Volume 6 Issue 2
Fall 2010
ISSN 1937-7266

A Contextual Model for the Development of Digital Library Education

Hung Van Do, Daniel G. Dorner and Gary E. Gorman

School of Information Management
Victoria University of Wellington
Corresponding author hungvan.do@vuw.ac.nz


The need for digital library education (DLE) has increased significantly in the last two decades. During this time more information in libraries has become available only in digital form and many libraries have begun to create their own digital collections of important cultural heritage resources. Educating staff to establish and manage digital libraries has become a critical issue. The main objectives of this study are to identify and understand the factors affecting the development of DLE for library and information management (LIM) professionals in Vietnam, and to use those factors as a foundation for establishing a contextual model that will help guide library professionals and DLE providers in designing, implementing and facilitating DLE programmes.


Digital library education, Digital libraries, Digital librarians, Professional education

1 Introduction

Digital libraries (DLs) are a key element of educational and training development in the information age [1]. As Witten notes, “libraries are pillars of education, and it is natural to expect that digital libraries will provide new opportunities for innovative educational practices” [2]. This statement is appropriate for education in Vietnam. Since 1986 this country has experienced a revolution of innovation in most areas including economics, agriculture, industry, education, and administration systems [3]. Libraries and information organizations are considered to be essential tools of innovation in Vietnam [4]. Developing DLs and digital resources are now essential tasks for libraries in Vietnam to meet the demands of development.

The need for digital library education (DLE) has increased significantly in the last two decades. During this time more information in libraries has become available in digital form and many libraries have begun to create their own digital collections of important cultural heritage resources. Educating staff to establish and manage digital libraries has become a critical issue. Improving the quality of human resources is the main priority in Vietnam’s library development master plan [5] and in other relevant government documents [4, 6]. Therefore, this is an appropriate time to be doing this research.

However, as noted by Saracevic and Dalbello [7], DLE is affected by many factors:

Education for digital libraries is a complex proposition, in part because it involves so many layers of technology and at the same time so much that is new in creation, content, representation, organization, access, and use, and in social, legal, and cultural issues.

This study aims in the Vietnamese context to test the existence of these factors, and identify and understand the full range of factors affecting DLE for LIM professionals in Vietnam.

1.2 The Research problem

The demand for librarians capable of working effectively in the digital environment leads to the need for education for digital librarianship. Hastings and Tennant [13] state that the development of technologies and the ongoing changes within society require librarians to obtain new knowledge, skills and experience in order to adapt to the DL environment. The statement was made in 1996, and it remains valid in Vietnam in the 21st century. However, librarians in this country have few opportunities to attend digital library courses. In addition, Thomas and Patel [8] state the supply of qualified personnel for DLs is not meeting the demand, and there is a lack of agreement about the job and the training requirements for digital librarians.

It appears that LIM professionals in Vietnam have few chances to attend DLE programmes. An examination of curricula of the library and information institutions in Vietnam shows that there are some courses relating to digital libraries, but full-scale degree programmes aimed at preparing librarians for new roles such as digital librarianship have not been developed. We have no knowledge of the educational needs related to digital libraries of LIM professionals as wells as library and information organisations. In addition, DLE is a complex proposition [7], and we do not fully understand factors affecting DLE.

Therefore, the problem in this research has two aspects:

  1. a limited understanding of the factors affecting the successful development of DLE in Vietnam;
  2. a lack of knowledge about the DLE needs of LIM professionals, LIM organisations and LIM students in Vietnam;

1.3 Research objectives

The objectives set out for the study are:

  1. to develop an initial model of factors affecting the development of DLE in Vietnam and understand the Vietnamese context. This model will be established by examining the literature relating both to DLs as well as to the new role of librarians in the information age, and by employing theories relating to innovation and educational change;
  2. to identify the key factors that affect the development of DLE in Vietnam;
  3. to identify educational needs and establish priorities of DLE for LIM professionals, students and organisations;
  4. to revise the contextual model of factors affecting DLE for use in developing digital library courses/programmes in LIM education for current students and for professional development of LIM professionals in Vietnam.

This research will be done by developing and testing a contextual model for establishing DLE in Vietnam.

1.4 Research questions

The study will focus on three domains: factors affecting the development of DLE in Vietnam; educational needs of LIM professionals, LIM students and organisations; and priorities of DLE needs. To investigate the factors affecting the development of DLE, the study will address two questions:

  1. What are the contextual factors affecting the development of DLE in Vietnam?
  2. How is the development of DLE affected by these contextual factors?

