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Digital competencies for developing and managing digital libraries: An investigation from university librarians in Pakistan

Shakeel Ahmad Khan (Department of Libraries, Government College University Lahore, Lahore, Pakistan)
Rubina Bhatti (Department of Library and Information Science, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur, Pakistan)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 5 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to explore the essential digital competencies for developing and managing digital libraries. The study identified useful training programs for university librarians to acquire digital competencies. It examined their digital competencies for developing and managing digital libraries in universities of Pakistan. This study also evaluates their digital knowledge in applying security measures to protect digital contents.

Design/methodology/approach

The quantitative research method was used to conduct this study. Research questions and hypothesis were developed to achieve the objectives. In-depth review of related literature was conducted to draft a list of essential digital competencies for developing and managing digital libraries. It was circulated among the panel of experts to get their valuable feedback to make a final list of digital competencies for developing and managing digital libraries. A questionnaire was developed to measure the status of digital competencies of university librarians in Pakistan. It was pre-tested on 20 respondents before applying to the whole population. SPSS software was used to analyze data. Descriptive and inferential statistics were applied to achieve results.

Findings

The findings of the study showed that digital competencies for developing and managing digital libraries fall into three main categories: digital competencies for developing digital libraries; digital competencies for managing digital libraries; and digital competencies to protect digital contents. The results revealed that training programs offered by Higher Education Commission (HEC), library associations, library schools, in-house trainings, use of online tutorials and trainings offered by skilled professionals are highly important and useful for university librarians to acquire digital competencies. The study concluded that the university librarians working in HEC recognized universities in Punjab province possess basic level of digital competencies for developing and managing digital libraries. Their digital competencies vary on the basis of their university type, i.e. public and private sector.

Research limitations/implications

This study measures digital competencies of university librarians in Pakistan. The study has practical implications for librarians, library schools, library associations, university libraries and HEC.

Practical implications

This study has practical implications for librarians, information professionals, libraries and library schools. The results are useful for librarians to get knowledge of digital competencies which are essential for developing and managing digital libraries and protecting digital contents. They can develop their digital competencies in identified areas. This study has identified useful training programs for university librarians for acquiring digital competencies. The university librarians should use these programs to gain needed digital skills.

Social implications

Librarians can get knowledge of digital competencies for developing and managing digital libraries to face the challenges of digital age.

Originality/value

In contrast to previous research work on investigating computer skills, information and communication technology skills, technological skills and general digital skills, this study particularly identifies the essential digital competencies for developing and managing digital libraries. It helps library and information science schools, library associations, training groups and university libraries to offer adequate training opportunities in identified areas to meet the challenges of the digital age.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research work is a subset of doctoral research conducted by the principal author for the requirements of the PhD degree in LIS. No external funding has been received to conduct this study. This work has not been published earlier in any journal.

Citation

Khan, S.A. and Bhatti, R. (2017), "Digital competencies for developing and managing digital libraries: An investigation from university librarians in Pakistan", The Electronic Library, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 573-597. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-06-2016-0133

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited