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Library Philosophy and Practice 2011

ISSN 1522-0222

Use of Internet by the Social Science Faculty of Annamalai University, Annamalainagar, India

S. Thanuskodi

Dr. S. Ravi

Library & Information Science Wing, Directorate of Distance Education
Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar – 608 002

Introduction

Internet, computer-based worldwide information network. At the dawn of information age, professionals are experiencing new vigor in field of information collection, processing and retrieval. The internet considered as the electronic mobile library in cyberspace provides an almost universal infrastructure for accessing the information with almost global reach. The Internet is composed of a large number of smaller interconnected networks called internets. These internets may connect tens, hundreds, or thousands of computers, enabling them to share information with each other and to share various resources, such as powerful supercomputers and databases of information. During the 1990s the Internet has grown tremendously in the number of people using it and the amount of information contained on it. According to the Internet Society, a non-profit society that studies and promotes the use of the Internet, 134 countries had full internet connection and an additional 52 countries had limited access (for example, e-mail only) in 1996. Surveys performed by International Data Corporation and Matrix Information and Directory Services found that as of beginning of 21st Century there were between 53 and 57 million users of the Internet worldwide.

Accessing the Internet

Access to the Internet falls into two broad categories: dedicated access and dial up access with dedicated access, the computer is directly connected to the Internet via a router, or the computer is part of a network linked to the Internet. With dialup access, a computer connects to the Internet with a temporary connection, generally over a telephone line using a modem – device that converts the electrical signals from a computer into signals that can be transmitted over traditional telephone lines. A modem is needed because computers are digital, meaning that their signals are made up of discrete units, while most telephone lines are analog, meaning that they carry signals that are continuous instead of discrete. Once a signal has traveled over the telephone line, a second modem is required at the other end of the line to reconvert the transmitted signals from analog to digital. A great many companies, called Internet Service Providers (ISPs), provide dial-up access to the Internet for a modest fee. Examples of ISPs are America Online (AOL), the Microsoft Network (MSN), and CompuServe.

Academic Libraries Present Scenario

Academic libraries include college and university libraries. Commonly referred to as research libraries, they are often used by students and research scholar as a quiet place for study and research. The same use behaviour is common to most academic libraries. The college libraries has to deal with information resources in variety of formats and attempting to select the most appropriate and economically viable formats for providing access to information in their libraries.

There has been a more change in the academic libraries due to the revolution in e-resources era. The networked information and access to information resources rather than holdings have become the order of the day, all over the world academic libraries besides, individuals subscribe electronic journals to meet their expectation.

The academic libraries of all sizes and types are embracing digital collection, although most libraries will continue to offer both print and digital collections for many years to come. New purchases and purchases of journals, magazines, and abstracting and indexing services are heavily weighted towards digital, while digital books (e-books) are only beginning to become a present library collection. Libraries prefer digital resources for many reasons such as digital collection save the space and are relatively easy to maintain.

Growth of Electronic Resources

The most rapidly changing pervasive and publicized aspects of library and information studies are the electronic resources. In a relatively short period of the time, Electronic resource have expanded from a few dozen computerized bibliographies databases to include the over whelming information available on the Internet use of Electronic resource has moved from accessing online databases with a dumb terminal to surfing the world wide web with a high speed multimedia personal computer that has more power than the early main frame computers.

The complexity of electronic resource has grown to comprise of library online catalogue list of CD-Rom, online journals, database, newspapers, reference materials open access journals, e-books, major publishers and online bookshops amounting to the Electronic resource is not easy, or so it appears, at the same time there is a pressing need for guidance in the use of such resources.

Advantage of Electronic Resources

Electronic information resource offers enormous benefits. They provide users faster, more convenient, 24 hours desktop access from home and college campus or library as well as special features such as hypertext link to related information graphics, audio, video and animation. These resources also offer benefits to libraries. They do not take up valuable space on library shelves; they can’t be stolen or destroyed and depending on the licenses agreement, information at the same time.

Disadvantage of Electronic Resources

The college and university libraries face enormous challenges and opportunities. The amount of information that libraries need to acquire continues to increase the resources available are insufficient. The libraries face a number of problems relating to the new media that are yet to be resolved. Subscriptions to material in electronic forms are more expensive than subscription to material in traditional printed form. In some cases, not only an additional monitory payment to acquire both formats, there are considerable additional expenses in providing staff and infrastructure to acquire the paper copy and the electronic version.

