Jan 17, 2022 Comments Off on PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES OF DIGITIZATION OpenBook
PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES OF DIGITIZATION OF ACADEMIC LIBRARY RESOURCES FOR EFFECTIVE SERVICE DELIVERY
This study investigated the prospects and challenges of digitization of academic library resources for effective service delivery in Edo State, Nigeria. Five research questions guided the study. A survey research design was adopted, the total population for this study was 199 professional and Para-professional of all the university libraries in Edo State, and purposive sampling technique was used in selecting the population which constituted the sample. Questionnaires and observation checklist were used for data collection. A total of 161 questionnaires were distributed to the respondents who comprised of the professionals and Para-professionals library staff from the university libraries under study and 115 questionnaires were retrieved and analyze using mean score, standard deviation, percentage and frequency counts. From the analysis of data collected, the findings revealed that increased access to library materials, effective preservation of library materials, improve library services, speedy retrieval of document and improving library visibility are the major purposes for digitization of library resources. However, the result shows that inadequate funding, high cost of purchasing equipment, inadequate skill personnel, erratic power supply, poor internet connectivity, copyright issues/management are some of the major challenges inhibiting effective and efficient digitization of library resources in academic libraries. Based on the findings, recommendation were made such as alternative power supply, seeking for financial aid from donor organization, establishment of copyright management, proper selection and procurement of facilities/equipment, and training and retraining of librarians to acquire all the relevant and up-to-date skills for effective digitization.
1.1 Background of the Study
With the advent of information and communication technology (ICT) and the internet facilities, the traditional functions of the library as a place for storage and preservation of information sources has changed dramatically. Academic libraries are duly bound to acquire, preserve and disseminate information for whatever source to its clientele, in this information age. This has led to academic libraries in Africa and Nigeria in particular, to embark on integration of technology in their operations. This serve as a mechanism for improvement and development especially in a situation where attention is drawn to the academic contents and ways of preserving them for future use.
Otubelu and Ume (2015) opined that there is need for such sources of information to be kept, preserved and made available in a more convenient and accessible formats. Prolonging the life-span of information resources and knowledge assets of man is better carried out with information and communication technology (ICT) for easy access to and dissemination of information resources for effective service delivery.
Oyedun (2007) in Krubu and Osawaru (2011) defines academic libraries as those libraries that are mainly found in tertiary institutions, they are established to support learning, teaching and research processes. Academic libraries can be regarded as the focal point or heartbeat of its parent institution as they are primarily established to provide information resources to support the academic programmes. Igwesi (2010) noted that proper fulfillment of this role provides a sound basis for the transmission and advancement of knowledge. Over the past few years, academic libraries have been affected by advancement in information and communication technology (ICT) and it application to libraries. It introduction has revolutionized the way information is packaged, processed, stored, retrieved, and disseminated but also, how users seek and access information in the twenty-first century.
A number of scholars have defined the concept of digitization differently. According to Gbaje (2007), digitization is the process of converting non-digital born documents into digital format. Witten and Bridge (2003) defined it as the process of taking traditional library materials that are in the form of books and papers and converting them into electronic form where they can be stored and manipulated by a computer. Thus, digitization entails all the sequence involved in the course of converting conventional information materials into machine readable format (digital format). Digitization therefore involves more than the conversion of prints document to digital formats but includes policy enactment, planning and budgeting, acquisition of appropriate technology, scanning, uploading to the web or repository, preserving, maintaining archival media, and the organization of the digital content into a navigable format (flexible and compatible programmes) for increased access and effective service delivery of the digital content to the target audience.
The digitization of academic library resources and the intellectual output of an institution has a lot of invaluable benefits such as increasing the visibility of the library’s resources, improve services delivery to the myriad of users, enhanced access to current and vast amount of information from remote sites/location as users can easily access library resources from different parts of the world no matter the distance; flexibility of information search and retrieval; it ensures better preservation of library resources by a reduced handling of the original print materials and alleviating the problems normally associated with conventional library environment such as mutilation of information resources, theft, space constraints, scarcity or limited number of copies, limited hour of operation and poor storage environment normally associated with the manual preservation. It is a veritable information source of e-learning and it offers a platform for collaboration and interoperability of libraries globally.
