Factors Affecting Information and Communication Technologies (ICTS) Use by Academic Librarians in Southwestern Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

The term "Information and communication technologies "(ICTs) is defined as a diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate and create, disseminate, store, and manage information (Blurton 1999:46). ICTs encompass a range of rapidly evolving technologies and they include telecommunication technologies (telephony, cable, satellite, TV and radio, computer-mediated conferencing, video conferencing) as well as digital technologies (computers, information networks (internet, World Wide Web, intranets and extranets) and software applications (Chisenga, 2006).

The key purpose of any library is to provide a quality service: access to relevant information (Buckland, 1992), to computers, information networks and software applications. These technologies are making it possible for libraries to provide a variety of library and information services to clientele. All the functions and services that academic librarians used to provide manually can be provided now through the use of ICTs which can do things better and faster. To mention some of the opportunities presented by ICTs to the libraries according to Haliso (2007) and Chisenga (2006) are:

* Organization of information for use

* Capacity building

* Management information system

* Digital libraries

* Resource sharing/document delivery.

Academic libraries are institutions that are established to take care of the information need of students, lecturers, researchers and other community of scholars. Their mission is providing quality information service and knowledge products (print and electronic) to resident community of scholars. In the words of Wolpert (1999), "academic libraries are cost effective information service and provider of knowledge products to a resident community of scholars". In order to function and provide timely information at a faster speed to lecturers, researchers and students, it would appear that administrators of academic libraries realised the important role information and communication technologies (ICTs) play in their job performance and so made information and communication technologies (ICTs) available to their workforce.

From the global point of view, it appears that there is tacit consent that a relationship exists between use of information and communication technologies and job enhancement of librarians (Ajayi, 2001). Stephen (1995) submits that the use of information technology provides significant benefits in work measurement, cost reduction, productivity improvement and better services to customers and clients. Actually it is availability which makes use possible and it is use that makes performance attainable. So, the combined effect of availability of information and communication technologies can enhance the job performance of the academic librarians. There is need for all developed and developing nations of the world to take information and communication technologies (ICTs) as tools that aid the enhancement of job performance of the library staff through the application of the ICTs by the librarians (Rosenberg 2005; Mphidi 2004; Chuene, 2000; Lancaster & Sandore, 1997; Siddique, 1997). This cannot be achieved unless academic libraries realise the tremendous role information and communication technologies could play to enhance effective services. Rosenberg (2005) submitted that libraries need to develop a strategic information and communication plan that would enhance the deployment of ICTs in their libraries. The ICT deployment and application is done by academic librarians who are trained to man specific sectors of the library (Tenant, 1995).

In Canada, the use of ICTs and job performance of librarians is recorded. A report prepared by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) revealed that in the year 2000/2001, academic libraries subscribed to 436,731 electronic journals. The same report also states that librarians are leaders in using technology to transform traditional library resources and services to meet the challenge of the 21st Century. …