A Student Profile of Information and Records Management Departments in Turkey
Dr. Fatoş Subaşıoğlu
Departments of Information and Records Management seek to produce graduates who can undertake the process of "information management," which includes the compilation, arrangement, access to, and publication of information and information sources. These people must be qualified and capable in managing information centres that encompass libraries, archives, and documentation and information units. They must be able to use information and communication technologies intensively and teach potential users, as well as to be managers of information and information organizations.
Objectives of the Study
The present study sought information about the characteristics of students in Information and Records Management Departments of universities in Turkey, to explore differences between student groups and departments, if any, in order to contribute to better understanding of students' needs.
Scope and Method
The survey covers freshman, sophomore, junior and senior level students enrolled to IRM Departments in Ankara University, Baskent University, Hacettepe University, Istanbul University and Marmara University. The IRM Department in Erzurum Atatürk University is not included since that department has yet not started its undergraduate programme.
Questionnaires with 22 closed and one open-ended question were administered during the academic year 2006-2007.
Information and Records Management Departments in Turkey
Ankara University, Faculty of Letters, Department of Information and Records Management
The development of the library profession of librarianship in Turkey began with the establishment of the Institute of Librarianship in the Faculty of Letters in 1954-1955, which started offering courses immediately after. University-level education in librarianship led to its recognition as a profession in Turkey. This pioneer department was renamed "Department of Librarianship" in 1964 and provided a strong model for the department launched in Istanbul University in the same year and the one introduced in Hacettepe University in 1972.
While the original purpose of the department was to train librarians, the scope was enlarged later on. Starting in 1970, the department included courses in information science. In 1989-1990, Documentation-Information and Archive branches were introduced.
The Higher Education Board (YÖK) renamed the department "Information and Records Management." The Department began admitting students in 2002-2003 on the basis of scoring on university admittance tests. (Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Cografya Fakültesi Bilgi ve Belge Yönetimi Bölümü)
Istanbul University, Faculty of Letters, Department of Information and Records Management
The department was launched in 1963 as "Librarianship Department" under the Faculty of Letters and began offering courses in 1964-1965. The department began offering master's courses in 1983 and doctoral studies in 1984. In 1987, the department launched the scientific journal Librarianship: Document-Information and Library Studies . In 1990 the department was reorganized to have two major branches: "Librarianship" and "Documentation and Information." Starting in 1995, the second teaching programme was introduced in the librarianship branch. In 2002-2003, the Archive Science Department of the Faculty of Letters ceased, and in line with the YÖK decision, this department was merged with the Department of Information and Records Management (Istanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Bilgi ve Belge Yönetimi Bölümü).
Hacettepe University, Faculty of Letters, Department of Information and Records Management
The Department of Information and Records Management of Hacettepe University was first introduced as the Institute of Librarianship and Documentation. Education in the department began in October 1972 through the programme "Expertise in Science."
The Librarianship Department in Hacettepe University admitted its first cohort of undergraduate students in October 1974. As a result of structural changes in its undergraduate programme, the department continued its activities through three branches (Librarianship, Documentation-Information, and Archive) from 1993-94 on. In 2003-2004, however, these three branches were merged again under "Information and Records Management" (Hacettepe Üniversitesi Bilgi ve Belge Yönetimi Bölümü).
Marmara University Faculty of Science and Letters, Department of Information and Records Management
The Department of Information and Records Management was first established in 1987 as "Department of Archive Science." The department started offering courses in 1988-89. In 1993-1994, English became more prominent as a medium of instruction and the required years of education became five, with the inclusion of English Prep School. Since 1994, the Department has offered post-graduate courses under Turkish Research Institute, which is a part of the Social Sciences Institute of the university. The same institute began offering a doctoral programmes in 1997. The name "Department of Archive Science" was changed by YÖK to "Information and Records Management" as of June 2002 (Marmara Üniversitesi Fen Edebiyat Fakültesi Bilgi ve Belge Yönetimi Bölümü).
Atatürk University, Faculty of Science and Letters, Department of Information and Records Management
The Department was established in 1994 and building a faculty and infrastructure is still in progress. Courses are planned to start in the near future. The Department presently has four academic staff and will respond to the need for professionals in universities, public and private libraries, and archive/documentation centres in the Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia regions (Atatürk Üniversitesi Fen Edebiyat Fakültesi Bilgi ve Belge Yönetimi Bölümü).
Baskent University, Faculty of Communications, Department of Information and Records Management
The Department of Information and Records Management was created to meet the growing need for qualified information professionals. Graduates may be employed in finance, media, and publishing, as well as in library services (Baskent Üniversitesi Iletisim Fakültesi Bilgi ve Belge Yönetimi Bölümü).
Table 1: Survey return rate
Table 2: Gender distribution
Of 824 students, 67.2 percent are female and 32.8 percent are male.
