Library Philosophy and Practice 2012
Use of Electronic Information Sources (EIS) by Faculty Members in Nigerian UniversitiesK.A. Owolabi
Nimbe Adedipe Library University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria
Libraries all over the world are established to enrich the knowledge of the users through provision of vital information. This manifests more in the universities where students and faculty members and other readers are expected to use the library for teaching, learning and research. University libraries in educationally advanced countries support the educational, teaching and research needs of the parents' organization they serve. These libraries see to their responsibility of ensuring that the use of information sources is maximized to the benefit of its users.
It has been observed that the basic goal of the university education in any country is to produce graduate whose training in liberal tradition will enable them to deal with the increasingly specialized problems of the country and those intellectual accomplishments and mental perspective will prepare them to operate on a more encompassing level outside their areas of specialization. Before this goal could be achieved, universities in the country needs to provide conducive environment, the facilities and competent personnel that are dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and its practical application to the needs of the modern society. The paper investigates the use of electronic information sources among faculty members in Nigerian universities.
The introduction of Electronic Information Resources into academic environments particularly universities, is almost predictably followed by rapid growth in awareness and by students and academics as documented by Peled and Rasty (1999).
Ekwelem, Okafor and Ukwoma(2007) described EIS as information sources that are available and can be accessed electronically through such computer networked facilities as online library catalogues, the internet, the world wide web and digital libraries .
EIS have increasingly become an invaluable asset in education, research, teaching and learning. EIS have transformed the conduct of research and teaching in universities by allowing faculty members a wide range of opportunity for accessing accurate and timely information on various subjects.
The use of Electronic Information Sources enables the faculty members and the students to effectively and efficiently access digital information to assist with investigating issues, solving problems, making decisions, product and creative solutions to support learning, develop new understanding in areas of learning and teaching (Aramide and Bello, 2010).With the use of electronic sources faculty members have access to up –to –date information on various subjects and also assist in developing new thinking and learning skills. Corroborating this assertion Chisenga (1997) maintained that internet gives the faculty members a wide range of opportunities, in the creation, processing, transmission and dissemination of information.
Rosenberg (2010) stated the various benefits of EIS to faculty members which include;
1. E-learning this is very effective way to deliver instruction particularly for faculty m usly.
3. Faculty members can access EIS anywhere and any time
4. EIS resources serve as a motivating factor to faculty members because they provide them opportunity to transmit acquire or download, and disseminate information on various subjects.
Oduwole and Akpati (2003) identified the available electronic resource that are commonly used in Nigerian Universities which includes CD-ROM databases, electronic mail, online public catalogue (OPAC), and Web resources.
Aramide and Bello (2010) stated the three major migrations that have occurred in library academic services: from printed resources to online electronic data bases; from CD-ROM data bases to on line internet access to bibliographic and full- text or full image data base
Merrill (1996) argued that Online database searching skills would help faculty members to compile bibliographies on particular subjects and direct students in their course works.
Electronic information resources greatly increase access to information and its implementation must be carefully planned to ensure optimal use of space and time (Adeleke, 2005). Bropphy (1993) stated the advantages of electronic resources which include speed, ease of use, embers.
2. Faculty members can use electronic resources to reach unlimited number of students virtually simultaneoability to search multiple files at the same time, ability to save, print and repeat searches more frequently updating and ability to access from outside the library.
Tenopir(2003) in a major survey of literature on the subject analyzed ,the results of two hundred studies on the use of electronic resources in libraries published between 1995 and 2003.Results drawn from this study indicate that electronic sources have been rapidly adopted in academic spheres, though the behavior varies according to discipline.
Manda (2005) studied the use of electronic resources in Tanzania by faculty members. He discovered that use was low, due to inadequate end-user training, low connectivity,
limited access to PCS, poor search skills. Smith (2007) looked at South Africa; finding revealed that lack of bandwidth was a major problem.
A well established library is essential for any academic institution, as a focal point for teaching, and research. It is expected to provide standard information resources.
Today, many university libraries in Nigeria are struggling to keep their place as the major sources of inquiry in the face of emerging digital technology .Digital technology has revolutionized not only the way information is packaged, processed, stored and disseminated, but also how users seek and access information. University libraries no longer restrict themselves to print services but have extended their efforts to interdisciplinary concepts and computer software and hardware and telecommunication engineering and technology .Based on this, the paper examined the use of Electronic Information Sources by faculty members in Nigerian universities. No comprehensive study has been conducted on information use by faculty members in electronic information sources in Nigeria universities.
