Big Data: Opportunities and Challenges in Libraries, a Systematic Literature Review

Emmanouel Garoufallou, Panorea Gaitanou


Currently “Big Data” is an emerging field that presents several Information Technology challenges regarding the capture, storage search, structure, and visualization of this data. The real challenge for organizations is to find ways to extract value from it and provide better services to their clients. The data generated in academic and other institutions is vast and complex. Libraries face new challenges as they seek to determine their role in the handling of Big Data within their organization and use it to develop services. Thus, in most organizations, libraries will not have the knowledge to build new services unaided. Furthermore, libraries have always been information handlers and technology adopters; therefore, Big Data technologies will certainly affect their context. The purpose of this paper is to explore all these issues through a systematic literature review, unveiling the theories that underpin the paper’s argument. It attempts to answer several research questions, such as how librarians are involved in the Big Data era? And what are the future research developments of Big Data within the library context? The study considered only papers published between 2012 and 2018 in English and presents the collected literature by grouping them according to the type of library each paper refers to. Thus, it identifies new and evolving roles in the context of all types of libraries. In addition, the study presents several interesting tables, which aim to help librarians locate relevant articles that will inform their practice and guide service development for users of large and complex datasets.

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