Applications of social media and Web 2.0 for research support in selected African academic institutions
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This study examined the use of Social Media/Web 2.0 for research support and it is guided by three objectives namely: a) to ascertain the uses social media in academic institutions; b) to identify the challenges associated with social media use for research purposes and c) to provide experiences of social media application in selected African academic institutions. The study makes use of literature analysis in combination with personal and professional work experiences on the use of social media from librarians in four different countries. Institutional experiences by the four librarians showed that it is only Rhodes University Library that uses social media in its library, which is as a result of a formal social media strategy. For the other three universities, University of Education, Winneba Library in Ghana, Makerere University Library in Uganda and the University of Nigeria Library, the use of social media is not encouraging. They use it mostly for communication and interaction with colleagues. It was also discovered that there is no social media strategy available in these university libraries. Based on these findings, the study recommended the implementation of social media strategy, appointment of social media librarians in these libraries, and continuing professional development of librarians to keep abreast with current trends. Web 2.0/Social Media is a new technology offering new options for African academic librarians in their research support role.