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Topic Description

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  • Background to the Study

Academic libraries are institutions that are established to take care of the information need of students, lecturers, researchers and other community of scholars. The reason for setting up the library is to provide information service to its users. Academic libraries are found in post-secondary institutions such as universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. Academic library has a critical role to play in supporting the core mission of these higher institutions of learning which are teaching, learning and research. They are key components of any institution in that they support institutional curricular by meeting information needs of students, staff and other researchers who might be resident outside the academic community. System of library is changing as libraries, especially academic libraries are now embracing electronic library system thereby encouraging the use of electronic library resources

Electronic resources can be defined as the electronic representation of information which can be accessed via electronic system and computer network (Johnson, Evensen, Gelfand, Lammers, Sipe & Zilper, 2012). They further stated that electronic resources can be seen as the most recent development in information technology and that they are available in various forms like e-books, digital libraries, online journal magazine, e-learning tutors and online test because of the effective presentation with multimedia tools, these e-resources have become the source of information. Electronic resources deliver the collection of information as full text (aggregated) databases, e-journals, image collections, multimedia in the form of CD, tape, internet, web technology, etc.


E-resources include e-journals, e-discussions, e-news, data archives, e-mail online chatting, just to mention but a few. Electronic resource are a wide range of products going from electronic periodicals to CD-ROMs, from mailing list to databases, all of them having a common feature of being used and sometime modified by a computer (Thanuskodi, 2012). Electronic resources are becoming more and more important for the academic community (Egberongbe, 2011). Therefore, users’ satisfaction with these information resources is of paramount importance to library development in the 21st Century. Users’ satisfaction of library e-resources is based on the level of how the library meet their information needs, the relevant of the materials, availability of resources, accessibility of the resources and how they can use the various library resources efficiently and effectively.


User satisfaction is the state that results after a library user has either favorably or positively experienced a service or product. It can be quantified and basically represents the degree to which a library has met a user’s needs and expectations. Satisfaction is based on the concept of disconfirmation, which represents the gap that exists between customer expectations and service performance. This gap, in turn, can develop from a user’s perception of the relationship between expectations and performance. The concept of satisfaction is similar to an escalator. As user’s get better treatment which, in turn, leads to a higher level of satisfaction, they raise their level of expectations, demand better treatment, and motivate libraries to strive even harder. While this situation presents library staff with a challenge, it can also create a win/win situation in which libraries gain valuable support from their constituents. While satisfaction is a concept that is based upon past performance, it also involves a forward looking component. Libraries can use instruments that define what their users want or record user experiences and levels of satisfaction.

Expectations are the standards against which a vendor’s or service provider’s performance should be judged. Expectations are assumptions about the likelihood of something occurring. Alternatively, they reflect anticipated performance. Users’ tend to hold expectations that can be considered quite basic. Of greatest importance to users’ is a basic solid performance and that promises are kept. Users’ desire a quality service or product provided in a friendly and courteous manner. Users’ service expectations fall into two categories: (1) service as an end result or outcome that involves reliability or the ability to perform a promised service both dependably and accurately; and (2) service process, which consists of the following dimensions-assurance (the ability of staff to convey a high degree of trust and confidence based on knowledge and courtesy), responsiveness (a demonstrated willingness to help users and provide prompt service), empathy (providing caring, individualized attention to users’), and tangibles (the appearance of physical facilities, the amount of equipment and staff, and the degree of communication that exists between the service provider and its users). Each dimension of expectations is likely to involve two service levels. The first is the desired service level or what the user hopes to receive-a blend of what can and should be. The second represents the adequate service level-that level of service a user finds acceptable.

