AVAILABILITY AND USE OF ELECTRONIC INFORMATION RESOURCES AND SERVICE DELIVERY IN UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES IN SOUTH-SOUTH NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

This research was on ascertaining the extent of availability and use of electronic information resources (EIR) and service delivery in university libraries. The research was geared towards determining the extent of which EIR is available in university libraries and also the extent at which they are used for service delivery. In conducting this research the survey research method was adopted. Interestingly, out of the two hundred and fifty eight (258) professional librarians in seventeen(17) universities in south-south Nigeria that made up the population for the study, only two hundred and twenty-three (223) professional librarians from eleven (11)university libraries were sampled and used for the research using purposive sampling technique. Questionnaire and the Observation checklist data collection instruments were used to the research. Descriptive statistical method of mean and standard deviation was used to analyze the research questions, while inferential statistical method of z-test was used to analyze the formulated hypothesis. The research instruments were personally administered and retrieved by the researcher. Response rate was high as one hundred and seventy-three (173) data collection tool was returned and found useable. Findings revealed that electronic information resources are available in university libraries. Furthermore, findings showed that these available EIR are not adequately applied to the services being rendered by librarians to their patrons. Similarly, the research findings showed that EIR availability and use in university libraries influence library services. Furthermore, it was revealed that male and female (librarians) could use EIR for service delivery in libraries, this is as hypothesis one (1) was accepted because the calculated z. 0.34 was less than (<) z. critical or significant value of .73.  In addition, hypothesis two (2) was rejected, meaning that the working experience of a librarian is a determining factor in handling the challenges to EIR availability and use in libraries; this is so as the calculated z. 3.12 is greater than (>) z. critical of .002. The research was able to prove that accuracy in information service delivery, independence of library users and speed in service delivery are perceived benefits of EIR availability and use in libraries. However, the research recommended among others that library management should constantly sensitize institutional heads and management, i.e Vice- chancellors, Deans, Provost, Bursars, Registrars etc on the need for the acquisition of EIR, training and re-training of library staff in line with modern day library activities and functions etc.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Contents                                                                                                                     Page No

Title Page       –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           i

Approval Page    –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           ii

Certification Page         –           –           –           –           –           –           iii

Dedication Page            –           –           –           –           –           –           iv

Acknowledgments Page        –           –           –           –           –           –           v

Abstract Page         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           vi

Table of Contents          –           –           –           –           –           –           vii

List of Tables     –           –           –           –           –           –           –           x

CHAPTER ONE:     INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study             –           –           –           –           1

Statement of the Problem          –           –           –           –           –           –           9

Purpose of the study         –           –           –           –           –           –           10

Research Questions        –           –           –           –           –           –           11

Research Hypotheses           –           –           –           –           –           –           11

Significance of the Study   –           –           –           –           –           –           11

Scope of the study  –           –           –           –           –           – –           13

 CHAPTER TWO:   REVIEW OF LITERATURE       

Conceptual Framework     –           –           –           –           –           –           14

– Concept and Development of Electronic Information Resources   15

– Concept of Services Delivery    –           –           –           –           –           27

– Availability of Electronic Information Resources in Libraries         –       23

– Use of Electronic Information Resources in Academic Libraries      –       28

– Impact of Electronic Information Resources on Library Services and Functions-  –     –           –           –          –           –           –                 34

– Hindrances to Electronic Resource Availability and Use in Libraries   – 41

– Schematic Diagram showing Relationship between Variables of the study and Conceptual Framework            –           –           –           –           –           48

 Theoretical Framework of the Study          –           –           –           –           49

– Ranganathan, R, S Laws of Librarianship       –           –           –           –           49

– Activity Theory (AT)-    –           –           –           –           –           –           52

Review of Related Empirical Literature     –           –           –           –           54

Summary of Literature Review –    –           –           –           –           –           61

CHAPTER THREE:  RESEARCH METHOD         –                       – 64

Research Design                   –           –           –           –           –           –           64

