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Library Philosophy and Practice 2010

ISSN 1522-0222

Faculty Use of Internet Services at a University of Agriculture and Technology

Devendra Kumar
Faculty
Department of Library & Information Science
Chaudhary Charan Singh University
Meerut (UP), India

 

Introduction

The Internet provides vast amounts of information on every field and subject. There are hundreds of millions Web pages, bibliographical databases, and full-text databases available on the Internet (Prasher, 2003). Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel University of Agriculture & Technology, Meerut, India, was established in 2000, under the Uttar Pradesh Agricultural University Act, the first agricultural university of the century. The development of library equipped with modern facilities, recent text books, and other study material is in process.

Review of Related Literature

Bansode and Pujar ( 2008 ) highlight the purpose of use, methods of locating information, and search techniques used in retrieving the information by the research scholars of Shivaji University, Kolhapur. The authors find that scholars use the internet for research and communication purposes, and conclude that more awareness about Internet resources and training in their use should be provided by library professionals. Biradar, et al., (2006) conducted a study on Internet use at Kuvempur University. The results indicated that 42 percent of students use the Internet twice a week, and more than 30 percent of faculty use it daily. The majority of students and faculty use the Internet for study and teaching. They use the Internet in the library, as well as in commercial places. Most respondents are satisfied with Internet sources and services.

Eynon (2005) conducted a study on the use of the Internet in higher education and use of ICTs for teaching and learning. The most common use of ICTs in all subjects was to provide students with the access to a range of online resources. Academics motivations for using ICTs were enhancing the educational experience for their students; to compensate for some of the changes occurring in higher education; and personal interest and enjoyment. The difficulties encountered were lack of time; dissatisfaction with the software available, and copyright issues.

Mahajan (2006) conducted a study of Internet use by researchers in Punjab University, Chandigarh, which analyzed the technologies that have transformed society into a knowledge society. It was stated that the Internet is considered to be the most valuable of all computer technologies.

Mulla and Chandrashekara (2006) conducted a study on Internet users of Mysore University. The study was conducted using faculty, students, and researchers in different science subjects. The study revealed that a majority of users used the Internet and were satisfied with the information available.

Objectives of the Study

The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of Internet services by the faculty members of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Agriculture & Technology, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is specifically focused on the following objectives:

  • To study the present Internet services provided by university
  • To discover the purposes for which the Internet
  • To identify sources of information
  • To discover preferred search engines
  • To identify problems faced by users
  • To determine the satisfaction level of users regarding infrastructure facilities, membership fee, and location.
  • To discover user satisfaction with the Internet services provided

Methodology

The study uses the case study method. A structured questionnaire was designed and used for collecting data. The sample for the study was selected purposefully from those noticed in the Internet lab more frequently. The questionnaires were distributed among 60 faculty members, of which 50 were completed.

Data Analysis and Interpretation

Table 1: Frequency of Internet Use

S.No. Time No. of Respondents Percentage
1 Daily 20 40
2 2-3 times a week 10 20
3 Once a week 8 16
4 Not specified 7 14
5 No response 5 10
  Total 50 100

Sixty percent of respondents use the Internet daily or 2-3 times a week.

Table 2: Purpose of Internet Use

S.No.Purpose of Internet Use No. of Respondents Percentage
1 Accessing information quickly 48 96
2 Study/research 15 30
3 Communication 25 50
4 Entertainment 45 90
5 No response 4 8

Virtually all respondents used the Internet for accessing information quickly, and a large number also use it for entertainment. Half say they use it for communication, while 30 percent say they use it for research and development.

Table 3: Method of learning Internet skills

Method Number Percentage
Trial and error 27 54
Guidance from colleagues and friends 21 42
Training from university/Department 10 20
Self instruction 15 30
External courses 07 14

More than half of respondents learned through trial and error, while a nearly equal number had guidance from colleagues and friends.

Table 4: Average time spent in a week for using Internet facilities for Research Development work.

