Role Of ICT In The Of Reference Services To Library Users In Nigeria
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This research work is on the role of information and communication technology (ICT) in the provision of reference service in public library user in Nigeria. A case study of Imo state Library. The literature review is on the concept of ICTs types of ICT infrastructure applicable in public library, funding of ICTs in public libraries in Nigeria the importance of reference services in public libraries and factors affecting the role of ICT in public libraries in Nigeria.
The questionnaire was used as instrument for data collection and it was distributed on a hand-to-hand basis. The method of analysis for this study was the tabulated statistical method. The research was to find out ICT infrastructure put in place in public libraries in Nigeria, if there is a proper funding of ICT libraries in the provision of reference eservice in public libraries in Nigeria, the level of training to public library staff on ICTs, the problem/factors ,militating against the role of ICT un the provision of reference services in public libraries in Nigeria, and strategies that can be adopted to overcome the problems.
1.0 Background Of The Study
Information revolution started a number of years ago and the impact all over the world has been tremendous. Information revolution has brought about convergence of information and communication technologies (ICTS), which have remained at the nucleus of global social and economic transformation (Ajayi 2003). The information revolution and extra ordinary increase in the spread of knowledge has produced a new era-one of knowledge and information which affects directly economic, social, cultural and political activities of all regions of the world including Africa. Governments world wide have recognized the role that information and communication technologies (ICTS) could play in socio-economic development (Ogunsola 2005).
As information procurement and dissemination organizations libraries all over the world have found themselves right in the middle of the ICT driven Global village” and in other to play active roles in the village, public libraries have no other choice than to boost their effectiveness. Libraries are becoming more aware that in order to play cartelistic roles in fostering access to information as the basis for the socio-economic development of their countries, they need to exploit ICTs to improve the range and quality of service to their clientele (Ajibola and Tiamiyu, 2000).
Gilbert, (2000) defined information and communication technology as the acquisition, analysis manipulation storage and distribution of information and the design and provision of equipment and software. Oketunji (2004) stated that “Information and communication technology could be defined as an electronic means of capturing, processing, storing and communicating information”. He went on to say that ICT is defined as a convergence between computing and communication technologies. Furthermore, he said that one early exam0le of ICT convergence is the crossing of the photocopy machine and telephone, leading to creation of fax machine. But the most spectacular achievement in this area is the convergence of computer and telephone that resulted to the upsurge of the internet.
Ajibero (2004) asserted that the role of ICT in the provision of references services to public library in Nigeria did not come over night. Libraries existed for many centuries without using ICTs. But as technology emerged in the world at large, public libraries embraced these tools as a means to avoid some of the menial tasks inherent in managing large collections. Online catalogues provide additional searching possibilities. Such system help in communicating with one another about which book are held in the libraries and use the computer to borrow various materials form any other library through various inter library loan systems. Public libraries can be transformed into a new information services unit, providing electronic cataloging, electronic online public access catalogued, electronic acquisition and serials controls, and electronic circulation functions and reference services. But it must be realized that most public libraries in Nigeria are yet to adopt modern ICT.
However, because of the imperativeness of integrating ICTs in public library functions, Nigeria public libraries must seize this opportunity. Although it seems impossible presently because of the problems and inadequate facilities playing he Nation and her public libraries. This research work is therefore based on the role of ICT in the provision of reference services to public library use in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement Of Problem
This is an information age, the down of a new era where information flows before use with promise of new ways of thinking, living and working through the use role of ICTs and other information technologies. Unfortunately, despite the undoubted benefit/potentials of ICTs in public libraries, Nigeria public libraries are still far from integrations and equipping he invaluable resources of ICT facilities in her reference services most public libraries in Nigeria have not embraced these evolutional technologies in their references services. They still resort to the manual services and process of storing and retrieving information which is faced with number of problem that have brought frustrations on the public libraries reference services to the users like difficulties in having access to information, time wastage in searching and information management etc.
Arising from the foregone, the study is therefore set out to access the role of ICT in the provision of references services to public libraries in Nigeria with a special focus on the Imo state library.
1.3 Research Questions
This research is set out to answer the following questions.
- What are the ICT infrastructures put in place to enhance its role in the provision of reference services in public library users in Nigeria?
- To what extent are public libraries funded in order to allow the role of ICT in reference services?
- To what extent are public library staff trained in order to meet these role soft ICT in reference services?
- What are the problems militating against the role of ICTs in reference services in public library users in Nigeria.
- What strategies can be adopted to over come these militating problems?
1.4 Purpose Of The Study
The study aims at pointing out the importance and types of ICTs used in the provision of reference services in public libraries in Nigeria and the need to integrate them into public library functions.
The objectives are to find out:
- The ICT infrastructures put in place in public libraries in Nigeria.
- If there is proper fund of ICT so as o meet it role of providing adequate reference service in public library users in Nigeria.
- The level of training given to public library staff on ICTs
- The problems/Factors militating against the role of ICT in the provision of reference services in public library users in Nigeria.
- Strategies that can be adopted to over come the problems.
1.5 Significance Of The Study
This study is significant because it finding will contribute to an understanding of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and its role to the provision of adequate reference services in public libraries of Nigeria.
It will also help reference librarians to be aware of the problems hindering the role of ICT in their references services and work towards averting the problems. And finally help future researches who will carry out research related to this area of study.
1.6 Scope And Limitation Of The Study
The study focuses on the role of information and communication technology (ICT) in the provision of reference services to public library users to Nigeria. The Imo state library has been chosen to represent the numerous public libraries in Nigeria. This work is limited to computerized/automated library services.
1.7 Operational Definition Of Terms
Is a library primary funded by tax revenues, where any person, without regard to race religion, or economic condition should be able to obtain free access to the recorded history, learning and knowledge of mankind.
It is a processed data or an organized data presented in context.
It’s a process of transmitting or expressing ideas, symbols or information to people.
Means the use of scientific knowledge to invent tools that assist human in their efforts to overcome environmental hazards and impediments.
Means provision of information in response to requests.
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