ICT and Collection Management in Public Libraries: A Survey of South-South of Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Information is regarded as a major economic resource, which can be used by individuals, corporations and various levels of institutions like other major resources, information offers the greatest possibilities to those who know how to use it. The daily growth of information according to Utor (1999.6) brings about problems of location, acquisition, organization and the problems of money easily available to potential user, the right type of information at the right time. The problems are made more frustrating as user themselves find it difficult to locate and make use of the right type of information they consider useful.

The application and use of ICT has resulted in the globalization and knowledge resources. The adoption of ICT to public libraries can no longer be ignored. However, some Libraries in less developed countries whose role involve the location, selection, acquisition, organization and dissemination of information are still using 19th century resources and methods of organization. In the midst of what amounts to a global information revolution, most libraries still use methods, which date back to the time knowledge seemed stable and banned. Information and communication technologies are widely applied in libraries around the world for effective management, but the extent of such application in the South-South Nigeria is still largely unknown.

The geo-political formation of the Nigerian State is represented by North-West, North-East, North-Central, South-South, South-East, and South-West. This research specifically covers the South-South, this region is made up six States namely Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, and River States. Information and communication technology (ICT) embrace items of equipment such as computers, scanner, Internet, multimedia, software programmes, networks that allows us to access, retrieve, store, organize, manipulate and present information in electronic means. UNESCO (2000) defines ICT as the scientific, technological and engineering discipline and management techniques used in information handling and processing.

ICT has changed library and information services globally. Digital media has revolutionised the information source and advances in ICTs have dramatically changed the information provisions. The Internet has provided universal access to information. Technological innovation has changed the rate of conversion of knowledge, information and data into electronic format. Development in the software arena has generated powerful knowledge management software which has transformed the way knowledge is organized stored, accessed and retrieved.

Literature Review

The process of collection management has become very challenging and complex. As observed by Friend (2000:55), basic collection management activities include analysis of user needs, inter-and--intra-library communication, policy development, budgeting and allocation of resources, contract negotiations, macro-evaluations of collection, micro-evaluation for selection, relegation, preservation or withdrawal of stock and system evaluation.

According to Singh (2004:127) this set of activities will continue to evolve as new information and communication products and services as well as increase in the range of possibilities for communicating information. Change is the law of nature. As is very apparent in the present library culture, libraries are not exempted from change. Gone is the era in which housing a large collection that spans linear miles was a matter of great pride for a library. At that time, such libraries were able to meet most of their user's requirements with the resources they owned. But today, in an electronic environment, physical location of information is becoming less important as long as the information is accessible. The very concept of ownership has been left behind, as the emphasis is shifting from building strong local collections for long-term materials made available by providers anywhere in the world. …