Internet tools/research 30 Minutes Up to 1 hours 1-2 hours 25 hours 5 hours
E Book 11 (19.92 percent) 12 (18.46 percent) 7 (10.76 percent) 5 (7.69 percent) 2 (3.07 percent)
Online Journals 10 (15.38 percent) 12 (18.46 percent) 4 (6.15 percent) 10 (15.38 percent) 9 (13.84 percent)
E-Articles 12 (18.46 percent) 9 (13.84 percent) 9 (13.84 percent) 7 (10.76 percent) 3 (4.61 percent)
E-Thesis 6 (9.23 percent) 2 (3.07 percent) 8 (12.30 percent) 3 (4.63 percent) -
Web Resources 3 (4.61 percent) 5 (7.69 percent) 4 (6.15 percent) 1 (1.53 percent) 1 (1.53 percent)
E-Archives 1 (1.53 percent) 2 (3.07 percent) 4 (6.15 percent) - -
Download 8 (12.30 percent) 3 (4.61 percent) 7 (10.76 percent) 7 (10.76 percent) 2 (3.07 percent)
Online 3 (4.61 percent) 11 (16.92 percent) 4 (6.15 percent) 7 (10.76 percent) 12 (18.46 percent)

Users indicated how their time using the Internet is distributed, showing a wide variety in formats used and time spent.

Table 5: Most-used websites

Category No. of Respondents Percentage
General 49 98
Discipline-based 38 76
Recreational 04 08

Most users describe the websites they use most often as general purpose.

Table 6: Use of Internet Services

Name of Service No. of Respondents Percentage
E-mail 48 96
WWW 45 90
E-Journal 32 64
Search engines 43 86
FTP 19 38
FAQ 26 52
Telnet 17 34
Usenet 32 64
List services/discussion groups 18 36
BBS (bulletin board services) 16 32

E-mail and www search are used by virtually all respondents, while search engines and e-journals are also used by a large majority.

Table 7: Internet information resources

Type of e-information Frequency Percentage
E-journals 40 80
E-articles 34 68
E-thesis and dissertations 21 42
Databases 18 36
E-books 16 36
Mailing lists 07 14
Newsgroups 09 18
Subject gateways 04 08
E-archives 03 06
Web resources 07 14
Downloading services 21 42
Online search 16 32

E-journals and e-articles are used by a large majority of respondents, followed by other information resources.

Table 8: Favorite Search Engines

Search Engines Number of Respondents Percentage
Google 43 86
Yahoo 32 64
AltaVista 15 30
Rediff 12 24
Hotbot 06 12
Khoj 03 06
Lycos 03 06
Not specified 01 02

It is clear from the data that Google, Yahoo, AltaVista, and Hotbot are the most used search engines among the respondents.

Table 9: Use of advanced search features

Search Facility Frequency Percentage
Boolean operators 10 20
Truncation 02 04
URLs: Creative guessing 08 16
Portals 11 22
Directories 04 08
Search engines 09 18
Phrase searching 06 12

Advanced searching features are used by only about 20 percent or less of respondents.

Table 10: Problems

Problem Respondents Percentage
Important sites in the subjects areas are not known 38 76
Difficulty finding relevant information 27 54
The allotted time slot is insufficient 15 30
No problem 16 32
Electricity failure 03 06

More than three quarters of respondents find that important sites in the subject areas are not known, and more than half indicated that they faced the problem of finding relevant information.

Table 11: Satisfaction with internet for research purpose

Category No. of Respondents Percentage
Most helpful 15 30
Helpful 21 42
Not helpful 05 10
No response 09 18
Total 50 100

Nearly three quarters of respondents find the Internet useful for their research.

Table 12: Infrastructure facilities available in the library

Category Respondents Total
  Satisfied Not Satisfied 
Seating 31 (62 percent) 19 (38 percent) 50 (100 percent)
Number of terminals 22 (44 percent) 28 (56 percent) 50 (100 percent)
Multimedia 20 (40 percent) 30 (60 percent) 50 (100 percent)
Number of printers 15 (30 percent) 35 (70 percent) 50 (100 percent)

While respondents are generally satisfied with seating arrangements, they are not satisfied with the number of computers or printers, or with the multimedia resources.

