Use of Information Sources by Research Scholars: A Case Study of Gulbarga University

Article excerpt

Introduction

Information is regarded as a critical resource, ranking just after air, water, food, and shelter (Kemp, 1976). People need information for making decisions. They may acquire information through the research process, which is the process of finding ideas, facts, and new information by systematic study. The new facts and ideas will be based on existing ones, which are found in the existing literature. Information is acquired, processed, and disseminated through the university library, "a place, where books and users interact together for the transmission of civilization and cultivation of human beings" and "the most important resource in the pursuit of the general goals and objectives of the institution of higher learning" (Nwosu 2000). For the library manager, it is necessary to understand how resources are being used, the changing needs of users, and their levels of satisfaction. The present study looks at the use of information by research scholars at Gulbarga University.

About the University

Gulbarga University was established in 1980 by an act of Karnataka State. Its jurisdiction extends to the five districts of Gulbarga: Bidar, Raichure, Ballary, and Koppal of Hyderabad, Karnataka. The main campus is positioned on 860 acres of land, six kilometers of east Gulbarga city. It has 37 post-graduate departments and 4 postgraduate centers. There are 230 colleges affiliated with the university, which enroll graduate and diploma courses in science, arts, fine arts, music, social science, technology, commerce education and law. ("About us," 2008)

The Gulbarga University Library takes pains to meet user needs by providing user- focused services, with more than 220,000 books, 435 scientific journals, sixteen CD-ROM databases, 540 dissertations, theses, technical reports, conference papers, and rare books .

Objectives of the Study

* To discover how frequently research scholars visit the library

* To discover the purpose of visits to the library

* To discover users' opinions about the library collection

* To discover what sources the research scholars consult most frequently

* To discover levels of satisfaction with existing information sources

* To provide suggestions for development of library resources

Review of Related Literature

A number of few studies have been dibe on use of information sources by sesearch scholars. Siddiqui (2001) conducted a study on the use of library collection of Jawaharlal Nehru University Library. A questionnaire was used to collect the data, which covered 99 scholars. The study found that 69 percent visit the library daily, and 31 percent found the library collection adequate to meet their information needs. Kawatra (1988) undertook a study on attitudes of research scholars towards use of resources and services. A sample of 109 research scholar drawn from three universities of Rajasthan found that a majority of scholars visit the library one to four times a week and scholars at all the three universities are not adequately involved in using the sources. Mallaiah and Badami (1993) studied the use of services and facilities of Mangalore University Library, covering 60 scholars. The majority of the research scholars visited the library for borrowing books, consulting periodicals, and more than half complained about the non-availability of current issues.

Scope and Limitation of the Study

The study is limited to full-time research scholars of the Gulbarga University who are pursuing their doctoral degree in science, social science, languages, commerce, and humanities.

Methodology

A questionnaire was used for collecting opinions of research scholars about information use. There are 305 PhD scholars. One hundred five questionnaires were distributed, and 83 were returned, a 79.04 percent response rate.

Results and Discussion

The collected data has analyzed and presented as follows:

Two thirds of respondents were male, and one third female. …