APPLICATION OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (ICTs) TO MANAGEMENT OF LIBRARY INFORMATION RESOURCES IN SELECTED NIGERIAN FEDERAL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES
Digital media have revolutionized information sources and advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and have dramatically enhanced information provision. The process of information management has become very challenging and complex. Libraries as centres for learning, teaching and research can no longer cope with information management through the use of traditional methods. To this end, the study was aimed at examining the application of ICTs to management of library information resources in selected Nigerian Federal University Libraries(NFUL) with regards to type of library information resources, type of ICT facilities available and being used, where these ICT facilities are applied in libraries operations and routine, staff ICT competence in the management of library information resources and challenges of ICT facilities utilisation in the management of library information resources in NFUL studied. Survey research method was adopted. Three hundred and thirty six (336) library technical staff from six (6) NFUL were used as sample size for the study. Questionnaire, interview and observation were the instruments used for data collection. The data collected were presented and analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The study found among others that books, newspapers, and magazines with a mean score of .9911, .9702 and .9524 respectively, were the major types of library information resources available and frequently used in the libraries studied. Computers with a score of 323 (96%) and internet facilities with a score of292 (87%) were the most available ICT facilities available for the management of library information resources. Computerized exit doors with a score of 106 (32%) is less available ICT facilities in the libraries studied. lack of ICT policies with a score of 226 (79%) and power outage with a score of 262 (78%) were some of the major challenges facing the NFUL studied. The inferential analysis showed that there was significant difference among the NFUL studied in the type of ICT facilities available and used for the management of their library information resources and there was no significant difference among the NFUL studied staff ICT competences in the management of information resources. The study concluded that digital media have revolutionized information resources and the advances in ICT have dramatically enhanced information provision not only in the selection, ordering, acquisition, processing, storage and retrieval of library information resources but also improved staff productivity. It is expected that the NFUL can fully utilize the benefit of ICT facilities, especially, the digitization of local contents, institutional repository, functioning websites and a policy on ICT information resources management. The challenges of ICT utilization in the libraries if not properly handled will reduce their potentials to achieve the goals and objectives of their parent institutions. The study recommended among others that, the NFUL should use Open-source library information management software and DSpace content management system and document management to manage the library information resources.
1.1 Background to the Study
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has made a significant impact in every human endeavour. The impact has been rather prominent in areas of service activities such as banking, health, transportation, education and libraries. Chauhan (2004) posited that the benefits of use of ICT in services can be broadly explained in terms of economy, ease, extension (or expansion) and efficiency. Devchoudhary (2007) also observed that ICT has influenced the traditional library services; bringing out fundamental changes in the process of acquiring, processing, storing, retrieving and information delivery.
The term, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as it relates to library and as noted by deWatteville and Gilbert (2000), is the acquisition, analysis, manipulation, storage and distribution of information; and the design and provision of equipment and software for these purposes. Oketunji (2002) defines ICT as computers and other technologies that are used in the acquisition, organisation, storage, retrieval and disseminating of information in libraries. Mayer (2006) added that ICT in libraries is a term that covers the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of information in textual, numerical, pictorial and audio-visual formats. He further stated that the term is restricted to systems dependent on microelectronics; that is the technology and techniques involved in the design, development and construction of extremely small electronic circuits such as computer on a single silicon chip. Similarly, Daniel (2010) sees ICT as forms of technology that are used to create, store, transmit, share or exchange information. This broad definition of ICT includes such technologies as: radio, television, video, Digital Versatile Disk (DVD), telephone (both fixed line and mobile phones), satellite systems, computer and network hardware, software and the Internet, as well as the equipment and services associated with these technologies, such as videoconferencing and electronic mail.
These different tools are able to work together to form our networked world. UNESCO (2000) posited that the inception of ICT in libraries which is the utilisation of all the technologies that enable the handling of information, facilitate different forms of communication between man and electronic systems, widened the scope of librarianship and put new roles on librarians, changed the curriculum of library schools, training now includes use of information technologies in work places thus improving their skill, efficiency and status as information workers and enable them to fulfil their roles as provider of knowledge. Ogunsola and Abayade (2005) added that librarians have begun to adopt new designations to reflect their new roles i.e. information scientists, system librarians, digital librarians and information managers etc. Kaling and Gautam (2008) observed that the common theme behind ICT application in the library is to enhance library functions and make service delivery such as acquisition, organisation, storage, retrieval, dissemination and maintenance of information resources more effective.
