Instruction and help services in
the academic library websites and
web pages in Sri Lanka
A content analysis
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka,
Belihuloya, Sri Lanka
Purpose – The present study was carried out with the intention of examining what type of
instruction applications and help tools have been used to serve clientele via academic library websites
and web pages, and how Sri Lankan academic libraries instruct and help users via their library
websites and web pages.
Design/methodology/approach – A sample study comprised only 14 academic library websites
and web pages out of 223, which were accessible and necessarily presented instruction applications
and help tools. Two coding sheets were prepared separately for instruction and help to include
classiﬁed data, and then the frequency counted from each category by browsing the sample recorded
in the coders for analysis.
Findings – The results conﬁrmed that the quality of academic library websites in Sri Lanka in
providing online instruction and help was dependent on different variables. The development of above
online services remains in its infancy. Most important instruction applications and help tools have not
been utilized by the majority of websites in academic libraries. Inaccessibility of such services via the
library web reﬂects not only their malfunction in online instruction and help, but also onsite services of
some areas in academic libraries.
Research limitations/implications – Nonexistence of websites or web pages and lack of enough
information in library websites caused the exclusion of most of the libraries in the country from
inclusion in the sample; this in turn affected this study by limiting it to academic libraries only.
Practical implications – The majority of recommendations originated from the study can be
generalized for both web and online service development of any type of library in Sri Lanka.
Originality/value – The deﬁciency of research on library websites in Sri Lanka provides no clear
image regarding the existing situation of online library services. Thus this study contributes towards
addressing this gap in the literature and features distinctiveness within the available literature.
Keywords Online instruction,Web based instruction, Online help,Library instruction,
Academic libraries,Worldwide web, Sri Lanka
Paper type Research paper
This study was conducted based on Sri Lankan academic library websites to examine
how these libraries use the web to deliver library instruction and help services and
what type of instruction and help tools have been used to serve their customers. The
Sri Lankan higher educational system consists of a population of diverse ethnic,
cultural, religious and language backgrounds. Among these, especially multilingual
behavior of the society has resulted in a majority of universities to use Sinhala and
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Received June 2010
Revised October 2010
Accepted December 2010
The Electronic Library
Vol. 30 No. 3, 2012
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited