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Article
Publication date: 4 July 2008

Anna Maria Tammaro

The purpose of this paper is to describe the findings of a survey promoted and financed by Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale about users' perceptions of digital libraries

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the findings of a survey promoted and financed by Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale about users' perceptions of digital libraries in Italy. The primary objective of the survey was to obtain feedback from users on their perceptions of digital library services and to give them an opportunity to make suggestions. A secondary objective was to establish and test a collaborative methodology with which to evaluate best practice for digital libraries.

Design/methodology/approach

Questionnaires and interviews were used to gather the data. A questionnaire was also distributed to the managers of those cultural institutions involved.

Findings

The results of the survey indicated that users have different perceptions with regard to digital libraries and that they tend to use the services of more than one cultural institution. Overall, there is a positive attitude towards digital libraries, but the survey also underlines that users often do not know how to use the libraries and are unaware of all of the services offered. The accessibility of the interface was considered important, but as it becomes more sophisticated offering more services more staff assistance will be required.

Research limitations/implications

The survey has had limitations of time and resources available. The focus was on on‐site users at the cultural institutions and not remote users and non‐users.

Practical implications

The results of the survey have identified user priorities, but users are rarely involved in the design of digital libraries. The Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale aim was to stimulate a culture of excellence in the different cultural institutions involved, focusing on users' expectations.

Originality/value

The survey served to test experimental quality indicators and inquiry methodologies that focused on library users. This paper considers the implications of these results for digital libraries in general, and the value of a cooperative approach to the identification and evaluation of digital library users in particular.

Details

Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-8047

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Book part
Publication date: 8 October 2018

Mark Dahl

Because of online digital resources, academic libraries no longer need to spend as much time and energy organizing their own collections as they used to. They now have an…

Abstract

Because of online digital resources, academic libraries no longer need to spend as much time and energy organizing their own collections as they used to. They now have an opportunity to pivot their expertise in organizing information outward. “Inside-out” library services can include support for special collections, digital scholarship, scholarly communication, and data management. A key characteristic of such services is that an academic library takes on broader information management challenges at their college or university. This chapter will examine what it takes to build successful inside-out library services by looking at their cost, how well they complement existing library expertise and culture, and their impact on teaching, research, and the wider community.

Details

Challenging the “Jacks of All Trades but Masters of None” Librarian Syndrome
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-903-4

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2021

Abiodun Daniel Atanda, Kehinde Abayomi Owolabi and Chukwuemeka Peter Ugbala

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the professional competence and attitude of library personnel towards digital services in selected university libraries in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the professional competence and attitude of library personnel towards digital services in selected university libraries in Nigeria. Despite the evolution of digital technologies in university libraries, as well as massive investment and research on digital libraries particularly in developed countries, it has been observed that many university libraries in Nigeria are still relatively reliant on traditional library services which no longer serve and satisfy the twenty-first-century users’ needs.

Design/methodology/approach

The population of the study comprised all the 196 library personnel from the 5 purposively selected university libraries in Nigeria. The total enumeration sampling method was adopted; while the questionnaire was the main instrument for data collection.

Findings

The findings of the study revealed that internet service was the most available digital service in libraries. It further revealed that most of the library personnel have requisite proficiency skills in basic computer operations. However, inadequate power supply was the major problem affecting digital services in the university libraries.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to a specific geographical area and selected university libraries in Ogun State, Nigeria. Accordingly, further studies need to be carried out on the same or similar subject matter, in other states or regions in Nigeria.

Practical implications

The need for library personnel to acquire relevant information and communication technology skills and develop a positive attitude that will enable them to render effective digital library services in the university libraries. Apart from this, university libraries should also strive to train users on how to access digital services in the libraries.

Originality/value

This study is novel, in the sense that it is the first of its kind to examine the professional competence and attitude of library personnel towards digital services in university libraries in Nigeria. The paper reported the necessary skills that library staffs need to demonstrate to effectively use various digital resources in the libraries to meet the information needs of their users.

Details

Digital Library Perspectives, vol. 37 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5816

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 30 October 2020

Stephen Tsekea and Josiline Phiri Chigwada

The purpose of this study was to investigate the various innovative support strategies rendered by academic libraries in support of e-learning in Zimbabwean universities…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to investigate the various innovative support strategies rendered by academic libraries in support of e-learning in Zimbabwean universities. This was necessitated by the change in nature of learning and services provision in universities as a result of COVID-19. Despite the crisis caused by the pandemic, users of libraries still expect services to answer their information needs.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative study was done to unpack the role of digital library services in supporting e-learning in universities in Zimbabwe. An online questionnaire was developed using survey monkey and distributed to 50 professional librarians in both private and state universities in Zimbabwe. A total of 34 librarians responded to the questionnaire and the data was analysed and presented thematically. Data were presented using descriptive statistics in the form of figures.

