Connect Your Clients with Their ‘Academic Discourse’

Many special librarians use social media to connect with friends, colleagues, and potential employers, but how many use these tools to help their clients link to research and researchers in their profession?


Bobby Glushko and Lillian Rigling, a librarian and library student, respectively, at the University of Toronto, think special librarians can do more to help their clients—be they attorneys, doctors, bankers, or any other type of worker—engage with the “academic discourse” in their field. This benefits not only the clients themselves, but also their disciplines, as it allows the clients to provide professional perspectives on academic work.

“Academic social media platforms such as, ResearchGate, and Mendeley help their users connect with other users with similar scholarly interests and participate in academic discourse within their chosen field,” Glushko and Rigling write in an article for Information Outlook. “These resources can be used as practical tools for research management and information discovery as well as for networking. They allow an individual to see what others in his or her field are reading, researching, and publishing and provide a way for them to contact each other and foster an academic relationship (which can be challenging for users who are not formally or primarily embedded in an academic department).”

Even better, the benefits of academic social media extend to special librarians as well as their clients.

“Academic social media is an area where perhaps it is best for librarians to lead by example,” Glushko and Rigling write. “It doesn’t take much time to set up accounts, and doing so can help you gain an understanding of these powerful tools. Additionally, being present on academic social media outlets can help you keep track of current research trends in the fields in which your clients work.”

To learn more about how special librarians can use academic social media, read the article.

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