Area of  the Study           –           –           –           –           –           –           65

Population of the study-            –           –           –           –           –           –           65

Sample and Sampling Technique-           –           –           –           –           66

Instruments for Data Collection     –           –           –           –           –           66

Validation of the Instrument  –       –           –           –           –           –           68

Reliability of the Instrument   –          –           –           –           –           –           68

Method of  Data Collection    –        –           –           –           –           –           69

Method of Data Analysis       –        –           –           –           –           –           69

CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA       70

 Descriptive Analysis of Data             –           –           –           –           –           71

 Research Question One           –           –           –           –           –           –           71

 Research Question Two –        –           –           –           –           –           –           74

 Research Question Three –           –           –           –           –           – 76

 Research Question Four  –           –           –           –           –           – 78

 Research Question Five  –           –           –           –           –           – 80

Research Question Six  –           –           –           –           – 81

Research Question Seven  –           –           –           –           – 82

Inferential Analysis of Data –           –           –           –           –           –           83

Hypothesis One        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           83

Hypothesis Two –         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           84

Hypothesis Three –          –           –           –           –           –           –           –           84

Summary  of Findings      –           –           –           –           –           –           85

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION OF RESULT, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS                

Discussion of Findings  –           –           –           –           –           – 86

Implications of Study –         –           –           –           –           –           –           101 

Recommendations –              –           –           –           –           –           –           102

Limitations –                 –           –           –           –           –           –           – 103

Suggestions for Further Research  –           –           – 1o4

Conclusion –             –           –           –           –           –           –           – 104

References         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           – 106

Appendices              –           –           –           –           –           –           –     119-37

LIST OF TABLES

Table  1:  Extent of availability of electronic information resource (EIR) in university Libraries              –           –           –           –           –           –           72

Table 2: Showing Extent of Using EIR in University Libraries          –       74

Table .3: Services Available in Library and Use of EIR.            –           –           76

Table 4: Showing the Influence of EIR on library services delivery –       78

Table 5: Showing the benefits derived from availability and use of EIR in service delivery in   university –           –           –           –           –           80

Table .6: Showing Challenges of E1R Availability and Use in Libraries     81

Table  7: Showing solutions to challenges of E1R availability and use in libraries. –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           – 82

Table 8: Contingency Table showing the Mean, Standard deviation, calculated t-test

 and two   tailed test of male and female librarians on the use of available EIR.   –           –           –           –     –           –           –           –           –           – 83

Table .9: Contingency table showing the Significance difference between MEAN rating of Highly Working Experience and Less Working Experience of Librarians and Challenges of E1R            –           –           –           84

Table; 10 Population of Universities (libraries) in South-south Nigeria   120

Table 11: Representative of respondents           –           –           –           136

Table 12: Gender distribution of librarian respondent      –           –           136

Table 13: Distribution of librarian respondents according to designation-137

Table 14: Distribution of Librarian Respondents According to working experience –                 –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –      137

Table 15: Distribution of librarian respondents according to qualification –              –           137

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

University education is fundamental to the establishment of a healthy and stable knowledge economy in all nations of the world. This is true as the university is the citadel of educational activities which duties include that of a teacher trainee and preparing the citizens to contribute meaningfully to the growth of the society. However, the ability of universities in developing countries to fulfil these responsibilities of equipping the citizenry is often times hindered. Saint, Hartnett and Strassner (2003) stated that under-funding by parent management, inefficiency by university management, in-equity, inequality and poor governance are long standing problems affecting the smooth operations of the University.

