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Library Philosophy and Practice 2011

ISSN 1522-0222

Management of Records in University Libraries in the South-South Zone of Nigeria

Akporhonor Blessings Amina
Department of Library and Information Science
Delta State University
Abraka, Delta State, Nigeria

Introduction

Universities the world over are centres for academic pursuits as well as place where learning is sought at its maximum level. A university library, be it federal or state owned, is part of a university set up. Accordingly, it seeks to advance the functions of the institution (Kumar, 1987) by generating and transacting information in form of records for teaching, learning, research and for administration in the course of its daily activities (Akporhonor and Iwhiwhu, 2007). In other words, records are created and used in the operation of a university and its library. For a university library to function effectively and carry on with its services, there are usually one form of record or the other. Records are synonymous with human activities and have existed for centuries (Esse, 2000). Records are any recorded information, regardless of form or medium received and maintained by an agency, institution or organization, or individual in pursuance of its legal obligations or in the transaction of business of any kind (Charman, 1990). Thus records are documentary evidence of transaction made or received in pursuance of legal obligations regardless of the physical form or characteristics of the media. They are information identified by the particular functions they perform in support of business, accountability and cultural heritage. They substantiate who did what, where and when. According to Popoola (2000), what actually keeps the civil service going is any modern system of government are recorded information, which are used for planning, decision making and controlling. For any effective planning decision-making and controlling to take place, there must be timely access to records. University libraries are great producers of records, some of the very vital university libraries record include, financial, and personnel records (Asogwa, 2004).

Financial records refers to all records in respect of financial matters including budget requests, actual budget allocation, statement of expenditure, shipment receipt and invoices, requisition and purchase orders, receipt of moneys received or expended. Of all the record generated in the university library, personnel records pose one of the greatest challenges. Employee or personnel records may be defined as those that contain initial application forms, results of physical examination, periodic appraisals, transfers and promotion etc. Emmerson (1984) argued that personnel records pose a particular problem because of their bulk, longevity and sensitivity. Professional literature on records management pays little or no attention at all to the subject of the management of personal records. Yet, these records occupy large area in public offices. Most archival institutions are reluctant to accession personnel records in their custody, arguing that these records occupy valuable office space, which cannot be justified (Republic of South Africa, Circular, 1963).

Records and archives occupy different ends of a continuum, records become archives after they have been appraised and found worthy of permanent preservation in an institution.

Odlyzko (2000) and Rebore (2005) see records management as the management science of controlling the quantity, qualities and costs of records and it encompasses the procedural system operations, space, equipment and staff required to administer the records. In the same vein, Kemoni and Wamukoya (2000) Venne (2001), Efunbayo (2003), Chris (2006), Ijaduola and Sotunde (2006) have posited that proper records management go a long way in enhancing effective administration of a university. Nonetheless, despite the indispensible value of records and the gargantuan amount of money spent on its creation and maintenance, proper management of records that will lead to economy and efficiency in their creation used and maintenance as well as disposition is seldom considered the top priority of the university system (Popoola, 2003). Week (1986) identified the following component as major component of records maintenance: filing system, retention and disposal and preservation. Accordingly, this study seeks to provide empirical data on how record are managed in federal and state university libraries in south-south zone of Nigeria.

Statement of the Problem

The researcher’s preliminary observation of records management in federal and state university libraries in Nigeria revealed that there is a poor recovery and haphazard arrangement of records. Although a lot of records are generated daily from the activities of the administrative division of some of these university libraries, very few studies have focused on the extent to which these records are management. Accordingly, the study seeks to provide empirical data on how records are managed in the federal and state university libraries in the south-south zone of Nigeria.

Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to determine how records are managed by the federal and state university libraries in the south-south zone of Nigeria. Specifically the objective is to:

  • Identify the types of records created by the federal and state university libraries in the south-south zone of Nigeria
  • Find out the types of storage facilities available for the management of the records in the federal and state university libraries
  • Determine how records are maintained by the federal and state university libraries

Methodology

The survey research method was used. The expos-facto design was employed for this study. The study population is made up of university librarians, their deputies and all heads of division/section/units of ten (10 federal and state university libraries in the south-south zone of Nigeria. The choice of the categories of people is justified by the fact that only heads of divisions/sections/units together with the university librarians and deputies create and used records for decision-making or library administration. The population of the study is 83. The sample for the study is the same as the population of librarians in the ten federal and state university libraries. The population was small enough to be used as the sample which is 83. The questionnaire copies were personally administered on out of which 77 were returned making a percentage of 92.8%. The reliability of the instrument was the test retest using Pearson’s product moment correlation co-efficient. The Pearson’s moment correlation co-efficient was 0.84. The data in the study was analyzed and presented using frequency count and percentile analysis.

Table 1: South-south zone university libraries indicating universities librarians, deputy universities librarians and heads of divisions/sections/ units.

Population of Study

S/N

Name of University Library

Status

UL

DUL

Head of div/ sec/unit

Total

1.

University of Port-Harcourt Library, Port-Harcourt

Fed.

1

1

6

8

2.

John Harris Library, University of Benin

Fed.

1

1

7

9

3.

University of Calabar Library, Calabar.

Fed.

1

1

6

8

4.

University of Uyo Library, Uyo.

Fed.

1

1

6

8

5.

Ambrose Alli University Library, Ekpoma.

Fed.

1

1

6

8

6.

Rivers State University of Science and Technology Library, PortHarcourt

State

1

2

6

9

7.

Cross River State University of Science and Technology Library, Calabar.

State

1

1

6

8

8.

Delta State University Library, Abraka.

State

1

1

7

9

9.

Akwa-Ibom State University of Technology Library, Uyo.

State

1

1

6

8

10.

Niger-Delta University Library, Wilberforce Island, Yenogoa.

State

1

1

6

8

Total

10

11

62

83

Key: UL=University Librarian, DUL=Deputy University Librarian, DIV=Division, Sect = Section

Source: University Librarians (Research field work,2009)

Data Analysis and Discussion

What are the types of records created in university libraries?