The library is the nerve centre of academic activities in universities. It is a depository of knowledge with varied and useful information in numerous formats. Like every other library, the core functions of university libraries are; acquisition, cataloguing, circulation, serial control, interlibrary loan and management and delivery of information in both traditional and electronic format. They assist in achieving the goals and objectives of their parent institutions through the provision of current and relevant information resources that are necessary for sustaining the learning, teaching, research, other functions and activities within the institutions. In line with this, Vickus and Metsar noted that the library is a place where different social policies, theories and ideologies are met and a space to study different arts and cultures provided. In order to achieve these, the library acquires and manages resources which include material and human resources.
1.1.1 University Library Information Resources
The primary purpose of university libraries is to support the university functions of teaching, learning, research and community services in ways consistent with, and supportive of, the institution’s mission and goals. In support of the above, Chiweza (2006) added that the growth of research in all fields of human endeavour is becoming increasingly detailed and sophisticated; Also, the staff and students have realized that the library has great roles to play in the provision of the information necessary for their day to day research. The library acts as a medium of getting the latest scientific and technological information either in print or in electronic form, for accessibility and use of the library patrons. Library resources include not only traditional print-on-paper media like books, journals, newspapers, and maps, but also audio-visual materials like cinematograph film records, audiocassettes, video cassettes, projectors, microfiches, Compact Disk Read Only Memory (CD-ROM), computer software, online databases, electronic books and e-journals and other media via the Internet. Halsey (2006) added that libraries maintain collections that include not only printed materials but also art reproductions, maps, photographs, etc. In addition to maintaining collections within library buildings, libraries often offer telecommunications links that provide users with access to information at remote sites. University libraries are often considered the most important resource centres of an academic institution. Hence, they should be sufficient in quality, depth, diversity and current to support the institution’s curriculum as posited by Oyewusi and Oyeboade (2009).
Other important resources in the library are the human beings who are the most valuable asset of any library. Even with the availability of ICT infrastructure, funds and information resources in a library, nothing gets done without man-power. Adekunle et al. (2007) noted that applying ICT in a library depends largely on human resource attitudes toward it.
1.1.2 Concept of Management in libraries
Management is that field of human behaviour in which managers plan, organise, staff, direct, and control human and financial resources in an organisation in order to achieve the desired individual and group objectives with optimum efficiency and effectiveness,( Subedi, 2007). Management has been defined as the process of getting things done through and with people. It is the planning and directing of efforts and the organizing and employing resources (both human and material) to accomplish some predetermined objectives. For the purpose of this study, management is the use of people, technology and resources to achieve the set goals and objectives of a library.
In a book entitled Foundation of Management by Robbins and David (2004) looked at management as it relates to libraries as the ability of a librarian to manipulate library staff, users and material resources in order to achieve its organisational goals and objectives. It is also the act to exploiting the resources of a library efficiently in cost- effective ways to facilitate efficiency in decision making through planning of what to select and acquire. Management of library resources includes organizing orientation, staff training, workshop and seminar for staff and patrons and making sure that the information resources shelved for users are easily accessible. More so, leading other library staff in the management of information resources, controlling the library staff to see that they perform their duties and ensure that users obliged to obey rules and regulations governing the library. Management in libraries also involves recruitment of new staff and developing the old ones. It also entails reporting what the library has achieved quarterly, biannually or annually to the management and preparing annual budget on the type of information resources the departments need based on requests made by users or funds available to the library, what they will need to meet the demand of the users and other administrative duties (Robbins, & David, 2004). In his paper, “Introduction to Modern School and College Library Management, Ekoja (2010) summarised library management as:
Working with and through people using material and other resources to achieve set goals, in other words, management is the synchronization of people and resources to achieve organisational goals. Management thus involves planning (deciding on future activities and putting in place plans for action); organisation (implementation of plans by making maximal use of required resources to achieve them); staffing (job analysis, recruitment and hiring of the appropriate staff to discharge the appropriate functions); leading/directing (determining what needs to be done in work situations and getting the people to do them); controlling/monitoring (checking progress against plans); and motivation (providing incentive to get the personnel to work effectively and efficiently).
