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THE ROLE OF E-LIBRARY IN ACADEMY RESEARCH IN NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, ABUJA

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ABSTRACT

 This study focused on the role of e-library in Academic research in National Open University Libraries. The e-library of the National Open University of Nigeria, Abuja was selected as a case study. Academic Research is an investigation and writing based upon the idea of scientific inquiry. An e-library is different from the traditional library in that it is a repository of information in digital form, i.e stored as data files on a computer. It is also consist of the tool-set provided to enable search and retrieval of the repository. Under this study pertinent literatures were reviewed under five (5) sub-headings. Survey research method was employed for this study. The respondents were the students’ staff of the selected University. The questionnaire was divided into three sections, Personal data, Awareness and Patronage of e- library, and Usefulness and effectiveness of e-library in Academic research. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze the data collected by generation frequencies and percentages. The findings from this study shows that the e-library plays important roles in Open Universities in information sourcing and research. In National Open University of Nigerian, Abuja, most of the students use it for research purposes. It also shows that to a good extent, the e-library of National Open University of Nigeria, Abuja aids effective and efficient academic research. Some challenges of the e-library were also uncovered by this study which includes slow response rate, lack of adequate workstation, inadequate seat, and lack of power. It is thus recommended that necessary technological infrastructural facilities to enhance the speed and response rate of the e-library should be provided. Materials and content of the e-library should be reviewed at regular interval to improve and maintain its up datedness. The university administration also need to consider the provision and utilization of other power substitute like generator, solar power and other renewable power sources.

 

CHAPTER ONE

1.0              INTRODUCTION

Libraries have long served crucial roles in learning and academic research. The first great library, in Alexandria two thousand years ago was really the first university. It consist of a zoo and various cultural artifacts in addition to much of the ancient world's written knowledge and attracted scholars from around the Mediterranean who lived and worked in a scholarly community for years at a time. Today, the rhetoric associated with the National/Global Information Infrastructure (N/GII) always includes examples of how the vast quantities of information that global network provide (i.e., digital libraries) will be used in educational settings.

This paper describes how e-libraries or digital libraries are evolving to meet the needs of academic research and identifies issues for continued development. A library is fundamentally an organize set of resources, which include human services as well as the entire spectrum of media (e.g., text, video, hypermedia). Libraries have physical components such as space, equipment, and storage media; intellectual components such as collection policies that determine materials inclusion and organizational schemes that determine assessment of the collections; and people who manage the physical and intellectual components and interact with users to solve information problems.

Libraries serve at least three roles in learning and research. First, they serve a practical role in sharing expensive resources. Physical resources such as books and periodicals, films and videos, software and electronic databases, and specialized tools such as projectors, graphics equipment and cameras are shared by a community of users. Human resources--librarians (also called media specialists or information specialists) support instructional programs by responding to the requests of teachers and students (responsive service) and by initiating activities for teachers and students (proactive services). Responsive services include maintaining reserve materials, answering reference questions, providing bibliographic instruction, developing media packages, recommending books or films, and teaching users how to use materials. Proactive services include selective dissemination of information to faculty and students, initiating thematic events, collaborating with instructors to plan instruction, and introducing new instructional methods and tools. In these ways, libraries serve to allow instructors and students to share expensive materials and expertise.

Second, libraries serve a cultural role in preserving and organizing artifacts and ideas. Great works of literature, art, and science must be preserved and made accessible to future learners. Although libraries have traditionally been viewed as facilities for printed artifacts, primary and secondary school libraries often also serve as museums and laboratories. Libraries preserve objects through careful storage procedures, policies of borrowing and use, and repair and maintenance as needed. In addition to preservation, libraries ensure access to materials through indexes, catalogs, and other finding aids that allow learners to locate items appropriate to their needs.

Third, libraries serve social and intellectual roles in bringing together people and ideas. This is distinct from the practical role of sharing resources in that libraries provide a physical place for teachers and learners to meet outside the structure of the classroom, thus allowing people with different perspectives to interact in a knowledge space that is both larger and more general than that shared by any single discipline or affinity group. Browsing a catalog in a library provides a global view for people engaged in specialized study and offers opportunities for serendipitous insights or alternative views. In many respects, libraries serve as centers of inter-disciplinary--places shared by learners from all disciplines.

E-libraries or Digital libraries extend such interdisciplinary by making diverse information resources available beyond the physical space shared by groups of learners. One of the greatest benefits of digital libraries is bringing together people with formal, informal, and professional learning missions. Such people have thus learned to take advantage of such opportunities in carrying out academic research.

1.1.            BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Academic Research is a research that is done in an academic environment, such as a polytechnic or university. It can be defined as an investigation and writing based upon the idea of scientific inquiry. The Concise Encyclopedia define library as a “collection of information resources in print or in other forms that is organized and made accessible for reading or study”.

It thus follows that the library provides a medium for academic research. As a result several of such research has been carried out making use of the library. One of the few institutions in Nigeria that provides such opportunity is the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).

Background on National Open University of Nigeria

The National Open University was initially established on 22nd July 1983 as springboard for open and distance learning in Nigeria. It was suspended by the government on 25th April 1984. However, its tremendous and unassailable role in tackling the country’s educational problems including access, equity, and education for all became so evident and consequently its resuscitation was begun on the 12th of April 2001. 
NOUN was thus established as an Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institution, the first of its kind in the West African sub-region. It is Nigeria's leading - and only specialist - provider of open and distance learning at tertiary level. It is also the country's largest tertiary institution in terms of student numbers. The National Open University of Nigeria is designed to increase the access of all Nigerians to formal and non-formal education in a manner convenient to their circumstances. The National Open University of Nigeria dedicates itself to preparing professionals in various disciplines through the distance learning mode. It offers a choice of qualifications from Certificates, Diplomas to Post Graduate Diplomas and Degrees.

