Use of Library Information Technology Resources by Graduate Students of University of Agriculture, Abeokuta

Article excerpt

Introduction

The adoption of information technology into academic libraries has revolutionalized the way they acquire, store, and disseminate information to their users and way the individual patrons require and use information. Consequently, user's demand, information need and searching skills have changed (Chizenga,1998; Oketunji,2000). Henderson(1992)opines that the influence of IT in library functions and services has led to emergence of virtual library and e-library, which are terms used to refer to libraries that have adopted Information Technology to execute their functions and services. It is important to note according to Covi and Kling (1995) that a local collection of computer or other networks, software and technical staff do not constitute a digital library. They only provide basis for searching,, reading,, possibly printing and using documents that are stored in digital form elsewhere.

Several academic publications in the recent time have focus on digital, electronic or virtual library in various forms and formats. Digital libraries are being explained from two perspectives i.e. based on resources available via the internet and based on library automation. Information scientists often identify digital or electronic libraries with collection of whole texts, documents and images that are available via the internet services, such as TTP, gopher and World Wide Web (www). This group of electronic documents abounds and they include some standard versions of classical articles, technical reports, published papers, government documents, electronic journals and books.

Library automation on the other hand includes those services of library that can be computerized such as online catalogs, searchable collections (Medline, current contents, LISA online etc) abstracting services (Chemical Abstracts, Social Science Citation Abstracts, INSPEC etc) and agglomeration that offer whole text (Dialog, Lexis-Nexis etc). Buckland (1993) refers to this latter perspective as automated library services. These services are offered independently of the internet, although they are sometimes available through it and are usually purchased by university libraries.

Furthermore, Halman (1995) notes that the contribution that the proliferation of the networked information system has made to the transformation of the academic librarianship functions and services are now being expected in very swift and diversified ways. Many graduate students today are better equipped to use information technology from the onset to overcome obstacles in retrieving and managing the growing amount of online and offline information that are now available. Moreover, the growth in electronic publishing creates a need for new skills by users in searching full text, and in some cases multimedia and hypermedia electronic resources. Going by all these, one can aver that successful utilization of library IT resources rests squarely on training of users and availability of necessary infrastructures. Drake (2005) states that end users trained in the use of computers and the surfing of internet can search, retrieve and manipulate information electronically.

However, a question that readily comes to mind is what is the extent and pattern of usage of IT resource in academic libraries by users of the parent institution; such as: academic staff, other staff of the institution, students (undergraduates and postgraduates), other members of the institution and their immediate community. This study therefore focuses on the pattern of usage of library information technology resources by graduate students of University of Agriculture Abeokuta in Ogun State of Nigeria. The study will attempt to find out the level of awareness of library IT resources by the graduate students; the extent to which they use the resources, and their preference among available resources.

Statement of the Problem

In order to effectively satisfy the information needs of graduate students, libraries need to determine these needs in various courses. …