Challenges In The Preservation And Conservation Of Information Resources In Academic Libraries; A Case Study Of Imo State University Owerri

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

Challenges In The Preservation And Conservation Of Information Resources In Academic Libraries; A Case Study Of Imo State University Owerri


Abstract


This study was designed to assess the challenges in the preservation and conservation of information resources in academic libraries using a case study of Imo State University Owerri. A descriptive survey research design was used for the study. There was no need for sampling since the entire population which are the academic librarians in the university were used. Questionnaire was used for data collection. In analyzing the data obtained, frequency counts, simple percentages, and mean (X) were used as statistical methods. The results obtained from the findings, revealed that the academic librarians are merely satisfied with the extent under which preservation and conservation are applied to materials; that there are some challenges associated with preservation and conservation of library resources in these libraries; that many strategies were suggested by the academic librarians to enhance the preservation and conservation polices in these libraries. Based on the finding, it was recommended that these libraries should put into practice all the available preservation and conservation polices in their libraries; that regular power supply should be improved upon; sanctions among the librarians should be encouraged; tanning personnel of the library should be organized for the academic librarians; adequate funding and infrastructure should be given to the library users; proper cleaning and dusting as well as proper shelving of books should be given to library materials; eating in the library should be discouraged and regular fumigation of the library should be put into practice.

 


Table of Content


Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Question
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisation of the Study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Preservation and Conservation Practices in Libraries
  • 2.3 Factors Necessitating Libraries Adoption of Preservation and Conservation Practice
  • 2.4 Human Resources Needed for Preservation and Conservation in Libraries
  • 2.5 Problems Associated with Preservation and Conservation in Libraries
  • 2.6 Strategies for the Enhancement of Preservation and Conservation in Libraries
  • 2.7 Review of Related Empirical Studies

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population
  • 3.3 Sample and Sampling Technique
  • 3.4 Instrument for Data Collection
  • 3.5 Validity of the Instrument
  • 3.6 Reliability of the Instrument
  • 3.7 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.8 Data Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results and Discussion

  • 4.1 Result
  • 4.2 Discussion

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Preservation and conservation are essential library activities which when well implemented has the capability of sustaining and promoting library activities for a very long time. However, preservation is often used interchangeably with conservation, besides, there is a subtle difference between the two. Preservation suggests that natural resources will be left undisturbed, while conservation usually indicates some resource management.

The process of preservation and conservation are applied to safeguard the library materials from further decay and deterioration. Preservation is the process in which all actions are taken to check and retard deterioration whereas conservation includes proper diagnosis of the decayed materials, timely curative treatment and appropriate prevention from further decay. In effect, these two terms could be used inter-changeably. In other words, ‘Preservation’ and ‘Conservation’ depicts the activities which libraries use for the maintenance and sustenance of library resources and facilities which could be human or material. However, Anjaiah (2008) stresses that “the words” preservation and conservation” are often used interchangeably to mean: the process of keeping an object safe from harm or loss, damage, destruction or delay, and maintaining it in a reasonably sound condition for present and future use. He maintained that these two words are different, though interrelated and overlapping connotations. As a result of this, Harvey (1993) also explained that the terms “Preservation and “Conservation” have been used interchangeably in library literature until the last few years. He maintained that currently, conservation is the more specific term and is particularly used in relation to specific objectives while “preservation” is a broader concept covering conservation as well as actions relating to protection between “Preservation and “Conservation”. He explained that preservation applies to various strategies for preserving the intellectual content” while “Conservation” is primarily concerned with ensuring that the original artifact is maintained and secure”. Similarly, the New International Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary (1996) also stressed that to conserve, defend, guard, keep, maintain, sustain among others are synonyms for preservation”.

By definition therefore, preservation of library activities has been defined as the totality of the steps necessary to ensure the permanent accessibility of a particular material forever. Suman (2008) defined preservation as the transfer of information to another medium, such as microfilm and electronic materials. However, the new international Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary (1996) defined “preservation” as “a noun for the word preserve which means to keep in safety or to keep from destruction. Similarly, Wikipedia (2009) defined “preservation” as the branch of library and information science concerned with maintaining or restoring access to artifacts documents, different from conservation which refers to the treatment and repair of individual items to show decay or restore them to useable state. In the same view, Harrods librarian glossary also defined “preservation” as the managerial and financial considerations including storage, techniques and methods involved in preserving library and achieve materials and the information contained in them”. Ogbodo (2004) also stressed that “preservation” involves all the measures taken to guarantee the safety of prints and non- print materials in the libraries. Similar, Ania (2007) explain that “preservation is a means of taking care of library materials to avoid deterioration. Okonkwo (2009) was not left out as he also defined “preservation” as “the totality of measures for maintaining the integrity of document and the information contained in them which includes all the managerial and financial considerations, storage and accommodation provisions, staffing level policies, techniques and methods involved in safe guarding documentary materials.

