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Library and Information Science


Objectives: To find the level of interest of medical librarians in social tagging, which sites are the most popular, how social tagging is being used, and to determine if there is a relationship between years in the profession and use of tagging.

Methods: A 16 question online survey was administered to a random sample (n=348) of MLA members.

Results: One hundred fifty six surveys were returned for a response rate of 45%. Forty-seven percent of the sample used tagging with a 95% confidence interval of 39% to 55%. General sites ( and Flickr) were used more than specialized sites. Sixty-seven percent used tagging for organization, 60% for discovery, 11% for outreach, 21% for education, 41% for collaboration, and 48% for personal use only. More experienced librarians appeared to use tagging less: however this trend was not statistically significant (using the Pearson chi-square statistic).

Discussion: User tagging is still a new technology for medical librarians; roughly half have used it. The survey methodology is inherently biased towards positive results due to nonresponse error. Ways of improving survey response were discussed including multiple contacts, compelling reasons to fill out the survey and a chance to win a prize.

This poster was displayed at NAHSL Annual Conference in Lowell, Oct. 2008


Web 2.0, Social Tagging, Medical Library Association

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Library Publications and Presentations



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