The implication of the statement above is that no individual can work alone to achieve the organisational goals and objectives without working with other staff in the library to effectively manage the resources to meet the user’s need.
University library has to manage its resources for effective service delivery to its patrons. Iya et al. (2005) asserted that the basic tasks in managing library resources include acquisitions, processing, storing, maintenance, preservation, loaning and general administration. Other management issues include the planning of the construction of new libraries or extensions to existing ones and the development and implementation of outreach services and reading-enhancement services. Akintunde (2006) noted that having resources in the library is one thing and managing them for effective service delivery is another. Most of the libraries are managing their resources manually which takes time and energy. Faboyinde (2006) pointed out that this can be done in a short period of time through the use of internet, computers and other ICTs facilities.
1.1.3 Information and Communication Technology
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) according to Chauhan and Murphy (2004) comprises two strong technologies, one is information technology which usually deals with the hardware and software elements that allow us to access, store, organise, and manipulate the information by electronic means, and the other is communication technology, which deals with the equipment, infrastructure and software through which information can be received, accessed and disseminated, for example, phones, faxes, modems, networks, etc. Today, we all are dealing with information and it is the strength of each nation, new status of any nation can be determined by its information resources rather than economic resources. All professions the library inclusive, are dominated by ICT and now we can hear about e-governance, e-banking, e-learning, e-business, e-education, e-publishing, e-documents, e-journals, etc.
The ICT as the synergy between computers and communication devices is a composite term, which embodies three important concepts, i.e. information, communication and technology. Information means many things to many people, depending on the context. According to deWatteville and Gilbert (2000), information is any potentially useful fact, quantity or value that can be expressed uniquely with exactness. Womboh and Abba (2008) noted that information is processed data that aids decision making. It could also be visualized as a commodity that could be bought or sold. In this study, information is anything that we come in contact with directly or indirectly that adds to our knowledge and is capable of causing a human mind to change its opinion about the current state of the real world, and in a library, information is data that have been processed into form that is meaningful to the recipient/user and is of real or perceived value in current and future decision.
Communication refers to the transfer or exchange of information from person to person or from one place to another. When action produces a reaction, whether positive or negative, communication has taken place Kindersley (2003) noted that communication is the process of sharing our ideas, thoughts, and feelings understood by the people we are talking with. It is also an act of impacting news to the science and practice of transmitting information. Sanchez (2004) observed that communication is transfer of information, ideas, thoughts and messages that involves a sender, a receiver, a code and, a language that is understood by both the sender and the receiver. There must be a sender to transmit the message, and receiver to make appropriate decisions on how the rest of the exchange should continue (James, 2004). Womboh and Abba (2008) posited that it is a process involving the passing of messages through the use of symbols which all parties in the communication understand. It involves the exchange of ideas, facts, opinions, attitudes and beliefs among people. It is not a one-way affair. Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, massager and an intended recipient, even though the receiver may not be present or aware of the sender’s intent to communicate at the time of communication. Thus it can occur across vast distances in time and space. It requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality. In the context of this work, communication is the process of information exchange between the user and the librarian.
Technology refers to the use of scientific knowledge to invent tools that assist human beings in their efforts to overcome environmental hazards and impediments to comfort. In this regard, technology refers to things like the computer, telephone, cell
phone, GSM handsets, television, radio, etc. Thus, ICT includes: Computer, Internet, Digital camera, Webcam, Smart Card, Scanner, E-Books, Printers, Electronic Journals, WEB-OPAC, Animation, E-Mail, CD-ROM, DVD, RFID Technologies that enhance the acquisition, analysis, manipulation, storage and distribution of information; and the design and provision of equipment and software in the library (deWatteville and Gilbert, 2000).
1.1.4 Nigerian University Libraries
The history of university libraries in Nigeria dates back to 1948 with the establishment of the University College, Ibadan, an affiliate of University College London. Development of university libraries in Nigeria cannot be separated from the evolution and growth of universities in the country. The history of library development in Nigeria dates back to pre-independence, when the University of Ibadan and its library were established in 1948. As pointed out by Aguolu (1996), since independence in 1960, there has been an unrelenting upsurge in the establishment of educational institutions at all levels, but especially at the university level. University libraries, as integral academic parts of universities, generally emerged simultaneously with their parent institutions.
