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A survey of digital information literacy (DIL) among academic library and information professionals

Essam Mansour (Department of Library and Information Science, South Valley University, Qena, Egypt)

Digital Library Perspectives

ISSN: 2059-5816

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




The key purpose of this study is to explore digital information literacy (DIL) possessed by South Valley University (SVU) library and information professionals. It also tries to identify the various types of DIL and find constraints affecting the related skills and competencies of those professionals.


A quantitative research methodology was adopted in the form of a survey, which was undertaken from February to March 2016. As stated by Kerlinger (1986), the survey research is a useful instrument for educational fact-finding, and a means by which much information can be acquired from the study’s population. The survey instrument was a self-administrated questionnaire, which was adopted for data collection. A pilot questionnaire was first sent to a small random sample of the respondents, with feedback being used to fine-tune the final questionnaire. The targeted population of this study included library and information professionals (n = 127) belonging to SVU libraries that spread over three provinces/campuses: the Qena campus (number of libraries = 22), the Luxor campus (n = 3) and the Hurghada campus (n = 2). The library and information professionals are described to be librarians, library assistants and library directors. Of 127 questionnaires, 101 (79.5%) responses were received. To collect data, the study used a questionnaire, which has six sections reflecting the research objectives of the study.


The findings showed that over two-thirds of SVU library and information professionals are males, and almost one-third are females. Majority respondents are aged between 26 and 40 years, and most possessed bachelor’s degrees, of which nearly two-thirds held library science degrees. Regarding the respondents’ professional profile, the study also showed that majority were librarians, followed by library assistants and library managers, and nearly half had 10 years of experience, followed by those who have work experience of 6-7 years. This study showed that there is a significant relationship between some of the respondents’ demographic characteristics (age and education) and their DIL. The respondents’ gender had no effect on their DIL. The study also showed that there is a significant relationship between all the respondents’ professional characteristics, particularly their discipline, followed by job title, work experience and DIL. Regarding the level of respondents’ knowledge of the types of computers, many showed that their knowledge of using mobile devices, followed by PCs, workstations, portable media players/digital audio player and personal digital assistant was, at the least, high. The respondents’ knowledge of other types ranged between moderate to non-proficient. A large number of the respondents showed that their proficiency in using output devices, followed by input devices, processing devices, storage devices and communication devices was also, at the least, high. While the largest number of the respondents showed that their proficiency in using application software was, at least, high, the largest number of them showed that their proficiency in using system software was moderate. Regarding the respondents’ knowledge-based competencies, as well as skills-based competencies, especially when these competencies related to the integration of ICTs into the library work, this study showed that such kind of competencies possessed by SVU library and information professionals ranged between competent and somewhat competent. Regarding the challenges affecting the respondents’ acquiring skills and related competencies, the study revealed that the lack of funds, training, physical facilities, connection to the internet, subscribing to e-databases, lack of time as well as challenges related to SVU library system regulations, were significant to them. Other challenges such as the lack of incorporating and exploiting the new technologies and products into library integrated systems educators’ services, as well as challenges related to psychological barriers, lack of current curricula in the area of ICTs and a shortage of experienced LIS counselors, were also significant to them. This study reached conclusions that the SVU library and information professionals should be qualified and get adapted to ICTs and related competencies. They need to be provided with sufficient training to update their knowledge regarding the use and integration of technology in their library work.

Research limitations/implications

This study investigates DIL among library and information professionals at SVU, an Egyptian university. Any findings and conclusions resulted from this study are limited in scope to only the library professionals of this university. Such a topic has limited previous research. The size and homogeneity of the sample limit the generalizability of this study.


The study aims to investigate DIL acquired by SVU library and information professionals. The potential results of this study would be useful for library schools, library associations and other pertinent authorities for the planning of training programs and courses. The findings may also be helpful for library educators to develop curricula that meet the needs of library and information professionals.


This study is one of the few studies conducted on this topic in Egypt. The literature on the topic of this research revealed that extensive research has been undertaken on DIL in higher education in developed countries, but very limited research has been conducted on this topic in Egypt and similar developing countries, particularly among academic library and information professionals. No definition for the concept of DIL has yet been produced, and many Egyptian academic institutions define this concept based on their own needs depending on existing models.



Mansour, E. (2017), "A survey of digital information literacy (DIL) among academic library and information professionals", Digital Library Perspectives, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 166-188.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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