The study used a descriptive survey design and questionnaire was used for the collection of the data. Descriptive statistical techniques like table of frequency counts and percentages were employed in the analysis. The study was carried out over a period of three (3) months; August-October, 2010. The target population of the study were faculty members of four universities with a population of 3,529 representing 1,372 from Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife, University of Ibadan with 1,197 faculty members which is the premier university in the country, and Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye with 503 and University of Agriculture, Abeokuta with 457 faculty members .The reason for choosing these four universities was based on their years of establishment
University of Ibadan was the first university in the country founded in the year 1948 as an affiliate of University of London. Obafemi Awolowo University is one of the first generations universities, the university was founded in 1962, Olabisi Onabanjo University was founded in 1983, the university belongs to second generation university and also the first state university in the country, while University of Agriculture, Abeokuta was established in 1988, the university belongs to third generation universities. A Simple random technique was used to select 1,400 faculty members in these four universities. 500 copies each of the questionnaire were distributed to faculty members, at OAU and UI while 200 copies were distributed at OOU and UNAAB. Making a total of 1,400 copies out of which 1,061 useable copies were retrieved representing 75.78% response rate.
TABLE 1: DISTRIBUTION OF QUESTIONNAIRES
TABLE 2: RETURN RATE
TABLE 3: FREQUENCY OF USE OF EIS
Table 3 sought to identify the frequency of use, it was revealed that 297(81.15%) admitted that they always used EIS at the University of Ibadan, 252(74.34%) at Obafemi Awolowo University, 119(68.39%) claimed they always used the resources from Olabisi Onabanjo University and 141 (77.47%) respondents agreed that they always used the resources from the University of Agriculture.
TABLE 4: REASONS FOR THE USE OF EIS
Table 4 sought to identify the reason for using the EIS. Research purpose ranked highest with 213(58.20%) from University of Ibadan 204(60.18%) from Obafemi Awolowo University, 94(54.02%) and 113(62.09%) from Olabisi Onabanjo University and University of Agriculture, Abeokuta respectively. Next is accessibility to current materials which admitted 64(17.49%) respondents from University of Ibadan, 47(13.86%) from Obafemi Awolowo University, 21(12.07%) and13 (7.14%) from Olabisi Onabanjo University and University of Agriculture, respectively.
TABLE 5: MOST PREFERRED EIS
Table 5 asked the question on the most preferred EIS commonly used. Internet was ranked highest from the four universities with 304 (83.06%) from the University of Ibadan, 283(83.48%) from Obafemi Awolowo University, and 154(88.51%) and153 (84.07%) from Olabisi Onabanjo University and University of Agriculture, Abeokuta respectively.
TABLE 6: ACCESS POINT TO EIS
Table 6 identified access point to EIS 298 (81.42%) from University of Ibadan, admitted that they access the EIS from their various offices; 262 (77.29%) from Obafemi Awolowo University, 151 (82.97%) from University of Agriculture maintained that they access the EIS from their offices. While 59 (33.91%) from Olabisi Onabanjo University claimed that they used the EIS from their homes.
TABLE 7: CONSTRAINTS TO THE USE OF EIS
Table 7 sought to identify the constraints to the use of EIS 158 (43.17%) from University of Ibadan supported bandwidth problem, this was also supported by respondents from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and University of Agriculture, Abeokuta with 153(45.13%) and 99(54.40%) respectively. While Olabisi Onabanjo University identified finance has major problem facing the use of EIS with 81 (46.55%).
Findings and Discussion
One of the findings of the study revealed that majority of the academic staff are always using the Electronic sources this corroborated the findings of Ekwelem, Okafor, and Ukoma (2007). It was also discovered that the main objective of using EIS is to support the academic staff in carrying out researches since they are in academic environments they are expected to conduct researches for their promotions and also as their own contribution to knowledge. This is in line with the submissions of Aramide and Bello (2010) and Rosenberg (2010) that EIS are good instruments that provide helping hands in conducting acceptable researches particularly for the faculty members. Internet was discovered as the most used EIS among the academic staff this supported the view of Chisenga (1997) that internet resources gives the faculty members a wide range of opportunities in accessing information.
Other findings revealed that offices are the major places where they frequently access the EIS resources; this may be due to the fact that all the universities under study are connected to internet and at the same time they spend most of their time in their difference offices. It was also discovered that low bandwidth is the main problem encountered by the majority of the users; this supported the view of Manda (2005) that low bandwidth is the major constraint to faculty members' use of electronic resources in Tanzania.
The study revealed that faculty members use electronic information sources for research, teaching and learning .It afforded the academics the opportunities of having access to wide range of information that will assist them in conducting researches.
EIS has increasingly become an invaluable asset in education and information handling which of the great benefits to faculty members. Electronic information sources can impact positively on academic development in Nigeria if they are used adequately. Therefore, faculty members should endeavor to embrace this source of information in order for them to catch with the rest of the world.
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