Digitization has the potential of making Africa global producers of indigenous information and thus helps in preservation of our cultural heritage rather than being passive consumers of imported information. Hence, digitization paves way for the globalization of local content and the accessibility of global information resource (GIR) locally. In Africa, most digital initiatives are collaborative. For example, the Digital Image Project of South Africa (DISA) is a cooperative project of South African Librarians, archivist, and Scholars. Another is Kwetu Net, which has signed up African governments and Universities, as partners and has developed a full-test database on East Africa (Amollo, 2011). Asogwa (2011) noted that, since the evolution many digital library projects such as that of the Association of Africa University (AAU), the Rhodes University in South Africa, the University of Nigeria Nsukka, and the Africa Digital Library (ADL), are some of the digital library projects being implemented in Africa.
In Nigeria, a lot of impressive efforts have been made in digitizing library collections all over the country. According to Musa et al., (2014) some of the academic libraries who have already embarked on digitizing their local contents includes Kashim Ibrahim library, which is the main library of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, their project started in July 2005; University of Jos in 2009 becoming the first institution (University) to establish an institutional repository (IR) and second in West Africa after University of Science and Technology, Ghana; University Nigeria joined the trend in 2008, as it commenced the digitization of it resources; Federal University of Technology, Akure, started in 2011, using Dspace (application software) in managing the institutional content of their repository and Covenant University in the year 2012 becoming the first private university that owns institutional repository. In the same vein, Igwesi (2010) noted that Nnamdi Azikwe University, (UNIZIK) Akwa; Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), and Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU) Ile-Ife have all started digitization of it collections. Other digital initiatives in Nigeria as noted by Ochai (2007) in Igwesi (2010) include: The Nigerian University Library Consortium which created the capacity for libraries to negotiate for reduced licenses for EBSCO host and it contains over 8000 academic journals in all fields. Also, the Nigeria Virtual Library Initiative by the Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC) which aims at bringing electronic information to Nigerian Universities.
According to Akintunde and Anjo (2012) the idea of institutional repository in Nigeria is a current theme in tertiary institution that have seen it as a necessity for making available their institution resources, thereby increasing their visibility and better ranking of the World Universities in particular. They further stated that this has been a healthy competition because more and more of the institutions have been devising creative means to increasing their digital contents in the public domain (online), resulting in more Nigerian contents on the internet, and particularly more openness and share-ability of institutional resources. The digitization of library resources and research outputs of an institution is a step in the right direction, since the aim and overall objective is to preserve and improve access to library resources. The manual system of searching for information sources and utilization in the conventional library does not permit multiple uses of the same materials by different users. It is also inefficient and time consuming, space constraints unlike the online library system (digital library). Hence, the need to exploit the benefits of digitization and digital library system to provide online services as well as enhancing effective and efficient information service delivery in the twenty-first century.
Brief History of the Libraries under Study Ambrose Alli University Library
The Ambrose Alli University Library was established in 1982, to support the teaching, learning and research activities of the parent institution. The creation of Edo State in 1992 had its name changed to Edo State University and has gone through an Act signed by the then Executive Governor of the State (Chief Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion). In 1991, the school was renamed Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, after the founder Professor Ambrose Folorunsho Alli.
The University Library had Prof. Sam I. Ifidon as its pioneer librarian from 1982-1997 and it current university librarian is Dr. (Mrs.) J. I. Aba. The library occupies a two story building situated at the middle of the school, it is stocked with over 280,000 (two hundred and eighty thousand) books and non book materials on various fields in line with the academic programmes of it parent institution. The library also have an E-library at the middle floor of the library, using SLAM (Strategic Library Automation Management) as it Library Application Software (LAS) for the automation of the library operations.
The main library buildings has a sitting capacity of over 500 (five hundred) readers at a time and carrels for academic staff there, are also over seven other outreach libraries established within the university community to facilitates all academic related activities (Osawele, 2015).
Benson Idahosa University Library
The Benson Idahosa University Library occupies a three story circular building situated opposite the central Administration building. The library is fully air-conditioned to enhance maximum comfort for serious academic and research activities.
The library commended in 2002 after the appropriate endorsement of the Nigerian universities commission. The library serves as the hub around which the academic activities in the university revolve. The library has a stock of over 42,014 volumes of textbooks and reference books. It subscribes to about 317 current journal titles with the 204 foreign titles and 113 local titles.
University of Benin Library (John Harris Library)
The university’s main library, the John Harris Library began with the inception of the university in 1970 at the Ekehuan Road Campus. The library was named after the pioneer librarian, Professor John Harris, from New Zealand.
