Information Brokerage Intentions And Skills Among Library And Information Science Students In Ebonyi State

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

Information Brokerage Intentions And Skills Among Library And Information Science Students In Ebonyi State


Abstract


This study focuses on information brokerage intentions and skills among library and information science students in Ebonyi state. The study employed a quantitative descriptive survey design, using a self-designed questionnaire distributed to 220 students in the department of library and information science in Ebonyi State University. From the findings of the study, it was revealed that majority of the respondents were aware that the information brokerage skills and intentions include providing clients with information for a fee (86.8%), indexing and abstracting (79.0%), editing and publishing (76.4%), cataloguing and classification (78.3%), and marketing management of library (79%).. Findings demonstrated the benefits to include Business opportunities with a new focus on info-entrepreneurs (77.7%), Creation of specialised areas and employment in corporate organisations (70.2%), Assisting government in drafting information policy (75.0%), Strategizing for competitive intelligence of an organisation (79.1%), and Boosting the frontier of entrepreneurship in Nigeria (76.8%).Findings demonstrated the challenges to include Librarianship practice in Nigeria is yet to be fully appreciated by the public (70.5%), The lukewarm attitude of users towards librarians is worrisome and frustrating (74%), Lack of highly educated environment (75.9%), Lack of information brokering practice for information development sustainability (76.4%), and Issues of inadequate power supply (60.2%).The strategies were shown to include Conducting a feasibility study on commercialisation of the library and information service profession (82.9%), Promotion of experts in the various aspects of information brokerage (72.4%), Coordination, marketing, promotion and publicity of information brokerage activities (90%), Clients’ awareness of the usefulness of information management should be created (81.0%), and Consultants and brokers should be readily available when needed (85.2%).There is need for adequate infrastructural development in the areas of power supply, good roads, social amenities, credit facilities from financial institutions and private ones.


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 Review
  • 2.2 Information Brokerage and Academic Libraries
  • 2.3 Availability Of Information Brokerage
  • 2.3.1 Availability Of Brokerage in Resource Acquisition
  • 2.3.2 Availability Of Brokerage on Information Distribution
  • 2.3.3 Availability Of Brokerage on Information Dissemination
  • 2.3.4 Availability Of Brokerage on Professional Services
  • 2.4 Library And Information Science Education In Nigeria
  • 2.5 Challenges And Prospects of Information Brokering
  • 2.6 The Nature Of Information Brokerage in Nigeria
  • 2.7 Information Brokerage Business Model
  • 2.8 Library and Business
  • 2.9 Availability of Market for Information Brokerage
  • 2.10 Benefits of Information Brokering to an Entrepreneur
  • 2.11 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.11.1 Diffusion of Innovation Theory

Chapter Three

3.0 Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Study Area
  • 3.3 Target Population
  • 3.4 Sample and Sampling Technique
  • 3.5 Research Instrument
  • 3.6 Validity of the Instrument
  • 3.7 Reliability of the Instrument
  • 3.8 Data Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results and Discussion

  • 4.1 Results
  • 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 of the Study

Brokerage is an entrepreneurial business activity which people engage in to make a living. It is a business transaction in which practitioners depend largely on commission, computed and paid on agreed percentage by their principal. Brokers do not earn salaries. According to Garner (2009) brokerage is the business of a broker, who only earns commission for brokerage activities undertaken. It is important to note that brokers do not own the subject matter of transactions, but only use same to apply their trade earning commission. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English describes a broker as “a middleman in bargains, agents, and a person licensed to sell or appraise distrained goods”. It specifically centres around the business of intermediation for profit on commission.

In the same vein the Encyclopedia Americana (2003) states that brokerage activities generally are found in markets made up of many small, widely dispersed buyers and sellers where it is difficult for them to meet, thus requiring an intermediary

It is in this context that the need for a broker becomes imperative. The Encyclopedia Americana supra states that a broker may be a single individual, a partnership or a corporate body. It goes on to add that the chief requisites for the calling as a broker are firm knowledge obtained from experience in the field of specialty and selling ability of the knowledge so acquired.

Stating the functions of a broker, the Colliers Encyclopedia (1995) posits that a broker being “one who acts as an agent for others in buying, selling and negotiating contracts and receiving commission in return” undertakes the following, among other functions:

  1. Brokers for various kinds of information- related commodities and merchandize (as agents and distributors)
  2. Brokers for insurance activities (as insurance brokers)
  3. Brokers for financial transactions (as merchant banks and securities in the capital market)
  4. Provides services as an expert for and on behalf of the principal, promoter or proprietor, he is acting.

