Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Electronic Information Seeking among LIS Postgraduate Students at Makerere University, Uganda

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Electronic Information Seeking among LIS Postgraduate Students at Makerere University, Uganda

Article excerpt

Introduction

Higher education is changing rapidly (Toner 2008). Bennett (2003) identifies two major shifts in education. Firstly, higher education is moving away from a teaching to a learning culture. Secondly, the revolution in information technology is changing delivery of education. An academic library should take these two shifts into account while planning their services. Like much of the world, the Uganda system is becoming increasingly open and diverse with the underlying strategic aim of being available to all. Makerere University is Uganda's premier institution of high learning with over 30,000 students. It is one of the largest universities in East and Central Africa.. It is also one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Africa. Makerere University was established in 1922 as a technical school and currently has 22 faculties offering day, evening, and distance study programmes. In recent years there have been a number of changes in the higher education sector in Uganda and, in particular, at Makerere University (Okello-Obura and Magara 2008). These dramatic changes include the way in which information is provided to the university community. The university, through a number of donor supported programmes, has embraced the electronic provision of information to facilitate study programmes and research. With the integration of online information services like full text online journal, electronic books, Electronic document delivery services and digital libraries in its library systems, Makerere University is attempting to disseminate information by means of an electronic hybrid Online systems. According to Tsakomas and Papatheodorou (2006) advances in technology and transformations in the information landscape have altered the way users interact with such information systems. The transition from print to electronic medium, apart from resulting in a growth of electronic information, has provided users with new tools and applications for information seeking and retrieval that take their idiosyncrasy into account, rather than obliging them to adapt their own characteristics (Tsakomas and Papatheodorou 2006).

The major objectives of the adoption of e-resources are to facilitate access to international information resources via the Internet as well as the timely dissemination of both local and international research output (Okello-Obura and Magara 2008). This should result in efficient research by enabling access to up-to-date international literature as soon as it is published; and ensure satisfaction of user needs.

Following a study conducted by Okello-Obura and Magara (2008) to determine electronic information resources use by Library and Information Science (LIS) undergraduate students, another study was commissioned to analyse the use of e-resources by LIS postgraduate studies. The need for this study was prompted after discovering that the list of references of coursework and assignments submitted by most postgraduate students that did not include e-resources despite the fact that the Makerere University Library was subscribing to a number of them. Secondly this was also based on the assumption that students in the LIS discipline, should be knowledgeable and comfortable with electronic resource usage. This prompted a number of questions including: what computer skills LIS postgraduate students have? What are their attitudes towards e-resources? What suggestions do they have to help improve on e-resources?

1.1 Objectives of the study

The objectives of this study were to

* establish the level of computer skills of Makerere University LIS postgraduate students.

* determine the use of electronic information resources by LIS postgraduate students at Makerere University.

* determine the attitudes of LIS postgraduate students towards electronic information resources.

* recommend appropriate measures to improve electronic information access and use at Makerere University. …

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