Faculty Use of Internet Services at a University of Agriculture and Technology
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:
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
Sixty percent of respondents use the Internet daily or 2-3 times a week.
Table 2: Purpose of Internet Use
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
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.
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
Most users describe the websites they use most often as general purpose.
Table 6: Use of Internet Services
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
E-journals and e-articles are used by a large majority of respondents, followed by other information resources.
Table 8: Favorite Search Engines
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
Advanced searching features are used by only about 20 percent or less of respondents.
Table 10: Problems
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
Nearly three quarters of respondents find the Internet useful for their research.
Table 12: Infrastructure facilities available in the library
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
Nearly half of respondents were fully or partly satisfied with the available Internet facilities, leaving more than half unsatisfied.
The following important findings can be noted:
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.
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