A cursory appraisal of items (i) and (iv) reveal that the library as an Information store house, acting through librarians is undertaking one form of brokerage activity or the other in the discharge of its traditional functions of information acquisition, processing, storage, retrieval and distribution in Nigeria’s information highway. Thus, according to Uhegbu (2007:26) libraries are agents of information transfer in their bid to reach out to and serve the information seeker or user.

The recent pronouncement by the federal government of Nigeria to include entrepreneurship in the new curriculum of Nigerian tertiary institutions might serve as a good ground for the take-off of information brokerage. What is required is an enabling environment coupled with the awareness that library and information services as a profession is becoming one of the fastest growing and viable ventures in this age of information telecommunications technology.

Information brokering as a profession probably has its roots in the 1960s, when a few individuals and library organisations realized that the computer and the photocopier, harbingers of the significant role to be played by technology in the information revolution, would have an impact on information retrieval. The ability to deliver documents, copies of published articles, and similar material to the academic, business and professional communities, on demand, presented an opportunity to those with enough foresight and entrepreneurial spirit to turn the need into business.

As a result, information brokers provide their clients with information for a fee. They provide research and other information services. In Nigeria, according to Igbeka (2008), their job cannot be specifically defined since they perform different functions. According to the view expressed by Rugge & Glossbernner (1997, cited in Igbeka, 2008), because information is such a nebulous commodity, those seeking it will have a wide variety of information needs. It will, therefore, not be possible for information brokers to do the same thing or perform the same types of jobs. Consequently, no two information brokers’ jobs are exactly alike (Rugge & Glossbernner, 1997).

Nearly all of the areas of librarianship are practicable in Nigeria. This is because there is hardly any research project that does not require information. It may be the case that the information broker will not be able to find the exact answer to a client’s questions: for instance, there is nobody that knows the exact value of all the personal property of Nigerian residents-and yet this is an area worthy of research. However, a good researcher will often find enough information to deduce or extrapolate an answer. In line with the example just mentioned, there should be useful statistics that can be accessed from insurance associations and from the Federal Office of Statistics to enable the client to make an educated guess.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

With the advent of information and communications technology, librarianship started evolving, expanding librarianship frontier of knowledge into mainstream information science within the world of information society and globalization. Ordinarily, library and information service profession originated as public service, without much prestige. With the revolution in information and communications technology, knowledge society has been expanded, modified, exemplified, and potential within the information society, characterised by ICT, has changed and enhanced the library and information service profession around the world.

The role of librarians and information professionals in information brokering, with regards to the nature of their job and the ability to search for information especially on the Internet, hasled to the foray into illegal businesses like peddling confidential information such as credit card records, purchasing information, unpublished phone numbers and phone records, and selling information to private investigators, amongst other vices. Consequently, Frantz (1999, cited in Igbeka, 2008) states: “Even at this early stage the case provides an unusually rich window into the secretive world of information brokers, a new breed of investigators who have grown into a multi-million-dollars industry by trafficking in confidential information obtained through lies and access to the latest public and private computer databases.” It therefore means that for information brokers, there should be a code of conduct/ethics before they can practice. Against this backdrop, the researcher seeks to assess information brokerage for library and information science students in Nigeria.


1.3 Research Objectives

The main aim of this study is to assess information brokerage intentions and skills among library and information science students in Ebonyi State.

The specific objectives are as follows;

  1. To assess the information brokerage skills and intentions among library and information science students in Ebonyi state
  2. To determine the benefits of information brokerage to library and information science students in Ebonyi state
  3. To identify the challenges facing information brokerage among library and information science students in Ebonyi state
  4. To ascertain the strategies for overcoming the challenges facing information brokering among library and information science students in Ebonyi state

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the information brokerage skills and intentions among library and information science students in Ebonyi state?
  2. What are the benefits of information brokerage to library and information science students in Ebonyi state?
  3. What are the challenges facing information brokerage among library and information science students in Ebonyi state?
  4. What are the strategies for overcoming the challenges facing information brokering among library and information science students in Ebonyi state?

