Availability and Utilization of Electronic Information Databases for Research by Agricultural Scientists in Federal University Libraries in North Central Nigeria

By Abubakar, Mohammed Suleiman; Akor, Philip Usman | Library Philosophy and Practice, November 2017 | Go to article overview

Availability and Utilization of Electronic Information Databases for Research by Agricultural Scientists in Federal University Libraries in North Central Nigeria


Abubakar, Mohammed Suleiman, Akor, Philip Usman, Library Philosophy and Practice


INTRODUCTION

Agriculture is the set of activities that transform the environment for the production of animals and plants for human use. Agriculture concerns techniques, including the application of agronomic research. Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi, and other life forms for food, fibers, biofuel, medicinal and other products used to sustain and enhance human life. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilisation, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilisation. But irrespective of the categories, they are seen as phases of decision making that farmers' are required to face during the cropping season. Nevertheless, studies on farmers' information needs have taken various patterns such as gender, farmer group (e.g. youth) and development area; like men and women farmers' information needs revolve around the resolution of problems such as income generation, best farming practices, methods of fertilizer application, agricultural inputs, market prices, transportation, food processing and preservation and new agricultural technologies (Okwu & Umoru, 2009; Zaid & Popoola, 2010; Saleh & Lasisi, 2011).

Agriculture formed the bedrock of the Nigerian economy and was the major activity and foreign exchange earner prior to the discovery of crude oil in Oloibiri. Nigeria was then self-sufficient in terms of food production. However, with the shift to the oil and gas industry, coupled with the alarming growth in population, Nigeria eventually had to start importing more food. This situation has become a source of concern to many stakeholders. Agriculture, which should be the bedrock for a broad based economic growth and development in an agrarian country like Nigeria, had been neglected and needed to be revitalized and returned to the centre-stage not only as a provider of food for the teeming population, but also as a major foreign exchange earner for the country. Undoubtedly, agricultural research and training provide a solid foundation for a sound development of agriculture in any nation and the success of this, to a large extent, depends on access to information. Information on agriculture spans across major subject fields such as Animal Production, Nutrition, Crop and Plant Science, Soil Science, Agricultural Engineering, Pharmacology and the Environment. There are many sources of information in this regard available in articles published in scientific literature, conference proceedings, textbooks, informal communications and others.

Kumar, Hemanth & Subramanyam, (2012) studied the use and awareness of the Internet at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India. This study demonstrated the different factors such as Internet usage, awareness about Internet usage, awareness about Internet services, favorite search engines, constraints faced by the users in surfing the internet, various purpose for using Internet, and satisfaction of adequate infrastructure facilities provided to use the Internet. The authors discovered that the usage of electronic information resources cuts across all members of the university community as there was an increase in library use in the university which was a result of the introduction of The Essential Electronic Agriculture Library (TEEAL) that has 130 journal titles on CD-ROM. Scientists all over the world use various databases, journals and other e-resources to search and use the latest information in their respective fields and related ones.

The results of agricultural research are published through various channels of communication in order that the information may be communicated and transmitted to the agricultural scientists as speedily as possible. It is essential that the agricultural scientists be informed on time of the latest innovations and developments in their areas of specialization. Agricultural scientists investigate plants, animals and soils in order to research and eventually improve the quality of food, farming or the environment. …

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Availability and Utilization of Electronic Information Databases for Research by Agricultural Scientists in Federal University Libraries in North Central Nigeria
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