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Library Philosophy and Practice 2008

ISSN 1522-0222

A Study of the Use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Tools by Librarians

S. Dhanavandan
Librarian (S.G.),Krishnasamy College of Engineering & Technology
Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, India

Dr. S. Mohammed Esmail
Reader, Dept. of Library & Information Science
Annamalai University
Tamil Nadu

Dr. V. Mani
Librarian (S.G.),Tagore Arts College
Pondicherry, India

 

Introduction

The world is undergoing a transition from a paper to a digital economy. It is essential for libraries in countries in the developing world to take part in this changing scene. Developing countries are being encouraged to invest in their national information infrastructure so that they can participate in knowledge-based development. Advances have brought many changes in libraries. Information and communication technology (ICT) has provided libraries with new opportunities to improve their resources and services. This study looks at the use of ICT tools by a population of library professionals in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, exploring the use of various tools, cross-tabulated by gender and age, and compiling a list of uses for these tools in professional settings.

Literature Survey

The literature on this topic is voluminous. This survey focuses on recent works about the developing world. Bilawar (2004) looks at the nature of communication technology and modes of mass communication that have had an impact on library services. Wijayasundara (2005) reports on a research study on Sri Lanka, finding technological, managerial, infrastructure, human, political, social barriers to automation. Igun (2005) identifies the challenges faced by the libraries and information centres in Africa in the establishment of electronic publishing, finding that apart from information sources that can be downloaded online, acquisition of electronic books is not possible. Krishnamurthy (2005) shares the experience of designing a digital library. Ani, Esin, and Edem (2005) investigated the adoption of ICT in university libraries in Nigeria. The major obstacles that influence effective adoption of ICT in were found to be inadequate funds and the limited electric infrastructure in Nigeria.

Present Study

This study explores information literacy in use of ICT among library professionals in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. 175 questionnaires were distributed with 170 responses (97%) received.

Objectives of the Study

1. To study the choice of ICT media among library professionals in Tamil Nadu;

2. To find and examine the patterns of use of ICT by the respondents in their professional activities;

3. To analyse respondents' perception of the appropriateness of different ICT tools;

4. To investigate respondents' evaluation of a spectrum of currently-available tools; and

5. To offer suggestions for the effective management of emerging tools.

Hypotheses

1. Library professionals use different ICT tools in their scholarly communication.

2. There is a difference among the respondents in the selection of tools.

3. There is a significant gender relationship in the choice of ICT tools.

4. There is a significant difference in the age of respondents in using ICT tools.

Use of ICT Tools

Table 1 shows the use of various ICT tools.

Table 1. Use of ICT Media
ICT Tool No. of Respondents %
E-Group 50 29.41
E-Mail 160 94.12
Fax 24 14.12
Internet 154 90.6
Intranet 26 15.30
Mobile Phone 157 92.35
Videoconferencing 20 11.76
Voice Mail 40 23.52

Table 1 and Figure 1 show that nearly all of the respondents use e-mail (94.12%), mobile phone (92.35%), and Internet (90.6%). The use of mobile phones is highly significant, because it is a fast and easy way to communicate without much infrastructure.

Figure 1. Use of Communication Media

Tables 2 and 3 show the use of ICT tools by gender. Table 2 is a cross tabulation of ICT tools and gender and shows that male professionals are using mobile phones more than other media and female respondents use less videoconferencing.

Table 2. Use of ICT Tools by Gender
ICT Media Male Female Total
E-Group 26 (15.30) 24 (14.12) 50 (29.41)
E-Mail 85 (50.00) 75 (44.12) 160 (94.12)
Fax 12 (7.06) 12 (7.06) 24 (14.12)
Internet 85 (50.00) 69 (40.59) 154 (90.6)
Intranet 12 (7.06) 14 (8.24) 26 (15.30)
Mobile Phone 87 (51.18) 70 (41.18) 157 (92.35)
Video Conferencing 11 (6.47) 9 (5.3) 20 (11.76)
Voice Mail 21 (12.35) 19 (11.18) 40 (23.52)
Figure 2. Use of ICT Tools by Gender

Table 3. Use of ICT Tools by Age
ICT Tools Age below 40 Age above 40 Total
E-Group 28 (16.47) 22 (12.94) 50 (29.41)
E-Mail 87 (51.18) 73 (43) 160 (94.12)
Fax 18 (10.6) 6 (3.53) 24 (14.12)
Internet 82 (48.24) 72 (42.35) 154 (90.6)
Intranet 16 (94.12) 10 (5.9) 26 (15.30)
Mobile Phone 80 (47.06) 77 (45.29) 157 (92.35)
Video Conferencing 8 (4.7) 12 (7.06) 20 (11.76)
Voice Mail 17 (10) 23 (13.53) 40 (23.52)

Table 3 is shows that those under 40 use comparatively more ICT tools.

Figure 3. Use of Communication Media Tools by Age

Uses of ICT in Professional Settings

Ten variables regarding the utility of ICT in day-to-day work were analysed using a five-point Likert Scale from "Strongly Agree" (1) to "Strongly Disagree" (5).

Table 4. Uses of ICT Tools
  1 2 3 4 5
Professional issues 102(60) 56 (32.94) 12 (7.06) 0 0
Professional development 108 (53.53) 62 (36.47) 0 0 0
Update knowledge 148 (87.06) 13 (7.6) 5 (2.94) 4 (2.4) 0
Interact with friends and experts 142 (83.53) 15 (8.82) 6 (3.53) 7 (4.12) 0
Resolve disagreements 24 (14.12) 70 (41.18) 30 (17.65) 38 (22.35) 8 (4.71)
Facilitates important decisions 27 (15.88) 64 (37.64) 32 (18.82) 38 (22.35) 9 (5.29)
Get to know someone 25 (14.7) 83 (48.81) 52 (30.6) 8 (4.70) 2 (1.2)
Confidential or sensitive information 27 (15.88) 45 (31.76) 27 (15.88) 49 (28.82) 22 (12.94)
Communicate with old friends 106 (62.35) 54 (31.76) 8 (4.71) 0 2 (1.18)
Time saving 101 59.41) 67 (39.41) 0 2 (1.18) 0

Most respondents use ICT in a professional setting to update their knowledge.

