Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Library and Information Science

First Advisor

Jin Zhang

Committee Members

Iris Xie, Joanne Evans, Donald Force, Dietmar Wolfram


Archival Science, Facebook, Social Network Analysis


The purpose of this study was to understand how Wisconsin archives are using Facebook (Wisconson archives Facebook community, WAFC). Few archive studies use quantitative measurements to draw conclusions from social media application use. Quantitative data is needed in order to identify the various ways that social media is being used in an archive. Without the data behind the assumptions, it is impossible to improve service and outreach to the archive users. This study proposed a mixed methods approach to aid in the process, using social network analysis, inferential statistics and thematic analysis. This study measured the effects of implementation of social media in areas of archives in order to begin to identify and evaluate social media for future use by the archive community. These methods provide a better understanding of archives’ use of social media, thus enabling researchers and practitioners with a foundational point to continue research. Social networks allow individuals to connect with individuals and groups with whom they share common interests either personally or professionally. Four research questions and six hypotheses were developed to determine the main actors, the role of the actors, content of each online activity (‘tagging’, ‘sharing’, ‘commenting’, and ‘liking’), and post characteristics. Unique findings of this study were found regarding the information flow of the WAFC and the content. For instance, the research questions determined that archives are a central hub within the WAFC; however, other affiliations like cultural institutions and universities are other contributors to the information flow. Four different themes were discovered by the thematic analysis: archive story, communication, information, and outreach. These findings have theoretical, methodological, and practical implications.