ICT developments at the Annamalai University

The Annamalai University is a unitary, teaching and residential university. It was founded by the munificence of the farsighted and noble hearted philanthropist and patron of letters the late Hon'ble Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar of Chettinad, Kt, LL.D., D.Litt. He started several colleges and ultimately the University in 1929. Since its inception, it has progressively tried to realize the aims of the noble Founder Pro-Chancellor. After him, his illustrious son Padma Bhushan Dr. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar of Chettinad, was the Pro-Chancellor from 1948 to 1984 and he sedulously nurtured the growth and development of the University. The present Pro-Chancellor Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy, a philanthropist and a patron of sports, is the distinguished son of Dr.Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar. The University has had the unique good fortune of having a succession of eminent Vice-Chancellors to guide its destinies. During the last eighty years the University has grown rapidly and consolidated its position as a unitary and residential University with Forty nine Departments of Study and over 2500 members on its teaching staff. Annamalainagar is already a busy and full-fledged University town east of Chidambaram, the abode of Lord Nataraja. The University campus, including the colleges, hostels and playgrounds occupies an area of about thousand acres.

Main Library

The seed of the main library germinated in 1920 with a token deposit of 200 books, when Sri Meenakshi College was founded. Then main was initially housed in the eastern wing of the Administrative building. It moved into its present abode in 1959, opening a new chapter in its history. The building was designed by internationally reputed architects namely Messers. Prynne, Abbot and Davis and the building was named after the former Vice Chancellor of Annamalai University, Dr. C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyar, in recognition of his valuable services to the country and to this university. The present building was opened by His Excellency Shri. Bishnuram Medhi, the then Governor of Madras, on 22nd October, 1959. Within a built-in area of about 36,000 Sq.ft. The buildingis a ‘H’ shaped structure, with a well controlled entrance lobby, a spacious Central Reading Hall, Reference Hall, Periodicals hall, and Bindery on the Eastern wing and Administrative Sections, closed access stack-rooms, Reprographic Section in the Western wing and open access stack rooms on both the wings.

The Annamalai University Library has the unique privilege of being selected as a full-fledged Depository for the World Bank Publications ever since 1986, and through this offer, our library gets the entire publications of the Bank at free of cost, and it is getting renewed every two years, based on the utility of the collections. The World Bank Cell is kept opened in all working days for reference. The photocopy service available inside the library is useful for the researchers to get Xerox copy of the collections. The compact discs (CD), contain information collected by the International Bank for reconstruction and development and the index of publications & guide to Information Products, and services of the World Bank are available in discs.

The Library is one of the few University Libraries in the country to have modernized its entire operations. The automation project was started in the year 1995 with special grant of fifty lakhs rupees received from the UGC-INFLIBNET. Through the following facilities, the user community will have unique advantage of availing of the library services round the clock. Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC), Internet Service, CD-ROM Service.

Literature Review

Chandran (2000) conducted a survey at Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati which reveals that 25 % of the respondents used the Internet 2-3 times a week; and the majority of respondents used WWW and E-mail. The purpose of using the Internet includes communication and information gathering. Yahoo, AltaVista, Rediff, and 123 India were some of the most often used search engines. The major problems faced by the respondents include slow downloading, technical problems, and guidance problems [1].

Naushad Ali (2000) conducted a study in which more than fifty percent of the study population was satisfied regarding timing of Internet service, but were not satisfied with staff’s cooperation, and reservation facility. Majority was not happy with the limited number of Internet nodes available [2].

Nicholas, et al. (2003) conducted a study in the UK to examine the use of the web for health information and advice. More than 1,300 people were surveyed. The study showed that 66% of the respondents accessed the Internet from home, 28% from work, and the remainder (6%) used a combination of both work and home [3].

Maheshwarappa and Ebnazar (2003) reports the results of an exploratory study on the use of Internet resources and services in Gulburga city based on the data collected from 123 users of Internet in private and public sectors covering 47 from cybercafés and 76 users from the university and college environment. Most frequently used resources and tools of the Internet were E-mail, web browsers and search engines. Most frequently used search engines were Yahoo, rediff, MSN search and Lycos. 70% have not received any instructions in the use of Internet and felt the need for training [4].

Asemi (2005) did a case study of Medical Sciences University of Isfahan (MUI), Iran. The results of the study showed that all the respondents used the Internet frequently because all faculties had an Internet connection. It was revealed that the researchers of the university were getting quality health information and patient care through the Internet. Fifty-five percent of respondents searched for scientific health information through the Internet because the university library provided access to databases and online journals students and staff [5].