On the other hand, “conservation is also seen as an occurrence of improvement by virtue of preventing loss or injury or other change. Similarly, Popoola (2003) defined conservation as policies and operations embarked upon by the managers of libraries and with the aim of increasing the life span of their information resources by preventing damage or remedying deterioration. He further explained that it may also be seen as direct physical intervention arresting or showing down deterioration of library resources. However, Harrison (1992) stressed that conservation is about good house-keeping, learning how to handle and store resources to do the least damage, not subjecting it to unnecessarily heavy use and ensuring that back-up or safety copies exist. Therefore, conservation is a preventive but active measure, for doing something to the material, not putting it in the wrong environment, not handling or touching the surface or running material through faulty equipment which will scratch and damage it.

Generally, available literature has shown that libraries and their resources are essential tools for education and these resources are generally ephemeral (short life span) and as such because of the constant use they undergo every day in libraries especially in university libraries, they are bound to tear and wear. But despite these facts, they are bound to be used.

University library generally, according to Edoka (2000) are those libraries attached to universities to support teaching, learning and research. Similar to this, Aguotu (1989) also said that university library like any other forms of establishment is designed and run by people whose job is to combine and use organizational resources to achieve organizational objectives.

These libraries provide and maintain means of information that are of interest to their parent institution, provide the study of the objectives of their parent institutions, get involved in preparation and publications of books, records reports or otherwise as may be desired by their parent bodies. However, the libraries in a bid to meet the set objectives of the universities provide a wide range of resources and services, which include monographs, textbooks, reference documents, audio-visual resources and other equipment like computer and internet facilities, current awareness services, abstracting and indexing services and a comfortable reading environment. The university libraries can only achieve their objectives if adequate preservation and conservation practices of library materials are made available for the procurement and processing of materials, hiring of personnel, purchase and maintenance of equipment because preservation and conservation is the bedrock of every organization including the university libraries.

In view of the above, one of the main problem facing university libraries in south-east zone of Nigeria as a whole is lack of funds. Robert (2003) explained funding as the process of raising money or capital for any kind of expenditure. University libraries in developing countries such as Nigeria are facing major funding problems due to non-growing or even decreasing appropriations from the university administration and other funding agencies. As a result of this Carole Dyal (2008) explained that subject specialists, bibliographers, and departmental/subject divisional librarians are directly responsible for the intellectual composition of the collection that these staff members are in the best position to know an items intrinsic value to the collection as a whole, and its expected use. Unfortunately, she said that these professionals are often unaware of preservation and conservation options that can protect materials and prolong their use despite that the preservation and conservation treatment of the collection should be their direct concern since physical access is as critical to patron satisfaction as bibliographic access. She went ahead to explain that the emphasis on preservation and conservation practices does not extend beyond “rare” books, even though irreplaceable items and materials of permanent research value are found on the open shelves of most libraries.

Moreso, the current situation in these university libraries is that they cannot order for new materials because of lack of funds and the materials they have within are out-dated, detoriated, as a result of over handling and lack of maintenance. However, these made universities materials in these federal university libraries in South-East zone to be mainly by donation and strict purchase. Therefore, there is need for us to preserve and conserve what we have by providing a cover or jacket to the material immediately it arrived, by laminating some of these materials, by binding the materials, by ensuring a regular dusting and clearing of the materials, by ensuring proper handling and maintenance of library resources, by ensuring reformatting–photocopying, micro-films and digitization and so on because the past is the foundation of the future.

