INFORMATION NEEDS AND SEEKING BEHAVIOR OF CATALOGUERS IN UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES IN EDO AND DELTA STATE
This study surveyed the information needs and seeking behavior of cataloguers in Edo and Delta State libraries. A descriptive survey design research method was adopted and the questionnaires were used in obtaining data. The total population for the study was 52 cataloguers from five university libraries in Edo and Delta states. Nine research questions were raised and nine hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance. Data collected were analyzed through the use of simple percentages to answer the research questions and t-test statistical method of significant difference to test the hypotheses. Among the findings of the study are that cataloguers irrespective of sex difference need information for; knowledge, research, professional development, to catalogue/classify effectively and for administration in this order. It was revealed from the study that female cataloguers are more persistence in information seeking than their male counterpart. Their major media of information search are; the university main library, communication with colleagues/others and mass media. It was found that cataloguers irrespective of their sex difference occasionally or rarely attend seminars, conferences and workshops. They both expressed satisfaction from media consulted in the process of searching for information with male expressing more satisfaction. Both sexes agreed to use internet website such as Google.com, Library of congress and Webdewey with male showing slight dominance in usage in the process of searching for information. They also agreed that they adopt various search strategies such as searching, consulting and selecting while searching for information. They acquired their search skills through; friends/colleagues, reading ICT manual/materials from the library, ICT training program and half of them admitted that they acquire theirs by trial and error. Both sexes agreed that they derived benefits such as increased work output, access to current information and professional development from information sought and used. The major constraints encountered by them in the process of seeking for information are; electricity power outage, slow internet response, inadequate ICT facilities in the library and lack of time. The nine hypotheses raised in the study were accepted. The study recommends that libraries should be upgraded with adequate ICT facilities to enhance efficient and effective services. There should be a policy mandating cataloguers to attend seminars, conferences and workshops as their knowledge and skill can be upgraded.
1.1 Background to the Study
Information is so pervasive and omnibus that there is hardly any endeavor in which it is not important component. It is an analyzed or processed data that is meaningful for decision making (Aina, 2004). According to Johanessen and Kolverid (1994) information may be defined as data we can perceive, comprehend, compile and turn into knowledge. Scaunder’s (2004) posit that information in itself is not knowledge, it provides essential raw material which in due course leads to knowledge. The exchange of information is an important factor in all phase of innovation process (Roger, 1983). This accounts for why information is being sought by every group or individual. According to Reese and Aldrich (1993) not all kinds of information are important but that sought by any group must be valuable in the sense that it works.
Agosto (2001) presented a model of gender specific information behavior. The use of information from web resources by female has been marked by the following principles; collaboration, social networking, flexibility and movement, inclusion into community, contextually and personal engagement. In the view of Sullivan, Boigman, and Wippern (1990) women spent less time on preparation of information seeking and made more mistakes in databases languages. They also noted women different attitude with regard to relevant judgment. Women judge a larger amount of information as relevant than men did. They further noted that when communicating with information system women’s behavior was more interactive. According to Higgins and Hawamdeh (2001) girls used judgement based on intuition and insight. They are more patient when reading information from the screen and preferred work in group. While the performance of boys was better in browsing and use of key words, they preferred individual work. They concluded by noting that with girls the information need was conceptualized as a social event as opposed to individualistic approach of boys. In the opinion of Johannessen and Kolverid (1994) women entrepreneur appear to utilize personal and close social contact while men do not to the same extent.
In support of this, Steinerova and Susol (2005) noted that men confirmed preference of individual work and independent information seeking more frequently than women. Men apply straightforward access to information resources while women use librarian help more frequently. They noted that no significant difference have been found as for the increase of problem understanding or interest in the process of seeking information. The use of library catalogues and reference works has been confirmed more strongly by women. In the same vein, women indicated wider use of bibliographies and indexes. Women are more patient in information seeking while with men the increasing use of fast retrieval tools has been noted for example higher percentage of men (58.3%) agrees that the information confirmed their prior knowledge, compared to 41.7% of women (Steinerova and Susol, 2005). They emphasize that higher percentage of men has also confirmed that information seeking took them more time than they expected. However, women perceived lack of time more intensely (for example 30% of women and 20% of men). Olorunsola and Ibegbulam (2003) noted that female cited the daily routine of domestic duties and extra demands on time and emotional strain that accompanies caring responsibilities.