Ajuwon (2006) conducted a study of the physicians' use of the Internet for health information for patient care at the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, Nigeria. The findings revealed that 98% of the respondents had used the Internet. A majority (76%) accessed the Internet from cyber cafes. Ninety percent reported that they had obtained information from the Internet for patient care; of this number, 76.2% had searched a database [6].

Chestnutt and Reynolds (2006) conducted a study of 457 dentists in Wales to identify how patient information on the Internet has influenced the delivery of oral care and the use practitioners make of the Internet. Thirty-nine percent of respondents agreed that information gained from the Internet had led to patients demanding inappropriate care [7].

Need for the Study

Academic libraries have made a significant investment in electronic information resources and in computer-based technologies in general and the Internet is particular as a need on the part of librarians to provide technology mediated information services to the clientele. IN a limited span of time, the Internet has become an integral unit for library and Information Centres. The current study is conducted to measure and access the changing users attitude, and behaviour towards the Internet. It is necessary to examine the Internet facility provided at the university campus and to evaluate the use of Internet. The present study has the following limitations: The study is restricted to use of Internet by the social science faculty of Annamalai University.

Objectives of the Study

The study generally aims to analyze the Internet use by the Social science faculty members of Annamalai University. Specific objectives are:

  • To highlight the importance of the Internet and its services over the traditional library services.
  • To know the purpose of using the Internet
  • To examine the impact of Internet in teaching and research
  • To find out the problems faced by the social science faculty while accessing the Internet

Methodology

A survey, using a questionnaire, among the social science faculty of the Annamalai University, was conducted to study the use of the Internet and to reveal the impact of the Internet on teaching and research. Out of the total 100 faculty surveyed, 90 questionnaires were received back, resulting a response rate 90 %. The information or data given by the faculty is analysed and presented.

Findings and Recommendations

Age wise distribution of respondents

Table 1: Age wise distribution of respondents

Age

No. of Faculty

Percentage

Below 30

17

18.89

30 to 40

32

35.55

41 to 50

23

25.56

51 to 60

18

20.00

Total

90

100

Table 1 show the age wise distribution of respondents. Out of the total 90 faculty surveyed, 17 (18.89%) respondents belong to the age group below 30 years. 35.55 % respondents belong to the age group between 30 and 40. Whereas 25.56% respondents belong to the age group from 41 to 50. Similarly 20 % respondents belong to the age group between 51 and 60.

Gender wise distribution of respondents

Table 2: Gender wise distribution of respondents

Gender

No. of Faculty

Percentage

Male

62

68.88

Female

28

31.12

Total

90

100

Table 2 shows the gender wise distribution of respondents. It is clear from table 2 that 68.88% respondents are male where as 31.12% respondents are female. Table 2 reveals that male faculties are dominating over, female respondents in annamalai university.

Use of Internet

Table 3: Use of Internet

Usage of Internet

No. of Faculty

Percentage

Yes

73

81.11

No

17

18.89

Total

90

100

The Respondents were asked about certain questions to ascertain the awareness, utilization and purpose of Internet access. Table 3 shows that 81.11 % respondents use the Internet regularly and very small of 18.89 % respondents do not use the Internet at the campus.

Table 4: Frequency of Internet use

Frequency of use

No. of Faculty

Percentage

Daily

28

38.35

Once in a week

13

17.81

Once in a fortnight

10

13.70

Once in a month

10

13.70

Occasionally

12

16.44

Total

73

100

The frequency of use depends upon the available facilities the university and services provides. Table 4 shows that the majority 38.35 % of the respondents use the internet on daily basis. About 17.81% respondents use once in a week, whereas 13.70 % respondents use once in a fortnight, similarly 13.70% of the respondents use once in a month, this is followed by 16.44 % respondents use the internet occasionally.

Table 5: Place of Internet access

Place of access

No. of Faculty

Percentage

Departmental Laboratory

30

41.10

University Library

13

17.80

Cybercafe

10

13.70

Home

20

27.40

Total

73

100.00

Table 5 depicts place from where faculty members access the Internet. The majority 41.10% of respondents access the Internet from departmental laboratory, about 27.40% respondents access from home, followed by 17.80 % respondents access from university library and this figure 13.70 % at cybercafé.