It is relatively easy to state that users define service quality as the discrepancy that exists between their expectations or desires and their perceptions of experiences. Edwards and Browne (1995) report that library staff tends to emphasize empathy, tangibles, and users/staff relationships. Yet, academic library users tend to attach greater importance to reliability and responsiveness. Library users hold expectations for concrete indicators such as the rapid delivery of interlibrary loan materials or the consistently good working order of online equipment. The latter assumes even greater importance for remote users. Library with a good understanding of needs and expectations and their relation to customer satisfaction will experience greater success in satisfying their users. However, the goal should not be simply to meet expectations but rather to exceed them by surprising and delighting users. To do so, libraries must attempt to both manage and redefine users’ behavior and expectations. For some, this has the negative connotation of creating needs for a service or product developed more for the sake of the vendor or service provider than for the user. What is actually involved is a market-driven focus manifested in creativity or innovation that develops a new product or service to address previously unmet or unrecognized needs. For this undertaking to succeed, library must possess a superior understanding of users’ linked with the library’s capabilities. We must understand our users’ behavioral needs, their overall attitudes, the environment in which they use services and products, and their perceptions of how services and resources compare to those of other service providers.

Another essential component is a major educational effort on the part of the library. They need to be honest with library users in educating/informing them as to what libraries can or cannot provide and what the costs, both monetary and other, will be to provide the desired services. This element is especially critical in distance learning environments where remote users may possess less loyalty to the “home” institution and may be willing to shop around for the needed resources provided in the most user-friendly manner. A key fact to remember, and it is especially applicable with regard to remote users, is that library users’ are not only service recipients but they are also service providers. In virtually every service delivery transaction, the user brings two types of information and/or effort (Kelley, Skinner, & Donnelly, 1992). The first is user technical quality, which involves any labor performed by the user or information that she/he provides. The user also brings functional quality or the interpersonal aspects of user behavior (such as courtesy, friendliness, and respect) during the service transaction. While the first type is likely to assume greater importance in a remote access environment, the second type has relevance for activities such as telephone conversations, e-mail communications, and telefax transmissions.  Library users actually assume the role of partial employees of the library. Since users’ dissatisfaction is often due to the user’s behavior, users need to understand their role in the service delivery. Satisfaction of users of library electronic resources could be determined by the level of awareness of those e-resources, ability to use them efficiently and effectively.

Awareness is knowledge about something that exists or understanding of a situation or subject at the present time based on information or experience (Ani & Ahiauzu, 2008). It can also be seen as knowledge or perception of a situation, fact, consciousness, recognition, realization, grasp and acknowledgement concern about and well-informed interest or familiarity in a particular situation or development. A study on ICTs by health science students at the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan by Ajuwon (2003) revealed that students studied could not use a computer, and that the use of the database was poor, due to lack of awareness, lack of access to computers, insufficient training and high cost of provision of electronic resources subscription. Awareness and use of electronic resources is very important so as to keep undergraduates alert of the available media through which they can access needed information. It is also imperative to understand the purpose of using electronic resources by undergraduates. Awareness of the changes in technology in recent years has dramatically altered how information is accessed, stored and disseminated (Tsakomas & Papatheodorou, 2006). Whereas information provision and usage in academic libraries was previously based upon the collection of physical library materials, it is now increasingly the case that academic libraries are moving into the virtual arena.


Undergraduates in their reaction to such stimuli ought to be aware of the availability of such resources to aid them in their academic pursuit. With advances in technology and e-publishing, online test full text databases, Emerald, Science Direct, Academic Search Premier, Ebscohost, TEEEL, Oare Sciences, Hinari, Virtual Library (NUC), online public access catalogue (OPAC), CD-ROMs (Compact Disc-Read Only Memory), e-books collections, e-journals covering a variety of subjects, and major bibliographic databases like AGORA and MEDLARS etc., access to information on a local, regional, national and international basis has overcome the traditional barriers of time, easy of accessibility and space (Prangya & Rabindra, 2013; Sharma, 2009). Since electronic resources are systems in which information are stored electronically and made accessible through electronic systems and computer networks. Therefore, awareness is paramount if undergraduates’ are to harness these resources. Awareness of electronic resources has changed what users actually read and use. They now tend to use only what is easily accessible. Therefore, they visit the library a lot less, and, as such, unexpected discovery is reduced. Prangya and Rabindra (2013) opined that awareness is core to usage of electronic resources. Where materials are in closed access, users’ ease of access to such e-resources is by far reduced. But where they are in open access (not subscription-based), undergraduates find them, and make do with them for whatever reasons they need them for.