At independence in 1960, the Federal Government of Nigeria wanted to bridge the literacy and administrative manpower gaps existing in various regions of the country. It elected to establish a university in each of the regions in existence at that time. This brought about the establishment of the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in Ile-Ife, and Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria. These universities all established libraries to meet the needs of their students and staff. Over the years, universities and university libraries have increased in number. Federal and state governments have opened more universities, while private individuals and organisations are now licensed to operate universities. Presently (August, 2013), one hundred and twenty nine (129) universities were accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC, 2013). They comprised forty (40) federal universities, thirty nine (39) state owned universities and fifty 50 private universities spread across the six geo-political zones of the country. They have witnessed different levels of growth, manpower, infrastructural and technological changes according to the capabilities and visions of their owners. Agboola (2000) was of the opinion that the university libraries have long been recognized as the hub of their institutions in order to fulfil their mission of supporting the educational objectives of their parent bodies. Opera (2004) added that the libraries are continually acquiring and maintaining standard books, journals, databases, visual and audio-visual collections and the resultant services. Ogunsola (2004) noted that the new and emerging technologies challenge the traditional processes of teaching and learning and the way education is managed. Poor and inadequate funding of university libraries is widely reported in Nigeria to constitute the setback observed in library development and service delivery in Nigerian libraries.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Over the years, library information resources have grown in terms of size, format and variety. The digital era has seen the emergence of digital information resources in Nigerian libraries. Similarly the deregulation of the telecommunication industries has made ICT accessible and available in Nigerian libraries (Gbaje and Okojie, 2010). Many libraries especially the academic libraries use ICT to manage their resources, the degree of which is yet to be established.
The advent of ICTs has given librarians a face lift in the organisation and management of information in libraries. Digital media have revolutionized information sources and advances in ICT have dramatically changed information provision. The process of collection management has become very challenging and complex. According to Singh (2004), acquisition, processing, organisation, storage, preservation relegation and withdrawal of library resources will continue to evolve with new ICT products and services. Gone is the era in which housing a large collection that spans linear miles was a matter of great pride for a library. At that time, libraries were able to meet most user requirements with the resources they owned. Today, physical location of libraries is less important as long as the information is accessible. The recognition of the Nigerian university libraries, especially their roles in university development remains very significant. Their tasks have been simplified by the use of ICT facilities in the acquisition, organisation, management, and preservation of library resources among others. Oketunji (2002) noted that the tasks have not been fully exploited because of numerous challenges such as power failure, lack of funds, and lack of competent staff to manage the ICT facilities, which hinder the application of ICT in the different Nigerian libraries. Okiy asserted that libraries as centres for learning, teaching and research can no longer cope with information management through the use of traditional methods; where the process of acquisition, processing and organisation of information resources may take up to six months before the patrons use them.
Bozimo (2006) and Igun and Adogbeji (2007) observed that human capacity building is critical to the success of ICT use. Even where funds and resources are readily available, except there are competent and committed staff, very little can be achieved. Each university has variable setbacks which consequently constraint it from exploiting the advantages of ICT applications. Olagun (1997), Ezeani (2000), Zaid (2008) and Abidoye (2011), found in their studies that lack of adequate finance, shortage of manpower, system failure, staff attitude towards use of ICT, lack of ICT policies in the libraries are some of the constraints to the adaptation of ICT in Nigerian universities. Annan (2003) noted that the pervasiveness and importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) throughout the economy and society cannot be ignored especially were information is housed for national development, such as the libraries and the information centres, but the question is how many countries especially the developing countries have policies to guide them in implementing ICT facilities to improve the economy of the nation. In line with this, Okiy (2005) pointed out that lack of functional ICT policy in Nigerian libraries are factors undermining the use of ICTs especially the management of information resources.
The researcher observed that the objectives and goals of any library are the provision of timely, current and relevant information to the users, and they find it difficult to come and use the available information resources in the library since internet is there for them to utilise, with the current trend in the world. Why can the Nigerian library adapt the application of ICT to manage her information resources? Could it be that the Nigerian university libraries do not have the right information resources for their users? Could it be that the type of ICT facilities available for the management of library information resources are not adequate? Could it be that library operations and routines ICT facilities are applied in the management of information resources in the Nigerian federal university libraries are not adequate? Could it be that the extent of ICT facilities utilisation has affected the management of information resources in Nigerian federal university libraries? Could it be that the staff ICT competences has affect the management of library information resources in the Nigerian federal university libraries? Also could it be that the Nigerian federal university libraries have not overcome the challenges of ICT facilities utilisation to the management of library information resources? It is against this background that this study is designed to examine the application of information and communication technologies to management of library information resources in selected Nigerian federal university libraries.
