Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

The Significance of Electronic Resources and Digital Library Theories for Skills Development of Library Staff in Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

The Significance of Electronic Resources and Digital Library Theories for Skills Development of Library Staff in Nigeria

Article excerpt


There has been a significant shift of emphasis from one writing material to another over the years. The format of library resources has also changed with the demand of time and the advances in technology through the ages. Stones and clay tablets gave way to papyrus and, parchments. The use of paper as an information holding document brought a great leverage to the users of the ancient writing materials. Thus books became the dominant information material of notable value then. Till now, books still remain relevant. However because of the flexibility of use of electronic based information materials, books are gradually being replaced by electronic materials. Many libraries have transformed and are transforming their resources through digitization process from paper to electronic.

According to Shidi (2011), 21st century libraries have therefore been transformed from traditional status of store house of information materials (mostly print) into information centres where Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are used to acquire, process, store, retrieve and disseminate information. The emphasis on print resources or total dependence on them is no longer reasonable. This is because, apart from cost, delay, bulkiness etc that characterise print resources, print has a deficiency of assuming that everyone learns at the same pace and in the same manner and is therefore not sufficient in today's high- tech. multi-sensory approach to learning (Watson, 2005). Digital technology has therefore become a major resource used by librarians to enhance effective services delivery. Also it has a good number of advantages over the traditional library system which include: No physical boundary, Round the clock availability, Multiple accesses (a number of users can access the same material at the same time) and Preservation and conservation (can be reproduced several times without wear and tear). Other advantages are: Space saving, Networking ability, Cost saving and very friendly user search and retrieval interface (LISwiki, 2010).

Electronic resources, according to AACR2, are "materials consisting of data and/or computer program(s) encoded for reading and manipulation by a computer by the use of a peripheral device directly connected to the computer or remotely via a network such as the Internet" (as cited by Reitz, 2005, p. 244). They are electronic sources that are made available electronically and can also be accesses as such (electronically) through such facilities like online computer catalogs, the Internet and World Wide Web, digital libraries and archives, government portals and websites, CD-ROM databases, online academic databases such as Medline Online, or commercial databases such as LEXIS and NEXIS all of which are computer networked facilities (Ekwelem, Okafor & Ukwoma, 2009). International Records Management Trust (2009, p, 5) define an electronic record as they call it as any

component of information created electronically that forms part of an electronic record and that is usually stored separately within the digital file making up the electronic record as a whole. Every electronic record consists of at least one digital object, component or element, such as the bits of data that come together to create a word processed document. And some electronic records, such as photographs, video clips or web pages, may contain many different objects or elements

Digital library according to Waters, In Gary (1998 p1) are:

organizations that provide the resources, including the specialized staff, to select, structure, offer intellectual access to, interpret, distribute, preserve the integrity of, and ensure the persistence over time of collections of digital works so that they are readily and economically available for use by a defined community or set of communities.

In a simple term, "it is an organized collection of digitized material or its holding in the digital form, which can be accessible by a computer on the network by using TCP/IP or other protocol" (LIS wiki, 2010, p1). …

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