The State of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Nigerian University Libraries: The Experience of Ibrahim Babangida Library, Federal University of Technology, Yola

Article excerpt

Introduction

Information and Communication Technology (ICT), is a composite term, which embodies three important concepts. To understand ICT, one must understand all three concepts.

"Information" means many things to many people, depending on the context. Scientifically, information is processed data. Information can also be loosely defined as that which aids decision making. Information, though abstract, could also be visualized as a commodity, which could be bought or sold. Other writers have defined information as:

Any potentially useful fact, quantity or value that can be expressed uniquely with exactness. Information is whatever is capable of causing a human mind to change its opinion about the current state of the real world (de watteville and Gilbert 2000)

Communication refers to the transfer or exchange of information from person to person or from one place to another. When action produces a reaction, whether positive or negative, communication has taken place. Other writers in the field of communication studies have defined communication as:

... a process: a transfer of information, ideas, thoughts and messages. It involves a sender, a receiver, a code and, a language that is understood by both the sender and the receiver.

... a process involving the passing of messages through the use of symbols which all parties in the communication encounter understand. It involves the exchange of ideas, facts, opinions, attitudes and beliefs between people. It is not a one-way affair. There must be a sender to transmit the message, and receiver to make appropriate decisions on how the rest of the exchange should continue. (James, et al., 2004)

Technology refers to the use of scientific knowledge to invent tools that assist human beings in their efforts to overcome environmental hazards and impediments to comfort. In this regard, technology refers to the things like the computer, telephone, cell phone, GSM handsets, television, radio, etc.

Put together, therefore, ICT has been defined as:

The acquisition, analysis, manipulation, storage and distribution of information; and the design and provision of equipment and software for these purposes. (de watteville and Gilbert 2000)

ICT and Information Technology (IT) are similar concepts that can be used interchangeably. IT implies communication and therefore it becomes obvious that the two terms are synonymous.

Overview of the State of ICT in Nigerian University Libraries

Due to harsh economic conditions and government apathy to library development in Nigeria, the state of ICT in university libraries is mediocre. The literature affirms that quality of a university can be judged by the content and quality of the service offered by the library. Due to the same economic conditions and government apathy, the content and quality of services of most Nigerian university libraries have deteriorated to such a level that the quality of the products of such universities has also been adversely affected.

The National Universities Commission (NUC) set up a Quality Control Division (QCD) which did research to test the quality of Nigerian university academic programmes. The NUC set up benchmarks for each academic programme which were evaluated and scored based on the following criteria:

 
Criteria       Percent 
 
Staffing         32 
Academic         23 
  Content 
Physical         25 
  Facilities 
Library          12 
Funding          05 
Employers'       03 
  Rating 
Total           100 

Academic programmes must have a score of 70 percent or above in each of the core areas of Staffing, Academic Content, Physical Facilities, and the Library in order to get full accreditation. The result of the 2005 NUC Accreditation Exercise was shocking. A total of 102 academic programmes (7.16%) were not only denied accreditation but also barred from admitting new students. …