1.3 Research Questions
This research provided answers to the following research questions:
- What type of information resources are available and are being used in the Nigerian federal university libraries?
- What type of ICT facilities are available and being used for the management of library information resources in Nigerian federal university libraries?
- Which library operations and routines are ICT facilities applied for the management of library information resources in Nigerian federal university libraries?
- To what extent have the ICT facilities utilisation affected the management of information resources in the Nigerian federal university libraries?
- How have the staff ICT competences affect the management of library information resources in the Nigerian federal university libraries?
- What are the challenges to the utilisation of ICT facilities in the management of library information resources in the Nigerian federal university libraries?
This study tested the following hypotheses for the research.
The hypotheses proffered are:
Ho1. There is no significant difference among the Nigerian federal university libraries in the type of ICT facilities available and being used for the management of their library information resources.
Ho2. There is no significant difference among the Nigerian federal university libraries’ staff ICT competences in the management of information resources.
Ho3. The ICT facilities utilisation in the Nigerian federal university libraries has no significant effect on the management of their library information resources.
1.5 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of the study is to examine the application of ICTs to management of library information resources in selected Nigerian federal university libraries. The specific objectives are:
- To identify the type of information resources available and being used in the Nigerian federal university libraries.
- To identify the type of ICT facilities available and being used for the management of library information resources in the Nigerian federal university libraries.
- To identify areas where library operations and routine ICT facilities are applied for the management of library information resources in the Nigerian federal university libraries.
- To ascertain the extent to which ICT facilities utilisation have affected the management of library information resources in the Nigerian federal university libraries.
- To ascertain the staff ICT competences in the management of library information resources in the Nigerian federal university libraries.
- To proffer solutions to the challenges of ICT facilities utilisation in the management of library information resources in the Nigerian federal university libraries.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The essence of ICT facilities application in libraries is to improve the face of information acquisition, processing, dissemination, storage and also facilitate electronic networking, creation and accessing of remote electronic databases, putting at the disposal of libraries and library users a wide range of information services and products. However, this will only be possible if Nigerian libraries understand and apply it.
It is expected that the result of the study will encourage the university library management to provide the necessary and adequate ICT facilities that will enhance the management of library information resources in the respective university libraries.
The library staff will have an insight in the need to maximize ICT facilities utilisation for better management of their library information resources to adhere to the mission and objectives of the respective libraries.
The study provided opportunities for further study on the ICT facilities utilisation for the provision of library services in the Nigerian federal university libraries and the ICT facilities utilisation to management of human or financial resources in Nigerian federal university libraries. It contributed to the existing knowledge on the ICT facilities usage in university libraries.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study centred on the application of ICT to management of library information resources in six (6) selected Nigerian federal university libraries located at each of the six (6) geopolitical zones of the country. The university libraries are: Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Kaduna State (North-West); University of Ilorin Library, Kwara State (North-Central); Nnamdi Azikiwe Library, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State (South-East); University of Lagos Library, Lagos State (South-West); University of Uyo Library, Akwa Ibom State (South-South) and Ramat Library, University of Maiduguri, Borno State (North-East) respectively. The choice of the universities was prompted by the fact that these universities are funded by the federal government and it is expected that they are well equipped with ICT facilities and spread in the six geo-political zones which will give a better understanding of application of ICT to management of library resources in Nigerian federal university libraries. Their choice also conforms with National Universities Commission’s (NUC) required standard and beneficiaries of numerous ICT infrastructure by Federal, State, and private organisations (Oketunji, 2002).
The most obvious limitation of this study is the inability to cover the entire Nigerian federal universities population due to their size, time and the cost implication of carrying out such a task. Secondly, the risk on the road to distribute the questionnaire was very challenging. Thirdly, it was not easy collecting the questionnaire back from the various university libraries because they spread in the six geo political zone of Nigeria. Lastly during the analysis, the researcher found that many respondent working in the same library could not differentiate between which integrated library software their library using at the time of collecting data, the researcher has to used the interview and observation to clear it.
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