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Library Philosophy and Practice 2009

ISSN 1522-0222

Availability and Use of ICTs in Collection Management in University and Special Libraries in the Niger-Delta Region, Nigeria

Daniel Emojorho
Systems Librarian

Dr. K. I. N. Nwalo
Reader
Department of Library and Information Science

Delta State University
Abraka, Nigeria

 

Introduction

This study investigates the availability and use of Information and communication technologies (ICTs) in collection management in university and special libraries in the Niger Delta Region, Nigeria. Meyer (1997:4) sees ICTs as "the hardware, software, telecommunication technology, human skills and intellectual content that enable the study, design, development, implementation, support, management or use of intellectual expressions. This includes data, knowledge and languages in all digital, print, audio and visual formats."

UNESCO (2000:12) defines ICTs as the "scientific, technological and engineering disciplines and management techniques used in information handling and processing." The use of ICTs provides quality services to users. Moreover, ICTs have revolutionized activities in all spheres of life, especially library and information services.

Faulkner (1998:4) asserts that the use of ICTs builds a strong and effective information system. For years, libraries used manual systems to gather, process, and disseminate information to users. The advent of ICTs, however, has changed this practice and made library and information services, as well as information access, much faster and easier.

Special libraries provide information for a parent organization that supports the library (Ashworth 1979:9). The parent organization could be a government department, private society or institution, a hospital, a public cooperation, a research association, an industrial company, and so on. Some prominent special libraries in Nigeria are those of the Higher Court of Justice and Federal Ministry of Justice in Lagos, which were both launched in 1990. (Nnaji, 1986). Okiy (1998:93) cites a survey conducted in 1979 which revealed more than thirty-two special libraries in Nigeria. This picture has changed drastically with the proliferation of special libraries in various sectors of the Nigerian economy, including the banking industry, business and communication.

Academic libraries are libraries established in tertiary institutions. They include libraries in universities, colleges of education, and polytechnics. The emphasis in this research is on universities. The first university library was the library of the university college, Ibadan, established in 1948. There are presently 92 Nigerian universities, of which 27 are federal, 31 state, and 34 private.

Singh (2004:17) observes that collection development and collection management have been used almost synonymously, although there are differences in meaning. Collection development is the selection and acquisition of library materials, considering users' current needs and future requirements. Collection management is much more than collection building. It is managing the use, storage, and organization of the collection, and making it accessible to users. Branin (1994:25) notes that the paradigm of librarianship is clearly changing and the librarian's role is diversifying. Librarians at present are more concerned with collection management than collection development. They are acting increasingly as interpreters of information rather than selectors.

Daniel, Okentunji, Okojie, and Abdusalam (2003:83) observe that library automation has been a topical issue in Nigeria since the early seventies. The issue of ICTs has generated many seminars, workshops and articles. Nonetheless, only limited application of the technologies to libraries appears to have taken place. This was what informed the Executive Committee of the Nigerian Library Association when planning for the 40th Anniversary National Conference and Annual General Meeting, "Eko 2002," to commission a survey of ICTs in Nigerian libraries.

The advent of the Internet has brought awareness of the importance of global communication. People, organizations, and businesses are better informed and more connected to each other than ever before. Information that once took several processes and procedures to obtain is now readily available. Though ICTs are commonly available in Nigerian university libraries, the desired impact on library operations like collection management can only be felt when they are also well-used. Online networks, for example, could be used in expedited book selection, book ordering, and book processing, using data from large databases like the OCLC and the Library of Congress. However, if the ICTs are available to the libraries and are not properly used, then the benefit derivable in library services like collection management will be minimal, and will not justify the resources used to make the ICTs available.

Faced with this new scenario, individuals and organizations in modern society must learn new things and discard old habits and perspectives. They must retool and restrategize. If they fail to do these things, they may lose ground, decline in relevance, and face the possibility of extinction. This is particularly true of library and information personnel whose role in an academic institution is to provide support to the teachers who must impart the skills needed to keep pace with the rest of the world and prepare for the future (Anao, 2003).

Statement of the Problem

ICTs are available in many academic and special libraries in Nigeria. Effective information management is expected to translate into effective library services for users. User services in university and special libraries in the Niger-Delta Region are less than satisfactory.

