Should We Yak Back? Information Seeking among Yik Yak Users on a University Campus

Elizabeth Price


Academic librarians have embraced tools such as email or chat that allow them to deliver reference services virtually but not many studies have advocated for utilizing social networking sites (SNS) as a medium for answering user questions. Even as reference departments field fewer questions requiring in-depth resources or responses, librarians have not consistently examined how SNS might be employed for simple informational inquiries from university students who already view those sites as information-seeking tools. One such SNS is Yik Yak, a mobile app launched in 2013 that allows users to pose anonymous questions in a limited geographic range, such as a college or university campus. This study is an exploratory analysis of the postings on Yik Yak in the geographic area of a four-year, regional public institution during the 2015-16 academic year. It argues that libraries should be more intentional about monitoring emerging information ecosystems such as Yik Yak to share their knowledge with users and to identify potential issues with library services.

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Copyright Elizabeth Price

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