have been working on over the last year.

To kick off the new year for library and information science educators, ALISE (Association of Library and Information Science Educators) held their annual conference in San Diego, California. The conference focused on educators in the library and information field and judging by the number of talks, sessions, and posters on online education, outreach, and interaction. Many of the conference sessions also focused on online social media (OSM) as a tool for education of future library and information professionals, but also as optimal research and collaboration tools for current scholars.  Specific tools such as Second Life, Twitter, and DropBox were brought up in various sessions, with a focus on how users respond to OSM and digital technologies in an educational or research setting.

The Social Media Lab presented a poster at the works in progress poster session titled How Online Social Media and Networks are Changing Scholarly Practices (click here to see a full size version).

The poster documented the lab’s ongoing study investigating library and information professionals’ use of OSM, and garnered much attention from the attendees because of the focus on why scholars  use these tools.  How the scholars in our study felt their institution viewed their use of OSM was particularly interesting to attendees, as were the reasons scholars didn’t use OSM.  Our poster was not alone however, in investigating users of OSM.  Many other posters presented studies on this topic in a wide variety of areas such as “Collaborative Information Seeking on Facebook”, “Wikipedia versus the academic library”, and “German Senior Citizens’ use of Social Networking Sites”.

The findings displayed in our poster were also presented in the Workshop on Changing Dynamics of Scientific Collaboration at the 44th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS),  one of the longest-standing continuously running scientific conferences in the world. This conference brings together researchers from over 40 countries each year to exchange scientific ideas. and was held on the island of Kauaii. Our paper presentation at HICSS focused on trends in scholars’ use of OSM, sites popular with scholars, and reasons for their use.

Overall, online social media tools were very well represented at both conferences.  This bodes well for the continued growth and use of social media in academia. Be sure to keep checking back with us for the latest developments in scholarly use of OSM, and let us help you make sense of our networked world.


Gruzd, A. & Staves, K. (2011). How Online Social Media and Networks Are Changing Scholarly Practice Poster presented at the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) conference.