  3. To examine educational needs for DLE, the study will address this question:
  4. What are digital library educational needs of LIM professionals, organisations, and students in Vietnam?

    To prioritise DLE for LIM professionals, students and organisations, the study will also address the following question:
  5. What are the main DLE priorities for LIM professionals, students and organisations in Vietnam?

2. Literature review

DLE is still a relatively new phenomenon, particularly in developing countries such as Vietnam, and is of high interest among LIM practitioners as well as computer and IT specialists. DLE is a complex concept involving many factors such as technology, culture and the human element. Additionally, there are various definitions of DLs and several theoretical frameworks through which DLs and DLE can be examined.

2.1. Digital librarians

Digital libraries need digital librarians who possess particular experience, skills and knowledge. With the development of DLs, libraries and information centres have experienced an increasing demand for positions that require advanced skills for working with IT and in a digital environment, in particular for the IT profile of the digital librarian. Lin [9] states there should be no digital library without a digital librarian. The efforts of researchers, scholars and professionals over the last two decades have focused on a variety of aspects related to digital librarians:

  • the demand for digital librarians in the information age
  • the roles of digital librarians
  • the skills and knowledge required by digital librarians
  • the creation of programmes/courses/curricula for training digital librarians and
  • methods to teach digital librarians.

Since the 1990s, job titles using the term “digital librarian” have appeared frequently in advertisements. The work of Croneis and Henderson [10], and Choi and Rasmussen [11] on analysing job advertisement during the past two decades shows that there is an increasing demand for new professionals termed “digital librarians” for the development of DLs. It seems that there is an urgent need for digital librarians.

Librarians play a crucial role in the successful development of DLs, and they are important for supporting learning and assisting people in accessing information [12]. In the digital environment, digital librarians are required to select, acquire, organize, make accessible and preserve digital collections. They have to plan, implement and support digital services [13]. They are required to manage DLs and undertake all tasks in the DL such as information and knowledge management, digital services, information access and retrieval, knowledge mining from the emerging knowledge warehouses, etc. [14] Workshops on DLE held in Italy in 2005 and in Croatia in 2006 found that the types of library, qualification level and responsibility of librarians can be used to define the roles of the digital librarians.

A digital librarian should have a combination of technological and librarianship competences…They are a bridge between digital resources and users; an agent of innovation, of citizenship, of information literacy etc; communication skills are important for the social role of the librarian which is still prominent, and even more so in a digital environment; and pedagogical skills are enforced in a digital environment [15].

Therefore, based on their viewpoints of DLs, academics and professionals have different suggestions for skills for digital professionals. Hastings and Tennant [13] and MacDonald [12] claim that there are high requirements for digital librarians’ positions, in that digital librarians are expected to be independent, active and IT-skilled librarians. “It is more important that digital librarians possess particular personal qualities (which are innate) rather than specific technical expertise (which can be learned)” [13]. Digital librarians are professionals who have the skills and experience to implement a digital library, take risks, and can be independent and flexible; have an understanding of both the potential and the pitfalls of communications and information technology to achieve the digital library; and especially, they must have an understanding of human factors involved in DL development. Digital librarians should have some key knowledge and skills of IT (mark-up languages, Web technology, user interface design), and searching, evaluating, selecting, cataloguing, classifying, and preserving the digital resources access [9, 16]. Choi and Rasmussen [17] conclude:

…digital libraries are the future of academic and research institutions, and digital professionals will be required to have more breadth and depth of knowledge and skills across the dimensions of traditional library knowledge, technology, and human relations [17].

There is much discussion in the literature about the roles and skills of the digital librarian. There is a consensus, however, that now is the time for educators, professionals and researchers to identify the specific competencies required by digital librarians’ [7, 11, 13, 20, 21] and to establish DLE educational programmes that will ensure the successful development of DLs.

2.2. Digital library education

Educating new professionals for DLs has become increasingly important and Digital Libraries is one of the most important courses taught in many LIM programmes (Spink & Cool 1999; Saracevic & Dalbello 2001). DLE began approximately two decades ago and a variety of approaches has been taken. Studies on DLE programmes by Spink & Cool [18], Saracevic and Dalbello [7], Coleman [19], Liu [20], Choi and Rasmussen [17], Weech [21] and Bakar [22] have identified curriculum development trends and provided an overview of DLE. The following points come out of their work:

  • Most educational institutions offering LIM programmes have subjects which relate to DL, and most universities include DL content in their LIM programmes;
  • DL curriculum and programmes lack a theoretical framework;
  • DLE is offered primarily at the graduate level and higher;
  • The difference between DL courses is whether the school takes a “hands-on” or “hands-off” approach to digital library education;
  • One third of schools have independent DL courses, others have combined and integrated DL contents in other courses; and
  • There is a fragmentation of knowledge in DLE that leads to the demand for an interdisciplinary/ multidisciplinary curriculum.