Table 3: Age distribution
A large majority of respondents are age 21-23.
Table 4: Student residence while attending university
The question about where students live while in school was designed with the assumption that students would prefer universities in cities where they could reside with their families. As shown in Table 4, a majority of students in Departments of Information and Records Management stay with their families (58.6 percent) followed by those staying in school dormitories (22 percent).
Table 5: Type of high school
Students come from three types of high schools. Nearly 70 percent are from general/super high schools, slightly more than one-fifth from Anadolu high schools, and less than 10 percent from private high schools.
Table 6: Preference for IRM department
The order of preference for IRM departments is Baskent University IRM, 52.6 percent, Ankara, 38.5, Marmara, 38.1, Istanbul, 37.9, and Hacettepe, 32.7%.
Table 7: Awareness of dDepartment when choosing preference
Nearly half of respondents decided on their preference using some information about the department.
Table 8: Ankara student preferences in University Admittance Test
Students in IRM departments were asked about their first three preferences in university admittance tests (ÖSS). Data is presented in separate tables for different departments. Ankara University IRM students preferred teaching, IRM, and Turkish language and literature.
Table 9: Baskent student preferences in University Admittance Test
Baskent University students preferred IRM, management, and law.
Table 10: Hacettepe student preferences in University Admittance Test
Hacettepe University students preferred teaching, IRM, and psychological counseling and guidance (PCG).
Table 11: Istanbul student preferences in University Admittance Test
Istanbul University students preferred teaching, IRM, and management.
Table 12: Marmara student preferences in University Admittance Test
Marmara University students preferred IRM, teaching, and PCG.
Table 13: Computer ownership and Internet access
Some questions in the questionnaire were designed to assess students' computer literacy. Students were asked whether they had personal computers, whether they used computer labs in their departments and faculties, time they spent in using computer, and most frequent reasons for using a computer.
Results show that 67 percent of IRM students have a computer and Internet access, while about 20 percent have a computer without Internet access, and 12.3 percent do not have a computer.
Table 14: Use of computer lab in department
More than four-fifths of students use available computer labs (See Table 14). The low proportion of computer lab users (68.3 percent) at Istanbul University IRM was explained during interviews by the fact that the lab in this school is closed most of the time because there is no lab monitor. The use of computer labs is also low in Baskent University (40%), because almost all Baskent IRM students own a computer.
Table 15: Use of computer lab in faculty
About 65 percent of students use the computer labs in their respective faculty buildings. Nearly all students at Ankara and Hacettepe use the computer labs either in their departments or faculties. At Marmara, about 43 percent state that they do not use the computer lab in their faculty building, preferring the departmental lab (85.2 percent). At Istanbul, nearly 40 percent do not use the lab in the faculty building, and nearly 30 percent of these are unaware that such a lab exists. At Baskent, almost half (47.4 percent) do not use the lab in their faculty.
Table 16: Daily computer time
The survey investigated how much time students spent daily using a computer. Nearly half spend one to three hours.
Table 17: Computer use
Students use computers for common activities such as web browsing and email.
Table 18: Library visits
Another investigation in the survey was related to students' visits to and use of the library. About one third visit the library "once a week", about 40 percent visit once in two or three days, and only 10 percent every day.
Table 19: Books read annually
More than half of students say they read "4 or more" books in a year.
Table 20: Leisure activities
Students were asked to rank leisure time options on a scale from 0 to 5.
Survey findings can be summarized as follows:
The questionnaire had a "comments" section. Comments focus on the need to promote and publicize the department and to increase the number of practical or applied courses. Students complain that their department is not well known by the public, pointing out the the need for promotion and publicity.
Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Cografya Fakültesi Bilgi ve Belge Yönetimi Bölümü. Available: http://bilgibelge.humanity.ankara.edu.tr/bbygenelbilgi.htm
Istanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Bilgi ve Belge Yönetimi Bölümü. Available: http://www.istanbul.edu.tr/edebiyat/bolum_sayfasi/bilgi_belge_yonetimi_bolumu.htm#genel_bilgiler
Hacettepe Üniversitesi Bilgi ve Belge Yönetimi Bölümü. Available: http://www.bby.hacettepe.edu.tr
Marmara Üniversitesi Fen Edebiyat Fakültesi Bilgi ve Belge Yönetimi Bölümü. Available: http://fef.marmara.edu.tr/IRM/index.htm
Atatürk Üniversitesi Fen Edebiyat Fakültesi Bilgi ve Belge Yönetimi Bölümü. Available: http://fakulteler.atauni.edu.tr/fenedebiyet/anabilim_detay.php?x=Bilgi%20 ve%20Belge%20 Yönetimi%20Bölümü
Baskent Üniversitesi Iletisim Fakültesi Bilgi ve Belge Yönetimi Bölümü. Available: http://ilf.baskent.edu.tr/bilgibelge.htm