Purpose of Using the Internet

Table 6: Purpose of using the Internet

Purpose

No. of Faculty

Percentage

E-mail

57

78.08

Online Databases

32

43.83

News

19

26.02

Sports

7

9.58

General Information

22

30.13

Research and Teaching

62

84.93

It is multiple choice answer

Table 6 reveals that majority 84.93% respondents indicated that research and teaching is the primary purpose of using the Internet. About 78.08 % respondents use the Internet for E-mail purpose. This is followed by 43.83% respondents indicated for online databases and about 30.13 % respondents indicated general information. News and sports record relatively lesser preference. The findings of table 6 shows majority of the respondents use the Internet for their research and teaching. It is clearly reveals that social science faculty of annamalai university are particular towards their research and teaching activities.

Use of Different Search Engines

Table 7: Use of search engines

Purpose

No. of Faculty

Percentage

Yahoo

43

58.90

Google

64

87.67

Sify

21

28.76

MSN Search

36

49.31

Alta Vista

14

19.17

It is multiple choice answer

Table 7 depicts the use of different search engines 87.67 % respondents use Google search engine, about 58.90 % respondents use Yahoo search engine, followed by 49.31% MSN search. Other search engines like Sify 28.76 % and Altavista 19.17 % record relatively lesser preference.

Table 8: Impact of Internet on Teaching / Research

Impact of Internet on Teaching / Research

No. of Faculty

Percentage

Strongly Agree

61

83.56

Agree

12

16.44

Uncertain

-

-

Disagree

-

-

Strongly Disagree

-

-

Total

73

100

Table 8 shows that the impact of internet on teaching and research. It is evident that majority 83.56 % respondents strongly agree that the Internet has an important impact on their teaching and research. About 16.44 % respondents indicated agree.

Recommendations

  • User education programmes for the social science faculty should be conducted at regular intervals regarding the effective use of Internet.
  • Efforts should be made to increase the speed of the Internet access and shorten the time it takes to view and download web pages.
  • Information regarding the popular and the latest websites with their addresses should be displayed on the notice board in the computer lab.

Conclusion

The Internet as medium of communication is useful in the higher education. The search process of Internet will provide maximum access to the various sources to provider i.e. right information to the right user at the right time and in a right manner. The effective use of internet in libraries in India has become a necessity with raising standard of education and competition. It is evident from the result that Internet is the sciences are making maximum use of Internet facility provided by the university; however, researchers in other fields still rely on bibliographies and printed journals. The academic staff should encourage the use of electronic information sources for study and research. In view of the present situation, it is the responsibility of the personnel of the Library and Information Centres to create more awareness about the use of the Internet among the faculty and to provide friendly environment so that the faculty can make better use of the facility.

References

[1] Chandran D. (2000). Use of Internet resources and services in S.V. University (Tirupati) Environment. In Information services in a networked environment in India. R. Vengan et al. (Eds). Ahmedabad: INFLIBNET, pp 124-127

[2] Naushad Ali, P.M. (2000). Internet and its use in Aligarh Muslim University: A survey In PSG Kumar & C.P. Vashishth (Eds.), Academic libraries in the Internet era (Proceedings of 6th National CALIBER, Nagpur, India February 18-20, 2000) pp. 483-488). Ahmedabad: INFLIBNET.

[3] Nicholas, David, et al. “The British and Their Use of the Web for Health Information and Advice: A Survey.” Aslib Proceedings 5.6 (2003) 258-260.

[4] Maheswarappa, B.S., & Ebnazar, C.E. (2003). Use of Internet resources and services in Gulbarga City: An exploratory study. SRELS Journal of Information Management 40 (4): 409-420.

[5] Asemi, Asefeh. “Information Searching Habits of Internet Users: A Case Study on the Medical Sciences University of Isfahan (MUI), Iran.” Webology 2.1 (2005). 9 Aug. 2005 <http://www.webology.ir/2005/v2n1/a10.html#9>.

[6] Ajuwon, Grace A. “ Use of the Internet for health information by physicians for patient care in a teaching hospital in Ibadan, Nigeria.” Biomedical Digital Libraries 3.12 (2006). Available: http://www.biodiglib. com/content/3/1/12

[7] Chestnutt, I.G. and Reynolds, K. “How Has the Internet Affected Dentistry.” British Dental Journal. 2006. Available: http://www.nature.com/bdj/journal/v200/n3/full/4813196a.html

[8] http://annamalaiuniversity.ac.in