The usage of electronic resources in recent years has yielded positive results in the area of teaching and research and that through the use of electronic resources, researchers, academic and students now have access to global information resources, particularly the Internet for their scholarly intercourse (Egberongbe, 2011; Ellis & Oldman, 2005). Gakibayo (2001) carried out a study on Internet usage by students and staff at Mbarara University of Science and Technology and the result of the study indicated low usage of electronic resources by students and staff of the university.

Undergraduate students’ need skills to make adequate use of electronic resources and that if these skills are not there to enable them navigate the Internet their academic and research needs will suffer a setback. Watt and Ibegbulam (2005) stressed that the use of electronic resources largely depends on the user’s ability to navigate the maze of e-resources available via technology-based terminals. Zaki (1991) pointed out that the poor background in the use of library by students equally affect them at the undergraduate level. Ojo and Akande (2005) opined that students’ level of access, usage and awareness of electronic resources at the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, Nigeria is not high and that the major problem however identified in their study is lack of information retrieval skills for exploiting electronic resources, thus making the level of usage of resources by medical students very low. There is need to equip end-users with skills such as information literacy skills, information retrieval skills, computer skills among others as a strategy to promote e-resource usage (Adekinya & Adeyemo, 2006). Although, the value and use of e-resources have increased with time since users, especially undergraduates in higher institutions generally depends on skills of each user to locate discrete knowledge elements.

According to the Final Report of the American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy (2001), the information literate user’s skill is being able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information resources effectively. Tyagi (2011) the ability to use e-resources efficiently depends on basic computer skills, knowledge of what is available and how to use it, and ability to define a research problem. How undergraduates attain the above skills and knowledge depends on many factors, such as their disciplines, academic status and ranks, age and access. To further buttress this, Prangya and Rabindra (2013) concluded that lack of training; poor infrastructure and high cost of accessing some e-resources are the obstacles to proper and full utilization of electronic resources.

The use of electronic resources by undergraduates in Nigerian universities comes with a couple of challenges like the nation’s poor telecommunications infrastructure which has been a subject of debate to researchers and higher institutions (Adomi, 2005). In the face of poor telecommunications infrastructure, poor user skills in navigating e-resources, high cost of Internet subscription and restricted access to e-resources are also major challenges plaguing the use of electronic resources by undergraduates’ in Nigerian universities.

It is pertinent to note that when undergraduates’ are aware of e- resources they make adequate use of them for academic and research purposes, they may derive satisfaction when the e-resources are timely, accurate, make use of them efficiently and effectively . It is also important that for the students to make use of the resources, they ought to be skilled in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) applications in other to gain independent use of various electronic resources around the globe. Be that as it may, it has been observed that undergraduates in Nigerian universities are confronted with various challenges relating to inadequate telecommunications infrastructure, high cost of subscription, poor user skills, amongst others in the use of e-resources. Consequently, this study explores awareness, use, and users’ satisfaction with library electronic resources among undergraduates’ of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Lagos Study Centre.


NOUN library is a learning-friendly, user-oriented library that plays a vital role to ensure students’ success and encourages life-long learning. The library is a place where the highest quality learning tools in information gathering and usage are provided, thereby enhancing its student’s academic and learning experiences. Since it conception, NOUN University library has committed itself to its primary goal of optimizing existing library services and implementing new, user-oriented ones. The library staff work with the library software to optimize the e-library, particularly in the field of cataloguing and classification, circulation, acquisition as well as the development of digital collections. The National Open University Library has a vast collection of resources of about 40 thousand books and journals at the University’s headquarters. It’s permanently growing choice of scientifically relevant electronic full texts is not only in the main library of NOUN University which was founded in 2007, but also in the numerous study centres of the University. About 85% of the library’s collection is for open access and arranged with the library of Congress Classification Scheme.