Findings

The findings revealed that academic libraries play an important role in supporting e-learning in higher education institutions by providing electronic information resources, which are key in research, learning and teaching. The libraries provide a one-stop shop for accessing electronic resources through the digital library. Patrons have benefitted by accessing and using digital library services during the COVID-19 lockdown period. It was also discovered that libraries should ensure that they are prepared to always offer their services despite the closure of physical buildings because of the pandemic.

Research limitations/implications

The study used an online questionnaire only as the data collection instrument, as it was the most suitable one to get data from librarians working from home and also because of the COVID-19 health guidance such as maintaining social distance. The other methods were not used because of financial constraints.

Practical implications

This research showed the importance of digital services in e-learning environments, especially in developing countries. The work revealed how university librarians in Zimbabwe are coming up with practical solutions in supporting e-learning in times of crisis. The research therefore becomes handy for higher education institutions and authorities in crafting e-learning frameworks and positioning academic libraries at the centre of teaching, learning and research activities.

Social implications

This paper provides useful insights into how libraries can support learning especially during a pandemic. The paper details how libraries support communities by offering correct and reliable information from scholarly information sources. It also chronicles how libraries play an important part in the support of researchers in higher institutions in the fight against COVID-19.

Originality/value

To the best of authors’ knowledge, this research is one of the first done in Zimbabwe on strategies that libraries are using in the COVID-19 era to support e-learning. The findings presented in this study are helpful for higher and tertiary education authorities and other policymakers in improving e-learning and digital libraries.

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Article
Publication date: 25 June 2020

Dipti Mehta and Xiaocan Wang

The purpose of this paper is to share the experience of a university library in response to the COVID-19 pandemic since early March 2020. The paper describes the library’s…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to share the experience of a university library in response to the COVID-19 pandemic since early March 2020. The paper describes the library’s position during the crisis and illustrates the uncharted challenges that the pandemic has posed to its digital services. Furthermore, it details how the library has adapted some existing services into a digital format and explored new initiatives/practices to support the university’s full online teaching and learning since March 23, 2020.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper describes the library’s various digital services that are used to meet the needs of its end-users during the COVID-19 pandemic. The approaches used are the authors’ personal experiences working at an academic library, observations of the library’s responses with regards to its digital services, as well as their reflections on what can be considered for development now and in the future. It highlights the current initiatives and best practices for digital library services during a public health crisis.

Findings

This paper aims to make other university libraries aware of what the library has implemented with providing digital services to its teaching faculty and students during the pandemic. It also describes the challenges and implications for the library professionals working in-house and remotely.

Originality/value

This paper is of great value in providing insights and practical solutions responding to the global health crisis for other libraries that are coping with the similar challenges for digital library services.

Details

Digital Library Perspectives, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5816

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2006

Cezary Mazurek, Maciej Stroinski, Marcin Werla and Jan Węglarz

The paper aims to present the concept of the functionality of metadata harvesting for regional digital libraries, based on the OAI‐PMH protocol. This functionality is a…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to present the concept of the functionality of metadata harvesting for regional digital libraries, based on the OAI‐PMH protocol. This functionality is a part of regional digital libraries platform created in Poland. The platform was required to reach one of main objectives of the Polish PIONIER Programme – to enrich the content‐based services in the Polish NREN.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to create the regional digital libraries platform with metadata harvesting feature, digital library low‐level services provided by the dLibra Digital Library Framework in a service‐oriented architecture (SOA) are deployed. The approach for defining the set of services started with splitting the whole set of advanced digital library features into coherent functional groups, which covered functionality related to digital content, metadata, searching, etc. Then each functional group implicated the creation of a respective digital library service. Additionally, a couple of supporting services like “system” or “event services” were defined.

Findings

The exploration of metadata and information about libraries' structure enables the creation of higher‐level, content‐based services like virtual collections or metadata searching, which are described in the paper. The approach for building distributed regional digital libraries in the National Research and Education Network is suitable for larger scale systems, like international digital libraries. This issue is very important for research networking, especially in the context of European Commission's announcement promoting digital access to Europe's heritage through the European Digital Library.

Research limitations/implications

The implementation of the communication protocol between different instances of digital libraries is the basis for the development of content‐based services. It presents examples of such services that are enabled through the PIONIER platform for distributed regional digital libraries, and that are provided for research and education users. The next step that will allow for the creation of even more sophisticated services, will offer the possibility to search through content gathered in PIONIER digital libraries. This will be achieved by combining the OAI‐PMH protocol together with the MPEG‐21 DIDL standard for the exchange of the digital content and content‐related metadata. Another group of complementary services also covers information services provided by grid environments.

Practical implications

The installation of regional digital libraries in the PIONIER network is currently providing access to more than 15,000 of digital publications. This paper presents a working implementation of the communication between digital libraries in the sense of the exploration of metadata and information about the library structure. This service is seen by us as one of the crucial mechanisms of the information infrastructure, which provides access to scientific and cultural content as well as common middleware services, which should be both distributed and platform‐independent.

