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LIBRARIANS’ USE OF WEB 2.0 TOOLS AND SERVICE PROVISION IN LAGOS STATE TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS LIBRARIES

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

  • Background to the Study

 

In the past two decades, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have evolved at an unprecedented pace changing the way people communicate and search for information. The new information age has brought about improved information delivery, skill in processing of information, experience and precision, good time management and improved network system. Chisenga (2006) defined information and communication technology as a diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate and create, disseminate, store, and manage information. However, Haliso (2011) define Information Communication Technology as encompassing a wide range of rapidly evolving technologies but to include telecommunications technologies, such as telephony, cable, satellite, TV and radio, computer-mediated conferencing, and videoconferencing, as well as digital technologies, such as computers, information networks (Internet, the World Wide Web, intranets and extranets) social sites and software applications.

A recent trend in higher education programme and services is the increase in the range of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that all organizations, including the library that has the required capabilities and resources can tap for their development. This may be partly explained by the greater emphasis on ICT use in education to integrate higher education programme into a global village. Libraries have long been recognized as an indispensable companion to higher education, and the “heart” of universities. They are meant to support the universities to achieve their vision and mission (Ogunsola, 2004). To achieve these mission and vision, the libraries had to adopt and maintain more vibrant information resources into its functions and services in the easiest, fastest and comprehensive way.

However, changes in accessing information makes it imperative for libraries; as the traditional custodians of information to find new ways to better serve their customers needs in this information age. These developments in web base technologies have put pressure on libraries to modernise the way they deliver their services puting their customers need in mind. According to Sadeh (2007) the authour afirmed also that libraries and librarians now faced with competition in their duty that suppose to be their eclusive domain because they are forced to keep looking forvways to adapt to the chaging technology and keep their services relevant for new information seekers. Pressure on libraries is now intense and it is primarily because of the experiences people are enjoying with these provided internet services provider most notably the internet, thus the internet users simply expect to be able to access any information they want, from anywhere in the world and at any time.

Libraries and librarians are rethinking and exploring new ways to reposition themselves in view of the high expectations of their various stakeholders so as to be relevant in the discharge of their duties because users have become more aware of the possibilities of information technologies and find it easier to go to Google than drive to the library to serch for information (Stuart, 2010). Thus librarians in view of the high epectations face immense challenges on how to effectively meet the needs and preferences of their users especially in this information age. However, librarians who are not familiar with the use of ICTs are usually frustrated and anxious and exhibit avoidance behavior; it is however, imperative that all library staff be skilled in web technology and apply these skills in assisting users.

Ramos (2007) the contemporary role of librarians is well captured by the author who sees librarians as partners in information literacy education;  computer literacy mentors,  database builders, and  excellent guides in determining and using information sources that are available. The new environment which the library has found itself has proved that libraries are not only crucial but librarians’ role as knowledge providers has become even more significant in this age. Precisely, the rise of digitized information is an opportunity to elevate the role of the librarian leading to the emergence of a new breed of librarian usually called “The Cyber Librarian” or “Cybrarian” – a specialist in locating information on the Internet (Rao & Babu, 2001). Accordingly, librarians are trained to be experts in information searching, selecting, acquiring, organizing, preserving, repackaging, disseminating, and serving (Troll, 2002).

Among the tools available to librarians in this digital age are Web 2.0 tools which are web-based technologies that enable users to connect, communicate and collaborate with one another, forming on-line socialites and communities. Such technologies include blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, audio-podcasting, content syndication, social bookmarking, tagging, social networking, multimedia sharing, bibliographic reference managers, chat, messaging and video conferencing (Kim & Abbas, 2010). The Use of these tools can bring a lot of innovation into library service provision; users will be fascinated and information will be disseminated through a more attractive and agreeable medium. According to Habib (2006), the introduction of Web 2.0 tools into library web sites encourages interaction or communication between users and the library thus expanding library services to users located a long way from the physical institution.

Swan and Panda (2009) argue that the library users’ attitude to information is gradually shifting from the printed document to online resources, and to the use of Web 2.0 tools. The use of Web 2.0 tools can enable the types of library services that meet the expectations of today’s users which are to have access to information wherever and whenever they require it. Since this is mobile era, it may be fruitless effort stopping or discouraging users including librarians from using these technologies for providing services, it should rather be brought to good educational practice or use in the libraries to facilitate learning instead of forbidden its usage within and outside schools especially in Nigeria like other countries in the world. Cooney, (2009) concurred that learners have a natural attraction into learning tools that will build their knowledge and broaden their perspectives. Web 2.0 tools have been found to have ability to support learning and promote services of various kinds including library services. They are useful within and outside of library, librarians and users can answers users request or provide assistance and manage information in any place on their own time.