1.5 Hypotheses

  • HO1: Library and information science students do not possess information brokerage skills and intentions in Ebonyi State
  • HA1: Library and information science students possess information brokerage skills and intentions in Ebonyi State

1.6 Significance of the Study

In considering investment in consultancy and brokerage services in a unique consumer environment such as Africa, it would be fool-hardy to ignore the complexities posed by the coexistence of an information–conscious population, on the one hand, and a semi-literate population, on the other hand. Beyond information consultancy or brokering, librarians at this stage of Internet usage and database, should be readily available. The findings of this study will inform the academic community and professional bodies on the extent of use and benefits of information brokerage in modern day library and information science entrepreneurship. Also, the study will serve as empirical literature and reference for future studies in related areas.


1.7 Scope of Study

The general purpose of this study is to assess information brokerage intentions and skills among library and information science students in Ebonyi state. Specifically, the scope of this study is limited to library and information science students in three universities in Ebonyi State. The university selected was Ebonyi State 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 made use of Ebonyi State University since all the tertiary institutions in Ebonyi state could not be exhausted.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Information Brokerage:

Refers to the process of collecting and selling personal information about individuals in order to create ad campaigns that target people with specific tastes and preferences. Information brokers purchase data from telecom and tech companies as well as collect data from credit bureaus, government and other public records.

Library and Information Science:

Is a branch of academic disciplines that deals generally with organization, access, collection, and protection/regulation of information, whether in physical or digital forms.


1.10 Organization of Study

The study comprises of 5 chapters. In chapter one, the concepts are introduced and the problem of the study is established with the research objectives and questions. Chapter two presents the literature review while chapter three presents the research methodology. The fourth chapter presents the results and discussion, and the last chapter presents the conclusion and recommendation.


Chapter Five


5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This study was carried out to assess information brokerage intentions and skills among library and information science students in Ebonyi state. Using a descriptive survey design, a questionnaire was distributed to 220 respondents. From the findings of the study, it was revealed that majority of the respondents were aware that the information brokerage skills and intentions to include providing clients with information for a fee (86.8%), indexing and abstracting (79.0%), editing and publishing (76.4%), cataloguing and classification (78.3%), and marketing management of library (79%)..

Findings demonstrated the benefits to include Business opportunities with a new focus on info-entrepreneurs (77.7%), Creation of specialised areas and employment in corporate organisations (70.2%), Assisting government in drafting information policy (75.0%), Strategizing for competitive intelligence of an organisation (79.1%), and Boosting the frontier of entrepreneurship in Nigeria (76.8%).

Findings demonstrated the challenges to include Librarianship practice in Nigeria is yet to be fully appreciated by the public (70.5%), The lukewarm attitude of users towards librarians is worrisome and frustrating (74%), Lack of highly educated environment (75.9%), Lack of information brokering practice for information development sustainability (76.4%), and Issues of inadequate power supply (60.2%).

The strategies were shown to include Conducting a feasibility study on commercialisation of the library and information service profession (82.9%), Promotion of experts in the various aspects of information brokerage (72.4%), Coordination, marketing, promotion and publicity of information brokerage activities (90%), Clients’ awareness of the usefulness of information management should be created (81.0%), and Consultants and brokers should be readily available when needed (85.2%).


5.2 Conclusion

Nigeria is not yet a force to be reckoned with in the field of information brokerage. Perhaps the advent of information and communications technology is taking the library and information service profession to greater heights. Tracing the history of information brokerage to the 1960s and 1970s, there is ample evidence to show the viability of the profession in Nigeria. More so, the recent policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria on entrepreneurship can encourage people in this noble profession to try their hands at selling information for a fee. In all, it is the considered opinion of the researchers that given the glaring commercial tint that academic library services have reflected, also such services should be fully commercialized through the creation of a distinct commercial services division with qualified personnel to man the division. The prevailing situation where brokering services are handled by the same librarians that handle non-brokering services, does not allow for full concentration on the discharge of either of the functions.


5.3 Recommendation

The following recommendations were made based on the findings of the study;

  1. There is need for adequate infrastructural development in the areas of power supply, good roads, social amenities, credit facilities from financial institutions and private ones.
  2. Library and information professionals must strive to develop their information and communication technology capabilities beyond rhetoric and be more proactive in meeting information storage, retrieval and dissemination challenges facing them.
  3. Information is critical to development, thus ICT as a means of sharing information is not simply a connection between people but a link in the chain of the development process itself.

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