The effectiveness of service quality measurement instruments

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In order to appreciate the essence of the research under review, this chapter provides a brief overview and examination of the archival industry; the background to the National Archives of South Africa (NASA); an examination of the major issues in e-records management; an overview of the functions of the ESARBICA; and the definition of terms used in the archives industry and in the study under review.


There are various functions of archives services in both national and international contexts. In this section, a brief survey of the types of institutions, the services offered and the competition in the industry are analysed.

Archives categories

There are distinct categories into which archives fall and these can be viewed in the following ways:The first sense in which archives are used is to denote recorded information accumulated in the course of official governmental activity, that is, in the case of public archives or in the course of a private organisation’s activity in the case of private archives (Sibanda 2005). In that sense, archives, whether they are in public or private institutions and organisations, are no longer needed to conduct current business transactions but are preserved either as evidence of origins, structures, functions and activities of organisations or because of the value of the information they contain regardless of whether or not they have been transferred to an archival institution. Under such circumstances, information is of fundamental and continuing value for administrative, fiscal, legal, evidential or information (historical) purposes (Sibanda 2005).The second sense in which archives can be viewed is the information recorded or received by the private individuals and employees of a governmental entity or private organisation or institution, and not created or received by private organisation or institution, and not received during the course of conducting official business (Sibanda 2005). This is generally contained in what are termed personal papers. Archives are usually a result of regular functional activity, individuals or families, on the other hand, accumulate personal papers in pursuance of their personal, professional and private concerns. This has raised some controversy because the line between organisational records and personal papers has at times been very thin and challenging to define. The distinction is usually important when legal issues arise on what is and what is not a record (Sibanda 2005). Personal papers do belong to and are subject to the disposition of an individual; records, on the other hand, are generally subject to laws and regulations or corporate policies and procedures that authorise their disposition at a specified time and in a specific manner (Sibanda 2005).As Bradsher (1988) points out, while archives are records not all records are archives.Archives comprise a small section of core records, usually not more than 5 per cent of the volume of all public records, but with enduring value. It is this “enduring value “that distinguishes archives proper from records in general. Thus although all records have relative value to individuals, only those of sufficient value, as determined by archivists, are retained as archives only as long as their value is of enduring nature (Brasdsher 1988, p. 4).The third sense in which archives can be viewed is to denote the building, part of the building or storage area in which the archives are housed (Sibanda 2005). These institutes are either publicly or privately funded, their function is the preservation and administration of archives and they are known as “archives” or “manuscripts repositories” depending on the type of material they contain or how it is acquired. “Manuscript repositories” are responsible mostly for personal papers and artificial miscellaneous collections such as historical manuscripts acquired by purchase or donation primarily for cultural and educational purposes (Sibanda 2005).Archives are responsible for the archival records of the organisation or institution of which they are a part. They also serve as the archives of their own or some other institutions. In common usage the terms archives, archival institutions or archival repositories denote entities that maintain archives and manuscript collections. Archives are maintained by most national governments, as are the archives in South Africa and most of the surveyed countries in this study in the Eastern and Southern African region. Other official bodies also maintain archives, for instance, the institutions of higher learning, and business, religious,labour, ethnic, patriotic, charitable, political, fraternal and social organisations. Archives, personal papers and historical manuscripts are at times found in libraries and historical societies. They are also maintained in hospitals and other institutions where it is found to be important to retain indefinitely those non-current records of the greatest historical value, and of the greatest potential use to their creators and other researchers interested in documenting and understanding the past, dealing with the present and preparing for the future (Sibanda 2005).

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1.1 Introduction 
1.2 Background of the study 
1.3 Problem statement 
1.4 Aim and objectives of the study 
1.5 Significance and contribution of the study to knowledge 
1.6 Research design 
1.7 Delimitation of the scope of the study 
1.8 Limitations of the study 
1.9 Assumptions
1.10 Structure of the thesis
1.11 Summary of the chapter
2.1 Introduction 
2.2 The archives industry 
2.2.1 Archives categories
2.2.2 Competition in the industry
2.2.3 Archives characteristics Respect des fonds or provenance principle Sanctity of original order principle The legal principle Uniqueness
2.3 Records and information management programmes 
2.4 Public archives and research 
2.5 National reference libraries 
2.6 The National Archives of South Africa (NASA)
2.7 Electronic Records Management Systems
2.8 Eastern and Southern African Branch of the International Council of Archives (ESARBICA) 
2.8.1 Brief history of ESARBICA and its objectives
2.9 Definition of terms 
2.10. Summary of the chapter 
3.1 Introduction 
3.2 The conceptual framework of service quality
3.2.1 Product quality in product manufacturing
3.2.2 The service revolution
3.2.3 The construct of service quality
3.3 Service quality measures 
3.3.1 Introduction
3.3.2 The contradicting paradigms Disconfirmation paradigm Performance-based paradigm
3.4 Service quality measurement models
3.4.1 An overview
3.4.2 The effectiveness of service quality measurement instruments
3.5 The nature of electronic records 
3.6 The interface between e-service experience and traditional service performance 
3.7 The effectiveness of electronic service quality measurement instrument 
3.8 The electronic service measurement scales in archival institutions 
3.9 The effectiveness of service quality measurements in archival institutions 
3.10 Summary of the chapter 
4.1 Introduction
4.1.1 The research questions
4.2 The research design 
4.3 Population and unit of analysis
Phase 1: Qualitative Method
4.4 The qualitative research philosophy 
4.5 Establishing the domain of service quality 
4.6 The generation of a sample of items 
4.7 The Delphi technique tool 
4.8 The panel of experts 
4.9 Sampling method 
4.10 Data collection 
4.11 Research instruments
Phase 2: Quantitative Method
4.12 Sampling methods 
4.13 Data collection 
4.14 Measuring instruments 
4.15 Data analysis and validation procedures 
4.15.1 Factor analysis
4.16 Reliability and validity 
4.17 Ethical considerations 
4.18 Summary of the chapter 
5.1 Introduction 
Phase 1: Qualitative Data Analysis 
5.2 Step 1: Specification of domain of construct 
5.3 Step 2: Generation of a sample of items 
5.4 Discussion of Phase 1 qualitative research findings
5.4.1 Gap in the literature on conceptualisation and dimensionality of service quality construct in the archives field
5.4.2 Identification of variables/dimensions and items unique to the archives field Respect des fonds or provenance principle Sanctity of the original order principle The legal principle Uniqueness
Phase 2: Quantitative Data Analysis 
5.5 Demographic /Background and Outcome
5.5.1 Demographic /Background variables
5.5.2 Outcome variables
5.6 First Confirmatory Factor Analysis 
5.7 Exploratory Factor Analysis 
5.8 Second Confirmatory Factor Analysis 
5.9 Convergence and discriminant validity 
5.10 Summary of Chapter 
6.1 Introduction 
6.2 Discussion of the research findings 
6.2.1 Research questions
6.3 Conclusion
6.3.1 Limitations of the study
6.3.2 Summary of Findings
6.3.3 Validity and Reliability of Findings
6.3.4 Contribution to Knowledge
6.4 Recommendations 
6.5 Suggestions for Future Research 


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