Preservation and Conservation of library materials are done to safeguard the library materials from further decay and disfiguration. Sule and Ademu (2005) observed that preservation and conservation practices of library materials leads to the security of man’s recorded knowledge. Through the process of preservation and conservation, man has been able to keep intact the records of the past, the present into safe places. These ensure the continued and effective exploitation of resources in any given library. Moreso, preservation and conservation practices ensure the continued supply of information for the research purposes and for posterity. When there is a good preservation and conservation practices on library materials, efforts will not be a waste on replacement. Materials which should have been expanded on replacement are channeled to the acquisition of new resources to enrich the existing collection. The life span of the collections, books, journals, monographs, audio-visuals etc. are safeguarded through the instrument of preservation and conservation.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The library materials which are unique in nature because of the information they contain deserve to have the maximum preservation and conservation practice in order to retain the information they contain for a very long period of time. University libraries in developing countries such as Nigeria, there is a dearth of valuable publication because most of these library materials are not properly protected in these libraries. Despite that these libraries struggled and suffered to acquire these library resources which are not easy to be replaced when they are lost are not properly preserved and conserved yet, the information contained in these library resources can serve library users for decades of years.

Besides, these resources are the major sources of reference and consultation to all who are in need of one information or the other yet, these resources lack proper preservation and conservation polices in these libraries.
It has been observed that in these university libraries, that these library resources are always very dirt and dusty. Some of these library resources have lost their back cover and as a result of this, they are just floating in the shelves as they can no longer be identified with their area of specialization. The spine of some of these resources has been pulled out as a result of rough handling of these resources. It has also been observed that some of these resources have no hard-cover, they are not laminated and there is know provision for duplicate copies for these resource. Sometimes, the pages of these resources will be incomplete as a result of constant and frequently used by the users and as a result of this, the information contained in them will also be lost. In support of this Olumsola (1987) and Onadiran (1988) reported that books in university libraries are preferred at an alarming rate.

However, in spite of many benefits derived from effective preservation and conservation in federal university libraries, the tendency is that these libraries will face the risk of losing the intellectual contents as well as cultural heritage and other sources of information available with these libraries. This is because there is a little or no preservation and conservation policy in these university libraries in Nigeria. As a result of this, the conditions of these library materials in these university libraries in are nothing to write home about. Presently, the current situation of library resources in federal NS state university libraries as with regard to preservation and conservation of library resources is not known and this is why this study is important and needs to be investigated.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to assess the challenges in the preservation and conservation of information resources in academic libraries using a case study of Imo State University Owerri. Specifically, the objectives of the study include to;

  1. To determine the extent to which preservation and conservation practices are applied to information resources in Imo State University library?
  2. To highlight the challenges associated with the preservation and conservation practices of information resources in Imo State University library
  3. To identify the strategies of enhancing the preservation and conservation practices of information resources in Imo State University library

1.4 Research Question

The following research questions are formulated to guide this research:

  1. To what extent are preservation and conservation practices applied to information resources in Imo State University library?
  2. What are the challenges associated with the preservation and conservation practices of information resources in Imo State University library?
  3. What are the strategies of enhancing the preservation and conservation practices of information resources in Imo State University library?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • HO1 Preservation and conservation practices are not applied to information resources in Imo State University library
  • HA1 Preservation and conservation practices are applied to information resources in Imo State University library

1.6 Significance of the Study

The findings of the study are of immense benefit to the following: Library administrators, the staff in Binding section as well as other researchers.

The findings of the study is expected to be of interest to the university or college librarian by ensuring that they understand the true state of the library materials as they will see that they share duties properly to each sections of the library and see that they monitor and punish the defaulters accordingly. The findings of this study are expected to be beneficial to the heads of different units in the library as it will help to reveal to the state of preservation and conservation methods that will enable them to improve on saving the library materials from destruction.

Moreover, the information generated by the study will be of help to the binding section as they will enable them to understand the need to bind library materials as soon as they arrive to the library before sending them to their various shelves in order to give longevity to the materials. More so, the information generated by the study will be of help to institutions and organizations as it will provide a framework for the preservation and conservation programme in their libraries.

In addition, other researchers will benefit from the findings of this study as it will highlight them to the strategies of preservation and conservation practices in the federal universities in South- East zone in Nigeria.


1.7 Scope of Study

The research work covered the academic university in Imo State University Owerri. The respondents include all the library staff members that are involved in the project. The study is limited to the preservation and conservation of library resources in the libraries of the university.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

In the course of this study, the researcher encountered some limitations. There was unwillingness of respondents to fill the questionnaires. Some of the copies questionnaires were also reported missing and it was severally replaced and this affected the researcher negatively finance wise. Also, the researcher faced time constraints and had to combine the research with other academic activities and coursework. Lastly, the researcher selected a case study since all the academic libraries could not be exhausted.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Academic Library:

An academic library is a library that is attached to a higher education institution and serves two complementary purposes: to support the curriculum, and to support the research of the university faculty and students. Modern academic libraries generally also provide access to electronic resources.

