Issues in Citing Internet Resources: What Nigerian Authors, Librarians, and Information Seekers Must Abide In

By Anyira, Isaac Echezonam; Nwabueze, Anthonia | Library Philosophy and Practice, March 2011 | Go to article overview

Issues in Citing Internet Resources: What Nigerian Authors, Librarians, and Information Seekers Must Abide In


Anyira, Isaac Echezonam, Nwabueze, Anthonia, Library Philosophy and Practice


1.1 Introduction.

The internet established in 1969 by the United States Department of Defense, as ARPANet (which stands for Advance Research project Agency Network), is a worldwide network that connects hundred of thousands of other smaller networks. It links educational, commercial and non-profit organizations, the military, as well as individuals (Williams & Sawyer, 2007).

Internet use in Nigeria started in 1991 when a few pioneering groups began to offer limited e-mail services (Eshekels Associates, 2001). In July 1995, the regional information network for Africa (RINAF) commenced internet services at the Computer Science Department of Yaba College of technology, and through the Nigerian postal service (NIPOST), in a collaborative effort with Rose Clayton Nigeria Limited (Adomi, 2005).

The world wide web (WWW) became available in Nigeria in 1996, while full internet services became available in 1998, and number of NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission) licensed Internet service Providers rose to over 150 by 2001 (Adomi, 2005).

With an estimated total population of over 140 million people (National Population Commission, 2006), Nigeria is the most populated black nation in the world, with internet hosts as low as 1,094 (Adomi, 2005).

In late 2003, Nigeria had a total of 750,000 internet users and 60 users per 10,000 inhabitants representing 0.5 percent of the population (International Telecommunications Union, 2004). Nigeria had a total of 853,000 PC's and 0.71 pc's per 100 inhabitants as at 2003 (ITU, 2004).

Internet use in Nigeria has for long been linked to research. This is because the adoption of the internet in Nigeria has leveraged access to information and communication by providing un-reserved access to e-mail messages, web boards, online services, e-publication and so on. However, internet use came with it the problem of citation. This is because unlike the print sources which the average Nigerian researcher is aware of, internet resources are quite peculiar and grey.

This issue must be addressed at this point in time because Krause (2007) posited that citation is one of the key elements that distinguish academic research writing from other kinds of writings. Moreover, Researchers are eagerly interested in knowing where the writer found his/her evidence, so that they can retrieve that evidence and read it themselves.

Besides, academic writers are also very interested in giving credit to other writers' ideas. Krause (2007) pointed out that quoting and paraphrasing in research do not give proper credit to another writer's knowledge or ideas. The goal of citation therefore, is to explain to the readers or information users where the writer found the evidence that he/she used to support his/her point. This must not be taken for granted.

2.1 Internet Resources

There are diverse resources on the internet. They include:

2.1.1 Electronic Books (e-books)

Electronic books or e-books are digital texts, which are issued as individual works and designed to be accessed by using special software for text navigation and ease of reading. E-books are digital versions of a traditional printed book designed to be read in a personal computer or an e-book reader. The e-book reader is a software application designed for use in a standard-sized computer or a book-sized computer used solely as a reading device. There are large array of electronic books on the internet. Some are designed for reference purposes while others are prepared to be read like textbooks.

2.1.2 Electronic Journals (e-journals)

Electronic journals are scholarly journals or intellectually magazines that can be accessed via the World Wide Web. E-journals are fashioned to be like the print journal. E-journal articles usually contain metadata that can be entered into specialized databases ass well as the databases and search engines for the academic and discipline concerned. …

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