Table 13: Faculty member's satisfaction with Internet facilities

Satisfaction No. of Respondents Percentage
Partially satisfied 12 24
Fully satisfied 11 22
No comments 10 20
Least satisfied 09 18
No response 08 16
Total 50 100

Nearly half of respondents were fully or partly satisfied with the available Internet facilities, leaving more than half unsatisfied.

Findings

The following important findings can be noted:

  • A majority of the respondents use the Internet for research purposes and to access information quickly.
  • E-mail and WWW were the most used Internet services in the library.
  • Most of the users prefer Google's search engine to search for information.
  • Most users face some problems, such as lack of knowledge of important websites in subject areas.
  • Advanced searching techniques are only used by a small portion of respondents.
  • A large number of Internet users were not satisfied with the infrastructure facilities available in the library. Facilities such as number of terminals, multimedia facilities, and printers, were inadequate for the fulfillment of needs of the users.
  • A large majority of users were satisfied with the use of Internet and the information available there.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The present study indicates that a majority of faculty members use the Internet as one of their sources of information. This study gives a snapshot use of Internet by faculty at a single university; however, the snapshot makes it clear that most library users use the Internet daily for research and development purposes and to access information quickly. The study also indicates that most users were satisfied with the information available on the Internet. The present study puts forth the various suggestions to be implemented to improve Internet service in the library. Time slots should be increased, and printers made available to the faculty. Faculty training programs are essential for proper use of Internet resources. Internet facilities should be improved, and upgraded PCs may be installed. CD-ROM/CD writers must be installed for data collection. Internet service should be provided around the clock and broadband facilities should provide more journals online.

References

Bansode, S. Y., & Pujar, S. M. (2008). Use of Internet by research scholars at Shivaji University, Kolhapur. Annals of Library and Information Studies 55 : 123-126.

Birader, B. S., Rajshekhar, G.R., & Sampath Kumar, B. T. (2006). A study of Internet usage by students and faculties in Kuvempes University. Library Herald 44 (4): 283-294.

Eynon, R. (2005). The use of the Internet in higher education: Academics' experiences of using ICTs for teaching and learning. Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives 57 (2): 168-180.

Kaur, A. (2000). Internet and libraries. Library Herald 38 (1): 24-31.

Mahajan, P. (2005). Internet use by researchers: A study of Panjab University, Chandigarh . Library Philosophy & Practice.8 ( 2).

Mudawi, M.S.E. (2005). The use of the Internet and e-mail among Sudanese librarians: A survey report. Libraries Review 54 (6): 335-365. Available: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/00242530510605485

Mulla, K. R., & Chandrashekara, M. (2006). Internet Users Mysore University Campus (India). SRELS Journal of Information Management 43 (3) : 243-263.

Parekh, H. (1999). Information resources on the Internet for higher education and research. Library Herald 37 (2): 12-21.

Prasher, R. G. (2003). Indian libraries in IT environment. Ludhiyana: Medallion Press.

Rajeev, K., & Kaur, A. (2005): Use of Internet by teachers and students in Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Engineering & Technology: A case study. Journal of Library and Information Science, 29 (1/2), 81-94.

Raju, N. V., & Harinarayana, N. S. (2008). An analysis of usability features of library web sites. Annals of Library and Information Studies 55: 111-122

Rehman, S., & Ramzy, V. (2004). Internet use by health professionals at the Health Sciences Centre of Kuwait University. Online Information Review28 (1): 53-60. Available: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/14684520410522457

Singh, S. P. (2000). Internet and the role of libraries. Journal of Library and Information Science 25 (1), 26-37.

Srikantaiah,T. K., &Xiaoying, D. (1998). The Internet and its impact on developing countries: Examples from China and India. Asian Libraries7 (9): 199-209. Available from: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mcb/173/1998/00000007/00000009/

Tiwari, R. (2000). Internet and library services. Library Herald 38 (3/4): 161-67.

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