Users complain of inadequate information services. The dissatisfaction may be connected with ineffective collection management. Collection management is most effective when ICTs are applied to the process. This research explores the extent to which ICTs are available, how they are used, and how they affect collection management in university and special libraries in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria

Research Questions

The study seeks answers to the following research questions:

1. How adequate are ICTs in universities and special libraries in the Niger-Delta region, Nigeria?

2. How are ICT used for collection management in university and special libraries in the region?

3. What effect do ICTs have on collection management in university and special libraries in the region?

4. How adequate is the funding of ICTs in collection management in university and special libraries in the Niger-Delta region?

5. What are the constraints to availability and use of ICTs in university and special libraries in the Niger-Delta region?

6. What can be done to harness ICTs for more effective collection management in university and special libraries in the region?

Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were tested in the study.

1. There is no significant difference in the availability of ICTs in collection management between university and special libraries in the Niger-Delta region, Nigeria

2. There is no significant difference in the facilities used for collection management between university and special libraries in the region.

3. There is no significant difference in the application of ICTs in collection management between universities and special libraries in the region.

4. There is no significant difference in the adequacy of funding for ICTs in collection management between university and special libraries in the region.

5. There is no significant difference in the constraints of ICTs on collection management between university and special libraries in the region.

6. There is no significant difference in harnessing ICTs for effective collection management between university and special libraries.

Significance of the Study

The study establishes an empirical basis for increased library effectiveness in academic and special libraries in the Niger-Delta region, by applying ICTs which emphasize collection management. It will call attention to the fact that mere acquisition of or access to ICTs does not guarantee effectiveness of collection management. It provides evidence for the management of university and special libraries and other stakeholders of the need to adopt a positive attitude and favourable policies and programmes to maximally harness the benefits of ICTs for collection management effectiveness.

Methodology

The study uses an ex-post-facto descriptive research design. The instrument is a questionnaire. There were three questionnaires in all, one for users, one for library staff, and one for heads of libraries. The questionnaire was validated through pretest and expert advice and had a reliability co-efficient of 0.71. From the target population of 27,730, a random sample of 845 was chosen. Descriptive statistics were used for the research questions while chi-square was employed to test the research hypotheses at a .05 level of significance.

Results

Table 1: Responses of Library Users to Adequacy of ICT Facilities in the University and Special Libraries 

The ICTs facilities in the library are adequate University libraries Special libraries
  F % F %
Yes 125 (25.9) 49 (18.3)
No 357 (74.1) 219 (81.7)
Total 482 (100) 268 (100)

Table 1 reveals that only about one quarter of respondents form university libraries think that ICT facilities are adequately available. In the special libraries, less than one-fifth of respondents find ICTs adequate.

Hypothesis 1

There is no significant difference in the availability and use of ICTs in collection management between universities and special libraries in Niger-Delta region, Nigeria.

Table 2: Chi-square (χ2) analysis on the availability and use of ICT in collection management between university and special libraries

Variables Agreed Disagreed Total Df χ2 -cal χ2 -crit Level of sign Decision
University libraries 125 357 482 1 5.512 3.84 0.05 Significant
Special libraries 49 219 268
Total 174 576 750

Obtained χ2 =5.512, df=1 level of significance =0.05, critical χ2 = 3.84,

Decision: significant, Null Hypothesis Rejected.

Table 3 shows that the χ2 - calculated value of 5.512 was greater than the χ2-critical value of 3.84 at 0.05 level of significance i.e. 5.512 > 3.84. Hence, the null hypothesis was rejected. This shows a significant difference in the availability and use of ICTs in collection management between the university and special libraries.

Table 3: Responses of Library Heads on where ICTs are used for Collection Management

Activities/services where ICTs used University libraries Special libraries
  F % F %
Acquisition 4 13.3 1 7.1
Cataloguing/classification 4 13.3 1 7.1
Circulation 3 10 1 7.1
Search/Retrieving 5 16.7 3 21.4
Reports 5 16.7 3 21.4
Internet access 4 13.3 1 7.1
Improve communication skills 5 16.7 4 28.6

Table 6 reveals that very few library department or division services apply ICTs in their library operations. Use of ICTs for communication approaches 30 percent, while their use for library routines is less than 20 percent. In the university libraries, ICTs are mostly used in search/retrieval tasks and reports/communication. This was followed by acquiring cataloguing/classification and internet access. In the special libraries, ICTs are mostly used in communication, closely followed by reports and search/retrieval tasks.