Preservation:

In library and archival science, preservation is a set of preventive conservation activities aimed at prolonging the life of a record, book, or object while making as few changes as possible. Preservation activities vary widely and may include monitoring the condition of items, maintaining the temperature and humidity in collection storage areas, writing a plan in case of emergencies, digitizing items, writing relevant metadata, and increasing accessibility.

Conservation:

Conservation is the task of minimizing or reducing the physical and chemical deterioration of documents.

Library Information Resources:

Library information resources that can be found in any type of library are in both print and electronic formats such as textbooks, journals, indexes, abstracts, newspapers, magazines, reports, CD-Rom databases, Internet, tapes, diskettes, computers, microforms etc.


1.10 Organisation of the Study

This study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one included the background of the study, research problem, research objectives and questions as well as limitation of the study. Chapter two contains the literature review. Chapter three includes the methodology and study area. Chapter Four contains the results and discussion of key findings of the study. Chapter Five finally looks at the summary, conclusions, and recommendations based on the findings.


Chapter Five


5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This study was carried out to assess the challenges in the preservation and conservation of information resources in academic libraries using a case study of Imo State University Owerri. Based on the analysis of data, responses obtained from structured questionnaire, the following major findings are made:

  1. It is obvious that most of the preservation and conservation practices are available in Imo State University Owerri.
  2. It has been established that the extent these practices are used in these libraries are at a very low extent.
  3. It has also been established that that the prevailing factors necessitating these libraries in adopting preservation and conservation practices in Imo State University Owerri are at a very great extent.
  4. The extent preservation and conservation practices are applied to library materials in these libraries are at great extent.
  5. The challenges encountered in preservation and conservation practice in these libraries are at a very great extent.
  6. The strategies suggested to enhance the preservation and conservation practices in these libraries are at a very great extent.

5.2 Conclusion

Preservation and conservation of library resources have become a driving force in new service platform of the libraries. Preservation and conservation have been proved to be an important tool for improving services in university libraries. It is important for teaching, learning, research and development of human beings. From the analysis and discussion of the findings, the researcher discovered that different types of preservation and conservation practices were available, functions, although not well implemented in the library under study. The study also identify that some of the preservation and conservation practices are practiced to a greater extent while some are at very low extent and others are not practiced at all. This study has also been able to identify the problems associated with preservation and conservation of library resources in library under study, ranging from: inadequate infrastructure, frequent power failure, inadequate funding of the library, lack of trained personnel, harsh environmental condition in the tropical zone and little awareness of the importance of preservation and conservation among information professionals. The researcher, observed that for the enhancement of preservation and conservation of library resources among library under study, there is need for adoption and implementation of strategies which include: Regular power supply, proper clearing and dusting of library materials, proper shelving of books to allow free flow of air, Handling library materials carefully, avoid eating in the library, formulating a library policy, adequate fund of the library, Regular education of library users, adequate infrastructure, and Regular fumigation of the library.


5.3 Recommendation

Based on the findings of this study, the following are recommended;

  1. School libraries should be adequately funded. It is when school libraries are given priorities in terms of fund that will be enabling to preserve its information resources from deterioration and sudden disasters. Therefore, governments at all levels are urged to provide enough funds for the preservation of information resources at primary and post primary school libraries.
  2. Review of the existing preservation policies on information resources is recommended for the school libraries. If the preservation policies are reviewed, it would definitely help the school management, the library staff and the users. Everyone would easily read and it would enhance preservation of information resources positively. It is also being recommended that preservation policies on information resources should be reinforced in school libraries for an effect use.
  3. Training of library staff on preservation of information resources is also recommended. Although the research result revealed that school libraries engaged their staff on school orientation programme and school-house training. Notwithstanding school library personnel could also be sent abroad on the aspect of preservation of information resources because preservation activities are specialised and required information professionals who understand the human, physical and chemical nature of information resources in their libraries.
  4. Publications like journals and magazines were also recommended for the school libraries. These would eventually increase the knowledge and reading habit of pupils and students if acquired by the school libraries. As all these information resources are acquired, they must be preserved for long use.

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