The most important issue in DLE development is identifying the course content. The above authors suggest a group of elements coming from library and information science, computer science, communication, sociology, etc. Saracevic and Dalbello [7] identified the content of DL courses as including knowledge management, standards, digital resource management, and community building and social context. They found that the DL agenda has been set largely by computer science, and in LIS programmes the educational approach for DLE places it within an IT context. Tammaro [15] suggests that DLE should focus on technological infrastructure and processes, social and cultural contexts, management of the life-cycle of documents and artefacts in the digital environment. Bawden [23] maintains that information seeking and retrieval is the most important subject of any LIS programme. The work of Gonçalves and his colleagues [24] in developing a framework for evaluating DL suggests that DL curricula should include content about cataloguing, collections, digital objects, metadata specifications, repositories, and information services.

Developing DLE programmes faces many challenges:

(1) DL is a complex topic with many definitions and viewpoints. Efforts to identify DL concepts create many different DL theories, models and frameworks [18]. Therefore, it is difficult to create learning contents of DL and narrow the gap among these concepts.

(2) The learners have different backgrounds and different technology preparation, so choosing the subject and skills for training is made more difficult.

(3) Infrastructure limitations, especially in developing countries, is a significant issue for effective training [25].

(4) Technology changes so rapidly that what is learned today will soon be outdated [12].

(5) The dynamics of the information society and the changing information needs lead to challenges for LIS education [26].

(6) There are differences of focus and approach in computer science and LIM. While computer scientists focus on the system aspect of DLs, librarians who manage DLs usually pay attention to the service side [Yang et al., 27]. Saracevic and Dalbello [7] share the same viewpoint, that is that DLE divides into two areas, LIS and computer science, “one on Venus and the other on Mars”. Reducing the gap between the communities is a challenging task for educators.

Saracevic & Dalbello [7] found that DLE is a complex task which involves many factors. They claim:

Education for Digital libraries is a complex proposition, in part because it involves so many levels of technology and at the same time so much that is new in creation, content, representation, organization, access, and use, and in social, legal, and cultural issues. The importance of paying attention to digital library education lies in this: as all other areas, the quality of education will eventually determine the quality of the whole enterprise [7].

Recently, many scholars and professional organisations have published curriculum guidelines as well as theories, models and structures for DLE. The scholars include Coleman [19], Brancolini & Mostafa [28], Pomerantz [29], He [25], Yang [27], Tammaro [15], Thomas & Patel [8], etc. For associations, these include Digital Libraries Federation (DLF), International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), American Library Association (ALA), and so on. Their attempts provide an overview of the DL concept. However, because of the complexities involved, it is difficult to bring the theories of DLE into practice. Virginia Tech and the University of North Carolina developed one of the most well known theoretical frameworks for developing a curriculum for DLE; this is the 5S model, which is based on Streams, Structures, Spaces, Scenarios and Societies [16]. The framework was used to create a DLE curriculum in the University of North Carolina (http://curric.dlib.vt.edu).

Spink and Cool [18] suggest that establishing a “hybrid curriculum” that combines complementary strengths from computer science, psychology, policy studies and library and information science is an effective model for DLE. In addition, an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary curriculum should be implemented as a crucial tool for developing a DLE curriculum [19, 21, 27]. If DLE focuses on how the digital environment changes the role of the information professional in providing client services (user assistance/mediation) and technical services (document creators/maintainers), it will be more relevant and effective [26].

2.3. Digital library education in Vietnam

DLE is very limited and content is found only in isolated subjects. Research on DLE has mostly focused on specific aspects of DLs (such as the content of a digital library) rather than DLE.

The research on DLs in Vietnam was started by Vu Van Son [30].. Vu analysed the conditions in Vietnam and the opportunities for developing DLs. He recommended that DLs should be implemented in Vietnam. Nguyen Minh Hiep [31] gave an overview of DLs as well as the DL training practice on the Greenstone software. Tran Thi Quy and Do Van Hung [32] published their work to provide an overview of library automation. Their work concerned technology, hardware, software, standards, equipment and education for developing automated library system as well as digital libraries.

