Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Usage and Promotion of CD-ROM Services in Malaysian Academic Libraries

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Usage and Promotion of CD-ROM Services in Malaysian Academic Libraries

Article excerpt

We recently conducted a formal study to explore usage patterns and end-user awareness of CD-ROM collections and services, as well as the adequacy of promotional activities for those collections and services, at the University of Malaya and the International Islamic University Malaysia academic libraries. We found that a majority of the potential CD-ROM users were not even aware of the service; and that the libraries, as a consequence, clearly need to strengthen marketing as well as end-user education (i.e., electronic searching concepts and skills). It was also clear that the libraries need to reevaluate their CD-ROM collections, and to review policies and procedures pertaining to CD-ROM service on a regular and continuing basis.

CD-ROM in Malaysian Libraries

Of course, CD-ROM technology has proven its worth for libraries over the past decade. Libraries in developing countries have also exploited the technology with the expectation that it would solve many of their unique problems related to access to current information (see references 1-10).

University libraries in Malaysia are spending a substantial amount of money on the establishment and maintenance of CD-ROM resources and services. The Malaysian economy is one of the fastest growing in the South Asian and Pacific region. Malaysian libraries are rapidly embracing new information technologies with heavy investments. All university libraries in Malaysia have now made CD-ROM workstations available to their patrons.

Only a few studies on this subject, limited in scope, have been undertaken to date in the academic libraries of Malaysia. Considering the substantial investment in the establishment and maintenance of CD-ROM searching facilities, it was considered worthwhile to investigate the utility level and user satisfaction level with the existing services. We expected that the results of this study would be useful for the management of these libraries to assess the services and to identify appropriate measures to further improve and promote the services among their users.

Our Survey Methodology

Two universities in Malaysia-- University of Malaya (UM) and the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) were selected for this study. The University of Malaya, founded in 1962, is the largest university in Malaysia with 11 faculties, two academies, four centers, and an Institute of Advanced Studies. It offers degrees in a wide range of disciplines including medicine, engineering, law, human sciences, and natural and physical sciences. The International Islamic University Malaysia, established in 1983, is a rapidly expanding institution with four faculties offering degrees in economics and management, law, engineering, human sciences, and Islamic revealed knowledge.

From each university, 100 graduate students and 50 faculty members were randomly selected to complete a survey instrument. The questionnaire was designed to get information on the type of CD-ROM databases frequently used, perceptions of the end-user service, adequacy of the CD-ROM collection itself, extent of end-user education, and specific problems encountered by the users. The overall response rate for the questionnaire was good at 60 percent.

The respondents were asked to indicate whether they were aware of the availability of the CD-ROM-based literature searching service at their respective libraries, whether they actually used it, what their preferred sources for support and assistance were, and their reasons for use or non-use of the service.

CD-ROM Awareness

The respondents were asked to indicate whether they were aware of the availability of the CD-ROM-based literature searching service at their respective libraries. Of the 78 respondents from UM, 61 (78.2 percent) indicated that they were aware of the availability of CD-ROM at their institution. On the contrary, of the 111 respondents from the IIUM, only 34 (30. …

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