Table II: Type of Records Created in university libraries

TYPES OF RECORD

Status of university library

Agree/ Strongly Agree

Disagree/ Strongly Disagree

Total %

Financial Records

N

%

N

%

Budget requests

Federal

31

93.94

2

6.06

100

State

31

70.46

13

29.54

100

Actual budget allocation

Federal

30

90.9

3

9.1

100

State

31

70.46

13

29.54

100

Statement of expenditure

Federal

25

75.76

8

24.24

100

State

33

75

11

25

100

Shipment receipts and purchase order

Federal

24

72.73

9

27.27

100

State

30

68.18

14

31.82

100

Receipts of money received or expended

Federal

25

75.76

8

24.24

100

State

26

59.09

18

40.91

100

Personnel Records

Initial application form

Federal

24

72.72

9

27.28

100

State

30

68.19

14

31.81

100

Result of physical examination

Federal

23

69.69

10

30.31

100

State

30

68.18

14

31.82

100

Interview notations

Federal

21

63.63

12

36.37

100

State

23

52.28

21

47.72

100

Periodical appraisal / promotion/ confirmation records

Federal

26

78.79

7

21.21

100

State

35

79.55

9

20.45

100

Transfers

Federal

25

75.75

8

24.25

100

State

36

81.81

8

18.19

100

Personnel Records

Status of university library

Agree/ Strongly Agree

Disagree/ Strongly Disagree

Total %

N

%

N

%

Disciplinary actions

Federal

25

75.76

8

24.24

100

State

38

86.36

6

13.64

100

Releases and retiring

Federal

22

66.67

11

33.33

100

State

28

63.63

16

36.37

100

Taxes paid

Federal

15

45.46

18

54.54

100

State

21

47.73

23

52.27

100

Organisational Records/Service Records

Manuals

Federal

28

84.85

5

15.15

100

State

41

93.18

3

6.82

100

Reports

Federal

29

87.88

4

12.12

100

State

42

95.46

2

4.54

100

Directives

Federal

28

84.85

5

15.15

100

State

42

95.46

2

4.54

100

Minute of meetings

Federal

28

84.85

5

15.15

100

State

41

93.18

3

6.82

100

Policy statement

Federal

24

72.73

9

27.27

100

State

27

61.37

17

38.63

100

Machine-readable records

Federal

23

69.7

10

30.3

100

State

19

43.18

25

56.82

100

Table II shows that federal university library create more financial records, budget requests records is the record mostly created for federal university libraries with 31 (93.94%) for federal as against 31 (70.46%) for state. For personnel record the records created for both federal and state is periodic appraisal/promotion/confirmation records with 26(78.79%) to 35 (79.55%) of state university libraries for organisation record federal university and state university libraries create more of reports records.

Table II: Storage facilities available for records management in federal and state university libraries

What types of storage facilities are available for records management in federal and state university libraries?

Type of Storage Facilities

Status of University

Agree Strongly/ Agree

Disagree/ Strongly Disagree

Total %

N

%

N

%

cupboard

Federal

22

66.66

11

33.34

100

State

33

75

11

25

100

wooden shelves

Federal

21

63.64

12

36.36

100

State

31

70.46

13

29.54

100

steel shelves

Federal

29

87.88

4

12.12

100

State

43

97.73

1

2.27

100

drawers for flat files

Federal

26

78.78

7

21.22

100

State

36

81.82

8

18.18

100

box files

Federal

20

60.61

13

39.39

100

State

29

65.91

15

34.09

100

top of tables / floor

Federal

14

42.42

19

57.58

100

State

21

47.73

23

52.27

100

electronic formats

Federal

23

69.7

10

30.3

100

State

21

47.72

23

52.28

100

From table III librarian in state and federal university libraries agree and strongly agree that the storage facilities mostly use is steel shelves. The figure are 29(87.88%) federal university libraries as against 43 (97.73%) of the state university libraries respectively.

Table IV: Record Maintenance in the university libraries

How are records maintained by the federal and state university libraries?

Record Maintenance in University Libraries

Status of University

Agree/ Strongly Agree

Disagree/ Strongly Disagree

N

%

N

%

Total %

a) Filing

alphabetic

Federal

31

93.94

2

6.06

100

State

40

90.9

4

9.1

100

numeric

Federal

12

36.36

21

63.64

100

State

32

72.73

12

27.27

100

alphanumeric

Federal

24

72.72

9

27.28

100

State

38

86.36

6

13.64

100

subject

Federal

30

90.9

3

9.1

100

State

40

90.9

4

9.1

100

code

Federal

14

42.43

19

57.57

100

State

28

63.64

16

36.36

100

filed together

Federal

5

15.16

28

84.84

100

State

17

38.64

27

61.36

100


Status of University

Agree/ Strongly Agree

Disagree/ Strongly Disagree

Total %

N

%

N

%

all of the above

Federal

9

27.27

24

72.73

100

State

28

63.63

16

36.37

100

other (please specify)

