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Factors influencing the adoption of digital reference services among the university librarians in Pakistan

Asad Khan (Department of Library and Information Science, University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Pakistan)
Mohamad Noorman Masrek (Faculty of Information Management, University Technology Mara, Shah Alam, Malaysia)
Khalid Mahmood (Department of Information Management, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan)
Saima Qutab (Deanship of Library Affairs, University of Dammam, Dammam, Saudi Arabia)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 6 November 2017




This study aims to explore the factors affecting the adoption of digital reference services (DRS) among the university librarians in Pakistan.


Based on the adapted unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) model, the proposed study tested 12 hypothetical relationships through structural equation modelling (SEM) techniques. The study approach was quantitative based on a questionnaire distributed online to a sample of Pakistani university librarians and completed by 289 respondents. The questionnaire used in this study was developed from other validated instruments used in past empirical studies. Descriptive and inferential data analyses were performed through SPSS and AMOS for SEM.


The results revealed usefulness, ease of use and information and communication technology (ICT) skills as the significant predictors of the adoption of DRS. However, moderating influence of the demographic factors (age, gender and type of library) on the relationship of predictors with outcome variable was found insignificant. The findings of this study imply that individuals’ readiness for the adoption of DRS is present in the university libraries of Pakistan.


In the context of Pakistan, this study was the first attempt that investigated factors of the adoption of DRS at individual level. In addition, two new factors – namely, ICT skills and library type – were incorporated into the UTAUT model and were then evaluated in the Pakistani context. However, these two factors were found insignificant in influencing librarians towards the adoption of DRS. The intended study is equally useful for librarians in other countries in terms of understanding the factors that impact the effective adoption of DRS.



Khan, A., Masrek, M.N., Mahmood, K. and Qutab, S. (2017), "Factors influencing the adoption of digital reference services among the university librarians in Pakistan", The Electronic Library, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. 1225-1246.



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