Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Attitudes of Librarians in Selected Nigerian Universities toward the Use of ICT

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Attitudes of Librarians in Selected Nigerian Universities toward the Use of ICT

Article excerpt

Introduction

Implementing information communication technology (ICT) in the library depends largely on librarians' attitudes toward it. The application of ICT has caused significant changes in libraries: automated cataloguing, circulation, information retrieval, electronic document delivery, and CDROM databases, for example. According to Ostrow (1998), the advent of the Internet, digitization, and the ability to access library and research materials from remote locations created dramatic changes by the end of the twentieth century. Ramzan (2004) observes that expert systems, wireless networks, virtual collections, interactive Web interfaces, virtual reference services, and personal Web portals have brought changes since the start of the new millennium. There have been fast and significant changes in librarianship, where digital and electronic libraries complement, and in some cases replace, traditional libraries.

Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) explore the role of attitude in their Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), which looks at the relationship between attitudes and norms and their influence on behaviour. Others have considered how people are influenced by peer opinions (Dillon and Morris, 1996). Attitudes affect behaviour and must be considered in managing staff, especially during change and innovation (Spacey, Guilding, and Murray, 2004).

Technological change is posing a particular challenge to librarians in developing countries. Librarians in developed countries moved quickly to learn and adopt new information technologies (Ramzan, 2004). ICT was introduced to perform library functions and provide innovative user services. Librarians gained knowledge of new technologies through continuing education programs, professional training, and revisions to library school curricula, which helped them benefit from the new technologies. Their libraries became equipped with appropriate hardware and software (Ramzan, 2004). The story in developing nations is quite different.

Ramzan (2004) has described the situation in Pakistan and other developing countries. He observes that librarians in Pakistan were not prepared to embrace the changes forced on them by new technologies; and that most of them were uncertain about ICT applications in their libraries and benefits for their organizations, because they had little knowledge ICT. The problems associated with this lack of knowledge are also discussed by Mohammed, et al. (1992), Khan (1995), Haider (1998), Mahmood (1999), and Saeedet et al. (2000). Nigeria is also a developing country. This study will explore attitudes of librarians in Nigeria towards ICT in their libraries. It is useful to have empirical evidence from a population of Nigerian librarians on this topical issue, which is important to the development of libraries at the digital era.

Literature review

Attitudes are "inclinations and feelings, prejudices or bias, preconceived notions, ideas, fears and convictions about any specific topic" (Taiwo, 1998). Many have cited Allport (1935), who states that an attititude "is a mental and neutral state of readiness organized through experience exerting a directive or dynamic influences upon individual's response to all objects or situations with which it is associated." This study explores the response and readiness of librarians to ICT applications. Attitudes represent the conceptual value of these technologies in the minds of the librarians, not the values of the technologies themselves. According to Spacey, et al. (2003), Fine (1986), and Evald (1996), positive attitudes are fundamental in implementing new technologies. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (Davis, 1989) is another way of looking at the relationship between attitude and behaviour. Other research in this area include Mathieson (1991), Morris and Dillon (1997), and Taylor and Todd (1995).

Winter et al. (1998) found a correlation between attitude toward technology and number of hours spent using a computer. …

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