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Discourse about knowledge organization on Twitter – a narrative on current themes

Social networks provide a rich environment for dialogue among researchers and practitioners. This paper investigates the nature of messages and connections in the knowledge organization (KO), classification and metadata domains on Twitter. Social network analysis is used to identify active communicators, interconnectedness between individuals, and sub-domains of activity. A social network analytical tool, NodeXL, is used to analyse downloaded Twitter activity. NodeXL is an add-in to Microsoft Excel specifically designed to study network behaviour (Hansen, Schneiderman, & Smith, 2011). Although this is a well-established tool in the social sciences, it has been relatively little used in the context of library and information science. For instance, early work by Yep and Shulman (2014) considered the impact of the promotion of an academic library’s services via social media and Ewbank (2015) looked at social network activity around two library campaigns in the United States. Other studies in the library and information science literature have focused on political campaigns and debate (Choi, Sang, & Park, 2014; Udanor, Aneke, & Ogbuokiri, 2016). For this investigation the research questions are: ‘What is the nature of the discourse about Knowledge Organisation on Twitter?’ and ‘Are there distinct sub-domains within the Knowledge Organisation domain?’ The research is intended to consider the behaviour of a social network as a means of identifying current and future research activity. The paper considers patterns of activity and network connectivity for KO (and its variants) compared with the discourse on metadata, a distinct, but related area. This research adds a new dimension to the classical bibliometric studies that reveal academic relationships. The results of the Twitter survey are compared with bibliometric analysis of key communicators identified on Twitter. The results of this research are intended to feed into future planning of research and conference activity, by identifying topical issues and key investigators.

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