Health Sciences Librarians in Michigan: Connecting to Emerging Web 2.0 Technologies
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Health Sciences Librarians in Michigan: Connecting to Emerging Web 2.0 Technologies

Misa Mi, MLIS, AHIP, Library Services, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, MI; Sandra Swanson, MLS, Amos Crist Health Sciences Libraries, Mercy General Health Partners, Muskegon, MI; Marie-Lise Shams, MLIS, AHIP, Dental Library, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI.


RESULTS (cont)


RESULTS (cont)

  • Librarians learned about Web 2.0 through conferences and networking, but listservs, newsletters and journals are still important sources

  • Barriers to using Web 2.0 tools include lack of training, time, and lack of ideas for using the tools to provide library services.

  • Institutions block access to Web 2.0 tools, most often media sharing and social networking sites.

  • Over 80% would benefit from training; hands-on training in a computer lab is preferred. The area of most interest is media production and sharing.

Figure 3: Current Use of Web 2.0 Technologies

Web 2.0 technologies are changing the way information is disseminated and the way knowledge, explicit or tacit, is captured, constructed, and organized. It is important for health information professionals to become aware of the increasing role of these technologies in disseminating new information, sharing knowledge, and fostering communities of practice

The questionnaire was piloted and revisions were made. The survey was conducted during a period of three weeks between January and February, 2008. The questionnaire was sent to members by e-mail through the listservs of the two organizations. Two subsequent reminders were sent out by e-mail to increase the response rate. Results were downloaded and exported to MS Excel for data analysis.



  • Respondents (n=51) reported that they used Web 2.0 technologies to keep abreast of developments in the profession (86.3%), collaborate with colleagues (66.7%), share ideas and knowledge (43.1%), and for other purposes.

  • Out of 52 responses, 58.9 % respondents used blogs, 44% RSS Feed, at least daily or weekly. A majority of respondents felt most uncomfortable with Second Life, social bookmarking, and podcasting. Most of them never used these tools.

  • A few had experience developing content with the tools.

Fifty nine out of 70 responses were complete

and used for data analysis. The majority of

responses (67.8%) were from hospitals (Figure 1).

There were more responses from the group with the

working experience between 6-12 years than other

groups (Figure 2). Blogs, wikis, and RSS Feed were

used more than other Web 2.0 tools (Figure 3-4).

  • The study was conducted to investigate

  • how medical librarians used Web 2.0 technologies;

  • how they adopted them for their library practice;

  • what barriers they faced in using the technologies;

  • what needs they had in applying the technologies in practice.


  • Medical librarians are likely to embrace Web 2.0

  • technologies that can be put to use in providing

  • library services, although they face challenges and

  • barriers in using these tools.

  • They strongly agreed on the benefits of training on

  • Web 2.0 tools and indicated that hands-on training

  • is the preferred venue for learning about the 2.0 tools.

  • Implications for the professional organizations:

    • Members’ training needs should be considered in providing learning opportunities for them.

    • Strategies could be created to help medical librarians overcome barriers in applying the Web 2.0 tools in their practice

Figure 1: Distribution of Responses by Workplace


  • Participants:

  • A convenience sampling technique was used to recruit participants from the membership of Michigan HealthSciences Library Association (MHSLA), Metropolitan Detroit Medical Library Group, and other MHSLA-affiliated local groups

  • Instrumentation:

  • A survey questionnaire which comprised 16 items of close- and open-ended questions was designed and an online version was created using SurveyMonkey.

Figure 4: Use of Web 2.0 Technologies by Types of Libraries

Figure 2: Distribution of Responses by Years of Experience