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Revisiting digital libraries quality: a multiple‐item scale approach

Maria Helena Vinagre (ISEIT – Instituto Superior de Estudos Interculturais e Transdisciplinares – Jean Piaget, Almada, Portugal)
Leonor Gaspar Pinto (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal)
Paula Ochôa (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 29 November 2011




This paper aims to deepen the concept of service quality in digital libraries based on the analysis of the Digital Library Service Quality Model (adapted from Zeithaml, Parasuraman and Malhotra) and a multiple‐item scale (dlQUAL scale) created to evaluate the quality and performance of service delivered by the Portuguese Digital Library Consortium as part of the Digital Library Integrated Evaluation Programme.


The Digital Library Service Quality Model makes it possible to assess gaps between different levels based on a multiple‐item scale to evaluate service quality, which was designed as a web survey. Considering the strategical groups (users, LIS professionals, library managers and top managers), the research team developed four different web‐survey versions to evaluate the different gaps. In the first step of this study, they looked for measures validity.


The scale proved good psychometric proprieties. This study also showed the usefulness of the Digital Library Service Quality Model to evaluate and analyze digital libraries' service quality.

Practical implications

The scale is valid and useful to evaluate digital libraries' service quality and it can provide valuable performance information to digital libraries' decision‐makers. Moreover, the Digital Library Service Quality Model is a useful instrument to check the critical points that are related to organizational deficiencies. If these gaps are regularly monitored, it is possible to implement adequate correction measures and improve service quality.


This paper presents a Library Service Quality Model specifically designed to evaluate digital libraries.



Helena Vinagre, M., Gaspar Pinto, L. and Ochôa, P. (2011), "Revisiting digital libraries quality: a multiple‐item scale approach", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 214-236.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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