The importance attached to universities especially in Nigeria is revealed in government’s policy on the autonomy granted Nigerian universities as announced on July 21st, 2000. This Autonomy, gave University Councils full responsibilities for institutional governance: namely This includes the appointments of senior officers, restoration of block grant funding to universities, reduction of  the powers of the National Universities Commission, vesting university Senates with the authority to curricula the curricular, empowering the universities with the right to set admission criteria, selection of students and laying the groundwork for new minimum standards, (Federal Ministry of Education, 2000). The Nigerian government’s policy on higher education is a welcome development as it eradicated the syndrome of ineffective university system which brought a major gradual decline in research. Buttressing this fact, an earlier report by (“Task Force” ,2000), showed that the number of scientific publication in Nigeria is on the decline, as publications in 1995 was 711-significantly less than the publication output of 1,062 scientific publications in 1981 from a comparatively smaller university system. Interestingly, the inadequate access to needed materials which is  fast becoming difficult to meet due to the multiplicity of print information resource. Supporting this assertion, Ukoha (2005), took a cursory survey of education in Nigeria that revealed a catalogue of problems and gaps that include a towering infrastructural inadequacy and lack of access to information and resources for learning. He further stated that information and communication technology is a powerful tool that would facilitate the ongoing revitalization of the education process. In the words of Shamsul (2009) the use of electronic information resources (EIR) in libraries has profoundly affected all aspects of information acquisition, storage and transfer.

Electronic information resources (E-resources) are information resources found not physically in print formats but in soft non-print form accessed only through electronically manipulated machines such as computer machines, CD-ROM readers, opaque readers, projector, etc. In the words of  Ekwelem, Okafor and Ukwoma (2009) “electronic information sources (EIS) are information sources that are available and accessed electronically through such computer-networked facilities as online library catalogues, the internet, world wide web, digital libraries and archives, government portals and websites, CD-ROM databases such as LEXIX and NEXIS”. The above statements in this study are to redirect the notion held by many that the availability of the computer machine and the internet facility in libraries automatically means the availability of electronic information resources, since most practitioners in the information profession equate the availability of the Internet centre (Cyber café) in libraries to an electronic library.

Electronic information resources consist of data (information representing numbers, text, graphics, images, maps, moving images, music, sound etc) programmes(instructions etc that process the data for use) or combination of data and program. Also, Ohio State University library (2011), stated that electronic information resources are online information resources that include bibliographic databases, electronic reference books, search engines for full text collections, digital collections of data and data sets. In line with the above stated definitions, the study is  based on the premise that “Electronic Information Resources are Information resources that are stored in books, CD-ROMS, databases or other related storage media that are only accessible only through electronically manipulated media.  

In addition, Wikipeadia (2010) stated that they are “collections of information (examples: games, stories, articles from magazines, /pamphlets or other resources) that are accessed on an electronic device such as computer including sound and animated graphics accessed through websites and databases”. Electronic information resources are contained in online databases such as www.ebsco-host.com.,  www.Jstor.org.,  www.nigerianvirtuallibrary.com.(Owned By National Universities Commission; NUC), Access to Global online research in Agriculture: www.agora.org.,   Oxford online journal: www.oxfordonlinejournal.com. ,www.medline.com., Health Internetwork Access to Research Initiatives: www.hinari.org, Database of African Theses and Dissertations (DTAD) to mention a few.

Furthermore, electronic information resources are contained also in offline media such as flat surfaced metallic coated devices called CD-plates, DVD plates, floppy diskettes, flash drives etc. Examples of data bases available offline in CD or DVD media include, legalpedia , National Library Association AGM Compendium 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 to mention a few. Electronic information resources are found in different formats depending whether its access is direct (local) or remote (networked). Direct access means that it is in a physical carrier such as disc, cassette, cartridge etc which needs to be inserted into a computerized device while, remote access means access provided by the use of output or input device ,e.g internet networked terminal. The chief source on information for electronic resource is the resource itself.  This view on electronic resources is a pointer that, e-resources include all information either books, journal, music etc  available and transmitted with the aid of ICTs. Interestingly the use of electronic information resources in University libraries have aided libraries vis-a-vis librarians as they have the :-

  1. Ability to  do full text searching across a large number of resources in one go,
  2. Ability to download print or save the desired document instantly,
  3. Access animation of graphics and texts,
  4. The ease of skimming and searching,
  5. The currency and timeliness of information,
  6. Convenience of accessing articles anytime from a terminal,
  7. Ability to link directly, print or send the desired document instantly,
  8. Ability to create personal collections, etc.

