USE AND AWARENESS OF ELECTRONIC INFORMATION RESOURCE (A CASE STUDY OF PORT HARCOURT UNIVERSITY)
This research aims to study the use and awareness of electronic information resources with special reference to the University of Port Harcourt. The study embraced survey design. Specifically, the study sought to establish which electronic information resources are at the university, find out the level of awareness and utilization by academic staff of these resources, explore the outcomes on teaching productivity and find out the challenges they experience in accessing these resources. The literature review is enriched by the objectives. The study is informed by Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT). The target population of the study is 120 academic staff of which 48 were sampled for the study. Data collection was by way of questionnaires, observation and document analysis. Data analysis was done, and presented by use of excel, graphs, and charts. The findings of the study were used to make informed decisions by policy makers and the academic staff on how to effectively utilize electronic information resources to improve learning outcomes in the University. The study found that the levels of awareness and utilization of electronic resources by the teaching staff at the University of Port Harcourt were low hence the need for more sensitization. It was also noted that they faced challenges of lack of proper search skills, lack of awareness of which resources existed and lack of proper infrastructure.
- Background of the Study
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as electronic resources and internet are influencing teaching and learning as major driving force in the new globalized and knowledge-based world order. These tools have made tremendous impact on the academic activities of students, researchers and professionals.After the advent of electronic information resources there is a significant transition in information access, use and library operations around the world. Many academic libraries are doing their best to provide their users access to this vast reservoir of information due to their many advantages which include flexibility, easy accessibility and availability regardless of time and location Rajeev (2015). It also facilitate the process of teaching, learning and research activities.
In 2000, most libraries started with a dial-up based Internet service through info.com, a commercial internet service provider. The aim was to improve information delivery electronically. Over the years, College of Libraries acquired a number of computers that were connected to the Internet. The main objective of IT investment in the Library was to enhance accessibility to electronic information resources so as to achieve optimum usage levels.
Electronic Information Usage in Library is a shift from print materials to electronic information materials and services in the form of CD-ROMS, e-books, e-databases, electronic journals, electronic current awareness service and information subject gateways, accessed through the internet. This means that students are able to utilize these resources for effective research and of better quality.
Information resources are items containing information. They are also defined as anything consulted in order to obtain information (Keith, 2004). Within the context of library and information studies, information resources can be described as any information in electronic, audio-visual or physical form, or any hardware or software that make possible the storage of information. Information resources consist of all the collection of library including print and nonprint provided with a review to satisfying information needs of users to help them perform better in their chosen areas of studies. Such resources include books, journals, reference books, computers and related electronic gadgets. These are usually consulted by customers due to their information contents whether in print or electronic format.
Electronic Information Resources
Electronic information resources, popularly known as e-resources which have become a major element of library collections worldwide. Ine-resources information is stored electronically which are accessible through electronic systems and networks. According to Saye (2001), “electronic resources are the resources that are generated through some electronic medium and made available to a wide range of viewers both on-site and off-site via some electronic transferring machine or internet”. E-resources are generally in the form of e-Books, eJournals, OPACs, CD-ROMs, Online databases, internet resource, electronic link and web publishing etc.
Online electronic information resources usually consist of online books, online journals, online magazines,online newspapers, online theses, dissertations, online databases which are likely to be alternative through media EBSCO HOST, DOAJ, JSTOR, HINARI, are some of the examples of online electronic databases,these are available on the internet either through open access or commercially (Kumar, and Kumar,2010). On the other hand, offline electronic information resources include e-journals, e-dataarchives, e- manuscripts, e-maps, e-books, emagazines, e-theses, e-newspapers, e-mail,e-research reports, e-bibliographicdatabase and CDROM databases which are accessible through some electronic machines.
According to the International Federation of Library Association and Institution (IFLA) “electronic resources” refer to those materials that require computer access whether through personal computer, mainframe, or handheld mobile device. They may be either accessed remotely via the internet or locally. They include: e-journal, e -books, full text (aggregated) databases, Indexing abstracting databases, reference databases, numeric and statistical databases, e-images, e-audio visuals resources. (IFLA, 2012)
1.2. Statement of the problem
Academic Institutions allocate a lot of funds towards the subscription of electronic resources yet relatively little is known about how these services are used, who uses them, and what the overall impact of these services is. (Shim et al,. 2001). The situation of electronic information resources awareness and use at the University of Port Harcourt Library is similar. The Library has ongoing efforts to optimize maximum use of electronic information library resources. These resources require skills for effective retrieval in order to overcome the challenges faced in the way information is accessed, stored and delivered.
It is thus necessary to conduct a study to determine level of usage and awareness of the existence of these resources. This will thus help determine whether there is need for sensitization and marketing.
1.3. Aim of the study
The purpose of this study is to assess the use and awareness of electronic information resource in port Harcourt, the impact of these resources on teaching and the challenges faced in accessing these resources so as to recommend relevant suggestions to facilitate use of electronic information resources in the institution and to find out the main reasons for using these resources by the academic staff that use them.
1.4. Objectives of the Study
The study is guided by the following objectives.
- To examine the levels of awareness and utilization of electronic information resources by teaching staff at University of Port Harcourt.
- To explore the effect of electronic information resources on teaching and research.
- To determine the challenges experienced by academic staff while utilizing electronic information resources.
- To find out the main reason(s) behind the use of electronic information resources by the academic staff
1.5 Research Questions
The study is guided by the following research questions.
- What is the level of awareness and utilization of the electronic information resources by the teaching staff at the University of Port Harcourt?
- What is the effect of electronic information resources on teaching and research?
- What are the challenges experienced by academic staff while utilizing electronic information resources?
- What are the main reason(s) behind the use of electronic information resources by the academic staff?
1.6 Significance of the Study
The real purpose of any academic library is to provide its users with relevant up to date information in order to fulfill its core function of facilitating teaching, learning and research.
Libraries are now investing heavily on electronic information resources especially academic libraries where users are exposed to various electronic resources outlets via internet. Where electronic information resources are in place the potential users of these new information sources are not making use of the valuable electronic resources owing to lack of awareness or lack of skills required to navigate the modern technology. Most users are either unaware of the existence of electronic information resources as part of library collections or they lack skills but they are willing to discover and use them more effectively. Unfriendly interfaces or usability problems also hinder their further use of electronic resources.
The study will be of significance to the academic community in that it will help determine the levels of awareness and use of electronic resources and the challenges faced in their use. This will enable informed decisions to be made by the policy makers in the library and University management.
The study also will be of significance to academics in research, learning and teaching because it is expected that the academic community would be sensitized to the important role played by the Internet and electronic resources as sources of information to support their teaching programmes. If academic administrators realize the importance of e-resources, it is hoped that more resources would be allocated to sustain them and facilitate their teaching mandates.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study assessed the use and awareness of electronic information resources. The study will be carried out at the University of Port Harcourt and the respondents will be the academic staff.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
The study is limited to investigating the use and awareness of electronic information resources in University of Port Harcourt. The study will also look at the impact of this resources on teaching and the challenges posed in the use of electronic information resources. This will facilitate taking appropriate measures that will enhance increased usage of electronic information resources that will facilitate teaching and learning outcomes thus meeting their goals in the university.
USE AND AWARENESS OF ELECTRONIC INFORMATION RESOURCE (A CASE STUDY OF PORT HARCOURT UNIVERSITY)