Problems And Prospects Of ICT In Reference Services Of Academic Libraries In Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

Problems And Prospects Of ICT In Reference Services Of Academic Libraries In Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State


Abstract


This study examines the problems and prospects of ICT in reference services of academic libraries in Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State. A stratified random sampling technique was used to select 200 respondents among library users and staff. Interview and questionnaire were used as data collection instrument. Collected data was analyzed using the percentage and frequency count. The results revealed that the adoption of ICT at the reference section of academic libraries has some associated challenges. The challenges revealed by the study are: electricity problem, incomplete automation, reduced patronage (because of the availability of search engines), changing technology, high cost of ICT equipment as well as ICT illiteracy on the part of the library users. Despite the challenges faced by the staff and students in the adoption of ICT at the reference section of academic libraries, it was found that librarians/ library staff are foreseeing a bright future in ICT adoption for reference collection and services. The study recommends that more electronic resources should be provided at the reference section.


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 Information and Communication Technologies
  • 2.3 The Academic Library
  • 2.4 ICT Facilities and Library Services
  • 2.5 The Status of ICT In Nigeria Library
  • 2.6 Integrating ICT Into Library In Nigeria
  • 2.7 Benefits of ICT To Library
  • 2.8 Challenges and Prospects of Integrating ICT
  • 2.9 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 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.6 Data Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results and Discussion

  • 4.1 Result
  • 4.2 Discussion of Findings

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

The twenty-first century information professional must possess skills in selection, content management, knowledge management, organization of information, research services, developing and maintaining digital libraries, and bringing information resources to the desktop. People with the right skills are crucial to the success and competitiveness of contemporary information environments (Ciatt, 2009).The jobs of the librarians have become more competitive with similar professions such as those in information technology. Library professionals must acquire the relevant skills and expertise to be competent in a digital culture.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have increasingly become indispensable tools for development over the past few decades. Positive effects of ICT have continually been noted in business, production, education, politics, governance, culture and other aspects of human life. In higher education, ICT have great influence in teaching, learning, research and other scholarly and professional activities through improved communication and access to information. In libraries, ICT have greatly simplified acquisition, organization, storage, retrieval, provision and usage of information. The Internet and CD-ROMs for example, have greatly enhanced access to a range of current information resources. In sum, ICT have improved provision of library and information services by overcoming time, distance and other barriers. However, it is widely agreed that ICT adoption in libraries is not a panacea to all library problems as initially presumed. Despite their tremendous potential, ICT have also brought new challenges that must be overcome in order to increase effectiveness and efficiency of libraries in developing countries for distance education.

Within the last few decades, certain scientific and technological changes have appeared and their impacts on the functions and services of academic libraries have been conspicuous. Such introduction as the Web browsers and mobile devices, have had a major and revolutionary impact on the academic library as well as the society. The use of ICT in the library world acts as a catalyst for change in the domain ICTs by their very nature are tools that encourage and support independent learning. Users of ICT for learning purposes become immersed in the process of learning as more and more students use ICT devices as information sources and cognitive tools.

Since individuals have been using devices such as laptops and mobile phones for decades, one might argue that the impact of the use of mobile devices on people’s behaviour in general, and on academic library services in particular, has been relatively gradual. On the other hand, as devices with compelling new features emerge and wireless connectivity is almost ubiquitously available, we may be on the verge of a revolutionary phase of mobile impact on the future of academic libraries. Many academic libraries are experimenting with various types of reference services for user community and more specifically on the use of digital information resources.

The importance of ICT in academic libraries is no longer an issue for contention. The issues in contention are how academic libraries can ensure its survival by the continuous derivation of the benefits from new opportunities afforded by the application of ICT in tandemm with traditional library service. It is in line with this thought or trend that this article will examine the future of academic library services using ICT. The article focuses on a few types of mobile devices; specifically, smart phones and e-book readers, selected applications for mobile devices, and provides some thoughts on the implications for library information and services.

The Library as an important and integral component of a higher institution has offered opportunity for students and staff to explore and expand their minds (Blau, 2004). It could be said that the library has become a focal place for enrichment, entertainment, education and empowerment through knowledge. In striving to serve its client, there is need for a library to clearly understand the continually changing needs of its constituency, from undergraduates, graduates, , academic staff and even school age children and local citizens (Blau, 2004). Despite the processing and propagation of library resources, a key trait of a university library is the services based around personal interaction between users and the library staff. Libraries should make sure that these services show proper levels of customer care and that the information given to the users is useful and at the right level (Loughborough University Library, 2005). The reference service in libraries has to do with interaction between the reference librarians and the clients in order to make the collections needed by the clients available on time. The key elements in reference are the collection, the librarians, and the library users (Ruteyan & Akporhonor, 2007).

Mitchell (2008) has rightly said that today’s reference librarians are actively engaged with the many emerging new processes by which learning occurs. Further, reference librarians in academic and research libraries are actively engaged with the many emerging new processes not only by which learning occurs, but also by which research is done. To be successful, today’s reference librarians need to not only understand but also embrace current and emerging technologies affecting reference functions and the information needs of library users.

The unprecedented pace of technological change in the development of digital information networks and electronic services in recent years has helped to expand the role of the academic library. Once only a storehouse of printed materials, it is now a technology-laden information network where students can conduct research in a mixed print and digital-resource environment, experience the use of advanced information technologies, and hone their computer skills. The provision of reference services has been, and still is, at the heart of all libraries in every sector be it academic, public or special. Until the internet changed forever the way we access information, it was the exclusive responsibility of the “Reference librarian” to provide information directly to the client (Weddell, 2008).