   However, the use of electronic information resources is attributed to the global challenges of multiplication of print materials  which has plagued the university in the 21st century. But the advent of EIR in libraries have given room for the radicalization of library activities. This is because librarians now have media to meet different needs of users.  In the words of Hawthorne (2008) “these trends gave room for computer-based service and revolutionized bibliographic research in the 1970s”. This historic migration has tried to satisfy the changing information needs of library users, including ease of access, interaction richness and low cost. Hence these studies went ahead to prove that disciplinary factors have influenced the use of electronic information resources. This means that some disciplines or faculties of study feel the push in utilizing electronic based information resources than others.

Furthermore, the studies of Eason, et al (2000) and Tenopir (2003) showed that users’ discipline and institutional context strongly affect the use of electronic resources. It was revealed in these studies that electronic resources are typically more widely used by students and staff in natural and technical sciences than in the humanities and social science. Earlier study corroborating this finding above: Abels… et al (1996) explored factors that affect the adoption and use of electronic networks and network services by science and engineering faculties in small universities and colleges. In order to be indispensible, university libraries and librarians must recognize a set of roles for providing services to their patrons because library’s role in information service delivery in Nigerian university environment should be in real time. Real time information service delivery means making leaps in productivity by sharing more information with more people. Today, university libraries are struggling to keep their place as the major source of inquiry in the face of  emerging digital technology which has revolutionized not only the way information is packaged, processed, stored and disseminated, but also how users seek and access information.

Service delivery is a means put in place to ensure that functions/ activities carried out by university libraries are transmitted by the librarians to the library users. These services are geared towards satisfying the information needs of university library patrons. Information delivery services in university libraries include selective dissemination of information (SDI), current awareness services (CAS), research services (RS). Bibliographic Services (BS), quick reference services (QRS), book information services (BIS), entertainment information services (EIS), teaching, educational and training services (TETS) to mention but a few. In addition, Aboyade (1979) supported the view that library information delivery services include:-

  1. Answering readers’ questions;
  2. Instruction in the use of library materials;
  3. Inter-library loan services;
  4. Photocopying services;
  5. Library publications;
  6. Exhibitions and displays.

                However, due to new storage media and new channels of transmitting information. university libraries are reshaping services while keeping the previous methods of service delivery in libraries, Evans (1995) stated that “libraries through their services fulfil the role and objectives of the university in informing, educating and training”. This means that to act on these core purposes in today’s academic environments, requires that libraries move beyond the parameters of earlier times to pursue new modes of serving their institutions. (Rathinasabapathy 2005). These trends have necessitated that librarians inculcate novel techniques in information service delivery. While corroborating this, Raseroka (1999) submitted that the application of information technology (IT) has made the library a new information service unit such as providing electronic acquisition service, electronic cataloguing service, electronic online public access catalogue (OPAC) service, serial control services, electronic interlibrary service and electronic circulation services. Commenting on the resent prevailing circumstances surrounding service delivery, Anderson (1996) opined that the digital age has re-defined the way librarians provide their service; hence he identified the services of librarians in a digital age to include:

  • Selecting electronic information resources and evaluating their quality,
  • Developing expeditions and effective  locator tools to make complex web of resources more readily accessible to both sophisticated and naive users,
  • Teaching novices how to find information resources, libraries now teach,
  • Teaching critical available skills, etc.

