Current status of digital reference services in academic libraries in Nigeria

  • P Ekpenyong
  • M Edem
Keywords: Information, Communications, Technologies, Digital, Reference, Services, Academic, Libraries

Abstract

Reference and information services have always been the main component of library services, providing personalized assistance to library users in accessing suitable information resources to meet their needs. The ever-changing digital environment has had significant impact on the scope and nature of reference work. This paper investigates the extent of the application of digital reference services in academic libraries in Nigeria, highlighting the emerging formats and models of digital reference services, to include email and web forms, Ask A librarian services, online chat reference, video conferencing, digital robots, and collaborative digital reference. The paper adopted the descriptive survey design and document analysis to collect data. Data from the official websites of the 27 Federal Universities in Nigeria were used in this study. These data were analyzed using simple percentages. The study reveals that thirteen (48%) of 27 Federal University libraries in Nigeria are offering some form of digital reference services to their users. Twelve (92%) of these libraries are linked to subscribed databases while none had interactive services. The paper concludes by highlighting the need for more academic libraries to digitize their reference services which will be contingent upon the development of new models to deal with staffing and other relevant issues.
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eISSN: 1597-4316