It also designed to cater for the continuous educational development of professionals such as Teachers, Accountants, Bankers, Lawyers, Doctors, Engineers, Politicians, Self-employed, Businessmen and Businesswomen. The range of target clientele is elastic and is continually reviewed to meet Nigeria’s ever changing needs.

a.                  Locations and capacities

The National Open University of Nigeria operates from its Administrative Headquarters located in Lagos. Nigeria, with study centers in all the 36 state currently the student enrollment stands at over 120,000 and is expected to double by the second quarter of the year. (2007)

NOUN currently offer over 50 programs and 750 courses, stair casing through from certificate to diploma and degree level, and maintain a strong commitment to internationalization. The National Open University of Nigeria consults with industry and employers in developing courses and brings also international programs from universities around the world.

Our expertise in program design, course development, learner support systems, great spread of study centers nationwide, focus on lifelong education and online education, make NOUN well suited to making excellent contributions to Nigeria's Universal basic Education effort and Education For All programmes.

b.                  Program Delivery Method

The NOUN employs a range of delivery methods to take education to the people and make learning an enjoyable activity. These methods include: printed instructional materials, audio, video tapes and CD-ROMs, Television and radio broadcast of educational programmes, Electronic transmission of materials in multimedia (voice, data, graphics, video) over fixed line (telephone or leased lines), terrestrial and VSAT wireless communication systems.

c.         The National Open University Nigeria E-library

This is the Information Gateway of NOUN. It is the online library of the National Open University of Nigeria. It is the gateway to a wide range of information resources that help students in their studies, work, research, and in general development and pursuit of scholarship. Each resource provides very helpful tools to assist them to navigate through the contents. .Internet access through local area networks and wireless connectivity is running 24/7. The E-Library laboratory is equipped with 45 state-of-the-art high speed computers (2007).

d.         The National Open University Nigeria e-courseware and i-learn

NOUN also has an Online Course Material in readable and downloadable form known as e-courseware.  The e-courseware is a repository of available digital course material of the National Open University that is meant to help students in their cause of studies. It is part of NOUN contributions towards Open Educational Resource (OER) initiative. NOUN thus prohibits the use of its e-courseware for, commercial, financial purposes other than Educational. Appendix A & B provides more information on NOUN e-courseware.

Another platform used by the National Open University of Nigerian in carrying out their mandate and reaching out to students is NOUNiLEARN. By this platform the students can meet their facilitators, ask questions and get answers, download past questions, participate in forums and class discussions, test their assimilation, read material smarter and build their own study groups and network. This platform is also available on Facebook, Twitter, youtube and google plus. Students can also enjoy e-learn on the go with the Android, J2ME and blackberry apps.

1.2.            STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Base on the forgoing, it is evident that academic research has existed and has always been carried out before the advent of elibrary, the researcher is therefore curious and would seek to know the role the deployment or usage of e-library plays in the academic research.

Consequently, the researcher would focus this research on the National Open University of Nigeria which deploys an electronic library platform for it students and would seek to access the roles the e-library plays in academic research.

1.3.            RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This study will attempt to provide answers to the following questions and others:

a)      What is the difference between traditional library and  E-library?

b)      What is the usefulness of E-library to the National Open University of Nigeria’ Students

c)      To what extent has elibrary been employed in the National Open University of Nigeria

d)      Do the students of National Open University patronized the elibrary in carrying out research?

e)      How effective and efficient is the use of elibrary in academic research in the National Open University of Nigeria, Abuja 

1.4.            RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

a)         To clarify the difference between traditional library and e-library as a guide for its deployment

b)         To determine the usefulness of e-library to the National Open University of Nigeria’ Students

c)         To ascertain the extent by which the e-library has been employed and deployed in the National Open University of Nigeria

d)         To find out whether the students of National Open University of Nigeria, Abuja patronize the e-library in carrying out research and to determine the extent of its usage for same purpose

e)         To determine the effectiveness and efficiency of the usage of e-library in academic research in the National Open University of Nigeria, Abuja 

1.5.            SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This research will provide guidance to libraries, information managers, information scientist, researchers, lecturers, and students in the deployment of e-library for academic research in institutions of learning.

 

 

 

1.6.            SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

This research will focus on the usage of e-library for academic research only and will consider the National Open University Students and the National Open University e-library.

Findings of this research will however be limited to results of the assessment of the National Open University of Nigeria e-Library, Abuja.

1.7.            OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS OF TERMS

Under this section, the researcher will attempt to give adequate definitions of the following three terms:

a)      Library

b)      E-library

c)      Academic Research

LIBRARY: The Concise encyclopedia define library as a “collection of information resources in print or in other forms that is organized and made accessible for reading or study”

We can define it also as an organized collection of information resources made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing.

E-LIBRARY: The word electronic means “implemented on or by means of a computer:  involving a computer”.  An e-library can thus be defined as a library implemented through the use of computers or other electronic devices. According to the National Diet Library, an electronic library is a type of service that allows users, without actually stepping into the library, to read library books and conduct research at home, in the office, or at school, using the Internet. Another word for e-library is Digital library1.

ACADEMIC RESEARCH:  Research can be defined as a careful study of a given subject, field, or problem, undertaken to discover facts or principles. Academic research is a research is done in an academic environment, such as a polytechnic or university. We can be define it also as an investigation and writing based upon the idea of scientific inquiry.

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Page: 55

Format: MS-Word

Chapters: 1-5 (Complete)




 

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