Academic library websites as marketing tools.

Author:Nooshinfard, Fatemeh
Position:Report
 
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Introduction

Every institution and organization needs a website. The same is true for libraries and information centers. Since the 1990s, most libraries and information centers has been offering services via websites[1]-[2]. At the same time, many libraries have found that they can achieve their goals better by means of using marketing principles and techniques; in addition, they can have more successful communication with their users and understanding of their needs. Each library's website is a window opened on that library; also it can work as a good guide in the Internet for users.

What Is Library Marketing?

Marketing is the analysis, planning, implementation, and control of carefully formulated programs designed to bring about voluntary exchanges of values with target markets for the purpose of achieving organizational objectives[3].

According to Folk[4] and Lancaster[5], marketing is a systematic process which is a combination of planning, concentrating on customer needs and her satisfaction.

Kaur[6] Sarita state that marketing is concerned with customers and the satisfaction of their needs with appropriate products and services.

Libraries and information centers have begun to see that marketing of information products and services is essential to improve user satisfaction and promote the use of services by current and potential users[7].

Marketing takes service from the library to the customer. It involves market research, analyzing programs and services, setting goals and objectives, and using persuasive communication.[8].

Marketing in Academic Libraries

The concept of marketing has been transferred from business to public service organizations. Since 1970, it has been seen that marketing principles can be applied to non-profit organizations[9].

In recent years, marketing has been important for reasons like self protection, the existence of competitors, an increase in customers' expectations, and wide access to information.

Kotler and Fox[10] provide the following definition of marketing in relation to higher education:

"Marketing is the analysis, planning, implementation, and control of carefully formulated programs designed to bring about voluntary exchanges of values with target markets to achieve institutional objectives".

Dodsworth[11] believes that the changes in society have lead to creation of opportunities and threats for libraries. Other surveys that show a majority of people using search engines in preference to library resources has been the cause of alarm among librarians who see libraries in danger of losing their place as an information provider[12].

Academic libraries have found that users are unsatisfied with their collections and are at the same time unaware of library programs and services.

Williams[13] believes academic libraries spend millions of dollars a year on electronic resources, yet many of them are underused and unknown to users.

Ewers and Austen[14] claim that if libraries want to be client-oriented, they should understand their clients' needs, their environment, their resources and strengths, and the...

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