عنوان مقاله [English]
Purpose: This research aimed at qualitatively evaluating the virtual reference services of the National Library and Archives of I.R of Iran (NLAI). To do so the following were assessed: sociological characteristics, information seeking behavior and the extent to which users of virtual reference services are satisfied with them.
Design/Methodology/Approach: The research was done in two stages. In the first stage content analysis was done on virtual reference webforms. The methodology applied in the second stage was to survey the extent to which users of virtual reference services were satisfied with the services as measured through electronic questionnaires. The study population contains 1,825 webforms received over a year among which 317 web forms were selected via systematic random sampling according to Morgan's table.
Findings: This research illustrates that 52.05 percent of the users of these services are women and 47.95 percent are men. Most of the users have higher education and research questions are the kinds of the questions mostly asked (42.14%). Users were very much satisfied with the virtual reference services, as approximately 70% of the users have benefited from these services more than once. The most important factor affecting users’ satisfaction was the comprehensiveness of the responses with the average score of 3.58. Users prefer to use virtual reference services via E-mail (50.20%) and online chat (38.34%). More than 90% of users mentioned that virtual reference services must be provided in Iran's National Library.
Conclusions: According to the findings of this research the factors which affect users’ satisfaction comprise the amount of provided information and the speed of response. Therefore, in order to increase the quality of virtual reference services, this research suggests creating participatory virtual reference services at a national level, applying email and online chat.