Originality/value

The paper is providing the case study for those who are building the large‐scale distributed digital library systems. The definition of services based on metadata harvesting provides an example of core digital library services, which are transforming digital libraries into digital infrastructure for social sciences.

Details

Campus-Wide Information Systems, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-0741

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2015

Katarina Michnik

The purpose of this paper is to study how Swedish local politicians perceive the impact of public library digital services on public libraries and to discuss how this can…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study how Swedish local politicians perceive the impact of public library digital services on public libraries and to discuss how this can affect the sustainable development of public libraries.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical data were collected through semi-structured interviews with local politicians from 19 different Swedish municipalities. Data were treated to qualitative content analysis and discussed based on the concept of sustainable organization.

Findings

According to local politicians, public library digital services may affect public libraries through changes to libraries’ physical spaces, librarians’ tasks and competencies and libraries’ economic situations. Based on these findings, public library digital services can both strengthen and weaken public library sustainability through, for example, increased access and expenditures, the latter of which may threaten public library sustainability.

Research limitations/implications

Interviews did not focus specifically on the politicians’ views on public library digital services but dealt generally with their views on public libraries. To identify reasons for variations in views on this topic, follow-up interviews should be done. Data on views from public library managers would also be of use to determine the degree to which they are shared with local politicians.

Originality/value

When sustainability and public libraries are discussed, the focus is generally on the library’s contribution to a sustainable society. Here, the focus is instead on the sustainability of the public library itself.

Details

The Bottom Line, vol. 28 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0888-045X

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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2012

David McMenemy

This paper aims to explore the emergence of digital services in the public library domain via an extensive study of the websites of all Scottish public library services.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the emergence of digital services in the public library domain via an extensive study of the websites of all Scottish public library services.

Design/methodology/approach

In a four‐month period all 32 of Scotland's public library authority websites were visited by a researcher. The goal of the researcher was to record the options available from the library homepages in the following way: role of library in providing page content: content provider or access provider; was the page providing a digital service; what was the audience for the page: adult, child, or not specified; description of page content; and any noted usability issues. Each site was only visited to three levels below that of the initial homepage.

Findings

The study found a good standard of innovation in digital services around LMS functions, offering users the ability to keep in control of their borrowing and reserving. In addition there was a consistent set of electronic reference resources subscribed to by multiple libraries, offering high‐quality information both within the library and for library members from their home or workplace. Problems were found with regards to guidance on the usage of these resources, as well as confusion and inconsistency in terminology usage across different library services.

Research limitations/implications

The paper only examines Scottish public library sites, and thus can only claim to be representative of that country. It also can only represent the sites at the time they were examined.

Practical implications

The paper should be of interest to public and other librarians interested in patterns across websites in their sector.

Originality/value

This is the first national study of Scottish public library websites and its findings should be of value as a result.

Details

New Library World, vol. 113 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2006

Youngok Choi

The purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which digital library projects incorporated reference services to increase the value of the collections and support…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which digital library projects incorporated reference services to increase the value of the collections and support the use of information.

Design/methodology/approach

After defining digital library service types, the study surveyed 60 digital collections/projects from the Digital Initiatives Database (DID) and analyzed what types of services have been offered and how they varied.

Findings

Findings showed that digital collections scored high marks in offering services in two areas – search and digital reference; however, the findings also revealed that they have been limited in giving valuable information services in other areas.

Originality/value

The study shows that the current practice of digital initiatives needs to integrate various services not only to help users find information, but also to instruct users to better utilize the library and its other services.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 34 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2002

Gobinda G. Chowdhury

Reference services have taken a central place in library and information services. They are also regarded as personalised services since in most cases a personal…

Abstract

Reference services have taken a central place in library and information services. They are also regarded as personalised services since in most cases a personal discussion takes place between a user and a reference librarian. Based on this, the librarian points to the sources that are considered to be most appropriate to meet the specific information need(s) of the user. Since the Web and digital libraries are meant for providing direct access to information sources and services without the intervention of human intermediaries, the pertinent question that appears is whether we need reference services in digital libraries, and, if so, how best to offer such services. Current digital libraries focus more on access to, and retrieval of, digital information, and hardly lay emphasis on the service aspects. This may have been caused by the narrower definitions of digital libraries formulated by digital library researchers. This paper looks at the current state of research in personalised information services in digital libraries. It first analyses some representative definitions of digital libraries in order to establish the need for personalised services. It then provides a brief overview of the various online reference and information services currently available on the Web. The paper also briefly reviews digital library research that specifically focuses on the personalisation of digital libraries and the provision of digital reference and information services. Finally, the paper proposes some new areas of research that may be undertaken to improve the provision of personalised information services in digital libraries.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 58 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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