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Building a virtual community platform for subject information services at Shanghai Jiao Tong University Library

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to introduce the functional framework of a subject service virtual communities' platform and implementation planning at Shanghai Jiao Tong University Library. Design/methodology/approach ‐ First, the paper analyses the three aspects which should be considered when libraries carry out subject information services, next points out the users' behavior preferences of scholar communities to use libraries services and access library resources, and then explains the limitation of current methods used by academic libraries to reveal and deliver resources and services. Second, the paper describes the advantages of using a virtual community platform to reveal library subject resources, services, and to construct the communication environment for subject users. Finally, the functional framework of the subject service virtual communities and implementation planning at the Library of Shanghai Jiao Tong University are illustrated. Findings ‐ Based on the next-generation discovery and delivery system ‐ Primo ‐ subject service virtual communities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University Library integrate diverse functions as follows to one platform: Subject information discovery and accessing (subject information letters, subject information gateway, subject information one-stop search), Subject information blog, Subject information literacy instruction, Subject information generation and preservation, Subject information consultation. Besides "one-stop" accessing and obtaining only needed library resources and services, the virtual communities platform gives subject users a more convenient and more attractive environment to preserve their research results and share their experiences. Originality/value ‐ Subject service at Chinese academic libraries has become a hot topic in recent years. Advice on how to support the service and make it become more effective and attractive is also an important problem. This article covers various library systems and tools that can be used to build subject service virtual communities and shows it is valuable and could be tried elsewhere.
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Keywords: Academic libraries; China; Electronic document delivery; Librarians; Virtual organizations

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 10, 2009

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