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The purpose of this paper is to present the current status of digital reference services (DRS) among selected academic libraries in the Philippines – the University…
The purpose of this paper is to present the current status of digital reference services (DRS) among selected academic libraries in the Philippines – the University Library of the University of the Philippines Diliman, the Rizal Library of the Ateneo de Manila University and the University Library of the De La Salle University Manila – by figuring out how information service is provided using instant messaging (IM) and social networking sites.
A survey was conducted to examine the nature, practice and impact of DRS and to ascertain users' preferences and level of awareness of the availability of Ask‐a‐Librarian – an information service offered through IM, and the Facebook fan page of the university libraries under study.
Interestingly, the findings reveal that the full potential of Reference 2.0 has not yet been maximized. When it comes to reference services in academic libraries, students and faculty members have chosen to go online: Ask‐a‐Librarian, web forms, e‐mail and Facebook. A significant increase in the number of reference transaction was observed after integrating Web 2.0 and digital reference tools to its information services. IM and Facebook were found to be the most useful tools in finding relevant information. A majority of the queries received were brief and factual information inquiries and questions on how to use online databases.
The paper further explores the different aspects of IM and Facebook reference service: statistics, content of the questions and quality of the answers, reference interview, and the user's awareness and preferences. The results of this study may prescribe practices integrating Web 2.0 applications to beef up reference service, in which academic librarians in the Philippines may benchmark.
This paper is the first systematic evaluation of the nature and practice of Reference 2.0 in the Philippine setting; it makes a valuable contribution that could boost academic libraries in the country as they endeavor to provide world‐class service to many.