The Use and Application of Open Source Integrated Library System in Academic Libraries in Nigeria: Koha Example

By Uzomba, Emeka Christian; Oyebola, Oluwatofunmi Jesudunni et al. | Library Philosophy and Practice, January 2015 | Go to article overview

The Use and Application of Open Source Integrated Library System in Academic Libraries in Nigeria: Koha Example


Uzomba, Emeka Christian, Oyebola, Oluwatofunmi Jesudunni, Izuchukwu, Anthony Chukwuma, Library Philosophy and Practice


Introduction

The importance of integrated systems in library activities such as cataloguing, circulation, acquisition and serials management, etc is no longer debatable as libraries all over the world have realized the need to move from their manual practices into integrated systems and networked operations. Prior to computerization, library tasks were performed manually and independently from one another. Selectors ordered materials with ordering slips, cataloguers manually catalogued items and indexed them with the card catalog system (in which all bibliographic data was kept on a single index card), and users signed books out manually, indicating their name on cue cards which were then kept at the circulation desk. With the advent of computers, academic libraries in Nigeria are shifting from their isolated past into integrated systems and networked operations. The application of ICT to almost all spheres of life is no longer a new phenomenon. As Khalid (2000) observes, "networked and integrated functions draw on the experiences of the evolution of libraries in developed countries." Academic libraries in Nigeria are trying their best to catch up with their counterparts in the developed world. Omeluzor, Adara, Ezinwayi, Bamidele, and Umahi (2012) stated that "the pursuit for excellence in all aspects of a university educational system made it imperative for universities around the world to rise up to their responsibilities". If a librarian is to deliver prompt and adequate services to the clients, he/she must adapt to the changing environment and the use of current software to manage library routine activities.

An integrated library system (ILS), also known as a library management system (LMS), is an enterprise resource planning system for a library, used to track items owned, orders made, bills paid, and patrons who have borrowed. An ILS usually comprises a relational database, software to interact with that database, and two graphical user interfaces (one for patrons, one for staff). (Wikipedia, 2012) Most integrated library separate software functions into discrete programs called modules, each of them integrated with a unified interface. Muller (2011) stated that "integrated library systems (ILS) are multifunction, adaptable software applications that allow libraries to manage, catalog and circulate their materials to patrons". In choosing ILS software, libraries must base their decision not only on the performance and efficiency of the system, but also on its fundamental flexibility to readily adapt to the future demands and needs of their patrons. There are different types of integrated library system software that have been adopted by various academic libraries in Nigeria. Agboola (2000) stated that "the greatest impetus to library automation in Nigerian university libraries so far has come from a World Bank project". The World Bank gave automation in the university libraries as one of its conditions for support. As a result, the National University Commission (NUC) presented one microcomputer and a four-user local area network version of the TINLIB (The information Navigator) software to each of the 20 participating libraries in 1992. With this, some of the first generation universities in Nigeria started with TINLIB software. However, they could not continue with this particular software due to some technical problems. Experience has shown that very many libraries in Nigeria run into one problem or the other due to the wrong choice of library software. Obajemu, Osagie, Akinade, and Ekere (2013) stated that "some of the first generation universities in Nigeria started with TINLIB software but they could not continue due to some technical difficulties, maintenance problem, poor revision policy and the prohibitive cost of processing and maintaining it". Therefore, the reports highlighted above coupled with the experiences academic libraries in Nigeria faced in the wrong choice of library software necessitated the adoption of Koha open source integrated system by the researchers in this current study. …

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