Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Document Type



The present study aims to gauge the perceptions of working library professionals toward the significance of Virtual Reference Service (VRS) vis-à-vis Traditional Reference Service (TRS). The study is based on sample drawn from members of the CRIKC libraries. The study sample was collected by conducting a questionnaire method and the analysis of the data was done quantitatively with the help of both descriptive statistics and inferential statistics using the software IBM SPSS. VRS was not being offered by almost all the CRIKC libraries and Synchronous VRS (SVRS) was offered by none of them. Around 50% librarians believed that ‘quick/ready reference questions’, ‘detailed research questions’ as well as ‘directional questions’ can better be handled by Virtual Reference Service (VRS) than TRS. However, 52.6% of the librarians feel TRS would be a more effective method while providing ‘reader’s advisory questions’. According to 42.1% librarians TRS considered more effective over VRS while dealing with procedural questions. As per the responses received it was found that ‘email’ was considered as the most viable tool for providing asynchronous VRS (μ=4.0, R=1) followed by ‘web form’ (μ=3.3, R=2) and ‘SMS’ (μ=2.7, R=3). While in case of synchronous VRS ‘instant messaging’ (IM) and ‘mobile app’ were considered equally effective (μ=3.6 and R1) followed by ‘Web chat’ (μ=2.6, R3). None of the librarians has given highest preference to ‘video conferencing’ as a medium of synchronous VRS.