Most significantly, The NOUN library subscribes to several databases with the availability of electronic books, journals and periodicals. The NOUN library provides access details to the subscribed databases. Some examples of these electronic resources are: Ebrary, Questia, Agora, Science Direct and Ebsco. Also the library currently uploads into its database, all CDs that come with books acquired by the library. Such books are thus accessible electronically or in print format. Course materials prepared by the University for its students can be viewed electronically and downloaded if so desired. Print serials (Magazines and newspapers) purchased by the library and indexed are abstracted daily to provide online access for the library Users.





  • Statement of the Problem

Before now, information resources were mainly in paper formats. At present, Information is presented in electronic format and the need to make them readily available and accessible to all became an issue and in a bid to overcome this brought about the need for an alternative media for holding and propagating information resources. Several efforts were made until the emergence of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the early 1990s, which brought about the change to cope with the rising volume of information. With the Internet and other electronic resources media such as CD ROM, databases and OPAC.  Information can be stored in one place and be made simultaneously available to all for usage. It is worthy of note that, electronic resources are of great importance to the academic and research needs of undergraduates, since they are available in various formats in libraries.

However, observations as shown that undergraduates especially those of National Open University of Nigeria, Lagos Study Centre seem not to be utilizing these e-resources available to them, could it be that they are not aware of these electronic resources and if they are aware why is it that usage is hindered, if usage is not hindered then could it be that users’ are not satisfied with the e-resources in the library. Therefore, the crux of this study is to investigate the awareness, use and users’ satisfaction with library electronic resources by undergraduates’ of National Open University of Nigeria, Lagos Study Centre.


1 .3   Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is to determine the influence of awareness and use of library e-resources on users’ satisfaction by undergraduates of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Lagos Study Centre.  The specific objectives are to:

  1. find out the extent of users’ awareness of library electronic resources in NOUN;
  2. determine the level of use of library electronic resources in NOUN;
  3. find out the level of users’ satisfaction with library electronic resources in NOUN;
  4. find out the influence of awareness of library e-resources on users’ satisfaction in NOUN;
  5. find out the influence of use of library e-resources on users’ satisfaction in NOUN;
  6. find out joint influence of awareness and use of library electronic resources on users’

satisfaction in NOUN; and

  1. identify the challenges facing the use of library e-resources by undergraduates in NOUN.

1.4    Research Questions

This research work answered the following questions:

  1. What is the level of users’ awareness of library e-resources in NOUN?
  2. What is the level of use of library e-resources in NOUN?
  3. What is the level of users satisfaction with library e-resources in NOUN?
  4. What are the challenges of the use of library e-resources in NOUN?


1.5    Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were tested in the Study at 0.05 level of significance:

Ho1  Awareness of library e-resources has no significant influence on users’ satisfaction in NOUN.

Ho2  Use of library e-resources has no significant influence on users’ satisfaction in NOUN.

Ho3  Awareness and use of library e-resources have no significant joint influence on users’ satisfaction in NOUN


1.6    Scope of the Study

This study focuses on the awareness, use and users’ satisfaction of library e-resources by undergraduates of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Lagos Study Centre as a case study. This study is limited to library electronic resources and not printed information resources.

This study was carried out in Lagos Study Centre of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). Lagos Study Centre was sufficient enough for this study because of the size and location of the Centre. Unlike other Centres, Lagos Study Centre is located at the heart of the Lagos state which makes it easier for students to access and use the electronic resources the Centre library provides.

1.7    Significance of the Study

This study would help librarians, library management, higher institution of learning, Government at all levels and other stakeholders to know the trend on awareness, use of library electronic resources, the purpose of use of library e-electronic, users’ satisfaction with library e-resources and the challenges of using library electronic resources. This would afterwards help the stakeholders to see the need for innovations on awareness and use of library e-resources especially on orientation and re-orientation, training and re-training that could enhance the use of library electronic resources. The outcome of this study is expected to bring about enhanced utilization of the library e-resources by the undergraduate students thereby leading to users’ satisfaction and research output as well as the ability to compete favorably with their counterparts elsewhere. This research would enable the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) library management plan for the library as well as provide the necessary electronic resources needed to deliver quality library services to the students. The research would also add to existing literature on awareness, use and