Web 2.0 tools can be used by  librarian to promote essential library services for example chat reference, tagging, personalized social network, streaming media tutorial with interactive databases, blogs or micro-blogs, can be used to go straight to the user with news and up to date information related to new services, materials or service developments. The presence of web tools on library websites can provide cost effective marketing opportunities of library services and also provide invaluable public relation service to ask a librarian with the use of instant messaging (IM), the web tools can be used to raise awareness and promote library services by updating users and publish instantly.  For example, many librarians now use Twitter to get information about activities and initiatives going on elsewhere; and to share ideas or ask colleagues for support thereby expanding their professional networks and drawing on the experience of their colleagues at the international level (Boateng, Mbarika, & Thomas, 2010).

Web 2.0 tools such as bookmarking tools, collaborative writing, news and Blogs, Social Networking Sites (SNS), YouTube, Real simple Syndication (RSS) Wikis, Instant Messaging (IM) and Podcast, video sharing tools and photo digital imaging are now being used to provide innovative library services and also to present  new opportunities for professional collaboration and professional development of librarians.

Gichora and Kwanya (2015) carried out a study on impact of web 2.0 tools in academic libraries in Kenya.  The studies revealed how Web 2.0 tools are being used to enhance the delivery of effective library services (Bradley, 2007; Huffman, 2006). The Libraries and Social Software in Education (LASSIE) project report (2007) gives an overview of how Web 2.0 tools have influenced the delivery of services which include increased user generated content in the catalogue, and improved information sharing and communication. Other notable impact was improved communication among librarians and between librarians and patrons. Web 2.0 has deepened communication among library communities due to the fact that the tools are not too formal thus reducing the restrictions associated with traditional communication. The other impacts of Web 2.0 on academic libraries in Kenya included improved searching and exposure to more information resources and increased usage of library resources among others impacts. The other identified impacts are increased interest in the library, enhanced indexing and search relevance, improved timeliness of information, increased efficiency and effectiveness of outreach activities, increased collaboration and customization of communication, increased learning and knowledge sharing. It also reduced costs of library operations and training, improved flexibility of library services because users can access them from anywhere, any time with much ease, and Reduced information overload as users only access what they need and depend on the communities to filter or recommend credible information and sources.

Some negative impacts were also identified. These included reduced confidentiality of information especially in wikis since there was little trace or proof of ownership and authenticity of the authors’ skills and knowledge level in those fields they were contributing on. Similarly, there were doubts about the reliability of tools; standardization challenges; and increased occurrence of insecurity incidents; as well as the emergence of sophisticated legal and moral issues pertaining to the use of Web 2.0 tools in academic libraries. There were also difficulties arising from relying on inadequate infrastructure and technical skills as well as restrictions on access of certain Web 2. 0 tools to certain users. These difficulties hampered the effective use of Web 2.0 tools amongst both librarians and users.

Emmanuel, Evelyn, and Vera (2013) in their research asked a germane question to find out the usefulness of web 2.0 technology for library services, and found out in the study that, there are numbers of potential advantages of web technologies.  They equally highlighted some limitations, and finally suggested that web tools represent some of library resources that can be used to promote innovative service worthy of further investigation. Chinwe, and Andrew, (2002) “The growth and opportunities for providing services in the library are linked to the ubiquity as it is easy to use, reliable, and attractive and its mobile networks have far greater penetration than broadband internet, thus users are already so familiar with one form of web 2.0 technology and interfaces of the devices that there are no barriers or learning curves.”

He added that, use of web 2.0 tools for library services if adopted is a reflection of interactivity with librarians and information resources can be delivered. They also argue further that web 2.0 tools apart of from engaging users it also improve users confidence as users can practice the application within their comfort zones.”  Taking an advantage of the benefits of web 2.0 technologies, web 2.0 tools will enable the library to reach out to potential audiences wherever they are without visically visiting the library (Casey & Savastinuk 2006). However, these kinds of services cannot be provided without improvements in the competences, skills and attitude of library workers. Thus, implementation of Web 2.0 technologies implies a challenge for librarians. Precisely, the knowledge of computers and information retrieval techniques is needed to use these resources effectively.

The purpose for which patrons want to use available web 2.0 resources is an important determinant of use. Patrons needs for electronic resources range from provision of solutions to assignments given to them by lecturers, successfully carrying out research/project, personal study for knowledge and for leisure purposes. In addition to using library web base resources for intellectual and technical developments, tertiary institution students can use web 2.0 resources for leisure, research, job enhancement, and online chatting, and relaxation.

