'People Need a Strategy:' Exploring Attitudes of and Support Roles for Scholarly Identity Work Among Academic Librarians

By Marie L. Radford, Vanessa Kitzie, Stephanie Mikitish, Diana Floegel, and Lynn Silipigni Connaway

Academics are increasingly using a variety of digital platforms, including social networking sites (SNS), to create and manage their scholarly identities (SI). Profiles on SI platforms can promote academics’ professional reputations and increase research impact. As a result, academic identities are increasingly “bound up in how you appear” on SI platforms, and there is an increased need among academics to navigate and control a “blurring of workflow, outputs, and identity” about themselves. However, academics face several challenges related to SI management, including concerns over the quality and credibility of the work available on the sites, the practice among certain platforms of selling user information, and misrepresentation of scholarly accomplishments due to poorly maintained profiles and misattributions of work to authors with similar names.

Based on their existing skillsets, academic librarians are uniquely poised to address these challenges, and some have already begun to do so. While work exists that documents practical challenges of, and strategies for, SI management, it tends to be practical, rather than empirical, and it considers academic librarians and academics separately. Informed by semi-structured interviews with 30 faculty members, PhD students, and academic librarians, this research addresses these gaps by comparing how academic librarians respond to the challenges of their SI management and that of their users’. Findings identify current SI strategies and challenges, and inform suggestions for how academic librarians can increase SI support across platforms.

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Suggested citation:

Radford, Marie L. Vanessa Kitzie, Stephanie Mikitish, Diana Floegel, and Lynn Silipigni Connaway. 2019. "'People Need a Strategy:' Exploring Attitudes of and Support Roles for Scholarly Identity Work Among Academic Librarians." In Proceedings of the ACRL Conference 2019.