Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

A Study of IT Infrastructure in Pakistani University Libraries

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

A Study of IT Infrastructure in Pakistani University Libraries

Article excerpt

Introduction

Mankind has been handling information since thousands of years; early technologies that helped him in this regard included the abacus and printing. The last three decades or so have seen an amazingly rapid development of such technology, spearheaded by the computer; more recently, cheap microelectronics have permitted the diffusion of this technology into almost all aspects of daily life and an almost inextricable cross-fertilizing and intermingling of its various branches. The term information technology was coined, probably in the late 1970s, to refer to this nexus of modern technology, electronic based, for handling information. ...Its applications are industrial, commercial, administrative, educational, medical, scientific, professional, and domestic (Illingworth, 1983).

UNESO has defined information technology as "scientific, technological and engineering disciplines and the management techniques used in information handling and processing: their application, computers and their interaction with men and machines and associated social, economic, and cultural matter". ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science (1983) defined information technology as "the application of computers and other technologies to the acquisition, organization, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of information".

Earl (1989) defines IT infrastructure as the technological foundation of computer, communications, data and basic systems. He views IT infrastructure as the technology framework that guides the organization in satisfying business and management needs. IT infrastructure is a foremost business resource and a prospective source to attain sustainable competitive advantage (Keen, 1991). The use of information technology in academic libraries is very much needed to provide efficient and accurate services, to control the rapid growth of information, to facilitate cooperation, and to manage increased workload. IT has opened new avenues for the storage and retrieval of information and its use in academic libraries has been increasing gradually (Veeranjaneyulu, 2004).

Study Objective

The objective of this study is to investigate the status of hardware, software, networking and IT support available in university libraries of Pakistan.

Study Design

The Central Libraries of Pakistani Universities situated in four provinces and Federal Capital were included in the study. Among 91 universities, nine had presently no provision of Central Library. Therefore 82 out of 91 university libraries comprised the population for this study. A semi structured questionnaire both in printed and soft copies were sent to the chief librarians/head librarians. The valid response rate was 63.41% (52 out of 82). SPSS16 was used to analyse the data. The descriptive statistics including frequency distribution, percentage, mean, median, mode, minima, maxima, standard deviation etc. were employed to analyze the data. Figures were also included to express the data.

Literature Review

In this review, literature on three aspects ( i.e. hardware, software, and networking) is included to understand the problem.

Hardware

Ortiz-Zapata & Quintana (1991) studied seventeen public and private academic libraries of Puerto Rica. The paper found that 76 percent libraries had one or more computers. In East Africa, all the government-owned university libraries had computers. Moi University Library had 51 (66.2%), Dar Es Salaam 16 (20.8%), Sokoine 8 (10.4%), Egerton and Mbarara one (1.3%) computer to provide services (Mulimila, 2000).

A comparative study of strategic management of IT applications in some selected university libraries of Ghana and United Kingdom found that the status of IT applications was very low in all the university libraries in Ghana with slightly varying degrees in individual institutions. In the United Kingdom, a very significant level of IT applications was found in the university libraries (Badu, 2004). …

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