Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Users' Perception of the Facilities, Resources and Services of the MTN Digital Library at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Users' Perception of the Facilities, Resources and Services of the MTN Digital Library at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Article excerpt

Introduction

Libraries have evolved over time with technology as recently, traditional libraries containing a large number of printed documents are being transformed to paperless libraries, with the capacity for limitless volumes of information to be contained in digitized formats. Digital libraries are increasingly becoming part of school systems in many countries in Africa. Even though Africa is reputed to be a late comer in the adoption of ICT in education, the continent is making strides to tap the benefits of the ICT-driven education sector. A good part of the stride is to find out the challenges faced by the prime beneficiaries of technology, the students. Thus, in the case of digital libraries, it is actually uncertain how much students of universities avail themselves of the multimedia facilities of digital libraries.

The University of Nigeria (UNN), a federal university founded in 1955, was formally opened on 7th October, 1960. The MTN Foundation established its digital connect library within the institution on the 5th June, 2009 as its 3rd phase in the MTN Universities connect project after the Universities of Lagos and ABU, Zaria (the first and second phases of the project respectively). According to Chief Victor Odili, a director of MTN Nigeria, at the commissioning of the fourth and final phase of the project, the essence of the MTN connect Digital Library to this institution is for the purpose of "advancing education and arming our youths with the requisite skills they need to excel in the ever-dynamic world". This was the reason behind which the Universities Connect project was conceived (Pomare, 2013).

Thus in 2009, the MTN foundation for ICT partnered with the Nnamdi Azikiwe Library of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka to establish a functional resource center equipped with 128 computers that are subscribed to so many websites to aid the research needs of students and lecturers. The project is an always-on wired and wireless network covering the entire geography of the four campuses of the University and consisting of fiber optics network provided by MTN, extending from Lagos to the Nsukka Campus, Enugu Campus and Ituku-Ozala Campus whilst the Aba campus is looped in through microwave transmissions. Therefore, this ICT infrastructure unleashes a whole lot of possibilities for the university as students in their rooms, halls of residence or in their lecture halls can wirelessly connect to the internet (Adepetun, 2010).

Statement of the Problem

The essence of the introduction of the MTN connect digital libraries to academic universities in Nigeria is basically to provide online resources to staffs and students in order to bridge the knowledge and digital divide between the developed and developing countries, enhance educational infrastructural development and provide educational resources for effective learning. Unfortunately, digital libraries in Nigeria seem to be plagued with the challenges of gross under funding of libraries and education, existence of erratic and epileptic power supply, unstable nature of the National Information Technology Policy as was approved in 2001, lack of comprehensive and adequate knowledge of ICTs among most Nigerian information professionals or Technophobia, limited bandwidth available/poor connectivity etc. these problems have been dwindling the quality of services and resources provided by digital libraries in the nation.

Finally, there seems to be lack in research that specifically examines MTN Digital Library systems in Nigeria from the users' perspective, thus this study not only intends to fill in the missing links in these vital knowledge gaps but also intends to investigate into user's perceptions of the various facilities, resources and services of the MTN connect digital library in the University of Nigeria as well as providing possible solutions on how these facilities, resources and services can be enhanced to meet user requirements. …

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