Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Scholarly Electronic Journals: Availability and Use in Universities in Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Scholarly Electronic Journals: Availability and Use in Universities in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Many libraries in Nigeria are clamoring to see how they can improve on the allocations given them to increase their resources, without much success. Yet the cost of serials, especially scientific journals, continues to rise higher and higher in price. Okerson (1991) has says that, "in recent decade, print journals prices have continued to rise beyond inflation especially for scientific journal."

This paper seek to put electronic serials in perspective to libraries and librarians who are not yet familiar with e-resources, about their nature, utility, viability for enriching serial collections of university libraries. The extent of availability and usability of these resources in the University of Nigeria will be ascertained. Academics are co-producers of electronic serials. The paper will unravel the willingness and readiness of the university academics in Nigeria, to participate in the production and growth of e-serial. It will also seek to know what hindrances users experience towards effective use of e-serials.

Research Questions

1. Are electronic serials available for use at the University of Nigeria?

2. From what sources are electronic journals made available?

3. For what purposes are electronic journals used by academic in UNN?

4. To what extent do staff of the University of Nigeria access and use e-resources in their subject areas?

5. What problem do users encounter in accessing and use of e-journals?

6. What are the strategies for enhancing access and use of e-journals?

Significance of the Study

This study is significant because it will drive home to academics the concept, characteristics, sources and usefulness of e-serials. It will be an exposition of the existence of and accessibility to many of these electronic resources in the Univer sity's library. In this period of scarcity of print serials (especially journals) as a result of cancellations due to limited funds, there is need for academics to familiarize themselves with the opportunities provided by electronic journals. The ywill also be encouraged to participate in the production and development of these e-resources. It will be help serials librarians in Nigeria to adopt new strategies for improving access and use of e-serials for effective service to their clientele.

Scope of the Study

The study is limited to academic staff of the University of Nigeria, including librarians.

Literature Review

The transition from print based serials to a predominantly electronic based serials is a recent phenomenon. Nevertheless library historians has identified three major phases of this transition between 1990 to 2002. According to Rowlands (2007), Mahe (2004), and Boyce, et al. (2004) there are three phases in the evolution of electronic journal. Ghe earliest phase was 1990-1993, when electronic full text was confined to CD-ROM. The second phase was the "evolving phase," between 2000-2002, which marked the availability of print and electronic alternatives. The third phase was the "advanced phase," with the emergence of sophisticated information systems designed to enhance scientific work (Rowlands, 2007).

Obst (2003) carried out a survey in a medical science library, comparing print and electronic materials use in 2003. The study revealed that between 1999 and 2001, print use declined dramatically. Within the same period, there was accelerated use of electronic journals.

Thus, electronic serials have been in existence since the 1990s. Many of these are scholarly or academic electronic journals. As pointed out by McEdowney (1995) some academics are aware of these trends in scholarly communications and participate in their production. Others remain unaware. The nature of electronic serials can be seen from their definition. Strangelove states that e-serials attempts to emulate the characteristics of their print counterparts through organization, periodicity, and topical focus. …

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