The library is an ultra-modern building with central air conditioning. The building is designed to seat about 700 readers. It provides photocopying, duplicating, laminating and binding services. The library has been computerized.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Today, academic libraries are struggling to keep their place as the major sources of inquiry in the face of emerging digital technology. Library consumers (especially the digital natives) have high expectations from the librarians and information professionals than ever before in order to access the right information and knowledge in the right format and at the right time from wherever they are (Jain, 2013). The invaluable importance of library digitization such as it improves speedy access to library materials, several users can access the same information materials the same time without hindrance, it eliminate the problem of distance, improve library visibility and effective preservation of library resource and improved library services, etc, have made this become one of the major impetus for change in academic libraries in the digital age for the adoption of ICT and digitization of library resources.
Although an impressive effort has been made by Nigerian university libraries in digitizing their local contents all over the country, yet progress has been significantly slow. However, scholars have observed that it is always misleading to assume that the introduction of computer-based library (digital library system) provides perfect and trouble free information management possibilities. These perceived problems could be attributed to a number of challenges.
Knowledge of these challenges is essential for any university to be aware of in the course of digitizing it collections. It is obvious that there is still a gap which needs to be filled in order to achieve effective digitization initiatives in academic libraries in the country. Hence, the need for this study. which intends to examine the prospects and challenges of digitization of academic library resources for effective services delivery.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objective of this research is to investigate the prospects and challenges of digitization of academic library resources for effective service delivery. The specific objectives include to:
Ascertain the purpose of digitizing library resources in the schools under study.
Ascertain the resources to be digitize
Reveal the facilities and equipment used for digitization
Ascertain the level of digitization skills possess by the library staff.
Identify the challenges affecting the digitization of library resources.
1.4 Research Questions
To achieve the foregoing objective, the following research questions are asked.
What are the purposes for digitizing library resources?
What are the resources available for digitization in libraries?
Are there facilities and equipments for digitization in libraries
What is the level of digitization skills possessed by the library staff?
What are the challenges or problems affecting the digitization of library resources?
1.5 Scope of the Study
This research covers the following academic libraries in Edo State, Nigeria: Ambrose Alli University Library, Ekpoma (AAU), Benson Idahosa University Library, Benin (BIU), and University of Benin Library (John Harris Library), Benin (UNIBEN).
Furthermore, the study will unravel: purpose, facilities used in digitization; types of resources digitized, extent of digitization skills possessed by the library staff under study and challenges associated with the digitization of library resources.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The essential value of digitization of academic library resources are the ability to preserve information resources, providing a platform for share-ability and duplicity of data; quick access to information in a digital format from remote location. In view of this, it is hoped that the finding of this research work will be of benefit to the library administrators, library system analysts and digital library management staff; library scholars and researchers, student of LIS profession and the general library users.
The findings of this study will help library heads/administrators to adopt effective strategies that will help them enhance their digitization practices in libraries. The system analysts and digital library management staff (and managers) will also find this work useful. This is because it is expected that the findings of this work will be useful as to the best practices involved in digitization process, designs, programming and their formation of strategies that could better enhances digitization.
Furthermore, the findings of this study will be useful to the university management board, library head and the entire library staff as it will help to reveal to them the extent of the digitization project in their library. In addition, the findings of this study will be of benefit to the library users (library community) as it will reveal to them the various library materials that are available for digitization and when fully digitized will enable them carryout effective teaching, learning and research activities.
This work will be a vital source material to researchers (LIS researchers) especially in the area of digitization of library resources, as it will help in widening their horizon in the knowledge of digitization in libraries. It is also hoped that the finding of the research will serve as a template for further study to be carried out in the area of digitization.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
The researcher encountered a number of problems in the course of carrying out this study. The time frame to carry out the study was rather too short; there was also financial constraint and access to relevant information sources were major challenges encountered.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Digitization: This entails all the sequence involved in the course of converting conventional information materials into machine readable format (digital format).
Digital Library: Is a collection of documents in organized electronic form, available on the internet or on CD ROM disk.
Institutional Repository: A repository established and managed by public or private institution.
Academic Library: Academic library can be defined as libraries attached to tertiary institutions with the primary aim of supporting its learning, teaching and research activities.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT): It is an omnibus term that combines computer and telecommunication technology; it is concerned with the technology used in handling, acquiring, processing, storing and disseminating information.