Evaluating Virtual Reference Service at University of Botswana Library: a case study of Question Point

QOBOSE, Edwin and MOLOGANYI, Boipuso (2015) Evaluating Virtual Reference Service at University of Botswana Library: a case study of Question Point. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2015 - Cape Town, South Africa In: Satellite Meeting: Reference as service and place, 11-13 August 2015, Gaborone, Botswana.

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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Evaluating Virtual Reference Service at University of Botswana Library: a case study of Question Point

Virtual Reference Service, VRS has become ‘fashionable’ in most academic libraries in recent years. VRS has not been confined to academic libraries only, but has been introduced in all types of libraries on a global scale, (Olszewski and Rumbaugh, 2010) Nevertheless, the successful implementation and sustainability thereof remains a major challenge, (Nicol and Crook, 2013). University of Botswana Library is no exception. One of the recommendations of the Digital Scholarship Report (2009) was:”The library should acquire cutting edge technology relevant for DS services. Some example of cutting edge technology and services include, virtual reference, Instant Messaging (IM) for reference chat with non traditional patrons”. The Library purchased Question Point, collaborative virtual reference software in 2009, and yet the subscription was terminated by the end of 2014, but why? The article presents a case study of utilization of Question Point at University of Botswana Library, examines the Use of “ASK A LIBRARIAN”. In order to determine why this was short lived, a questionnaire was administered to students and the subject librarians who have used the services in the past five years. The responses from students and librarians plus statistical usage was analysed to establish its effectiveness or otherwise. The results should provided useful insights with regard to the introduction of a virtual or digital reference service by any of the newly established academic libraries in Botswana.

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