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Evaluation of library reference services began in earnest in the late 1960s and early 1970s when budgetary situations required justification of the existence of all services in the library. A close examination of a reference service provides library administration and involves librarians with a clear understanding of how well the service is meeting its intended goals, objectives, and outcomes, how well the service is helping users fulfil their information needs, and whether the expended resources are producing the desired results (Pomerantz, Luo and McClure, 2006).

Academic libraries especially the university libraries in Nigeria have been using ICT in the provision of reference services and in the management of their reference collection. This is a shift from the traditional method. The impact of ICT on reference collections and services cannot be overemphasized, but despite that, nothing has been documented on the impact of reference collections and services especially with reference to academic libraries in Nigeria. In the light of this, this study examined the problems and prospects of ICT in reference services of academic libraries in Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to assess the problems and prospects of ICT in reference services of academic libraries in Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State. Specifically, the objectives of the study include to;

  1. To assess the impact of traditional reference collections and services on users and staff of Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State.
  2. To examine the impact of digital reference collections and services on users and staff of Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State.
  3. To identify the challenges of ICT on reference collection and services in Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State.

1.4 Research Question

The following research questions are formulated to guide this research:

  1. What are the impacts of traditional reference collections and services on users of Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State?
  2. What are the impacts of digital reference collections and services on users of Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State?
  3. What are the challenges of ICT on reference collections and services in Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • HO1 There is no significant difference in the adoption of ICT in reference services of academic libraries in Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State
  • HA1 There is a significant difference in the adoption of ICT in reference services of academic libraries in Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study is considered significant in many respects. First, the findings will create new opportunities for the organization of library’s reference services that will break through the time and space limitation of print materials. Secondly, the study will afford the library stakeholders opportunity of access to information they could not readily get before. Thirdly, the outcomes from the study will provide a panacea for solving the challenges faced by academic libraries in coping with the trends of ICT.


1.7 Scope of Study

The study is limited to Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State. The context scope of this study is limited to finding the problems and prospects of ICT in reference services of academic libraries.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

This study faced certain limitations. Some of these limitations include: choosing the topic for this study, constructing and administering the instrument and getting it validated were not easy exercise. Also, there was paucity of data on the study area and the researcher face time and financial constraints in the course of the work.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Problems:

A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome. This study focuses on those challenges encountered in the adoption of ICT in reference services of academic libraries.

Prospect:

The possibility that something will happen in the future. In this study, it refers to the opportunities inherent in the adoption of ICT in reference services of academic libraries.

ICT:

Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extensional term for information technology (IT) that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals) and computers, as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage and audiovisual, that enable users to access, store, transmit, understand and manipulate information.

Reference Services:

Are the services provided by the reference department in a library that helps the library patron to get access to the information that they needed.

Academic Libraries:

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.


1.10 Organisation of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding it is broken down as follows:Chapter one kicks off with the introduction, which consists of the background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research hypothesis, scope and significance of the study.

Chapter two begins with the conceptual framework on which the study is based, the theoretical literatures and also the empirical literature and thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design, the population of the state used as a case study, the sample size and the sampling techniques used, the data collected, data analysis and the limitations of the method used.

Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis, interpretation and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.


Chapter Five


5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This study was carried out to assess the problems and prospects of ICT in reference services of academic libraries in Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State. The following findimgs were revealed;

  1. The result on the first research question on this study indicate that traditional reference service is very effective in view of the fact that users are satisfied with the available collections.
  2. The result of this study reveals that the adoption of ICT has improved the quality of reference services rendered to the clients. This provides answer to the second research question on this study.
  3. The challenges mentioned by the respondents are electricity problem, incomplete automation, few clients (because of the availability of search engines), changing technology, and high cost of ICT gadgets as well as ICT illiteracy on the part of the library users.

5.2 Conclusion

We are living in the information age, where information explosion and customer care are one of the major challenges. In this context, it is inevitable for academic library to provide richer information to their customers for fulfilling their information needs.This reality is very well felt in the developed world and in those countries where reference and information services have seen revolutionary changes to meet the new challenges of information age.

This study examined the impact of ICT on reference collections and services in selected University libraries in Nigeria. The result has indicated that ICT has positive impact on reference collections and services in academic libraries in Nigeria. The result reveal that electricity failure, high cost of ICT equipment and incomplete automation are some of the challenges of ICT in academic libraries in Nigeria.


5.3 Recommendation

Based on the findings in this study, the following recommendations are made.

  1. Academic libraries should adopt the use of ICT tools at its reference section. This is because; it has been demonstrated to be effective and efficient in facilitating reference services at the reference desk of academic libraries in Nigeria.
  2. More electronic resources and ICT equipment should be provided. This will ease the inadequate access revealed as one of the challenges indicated in this study.
  3. Moreover, stringent protocols should be avoided. Instead, the libraries are implored to come up with ideas that will encourage the users to improve the use of the reference section and reference collections.
  4. Library users should be trained on how to use the ICT tools in the library, particularly, those at the reference section.

Problems And Prospects Of ICT In Reference Services Of Academic Libraries In Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State


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Problems And Prospects Of ICT In Reference Services Of Academic Libraries In Plateau State University Bokkos, Plateau State


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