Enochsson (2005) noted that the new net generation difference between men and women in the use of the internet is diminishing. Susol (2005) supported this assertion by stating that women use the internet slightly less than men, they show higher proportion of rare use and non use of electronic resources and a lower proportion of frequent use. However, he emphasize that the sociocultural background of gender difference still leaves women with more computer anxiety of feeling of lower self efficacy. In the opinion of Rose and Fischer, (1995) Africa societies are male biased.
According to Anwar, Al-Ansari and Abdullah (2004) information need, seeking and use are areas of fundamental concern to library and information science professionals. Information need is often understood in information science as evolving from vague awareness of something missing and culminating in locating information that contributes to understanding and meaning (Kuhithau, 1996). He further emphasizes that information need triggers information seeking, which is caused by uncertainty due to lack of understanding, gap in meaning or limited constructs. Talja (1992) noted that information needs arise when an individual found himself or herself in problem situation, when he or she can no longer manage the knowledge that he or she possesses. This view was collaborated by Hayden (2005) when he stated that information seeking is triggered when someone observed that his or her current state of knowledge is less than what is needed to deal with some emerging issues or problems.
Furthermore, Solomon (1994) avers that we as individuals and groups repeatedly find ourselves in situation where information is needed gathered, sought, organized, retrieved, processed, evaluated and used. Information seeking behavior refers to the way people search for and utilizes information (Faire-Wessel, 1990). Marchionini (1995) asserted that individuals’ information seeking behavior involves active and purposeful information seeking in order to complete diverse range of professionals problems.
Callison (1997) noted that the enormous task set before the students in meeting their academic pursuit creates the responsibilities for him/her to have need and seek information that will enhance his/her education goals. This can be attributed to cataloguers as the enormous task set before them in coordinating cataloguing activities create the need for him/her to have need and seek information that will enhance their professional goals. Talja (1992) posit that individuals need information not just to tackle problems that arise in the course of performing their duties but also for professional development. Information needs of the cataloguer provide the basis for system development, bibliometrics, user education, readability of text, retrieval design and evaluation of information materials (Martins and Metcaife, 2001). In the view of Reese and Aldrich (1993) information that businesses as well as informal entrepreneurs need is rare, valuable and inimitable. They further stress that the information need of these group is peculiar to their line of operation in order to gain competitive advantage. In likewise manner, catalogues seek information that relates to their job operations in order to increase their work output.
However, due to the nature of the cataloguers work, very few of them aspire to this role (Bello and Thompson, 2003). They emphasize that cataloguers rarely attend conference, workshops seminars where they can get information on how to improve their work situations, facilitate the exchange of ideas and acquisition of new skills. This will strengthen their knowledge and abilities to provide quality-cataloguing services. In the view of Macgregor (2007) as cited by Welsh and Robertson (2007) I can’t remember if I once had a preconceived idea of what it would be like to be a cataloguer and what the general image of cataloguer is. She further emphasizes that cataloguers feel obsessed and consider themselves as not relevant as all the information in the world are now available in the internet. She also noted that technological development bring their own challenges and opportunities for expanding skills into metadata areas. Whether it is cataloguing visual resources (which can frequently change format or location or disappear altogether) or enabling access to a digitized version of a century old print items. This explains why they show unseriousness in information seeking to improve the quality of their services. Reddy (1972) posited that why would cataloguers not get excited about their work, if they know they were contributing to something bigger than themselves.
Cataloguers have special requirement to constantly retool and update by seeking information on the use of recent technology in order to affect the issues that arise while performing their work (Bello and Thompson, 2003). According to Abel (2004) frequency of the use of internet in 1998-2000 had greatly increased. There is increasing number of electronic source which librarian can benefits from in the course of searching for information (Marinoni etal, 2002). In the opinion of Martin and Metcalfe (2001) the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and its application to cataloguing process by cataloguers has not only improved professional training of the cataloguer but also improved their information seeking skill as well their (ICT) skills. The development of second generation online catalog (OPAC) has launched many search and display features that are beginning to empower cataloguers to manipulate OPAC to meet their needs and that of the patron (Lambardo and Candic, 2000). Welsh and Robertson noted that the internet has raised awareness of search strategies and expectation about the easy retrieval of information so cataloguers have to meet, match and exceed these expectations.
According to Alzofon and Van Pulis (1984) highest success rate of using the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) was noticed among cataloguers and users who had formal training and experience in search skills. Ikoja-Odongo and Ocholla (2004) in their study on the information seeking behavior of the informal sector entrepreneur opined that there is the need to improve entrepreneur information search skills to increase productivity. They further emphasize that entrepreneurs acquire skills through experience, although some gain theirs through formal training and apprenticeship. Bello and Thompson (2003) in their survey on recruitment of cataloguers that are experience in the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for information seeking, found that their wealth of experience was brought to bear on the job development. Individual personal information infrastructure is also developed during the information seeking process, when knowledge and skills are gained to adapt to different situations and problems (Xie, 2000).