With respect to DLE, Tran Lan Anh [33] took the first step in creating a new curriculum for library institutions. She examined library curricula, teaching staff, teaching methods and other factors in library institutions in Vietnam, and designed a curriculum in electronic resources and services for LIS which consisted of 10 courses: Basic Electronic Resources, Basic IT Applications, Communication Networks, Library Automation, Database Structure and Design, Information Handling, Information Sources and Reference Services, Searching CD-ROMs and Online Resources, and Internet Services.

Despite the development of electronic and digital libraries as well as the increase in investment for libraries, education for LIS, especially for DLs, is still under-funded. This is likely one of the contributors to the gap between what the departments of LIM teach their students and the knowledge and competencies required in practice. In particular, most graduates lack sufficient knowledge of technology [34] and according to one educator, only 51.8% of librarians are competent in using computers [35]. Others have noted that only 30% of librarians in Vietnam are equipped with the competencies required to meet the needs of its libraries [36, 37]. Indeed, many writers have stated that education and training for librarians in Vietnam should be reformed and upgraded with new knowledge in order to meet the requirements of the LIM labour force in the information age [35, 38-41].

The Conference on Human Resources for the Library and Information Field, which was held at the Vietnam National University, Hanoi in 2009, concluded with two key points. First, the human resources in libraries do not meet the demands of library practice, especially the demand of library automation and developing digital libraries. Second, library education institutions need to update their curricula in terms of providing the knowledge and skills for librarians in the digital world.

In her PhD thesis, Nguyen [34] employed the performance model developed by Nowlen (1988) to identify and prioritise the learning needs for continuing professional development for Vietnamese academic library managers and operational staff. In the research, competencies related to digital libraries were identified as one of the main areas of learning needs for Vietnamese academic librarians. Specific content included digital library creation, digital collection development, and copyright issues in the digital environment. Although Vietnamese scholars and professionals have acknowledged the importance of DLE and made some suggestions, their work has focused on describing the concepts of DL and has emphasised the role of LIM departments in educating human resources for DLs. Their work has not examined the real situation in Vietnam; that is, it has not identified the factors that are affecting DLE development, nor has it determined or prioritised the DLE needs of practitioners, students and LIM organisations. There is a lack of research relevant to the creation and implementation of DLE in Vietnam, which is based on economic, cultural, social and human factors.

2.4 Conclusion

From the literature review, it can be seen that DLE as an innovation in LIM education is in the early stages of development. Most DLE programmes are offered in developed countries, while research on DLE in developing countries is very limited. The remarkable development of DLE in the world in the two last decades shows that DLE is becoming an indispensable part of LIM education in the 21st century.

There are many definitions of DLs, and much discussion on their roles and structure, as well as frameworks and evaluation of DLs. DLE which educates and trains professionals for the development of DLs presents differing viewpoints on the relevant theoretical framework and knowledge base required for effective DLE. Therefore, some DLE programmes focus considerably on the knowledge and skills related to technologies, especially IT, while others emphasise communities of practice, services and the usage of DLs.

DLE is a complex issue which impinges upon and draws from such areas as culture, economics, human development, technology, organisations, government policy, infrastructure and so on. Therefore, research on DLE as well as DLs must explore these factors, and developing DLE needs to consider all such factors.

Importantly, the review of DLE literature has found that there is a lack of research relevant to the creation and implementation of DLE in Vietnam, and in the context of this country's unique economic, cultural, social and human factors. The gaps in the research on development of DLE motivates the researcher to carry out the present investigation, which intends to explore the factors affecting the development of DLE in Vietnam, as well as identify and prioritise DLE needs of LIM professionals.

3. Theoretical framework and conceptual model

3.1 Theoretical framework

Ellsworth [42], in surveying theories for educational change, describes the work of researchers in any field of human enquiry as the "fabled blind men examining the elephant". However, researchers need to capture the whole of the elephant – not some of its parts, but the sum of its parts. Thus we need more tools for investigating an issue. By regarding DLE as an innovation and education as an ever-changing activity, this study will employ the Diffusion of Innovations (DOI) [43] as its theoretical base. This theory will be combined with Nowlen's Performance Model [44] and Fullan's Educational Change Concept [45] to guide the study in developing and testing a contextual model for DLE in Vietnam (see Figure 1). In addition, a needs assessment methodology will be employed to assess DLE needs.

Figure 1: Theories and Models employed for the study

3.2. Conceptual model

Based on the elements of the models and the literature review, a preliminary conceptual framework for DLE in Vietnam is suggested in Figure 1.

