Information Retrieval Systems In Academic Libraries (A Case Study Of Federal Polytechnic, Nekede Owerri)

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

Information Retrieval Systems In Academic Libraries (A Case Study Of Federal Polytechnic, Nekede Owerri)


Information retrieval systems in libraries are basically systems that store record in a file for data relevant to each request, retrieve the data and provide the information on request. The purpose of such system is to help access and use of the knowledge which has been recorded. This study on information retrieval systems in libraries a case study of Federal Polytechnic Libraries, Nekede, Owerri is an investigation into the various means adopted by the library under study in their information retrieval process. Particular attention was paid to the existing information retrieval systems in use in the library and how suitable they are, the basic advantages of digital information retrieval over manual were also revealed by the study. The research methodology adopted for the research was the survey method, data was collected using questionnaire and oral interview together with observation. The study also revealed the information retrieval process in the library is manual which the library organizes its materials through cataloguing, classification and indexing. Based on the problems encountered, some useful recommendations on how to improve on the information retrieval functions in the library were made. The study also concluded by suggesting that further research study should be made.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Information is a basic human need. It is needed in all facts of human Endeavour. No society and libraries can function effectively without the intensive of information whether in print or non-print format.

It is therefore pertinent to know how this information can be retrieved and disseminated for use by the users or the society in a modern world. The different systems of information retrieval in academic libraries are therefore discussed in this write up with special interest on Federal Polytechnic Library Nekede, Owerri.

The world in information cannot be mentioned in isolation of human beings. Information has been described as the master resource, the chief raw material and the principle product on modern economic. Even before the modern world, the ancient world has been dealing with information gathering, storage and retrieval which were done in an ancient way where papyrus, clay tablets e.t.c. were used.

Information can be seen as data that have be subjected to functions capable of answering a users query, be it recorded, summarized or simple collection that would help in decision making, according to Uwem, (2008) defined information as a finished product ready for use, the source and medium of communication not with sanding information therefore, can help to ensure the effective use of other resources when it gets to the right people and at the right time.

Consequently, the basic objective of any library be it academic, public, school or special library includes the acquisition of information, surveying materials properly processing, organizing, storing and retrieving for disseminating such information to interested users. Hence every academic libraries whether the limits of its fund, develop sufficient information both in scope, nature and size to support the users information needs and aspiration will largely depend on a specific question and its ability to supply known information are produced in form of language even to retrieve information is inform of language, most times, the users found it increasingly difficult to cope with the basic problems of accessing particular information items for use.

This research purpose to investigate the various system adopted by the academic library under study in retrieving for use known information items when needed and to retrieve documents on a particular subject problem and questions encountered.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The period under review in this research work is of great importance in academic libraries. It is a period of technological information explosion.

This is a period when many retrieval systems exists, where more efficient and accurate retrieval system has been developed like computer and internet which links different but many stations together.

However, there are basic problems which militate against the efficient utilization of these resources and these problems include.

  1. Lack of funds
  2. Government apathy to academic libraries
  3. Low literacy level in Nigeria
  4. Poor computer informed staff in the academic libraries.

1.3 Objective of the study

In order to evaluate information retrieval system in Federal Polytechnic Library Nekede, Owerri, the following objectives are to be focused.

  1. To identify the existence of information retrieval system in the library.
  2. To know how information resources are organized in the library in its retrieval effort.
  3. To identify the problems encountered by the library in its information retrieval effort.
  4. Identify the process on how information retrieval system are improved in the library.
  5. To highlighting the changes of information retrieval system in the library.

1.4 Scope of the Study

This study is limited to the information retrieval processes in academic libraries. This study is further narrowed down to academic libraries and specific focus on Federal Polytechnic Library Nekede. The different information retrieval processes were reviewed with unique interest in the libraries as it applies to the library under study. This library was chosen so as to evaluate the developments and the changes that have taken place in the library under study as regards to information retrieval system.

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study is significant because there is no society that can function without information. So information can only be relevant when it gets to the right people at the right time and in the right dosage. It is sine-qua-non to library users, librarians, administration and the entire society.

1.6 Research Question

What are the extent of information retrieval system used in Federal Polytechnic Library Nekede?

  1. How does Federal Polytechnic Library Nekede, organize their materials in the library.
  2. What are the problems of information retrieval systems in the library?
  3. How does information retrieval systems improve in the library?
  4. Do they have changes in information retrieval system in the library?

1.7 Definition of Terms

For the purpose of understanding this project work under study, the following items are relevant to point out. They are as follows: –

Academic Library:

An academic library is a library that is been established in higher institutions, such as universities, polytechnics and college of education which serve the teaching and research needs of students and staff. This library serve two complementary purpose which are to support the school’s curriculum and to support the research or the university faculties and students.


This refers to a fact told or communicated that, fact is a piece of information that is referred as true. It can also be seen as a processed data which is communicated or receive which also can be used in making an information decision.

Information Retrieval:

This means the systematic storage and recovery of data as from a file and catalogue or memory bank of a computer. It equally means document delivery such as mails, photocopied document, data bank mail, links, library searches, personal files, catalogue and database design.

Information Storage And Retrieval System:

This refers to a system that stores record in a file, accept requests for information, search the file for data relevant to each request, retrieve the data and provide the information to the requester. The aim of such system is to help access and use knowledge that has been recorded. An effective information system stores a large number of records yet retrieves desired record rapidly and accurately in response to requests

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This study is concerned with information retrieval system in libraries: A case study of Federal Polytechnic Library, Nekede, Owerri, Imo State. The study however disclosed to us the different information storage and retrieval systems in the library.

Based on the analysis of the data, the following findings were observed. It was seen from the analysis that the library has not actually gone deeply in utilizing the facilities of a computerized library as is the trend in developed countries as the world.

It was also discovered that the library users or clienteles of the retrieval system adopted by the library, though efforts are on ground to as equipped the Microsoft centre where a lot of computers will be installed.

5.2 Conclusion

From the above study carried out in the course of this project, it can be concluded that the above named or mentioned library in Nekede has not fully embraced the information retrieval system which is automated though many improvements have been made.

Generally, speaking, most academic libraries in Nigeria are lacking behind when compared with their counterparts in other courtiers.

5.3 Recommendations

From the above study carried out by me, it is pertinent to recommend that every effort should be make for the personnel of the library to be adequately trained in the use of automated system and equipped the micro-soft centre with enough computers with on-line services. Government should on the other hand change their attitude towards library development in library.

5.4 Limitations

The researcher being 1, was limited by various factors which include: time, finance, distance and responsibility.

5.5 Suggestion for Further Research

I suggest that this work should be made open for further research by anyone who wishes to do so.

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