Comparison of Traditional and Digital Reference Questions and Responses at the National Library and Archives of I.R. of Iran (NLAI)

Sedigheh Shakeri, Saeedeh Akbaridaryan, Farnaz Mohammadi


The researchers seek to assess the characteristics of users of reference services and their information needs to know how to qualitatively and quantitatively improve these types of services at the NLAI. Findings of this study indicated that the most frequently asked questions at the reference desks of the NLAI were ready reference questions (33.55 percent) and the least common questions were research-based (17.34 percent). Females (65.53 percent) mostly used traditional reference service but males (54.55 percent) used virtual reference service more. Also analysis showed that the most common and the least common question types at the traditional reference desk were ready reference (42.42 percent) and research questions (6.89 percent) respectively; and those asked through virtual reference were research (32.28 percent) and directory (20.08 percent) questions respectively. Most of the questions asked by clients of both traditional and virtual reference services could be classified in computer science, information, and general works (000) (30.58 percent) while the fewest questions were clustered in philosophy and psychology (100) (1.18 percent).

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