Figure 2: The conceptual framework for developing DLE in Vietnam
adapted from Performance Model [44] and
Model of Needs Assessment [46]

* Potential factors affecting DLE in Vietnam

Level of needs:

Level 1 (primary): LIM Professional and Students: librarians, information specialists, and students in the LIM field – "they are at the heart of the needs assessment process" [46].

Level 2 (secondary): Education Providers: lecturers, administrators and managers.

Level 3 (tertiary): Resources: buildings, facilities, technology, information systems, education programmes, working conditions, salaries and benefits.

Factors affecting DLE:

LIM educational institutions: In terms of educators and educational providers, departments of LIM play an important role in DLE. These institutions can investigate learning needs, create DLE curricula and content, provide academic staff and co-operate with other organisations in implementing DLE.

LIM professionals’ characteristics: In DLE, library profesionals are adult learners and should be the centre of continuing educational activities. Their characteristics in this model will be indicated by: learning needs, attitudes, basic knowledge and skills, aspirations and motivations, all of which affect the objectives, content, format and methods of DLE.

LIM students’ characteristics: Students currently studying in Vietnamese LIM departments are also important to DLE. Their characteristics, like those of practitioners, will also affect the objectives, content, format and methods of DLE.

Library community: The library community consists of all types of libraries and organisations related to LIM in Vietnam.

Digital library profession - knowledge, skills and new role preparation: As discussed in the literature review, DLs need digital librarians with the skills and experience to implement a DL, who take risks and are independent and flexible; who have an understanding of the potential and pitfalls of ICTs (information and communication technologies) to achieve the digital library; and most importantly, who have an understanding of the human factors involved in DL development. Digital librarians should have key knowledge and skills in IT and searching, evaluating, selecting, cataloguing, classifying, preserving the digital resources [9, 16].

Social environment: The characteristics of society include social/cultural values, economics, technological systems and infrastructures, the political system and government policy. These variables affect participation in DLE and educational needs of individuals and organisations.

Technological Innovation: The “library world is in the midst of the technological restructuring” [47]. Innovation and technology affect the role of librarians in the digital environment, and DL development is based on technology. Therefore, technology affects the contents and methods of DLE, and the learners.

Nexus between the organisation and the individual: the balance of needs and affective development.

Based on the elements of the initial model, the researcher will collect and analyse data in order to identify the factors affecting DLE for librarians in Vietnam, and then, based on the findings, he will revise the model.

4. Research design and methodology

Documentation and interviews (individual and focus group interviews) will be employed in this study to collect data. The interpretivist epistemological position, which emphases the understanding of the social world, will be adopted in this study.

4.1 Interpretivist Paradigm

This investigation will adopt the interpretivist perspective, because the study will investigate perceptions of human beings about the factors affecting their DLE needs and the DLE needs of their institutions. The interpretivist viewpoint will allow the researcher to come to a deep understanding of the explanations, thoughts, perceptions and views of library professionals and, thus, identify the factors affecting their DLE and learning needs.

4.2 The qualitative research method

The qualitative approach is appropriate for this study because it is based on the observer in the real world. The purpose of qualitative research is to facilitate an in-depth understanding of the phenomena being investigated [48]. It can involve many categories such as empirical materials, personal experiences, interviews, artefacts, cultural context, observation, historical data, interactional and visual text that illustrate routine and problematical moments and meaning in individuals' lives [49]. In addition, qualitative research seeks to understand social reality and provides a rich description of people and interactions in their natural settings [50].

4.3. Research process

The research will be implemented in three phases.

Phase 1: Desk research:

  • Literature review
  • Initial contextual model

Phase 2: Data gathering

  • Documentary evidence
  • Individual interviews
  • Focus group interviews

Phase 3: Data analysis

  • Analysing factors affecting DLE
  • Identifying and prioritising educational needs by using the triage model
  • Assessing and revising the initial contextual model

4.4 Data gathering techniques

4.4.1 The research sample

Understanding the contextual factors and how they affect the development of DLE for library professionals in Vietnam is the main purpose of the study. It will employ a purposive sampling technique in selecting the research participants and research sites. This method “allows the researcher to home in on people or events that are good grounds for believing what will be critical for the research” [51].

There are many variables applying to Vietnamese libraries, such as type of library, purpose, organisational structure, staff number and qualifications, location and so on. Choosing a purposive sampling technique helps the researcher to ensure that the sampling sites of this study will have taken into account both these variables and also all representatives of library professionals and educators in Vietnam. The members of sample are selected based on criteria that have relevance for the research questions.