Hypothesis 2

There is no significant difference in the facilities used for collection management between university and special libraries.

The result of the analysis of the hypothesis 2 is presented table 4

Table 4: Chi-square (χ2) analysis on the facilities used for collection management between universities and special libraries

Variables Not/A A/Not funct A/funct Readily A/funct Total Df χ2-cal χ2-crit Level of sign Decision
University libraries 152 113 136 81 482 3 22.92 7.82 0.05 Significant
Special libraries 110 74 35 49 268
Total 262 187 171 130 750

Not/A = Not Available

A/not funct =Available but not functional

A/funct = Available and functional

Readily A /funct = Readily Available and functional

Obtained χ2 =22.92, df=3 level of significance =0.05, critical χ2 = 7.82,

Decision: significant, Null Hypothesis Rejected.

From the data in table 4, the χ2-calculated value of 22.92 is more than χ2-critical value of 7.82. ie 22.92> 7.82. Hence, the null hypothesis was rejected. Thus, there was significant difference in the facilities used for collection management between universities and special libraries.

Research Question 3

What effect has the application of the ICTs on collection management in the libraries?

The result of the analysis of the research question is presented in Table 5

Table 5: Effect of ICTs on the Effectiveness Collection Management
Effectiveness of ICTs on collection Management University libraries Special libraries
  F % F %
Very High 29 6 15 5.6
High 55 11.4 47 17.5
Fairly 73 15.1 35 13.1
Low 182 37.8 70 26.1
No effect 143 29.7 101 37.7
TOTAL 482 100 268 100

Table 8 reveals responses of users on effectiveness of ICTs on collection management. For university libraries, nearly 40 percent indicated low effect, followed by with another 30 percent said "no effect." Responses from special libraries show that nearly 80 percent said low or no effect.

Hypothesis 3

There is no significant difference in the application of ICTs on collection management between university and special libraries.

The result of the analysis of the hypothesis 3 is shown in table 6

Table 6: Chi -square (χ2) analysis in the application of ICTs on collection management between universities and special libraries.

Variables Agreed Disagreed Total Df χ2 - cal χ2 -cri Level of sign Decision
University libraries 343 139 482 1 201.2 3.84 0.05 Significant
Special libraries 46 222 268
Total 389 361 750

Obtained χ2 =201.2, df=1 level of significance =0.05, critical χ2 = 3.84,

Decision: significant, Null Hypothesis Rejected.

In Table 6, the χ2 - calculated value of 201.2 was greater than χ2- critical value of 3.84. i.e 201.2 > 3.84. Hence, the null hypothesis was rejected. This shows significant difference in the application if ICTs on collection management between university and special libraries.

Table 7: ICT Funding
Funding of ICTs University Libraries Special libraries
  F % F %
0-1 Million 7 58.4 8 88.9
2-10 Million 4 33.3 1 11.1
11-20 Million 1 8.3 - -
21-30 Million - - - -
31-40 Million - - - -
51 + - - - -
TOTAL 12 100 9 100

The level of ICT funding is low, but more acute in the special libraries.

Hypothesis 4

There is no significant difference in the funding of ICTs for collection management between university and special libraries.

The results of the analysis of the hypothesis 4 is shown in Table 8.

Table 8: Chi-square (χ2) Analysis in the Funding of ICTs in Collection Management between Universities and Special Libraries

Variables Agreed Disagreed Total Df χ2 - cal χ2 -cri Level of sign Decision
University libraries 33 48 81 1 8.38 3.84 0.05 Significant
Special libraries 12 2 14
Total 45 50 95

Obtained χ2 = 8.38, df = level of significance =0.05, critical χ2= 3.84,

Decision: significant, Null Hypothesis Rejected.