In the view of Patitungkho and Deshpande (2005) information seeking behavior of faculty member in Bangkok universities are expressed in various form, from reading printed materials to research experimentation. They further stress that faculty members actively seek current information source such as the electronic media, encyclopedias, journals etc. Wilson (2000) posited that in the course of seeking information, the individual may interact with manual information source (such as the library, newspaper, journals) or with computer based source such as the web. According to Anwar etal (2004) information source of Journalist in Kuwaiti are expressed in formal and informal source, the informal source are where information is received directly from friends and colleagues and from the formal source otherwise known as the structured source respectively. In their research, they observed that respondents derived maximum satisfaction from the information obtained from formal source such as the library, conferences, government publication etc than the informal source. In the opinion of Marcella and Baxter (1999) information source of United Kingdom citizens comprise of the public libraries, information centers, family and friends, government agencies, professional association etc they observed that majority of the respondents agreed that they derived satisfaction from informal source while minority preferred information from printed media such as the library, information center etc. Bello and Thompson (2003) aver that cataloguing skills in library and information science (LIS) can only advance through continuing professional development, through a process of training and retraining which can be achieved through conferences, workshops and seminar attendance. These contribute to the effectiveness of an individual and to the achievement of personal and professional goals (Rockman, 1989).
However, Bello and Thompson (2003) noted that cataloguers will derived a lot of benefits from attending conferences, seminars and workshops. The benefits include exchange of ideas and acquisition of new skills and strengthening of the cataloguers knowledge and abilities to provide quality cataloguing services. In the view of Ikonja-Odongo and Ocholla (2004) benefits of information seeking behavior of entrepreneurs is to create access to new and better method of resolving business pitfalls, increase competitive advantage and productivity. SABINET (1983) noted that information sought and used by information professional will improve their knowledge on how to organized, disseminate, sharing of resources and evaluation of knowledge asset. It also improves their skills and competence on how to develop information system such as database and other library practices.
Despite the benefits that are accrue to the information seeking behavior of cataloguers, they are faced with a lot of constraint. According to Wilson (1996) individual encounter problems in the process of seeking information. This view was supported by Taylor (1999) when he noted that cataloguers are faced with some constraint while interacting with information source, this may be due to their inability to locate bibliographic information of an information materials. According to Adimorah (2003) factors that militate against the information seeking behavior of rural dwellers include; distance, lack of accessibility, finance and lack of awareness. In the same vein, Anwar etal (2004) noted that Journalist in Kuwaiti are confronted with the following problems; lack of available time, lack of electronic library, lack of training in information use skills, difficulty in assessing international information source, information explosion etc. In the opinion of Ikonja-Odongo and Ocholla (2004) entrepreneurs encounter the following problems while seeking information; lack of time to look for information, lack of knowledge where to get information, language barrier, lack of information facilities etc.
There have been several researches on information seeking behavior virtually in all fields of endeavor but not much have been written on the information needs and seeking behavior of cataloguing. In related topics, Anwar etal (2004) studied the information seeking behavior of journalist in Kuwaiti, Fidzani (1999) carried out a research on the information needs and seeking behavior of graduate students at the university of Botswana, Ikonja-Odongo and Ocholla (2004) studied information seeking behavior of the information sector entrepreneur in Uganda, Patitungkho and Deshpande (2005) researched on information seeking behavior of faculty members of Rajabhat universities in Bangkok. Research has also be carried out on the information seeking behavior of arts scholars in Sri Lankan universities (Ileperuwa, 2002). Johannessen and Kolvereid (1994) conducted a study on information search behavior during business gestation of entrepreneur. Marcella and Baxter (1999) did a study on the information needs and information seeking behavior of United Kingdom citizens. Kakai etal (2002) studied the information seeking behavior of undergraduate students of Makerere University, Uganda. Looking at all these studies, it is discovered that nothing has been written on information needs and seeking behavior of the cataloguer. This study therefore attempt to look at cataloguers’ information search behavior, what kind of information do they seek for and how do they go about the search?
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Information without doubt is key in this present knowledge age. Despite the obvious importance of information many professional carry out their jobs with limited information required for maximum performance. Cataloguers are not left out in this scenario. So most cataloguers are compelled to stick to the status quo.
