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Open Access Digital Natives, Social Networks and the Future of Libraries

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Facebook, MySpace, Flickr and YouTube are currently among the most frequently visited websites with Web 2.0 features. They are used not only for social networking and entertainment but also for access to information, for learning and for carrying out professional work. Social networks commonly have Web 2.0 features, offer personalized services and allow users to incorporate their own content easily and describe, organize and share it with others, thereby enriching users’ experience. Some users tend to “live” on those social networks and expect information providing organizations to offer similar services. They want libraries to be as accessible, flexible, open to collaboration and sharing as that of social networks and heighten the expectations from such institutions. The future of libraries is closely associated with how successfully they meet the demands of digital users. Otherwise, the “net generation” or the “digital natives” grown up with the Web, Google and Facebook would see libraries as outdated institutions and “take their business elsewhere” to satisfy their information needs. In this paper, the impact of the technological convergence on information providing organizations is reviewed and the challenges and opportunities facing libraries in the digital environment are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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