Federal

27

81.82

6

18.18

100

State

24

54.54

20

45.46

100

b) By Retention

Inventory / stock taking

Federal

28

84.85

5

15.15

100

State

34

77.27

10

22.73

100

appraisal

Federal

25

75.76

8

24.24

100

State

26

59.09

18

40.91

100

all of the above

Federal

17

51.51

16

48.49

100

State

19

43.18

25

56.82

100

c) disposal of records

shredding

Federal

19

57.57

14

42.43

100

State

16

36.36

28

63.64

100

pulverizing

Federal

11

33.33

22

66.67

100

State

21

47.72

23

52.28

100

burning

Federal

16

48.48

17

51.52

100

State

27

61.36

17

38.64

100

maceration

Federal

11

33.33

22

66.67

100

State

20

45.46

24

54.54

100

pulping

Federal

12

36.36

21

63.64

100

State

21

47.72

23

52.28

100


Status of University

Agree/ Strongly Agree

Disagree/ Strongly Disagree

Total %

N

%

N

%

incineration

Federal

11

33.33

22

66.67

100

State

21

47.73

23

52.27

100

d) Preservation

control of environment factors

Federal

29

87.87

4

12.13

100

State

35

79.54

9

20.46

100

proper storage

Federal

31

93.94

2

6.06

100

State

36

81.82

8

18.18

100

proper handling

Federal

31

93.94

2

6.06

100

State

36

81.82

8

18.18

100

duplication

Federal

25

75.76

8

24.24

100

State

41

93.18

3

6.82

100

dispersal

Federal

21

63.64

12

36.36

100

State

25

56.82

19

43.18

100

regular cleaning

Federal

25

75.75

8

24.25

100

State

37

84.09

7

15.91

100

From table IV, federal and state university libraries file more alphabetically with 31(93.94%) as against 40 (90.90%) respectively federal and state university library dispose more by shredding and preserve more by proper handling.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Both federal and state university library create records, though more are created by the federal university libraries than the state university libraries, budget request records are the records most created in federal university library this result agree with earlier studies such as those of Asogwo (2004) and Morris (1992) who stated that basically four types of records are created in the library from table II, federal and state university libraries used mostly steel shelves as storage facilities, there are however shortages of storage facilities. This is in line with the study of Akporhonor and Iwhiwhu (2001) on the management of staff records in the university library were they noted that those are limited storage facilities hence some files were kept on tables from table iii, federal and state university libraries file more by alphabetic sequence. For retention and disposal, though the figures for the federal is a little higher. Federal university library dispose more of their record by shedding, while state university library dispose more by burning. This agrees with Osakwe (2009) when she observed that there were only three major ways of disposing records in universities in the south-south zone. Burning, outright sales and burring, modern method such as shredding, naceration or pulping were not frequently used. In light of the finding the following recommendations were made:

i) State university libraries should create more records because they have historical financial and evidential value.

ii) Adequate storage facilities should be used for records

iii) Adequate filling systems should be adopted for filing record so that they can be retrieved easily. The basic type of filing system should be alphabetic, numeric, and alphanumeric filing system.

iv) Proper retention and disposal should be done

v) Environmental control and good handling practice will help extend the life of record sin the university libraries

vi) In-house training should be carried out.

References

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Efunbayo, E.K. (2003). School facilities: The relationship of the physical environment to teacher professionalism. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis. University of Lagos.

Emmerson, P. (1984, November). Problems of Personnel Records Proceedings of a seminar at St. Mary’s Centre, Chester 1.

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Kemoni, H.N., & Wamukoya, J. (2000). Preparing for the Management of electronic records at Moi University, Kenya: A case study. Africa Journal of Library, Archives, and Information Science, 10(2). 125-138.

Morris, B.J. (1992). Administering the school Library Modern Centre. 3rd ed. USA: Reed Publishers.

Odlyzko, A.M. (2000). Justification for setting up an archive at the University of Cape Coast. Records Management Quarterly. 25(2) 91-100.

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Popoola, S.O. (2000). Information and records management in a State Primary Education Board in Nigeria. Lagos Librarian 1(2), 16-23.

Popoola, S.O. (2003). The status of records management in the state universities in Nigeria. In: Babalola, J.B, Adedeji, S.O. (eds.) Contemporary Issues in Educational Management. Ibadan:  The Department of Education Management, University of Ibadan.

Rebore, R.W. (2005). Records management in the administration of colleges and universities. College and Research Libraries 4(7):402 – 414.

Republic of South Africa (1963). Circular no. 1 of 1963: Disposal of personnel file and service records of officials after conclusion of service.

Venne, D.J. (2001). Judicial use of the computer in making decisions. Available: http://www/co.washtonumt.us/DEPTSCOURT/juenne.htm.

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