* Research sites

The study will focus on two sample groups: (1) libraries and (2) departments of LIM in Vietnam.

Group 1- Libraries, including:

Each library and information center is selected based on the following criteria: (1) plays an important role in supporting education and training, and economic development in Vietnam; (2) has implemented a series of digital resources, such as library catalogues, full-text databases, and image collections; (3) has been developing automated libraries and is on the way toward becoming a DL; (4) is a representative of one of the different library types in Vietnam.

Group 2- Departments of LIS, including:

  • Department of Library and Information Science, University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH, VNU Hanoi),Vietnam National University, Hanoi.
  • Department of Information and Library Science, Hanoi University of Culture (HUC, HN).
  • Department of Information and Library Science, University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH, HCM), Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Department of Information and Library science, University of Culture, Ho Chi Minh City (HUC, HCM).
  • Department of Information Management, Can Tho University (CTU).

Each institution is selected based on the following criteria: (1) plays an important role in providing education and training for librarianship in Vietnam; (2) has potential for implementing DLE in terms of academic staff, educational programmes, learning resources, financial and governmental support; (3) represents a geographical diversity– each institution is in a different part of the country.

* The sample population

The purpose of sample is to help the researcher to collect good data sources, which focus on depth, complexity and richness. The researcher also understands that there is no "correct" sample size, provided by a single formula, for qualitative research. Thus, the study will be based on the principle that all aspects of relevance to the research question will have been covered and included in the findings.

The variables of the sample populations are as follows:

* Libraries:

  • Practitioners’ positions: Cataloguing, Acquisitions, Circulation, Reference, Information Technology (IT)
  • Library managers

* Departments of LIM:

  • Students who are currently studying or wanting to study subjects related to DL and IT: focus group interviews
  • Lecturers who teach the subjects related to DLs and IT: focus group interviews
  • Heads of departments
4.4.2 The Interview technique

The researcher will use semi-structured interviews and open-ended questions for collecting data. In-depth one-to-one interviews and focus group interviews will be employed in this study. The interviews will be conducted in Vietnamese and translated into English.

  • Students: focus group interviews
  • Librarians: focus group interviews
  • LIM academic staff: focus group interviews
  • Library managers: one-to-one interviews
  • Deans of LIS: one-to-one interviews

Recording and transcribing are the two methods which will be used in the interviews.

4.4.3 Document Analysis

The document analysis technique will be used to gather data which is related to DLE in Vietnam and elsewhere. The range of documents to be collected will be as follows:

  • Institutional documents: books, journals, research reports, reviews, evaluations, theses and conference papers, curricula and course contents.
  • Library community documents: annual reports, policies, master plans, regulation, infrastructure, human resources data, training reports, and website pages.
  • Government publications and official statistics: government policies and strategies, national statistic reports, research reports, published and unpublished materials.

4.5 Data analysis tools and methods

4.5.1 Data collection procedures

The procedure of data collection consists of three phases:

Phase 1: Desk research

In this phase, the researcher will conduct a literature review based on existing documents related to DLE and any other areas (e.g., professional development) relevant to the research. From the literature review, the researcher will (1) be made aware of the available existing work which has been undertaken in the DL area, (2) identify the gaps in the current state of DLE and the key issues should which should be taken into account in the study, and (3) choose theories which will be employed for the research. Based on that, the preliminary conceptual model concerning factors affecting DLE for library professionals will be developed.

Phase 2: Data collection

This phase is divided into three sections:

  • Section 1: conducting focus group interviews with four separate groups: librarians, IT specialists, LIM students and academic staff
  • Section 2: conducting individual interviews with library managers and deans of LIS
  • Section 3: gathering documentary evidence

Phase 3: Data analysis

The data gathered in phase 2 will be analysed in order to assess and revise the model for DLE in Vietnam. The detail of data analysis will be presented in the next section.

4.5.2 Qualitative data analysis

This section will discuss the analysis procedure for all the different kinds of data, which are gathered in this study such as: interviews, documents, notes and memos.

The procedure of qualitative data analysis is presented in Figure 2.

Figure 3: Data analysis procedures of the research Adapted from Components of Data Analysis: Interactive model [52]

5. Conclusion

The key objectives of this study are to identify the factors affecting the development of DLE professionals in Vietnam, and to understand their educational needs as well as the needs of relevant organisations. The factors and learning needs will then be used as a foundation for establishing a contextual model that will help guide library professionals and DLE providers in designing, implementing and facilitating DLE programmes.


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