OCLC released a new study, "Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World." It is a must read on many levels. Lots of information in there on how students use social networking resources (what they expect from libraries in this area) a fascinating conclusion on the future of libraries, and much more.
I'm highlighting one area of the report: findings on use of the library web site. This is a topic I've been interested in and tracked via other reports in the past.
According to the new study, 38% of students used the library web site at least annually.(P. A-2)
This is drop of more than 50% in just the last two years, from 86% of college students reporting annual use in 2005. (P. 2-10)
Could we really have experienced that precipitous of a drop in use in just two years? I do believe there was a decrease in use, but I'm going to hope there was some sort of difference in the respondent pools for these two studies that would explain that huge discrepancy. Of course, only 56% of the 2007 college student respondents report using a social networking site, and we know those numbers are much higher at Penn State. So perhaps these numbers do not have as much relevance at a large institution like ours.
However, the report notes that this trend is not only occurring in college students. Among the general public, the percentage of Internet users that have used a library Web site has decreased signficantly.
Library Web site use declined from 30% of respondents in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. in 2005 to 20% of the general public in these same countries in 2007, a 33% decrease.(Conclusion; P. 8-2)The Shifted Librarian has lots more to say on this report, and what it means for libraries' participation in the social web.