           To remain indispensable, libraries and librarians must come to fulfil a recognized set of roles for providing services to their institutions. Library’s role in  information delivery in Nigeria university environment should be in real time. Real time information delivery means making leaps in productivity by sharing more information with more people. Today, university libraries are struggling to keep their place as the major source of inquiry in the face of  emerging digital technology which has revolutionized not only the way information is packaged, processed, stored and disseminated, but also how users seek and access information. University libraries will no longer restrict themselves to manual services such as collection development, cataloguing and classification, circulation and reference services and other bibliographic services but will extend their efforts to interdisciplinary concepts of computer software and technology. To buttress this fact, Campbell (2006) asserted that “academic libraries now offer services such as providing quality learning spaces, creating Metadata, offering virtual reference service, teaching information literacy, choosing resources and managing resources’ licensing, collecting and digitizing archival materials, and maintaining digital repositories”. The responsibility to provide effective and efficient but relevant information services to their users rests on library managers if they have to be relevant to the academic community in this information age. They have to incorporate the use of novel trends in their university libraries for service delivery especially electronic services. In the same vein,   Stoica (2001) observed that

Reshaping of all functions of the library. As the integrations of all types of sources primarily, either printed or numeric information using convergence fund that documentary spectrum forever has, despite its final diversity becomes perhaps the most important contemporary mission of the info-documentary structures. P84.

Stoic (2001) further stated that libraries should continuously reconsider information products from the perspective of integration that best meets the user’s needs. It is pertinent to note that factors such as inadequate training , lack of adequate publicity, incessant power outages etc may be inherent hindrances militating against the provision and use of electronic information resources in universities. Corroborating this statement, Kaur (2005) was of the notion that increases in internet speed and access and inclusion of electronic resource use manuals in catalogues with the provision of more computer terminals will enhance the use of electronic information resources in libraries. Buttressing his view in the same line for better use and access to e-resources in libraries, Renwick (2004) recommended that there be a greater promotion of availability and how to use library’s electronic information resources. This development led to the $303,000 MacArthur Foundation grant to provide professional development training on how to use technology and electronic resources more effectively in meeting the needs of Nigerian students and researchers (Lynn,  2008).

However, the introduction and use of ICTs vis-a-vis electronic information resources in Nigerian university libraries are not that novel. The University of Ibadan and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture libraries as far back as the early 70s initiated forms of technologies in their libraries. Also, Daniel (2002) stated that “the University of Jos Library had initiated some forms of automated systems in its library functions”. This has grown tremendously in universities across Nigeria over the years given the significant increase in the need for current information resources by the Nigerian academic community. Hence the adoption and use of Information and Communication Technologies by academic libraries seem to be a solution to the threat of information multiplication posed by the information age, as it is no longer news at this digital (electronic) age that many libraries in tertiary institutions are connected to the internet or have plans to get connected soon. This has made the aphorism of an eventual paperless society propounded by futurists such as Bell (1976) and Garfield (1979) almost becoming a reality in this 21st century. It is glaring that there exists actually a paradigm shift in the practices obtainable in collection development departments in university libraries. This methods of selection and acquisition of library resources have shifted from manual methods of book vendors and publishers to automatic virtual methods through the use of computer and the internet technologies. Again in the words of Okon (2005) over the past 25 years academic libraries have been affected by changes in information technologies. However, Etim (2004) observed that technology development such as electronic information database, online services, CD-ROMS and the introduction of Internet have really transformed access to information in academic libraries.

This is because there is the need to ascertain the extent of electronic information resources available and extent of use and service delivery in South-south Nigeria. This zone connotes the region that is closer to the Atlantic Ocean or the region that is situated around the Delta area in Nigeria, which is the estuary of the Niger and Benue rivers, it is a tropical region known for its heavy rainfall. The major occupation there is agriculture and the extractions of raw minerals such as limestone, gold, crude oil, e.t.c. It has one of the highest crude oil deposits in Nigeria and the world. This remarkably places the states in the zone as the richest in Nigeria in terms of internally generated revenue and monthly allocations from the Federation Accounts: the question is how well equipped are the university libraries in South-South Nigeria?

AVAILABILITY AND USE OF ELECTRONIC INFORMATION RESOURCES AND SERVICE DELIVERY IN UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES IN SOUTH-SOUTH NIGERIA