Table 8 shows that the χ2- calculated value of 8.38 was greater than the χ2- critical value of 3.84. Hence, the null hypothesis was rejected. This shows no significant difference in the funding of ICTs in collection management between university and special libraries.

Hypothesis 5

There is no significant difference in the constraints of ICTs in collection management between university and special libraries.

The results of the analysis of the hypothesis 5 is shown in Table 9

Table 9: Chi-square (χ2) analysis on the constraints of ICTs in Collection Management between Universities and Special Libraries.

Variables Agreed Disagreed Total Df χ2 - cal χ2 -cri Level of sign Decision
University libraries 59 22 81 1 1.96 3.84 0.05 Not significant
Special libraries 13 1 14
Total 72 23 95

Obtained χ2 =1.96, df =1, level of significance=0.05, critical χ2 = 3.84,

Decision: Not significant, Null Hypothesis Accepted.

The data in table 18 shows that at 0.05 level of significance and 1 degree of freedom, the χ2 - calculated was 1.96 and χ2-critical was 3.84. since the χ2- calculated was less than χ2 - critical i.e 1.96 <3.84. it implies that no significant difference existed on the constraints of ICTs in collection management between university and special libraries.

Hypothesis 6

There is no significant difference in harnessing ICTs for effective collection management between university and special libraries.

The results of the analysis of the hypothesis 6 is shown in Table 10

Table 10: Chi-square (χ2) analysis in harnessing ICTs for effective Collection Management between Universities and Special Libraries

Variables Agreed Disagreed Total Df χ2 - cal χ2 -cri Level of sign Decision
University libraries 482 0 482 1 0.006 3.84 0.05 Not significant
Special libraries 268 0 268
Total 750 0 750

Obtained χ2 =0.006, df=1, level of significance=0.05, critical χ2 = 3.84,

Decision: Not significant, Null Hypothesis Accepted.

The results contained in table 19 show that, at 0.05 level of significance and 1 degree of freedom, the χ2 -calcualted value of 8.58 while the χ2 -critical value of 3.84. Since the χ2 -calculated value of 0.006 was lesser than χ2 - critical value of 3.84, the null hypothesis was therefore accepted. This means that there is significant difference in harnessing ICTs for effective collection management between university and special libraries.

Findings and Conclusion

The major findings of the study are:

  • There is a significant difference in the availability of ICTs on collection management between university and special libraries in the Niger-Delta region, Nigeria.
  • There is a significant difference in the facilities used for collection management between university and special libraries in the region.
  • There is a significant difference in the application of ICTs on collection management between university and special libraries in the region.
  • There is a significant difference in the funding of ICTs in collection management between university and special libraries.
  • There is no significant difference in the constraints to the use of ICTs in collection management between university and special libraries
  • There is no significant difference in harnessing collection management between university and special libraries in Niger Delta region, Nigeria.

The findings provide an insight to the low level of availability and use of ICTs for collection management. The study establishes that the university libraries in the Niger-Delta region have more ICT facilities than the special libraries, contrary to the widely- held belief by librarians. The data also revealed that mere availability of ICT facilities does not guarantee their use for collection management in the libraries, but availability matched with adequate power supply and enthusiastic work force.

References

Anoa, A. (2003, November 11). Society, knowledge incubation, and management. The Guardian: 75.

Branin, J. J. (1994). Fighting back once again: From collection management to knowledge management. In Johnson, P., & MacEwan, B. (Eds.) Collection management and development: Issues in an electronic era . Chicago: American Library Association. p. 25

Daniel, J.O., Oketunji, I., Okojie V. O., & Abdulsalam, R. (2003). Forty years of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) library service to the nation. In Olanlokun, S. O. Forty years of library services in Nigeria . Lagos: Nigeria Library Association. 83-93

Faulkner, A. (1998). The year 2000: Problems and its implications for the information profession. Journal of Information Science 24 (4): 4.

Meyer, S. (1997). Information and Communication Technology . Washington, D.C.: National Academic Press. p. 4.

Nnaji, L. O. (1986). The library in Nigeria. Enugu: Fourth Dimension.

Singh S.P. (2004). Collection management in the electronic environment. The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances 17 (2): 1.

UNESCO (2000). International education. Parks: Unesco House, p.12.

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