Personalization and usage data in academic libraries : an exploratory study


Publication date



Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus. Institutt for arkiv, bibliotek- og info.fag

Document type


Joint Master Degree in Digital Library Learning (DILL)


Personalization is a service pattern for ensuring proactive information delivery tailored to an individual based on learned or perceived needs of the person. It is credited as a remedy for information explosion especially in the academic environment and its importance to libraries was described to the extent of justifying their existence. There have been numerous novel approaches or technical specifications forwarded for realization of personalization in libraries. However, literature shows that the implementation of the services in libraries is minimal which implies the need for a thorough analysis and discussion of issues underlying the practicality of this service in the library environment. This study was initiated by this need and it was done with the objective of finding answers for questions related to library usage data, user profiles and privacy which are among the factors determining the success of personalized services in academic libraries. With the aim of finding comprehensive answers, five distinct cases representing different approaches to academic library personalization were chosen for thorough analysis and themes extracted from them was substantiated by extensive literature review. Moreover, with the aim of getting more information, unstructured questions were presented to the libraries running the services. The overall finding shows that personalization can be realized in academic libraries but it has to address issues related to collecting and processing user/usage data, user interest management, safeguarding user privacy, library privacy laws and other important matters discovered in the course of the study.


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