Table 5. Uses of ICT Tools by Gender
  Male Female
  1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
Professional issues 60 (66.66 ) 28 (31.11) 2 (2.73) 0 0 42 (52.5) 28 (35) 10 (12.5) 0 0
Professional development 63 (70.00) 27 (30.0) 0 0 0 45 (56.25) 35 (43.75) 0 0 0
Update knowledge 82 (91.11) 4 (4.44) 2 (2.22) 2 (2.22) 0 66 (82.5) 9 (11.25) 3 (3.75) 2 (2.5) 0
Interact with friends and experts 82 (91.11) 5 (5.56) 1 (1.11) 2 (21.22) 0 60 (75) 10 (12.5) 5 (6.25) 5 (6.25) 0
Resolve disagreements 20 (22.22) 34 (37.73) 14 (15.56) 18 (20) 4 (4.44) 4 (5) 36 (45) 16 (20) 20 (25) 4 (5)
Facilitates important decisions 20 (22.22) 30 (33.33) 14 (15.56) 24 (26.67) 2 (2.22) 7(8.75) 34 (42.5) 18 (22.5) 14 (17.5) 7 (8.75)
Get to know someone 19 (21.11) 40 (44.44) 27 (30) 4 (4.44) 0 6 (7.5) 43 (53.75) 25 (31.3) 4 (5) 2 (2.5)
Confidential or sensitive information 21 (23.33) 20 (22.22) 16 (17.78) 21 (23.33) 12 (13.33) 6 (7.50) 25 (31.25) 11 (13.75) 28 (35) 10 (12.5)
Communicate with old friends 62 (68.89) 24 (26.67) 4 (4.44) 0 0 44 (55) 30 (37.5) 4 (5) 0 2 (2.5)
Time saving 60 (66.6) 30 (33.33) 0 0 0 41 (51.25) 37 (46.25) 0 2 (2.5) 0
Table 6. Uses of ICT Tools by Age
  Below 40 Above 40
  1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
Professional issues 60 (63.16) 30 (31.58) 5 (5.26) 0 0 42 (56) 26 (34.67) 7 (9.33) 0 0
Professional development 62 (65.26) 33 (34.74) 0 0 0 45 (60) 30 (40) 0 0 0
Update knowledge 82 (86.32) 7 (7.37) 3 (3.15) 3 (3.15) 0 66 (88) 6 (8) 2 (2.67) 1 (1.33) 0
Interact with friends and experts 80 (34.21) 9 (9.48) 3 (3.15) 3 (3.15) 0 62 (82.67) 6 (8) 3 (4) 4 (5.33) 0
Resolve disagreements 18 (18.94) 40 (42.10) 10 (10.53) 23 (24.21) 4 (4.21) 6 (8) 30 (40) 20 (26.67) 15 (20) 4 (20)
Facilitates important decisions 21 (22.1) 33 (34.73) 15 (15.79) 23 (24.21) 3 (3.15) 6 (8) 31 (41.33) 17 (22.67) 15 (20) 6(8)
Get to know someone 18 (18.94) 46 (48.42) 26 (27.36) 3 (3.15) 2 (2.1) 7(9.33) 37 (49.33) 26 (34.67) 5 (6.67) 0
Confidential or sensitive information 22 (23.15) 25 (26.31) 14 (14.73) 24 (25.26) 10 (10.53) 5 (6.67) 20 (26.67) 13 (17.33) 25 (33.33) 12 (16)
Communicate with old friends 70 (73.68) 20 (21.05) 3 (3.15) 0 2 (2.1) 36 (48) 34 (45.33) 5 (6.67) 0 0
Time saving 61 (64.21) 33 (34.74) 0 1 (1.05) 0 40 (53.33) 34 (45.33) 0 1 (1.33) 0

Conclusion

The results of the study indicates that all respondents use some kind of ICT tools, particularly the Internet and mobile phones. The use of ICT by the female respondents is somewhat higher than that of male respondents. There is no significant relationship between the use of e-mail and Internet and gender nor between age (below or above 40) and the use of ICT, although there is some variation. Respondents strongly believe that ICT tools play a significant role in supporting and enhancing their professional and research activities. Their comments also suggest that they see the use of ICT as potentially going well beyond the use of the Internet to search for resources and the use of e-mail to stay in touch with friends, colleagues, and experts. Thus, hypothesis 1 and hypothesis 2 are accepted, and hypothesis 3 and 4 rejected.

References

Ani, O. E., Esin, J.E., & Edem, N. (2005). Adoption of information and Communication technology (ICT)in academic libraries: A strategy for library networking in Nigeria.The Electronic Library 23(6): 701-708.

Bilawar, P. B. (2004). Impact of Communication technology on libraries and information services.SRELS Journal of Information Management 41(2): 187-192.

Igun, S. E. (2005). Implications for electronic publishing in libraries and information centres in Africa.The Electronic Library 23(1):82-91.

Krishnamurthy. M. (2005). Digital library services at the Indian Statistical Institute.The Electronic Library 23(2): 202-03.

Wijayasundara, N. (2005). ICT in libraries: A Sri Lankan perspective.SRELS Journal ofInformation Management 42( 2): 139-54.

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