Provision of reference services at Uganda National Archives
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The study was carried out at Uganda National Archives (UNA) and was focused on the provision of reference services. It aimed to achieve the following objectives; to identify the different reference services provided at UNA; to find out the benefits of efficient reference services at UNA; to identify the challenges faced in providing and managing reference services at UNA; to propose strategies for improving the provision and management of reference services at UNA. In order to achieve this, the study adopted a case study research design with qualitative research approach as the paradigm, and interviews and observation as data collection methods. Data collected was analyzed by qualitative descriptive analysis where all data was presented in textual format. A sample of 15 respondents was targeted and only 11 responded. The study achieved its objectives as it discovered that basically little is done with regards to reference services at UNA as only personal assistance, direct and indirect instructions and inter- agency/ inter-country services are used. In addition, an index of archival materials acquired and accessioned into UNA is placed accessible by all users of UNA. Despite these inadequacies, it was discovered that staff and management of UNA acknowledge and appreciate the importance of reference services but have challenges limiting the effective and efficient running of operational reference services. The study also revealed that the most challenging element of reference services at UNA is absence of skilled reference personnel. Other challenges included limited finances, illiterate users, poor internet services, technological dependency and limited support from management. Solutions to the challenges as suggested by respondents in the study included recruitment of skilled reference personnel, training of staff, adoption of automation/ digitization, adoption of digital reference services, and acquisition of larger and faster database servers. The study was concluded with the following recommendations; provision of more time for training of staff, complete management support and funding, acquisition of larger and faster hosting internet services, building and establishing a better comprehensive records and archives management policy and development of other reference service techniques.