Also it is painful to note that there is dearth of cataloguers in many academic libraries. This in most cases is associated with phobia for cataloguing and lack of necessary information to ease cataloguing processes. This negative attitude has gravely affected the productivity and service delivery of cataloguers in universities libraries. It is pertinent to ask, why is it so difficult for cataloguers to perform their task with great competency and what is the information they need to perform their task adequately?
It is against this background that this study is been carried out to unravel the information seeking behavior of cataloguers in university libraries in Edo and Delta States.
1.3 Research Questions
The following research questions are formulated to tackle the problem in this study.
- What are the information needs of male and female cataloguers in these libraries?
- What are the attitudes of male and female cataloguers towards information seeking in these libraries?
- What are the information sources of male and female cataloguers in these libraries?
- How satisfied are male and female cataloguers with information source consulted in these libraries?
- How does information and communication technology enhance male and female cataloguers information search in these libraries
- What are the information seeking strategies of male and female cataloguers in these libraries?
- How do male and female cataloguers acquire their information search skill in these libraries?
- What are the benefits of information seeking to male and female cataloguers in these libraries?
- What are the problems encountered by both male and female cataloguers when seeking for information in these libraries?
1.4 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses are formulated to guide the study.
- There is no significant difference between male and female cataloguers information needs
- There is no significant difference between male and female cataloguers attitude towards information seeking
- There is no significant difference in the information source consulted by both male and female cataloguers
- There is no significant difference in the level of satisfaction derived from information sources consulted by male and female cataloguers.
- There is no significant difference between male and female cataloguers use of information and communication technology for information seeking.
- There is no significant difference between male and female cataloguers information seeking strategies.
- There is no significant difference between male and female cataloguers acquisition means of information search skills.
- There is no significant difference between the benefits derived from information sought by male and female cataloguers.
- There is no significant difference in the problems encountered by male and female cataloguers while seeking for information.
1.5 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to examine the information needs and seeking behavior of cataloguers in university libraries in Edo and Delta States. Specifically, the study wish to;
- determine the information needs of male and female cataloguers
- examine male and female cataloguers attitude towards information seeking
- ascertain the information source consulted by male and female cataloguers
- ascertain the level of satisfaction derived from information source consulted by male and female cataloguers.
- investigate the extent male and female cataloguers use information and communication technology (ICT) for information seeking.
- determine the information seeking strategies of both male and female cataloguer.
- ascertain the acquisition means of information seeking skills of male and female cataloguers.
- determine the benefits of the information sought by both male and female cataloguers.
- determine the problems that both male and female cataloguers encounter while seeking information.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will be useful to library staff, researchers and students as it will provide literature in this respect. It will also help library management to set in motion a conducive atmosphere for cataloguers to thrive as regard information seeking so as to increase their efficiency and productivity. In a nutshell, the findings will challenge cataloguers on the need to use modern technology to search for information and the various strategies involved.
1.7 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The study focuses on the information needs and seeking behavior of cataloguers in university libraries in Edo and Delta States. The study will investigate gender difference on the; information needs of cataloguers, attitude of the cataloguers towards information seeking, information source consulted and level of satisfaction derived from the information source consulted, extent cataloguers use information and communication technology for information search, cataloguers information seeking strategies, benefits as well as the problems militating against information seeking behavior of cataloguers. The universities in Edo and Delta State comprise of the following; University of Benin, Benin (Federal), Benson Idahosa University, Benin (Private), Novena University, Amai (Private), Igbinedion University, Okada (Private), Delta State University, Abraka (State) and Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma (State).
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Cataloguer: These are professional who are responsible for the organization and processing information materials for easy and quick access and retrieval.
Information Need: This can be defined as a situation that arises when a cataloguer encounters a work related problem that can be resolved through some information.
Information Behavior: This is a unique set of complex activities perform by human in seeking for information (Arnold, 1978). It’s an innate motivational state which involves purposive seeking for information.
Information Seeking Behavior: This is a process in which an individual goes about looking for relevant and pertinent information. It is the complementary process to information need.
Information Seeking Strategies: These are tactics used to seek information or to work through a stage of search process (Kuhithau, 1996).
Information Use: It is the application of information to problem situation. It is also the effective utilization of information need.
Information Sources: According to Adomi (2006) information sources are information bearing materials which enables cataloguers to meet their information needs.
Information Literacy: This is the ability to effectively access and evaluate information for a given need (Branik, 1985).
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