Another important construct for librarian’ use of web 2.0 resources is the intensity of use. This can also be referred to as the level of use of web 2.0 resources. Intensity of use is the time rate of frequency of use. According to Ojo and Akande (2005) in a survey of 350 respondents, the authors examined users’ access, usage and awareness of web based electronic information resources at the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, Nigeria. The finding revealed that the level of usage of the electronic information resources is not high. A major problem couple with was lack of awareness, and lack of information retrieval skills for exploiting electronic resources, thus making the level of usage of resources very low. As person forms beliefs about an object, he automatically and simultaneously acquires an attitude or perception toward that object.  Jagboro (2003) had emphasized the emerging reliance and attitude of users to electronic resources.

Therefore, a comprehensive national information policy is important to the survival of any country in today’s information Age. This is because every sector of the society is influenced by the application of information and communication technology, this is a key factor in an information society. A national information policy will help ensure proper packaging of information by determining the nature and format of information resources to meet local needs. Web resources that violate local content specifications will no longer be allowed. Internet service providers could no longer expose young Nigerians to inappropriate knowledge and content. Information-sharing and collaboration among libraries and information centers in the country may be greatly jeopardized if there is no policy to regulate it in the face of easy flow of resources across borders. A national information policy will help to streamline both the nature and format of information resources and also specifying how web resources will be organized, managed and made available to Nigerians.

Lagos State is located in the south-western geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Accordingly to the world population revision, Lagos State population was estimated at 21 million in 2014 making it the largest city in Africa. Lagos state is considered to be diversely populated due to heavy migration from other parts of Nigeria and surrounding countries. There are over 250 ethnic groups’ refugees in Lagos state including the Yoruba’s, Hausa, Igbo and Fulani’s international citizens such as Americans, British, east Indians, Chinese, Zimbabweans, Greeks, Sierra Leone, Lebanese and Japanese are also present in the state. Until December 1992, Lagos was the capital city of Nigeria. It still remains the economic nerve centre of the country with the largest concentration of industries, financial institutions and major sea ports. Lagos state is referred to as the centre of excellence. The choice of Lagos state for this study is apt in view of the states divers’ population and its unique economic position in the country, Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

 

1.2 Statement of the Problem

 

Available literature has established the potency of web 2.0 tools and their transformative influence on services and operations.  They are essential applications of the learning materials needed to achieve academic excellence. These web2.0 application resources are available both within and outside the tertiary institutions libraries.  A growing number of academic libraries are starting to adopt and implement these tools to their advantage. It is not surprising that different organizations in Nigeria, including academic libraries have invested heavily on ICT and in training their staff on how to use these technologies. It is however not certain whether Web 2.0 tools are actually being used for service provision and the extent to which they have positively influenced service provision in academic libraries. This is evident by the differences in the literature reviewed on the usages and perceptions of academic librarians on use of web 2.0 tools in academic libraries. According to Habib (2006b) librarians are struggling to understand their relationship to a new development of web 2.0 technology, because these tools operate like libraries in connecting users with the information they need. Therefore, this study aims to investigate librarians’ use of web 2.0 tools and service delivery in tertiary institutions libraries in Lagos State, Nigeria.

 

1.3 Objective of the Study

 

The main objective of the study is to investigate the influence of the use of Web 2.0 tools on library service provision in selected public tertiary institutions libraries in Lagos State. The Specific objectives are to:

 

  1. find out the types of web 2.0 tools that are available for use in tertiary institution libraries in Lagos State;
  2. examine the purpose of use of web 2.0 tools for library services delivery in Lagos State tertiary institution libraries;
  3. find out the extent to which academic librarians use web 2.0 tools for library services delivery in tertiary institution libraries in Lagos State;
  4. find out the services provided using web 2.0 tools in tertiary institution libraries in Lagos State;
  5. determine the perception of librarians on the relevance of web 2.0 tools for library service provision;
  6. ascertain the level of competence of librarians at using web 2.0 tools for library services provision in Lagos state tertiary institution libraries;
  7. identify the major challenge/constraints to the use of  web 2.0 information resources  for service delivery in tertiary institution libraries in Lagos state and
  8. determine the influence of  web 2.0 tools use for service delivery by librarians in the public tertiary institution libraries in Lagos state.

 

1.4 Research Questions

 

The study is to provide answers to the following research questions.

  1. which type of Web 2.0 tools are used in the public tertiary institution libraries in Lagos State?
  2. what purpose do librarians use web 2.0 tools in the tertiary institution libraries in Lagos State?
  3. what extent do librarians in the study area use Web 2.0 tools for service provision?
  1. what services are provided with  web 2.0 tools In tertiary institution libraries in Lagos State
  1. do librarians in tertiary institutions libraries in Lagos State perceive the use of web 2.0 tools for library services delivery?

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