Computerization of Library Services
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World Class library software for the education and corporate market www. softlinkint. com * Clio Interlending System More libraries chose Clio. Get an on line demo today! cliosoftware. co. uk * Library Software Automatic Library Database Software Free Barcode Reader & Free Trial. www. readerware. com Related Topics * Library Systems * Definition Of Library * Definite Integral The Advantages of Automation in Library Structure By Gwen Bruno, eHow Contributor 1. * The days of the old card catalog are gone–it’s been replaced by computers, both inside and outside the walls of the library.
In the past 50 years, automation has had a profound effect on both the work of the library staff and on the amount of information available to library patrons. Automation of acquisitions, cataloging, circulation and patron catalogs has made all parts of the library structure faster, more accurate and more accessible. Library Structure and Automation * All libraries, large or small and regardless of type, perform the same functions of purchasing, cataloging and loaning materials. Libraries are very record-intensive; that is, they must maintain acquisition records and bibliographic data of many specific materials.
They also must record multiple transactions to keep track of each patron’s and material’s circulation status. By inputting all library data into one central database, record maintenance is both faster and more accurate. Decentralized Access * When libraries first began applying automation to their structure, it was not unusual to automate only one function, such as acquisitions or circulation, or to have similar but multiple databases for different functions. Advances in library automation software now allow users of each library function–whether staff or patron–to access the same database.
This means that updates to the database are seamless and accurate. It is common today for library patrons to be able to not only access a library’s catalog, but to perform transactions that previously required the assistance of library staff such as placing holds, renewing materials or setting up an interlibrary loan, all from their home computer. Quick, Accurate Updating * Although a material’s bibliographic data needs to be entered only once, every check-in and check-out of each copy must be recorded.
Such work is repetitive and time-consuming; automating circulation systems is a time-saver for both staff and patrons. Many libraries now have free-standing check-out and check-in kiosks, allowing patrons to quickly process their own loans. Standardization of Data * Libraries have long sought to maintain common standards for cataloging and subject classification. With the advent of automation, the MARC (machine readable cataloging) format has provided both national and international standards for how catalog records are communicated from one machine to another.
This, together with another important library automation standard called “linked systems protocol,” essentially allows library users to effortlessly access not only their own library’s records but the records of many remote library systems. Increased Effectiveness * Michael K. Buckland, emeritus professor at the University of California School of Information, points out that about two-thirds of a library’s budget must be allocated for labor. If libraries apply the power of machines as much as possible to repetitive, mechanical tasks, humans’ labor is performed faster and more easily.
Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal) University of Nebraska – Lincoln Year 2006 The Challenges of Computerizing a University Library in Nigeria: The Case of Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria Grace Nok Ahmadu Bello University, [email protected] com This paper is posted at [email protected] of Nebraska – Lincoln. http://digitalcommons. unl. edu/libphilprac/78 “The Challenges of Computerizing a University Library in Nigeria: the Case of Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,” Grace Nok. Library Philosophy and Practice, Vol. , no. 2 (Spring 2006) 1 Library Philosophy and Practice Vol. 8, No. 2 (Spring 2006) (libr. unl. edu:2000/LPP/lppv8n2. htm) ISSN 1522-0222 The Challenges of Computerizing a University Library in Nigeria: the Case of Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria Grace Nok Senior Librarian Kashim Ibrahim Library Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria Introduction Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria is one of Nigeria’s first generation universities, opening its doors in 1962. Like other universities, its functions include teaching, research, and community service.
Ifidon and Okoli (2002) note that universities now have additional functions: • pursuit, promotion, and dissemination of knowledge; • provision of intellectual leadership; • manpower development; • promotion of social and economic modernisation; • promotion of intra- and inter-continental and international understanding. From these functions, university libraries have derived their objectives to include: • provision of materials for undergraduate instruction, term papers, and projects, as well as for supplementary reading; provision of materials in support of faculty, external and collaborative research; • provision of expensive standard works, especially in the professional disciplines; “The Challenges of Computerizing a University Library in Nigeria: the Case of Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,” Grace Nok. Library Philosophy and Practice, Vol. 8, no. 2 (Spring 2006) 2 • provision of materials for personal development; • provision of specialised information on the region within which the university is situated; cooperation with other academic libraries with a view to developing a network of academic library resources that are at the disposal of all scholars. With these as the propelling force, the Kashim Ibrahim Library (KIL) of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, was built to be the epitome of excellence in university education in Nigeria. It is reputed to be the “biggest and the best university in all of Nigeria, if not Africa. ” Situated in the Northern part of Nigeria, it is indeed Nigeria ‘s largest and the North’s most prestigious university with a student population of approximately 35,000.
The library is located in the main campus and there are satellite libraries on other campuses. Agboola (1996) describes the Ahmadu Bello University Library as the largest completed university library building in Sub-Saharan Africa, with anl area of 1,582m and the capacity for 500,000 volumes and study space for 2,000. He states that, “its grandeur and size are not likely to be replicated in the Nigerian university library building scene for some to time to come. ” Kashim Ibrahim Library has a collection of about 1,200,000 volumes, comprising books, non-book materials, journals, etc.
Under the headship of Professor Doris Bozimo, the University Librarian, the library has acquired a substantial quantity of electronic resources on CD-ROM. The library has made significant efforts to secure online access to journals and other electronic resources. Through the sponsorship of an international organisation, the library has provided access to EBSCO Databases, AGORA, AJOL, etc. However, in these days of information and communication technology and virtual libraries, library operations in Ahmadu Bello University are still largely manual.
The basic library routines of acquisitions, information processing, storage and retrieval of information, and circulation are still manually performed. This is likely to remain so for a long time come. University library computerization in Nigeria has been in the pipeline since the 1970s, although concerted efforts began in the late 1990s. In 1970, Iya Abubakar delivered a lecture in a meeting of the Nigerian Library Association (NLA), the national association that is equivalent to the American Library Association (ALA). The theme of the lecture was the library and the computer.
Abolaji (2000) states that significant and widespread efforts at “The Challenges of Computerizing a University Library in Nigeria: the Case of Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,” Grace Nok. Library Philosophy and Practice, Vol. 8, no. 2 (Spring 2006) 3 computerizing library services started in the 1990s. Major efforts at computerization were stalled by the supposed lack of funds and expertise. The picture is different for research libraries. Ekpenyong (1997) notes that most notable research libraries in Nigeria are advanced in computerization.
The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Library, Ibadan, an agricultural research library, migrated to a fully computerized integrated library system in the 80s. The Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), the Federal Institute for Industrial Research (FIIR), Oshodi, Lagos, the Nigerian Institute for International Affairs (NIIA), the British Council Library, the United States Information Service (USIS), and the Raw Materials Research and Development Council Library have implemented various degrees of automation in their library services.
In fact, the Raw Materials Research and Development Council Library pioneered the development of an indigenous Windows-based library software, X-Lib. In 1989, the World Bank provided funds to 30 federal universities in Nigeria for the acquisition of books, journals, and equipment (including computers), to encourage those universities to open their doors to information and communications technology. Unfortunately, no significant efforts were recorded in the of computerization of library services. Kashim Ibrahim Library Complex
Kashim Ibrahim Library has a chain of libraries that are tributaries to the main library. These include the Medical library in the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, the School of Nursing Library also in the Teaching Hospital, the President Kennedy Library in the Institute of Administration, Kongo Campus, the Institute of Agriculture Library (IAR), the Veterinary Medical Library and several departmental libraries. These libraries serve a student population of about 35,000 and 2,600 academic and nonacademic staff.
The collections of Kashim Ibrahim Library consists of books, journals, newspapers, rare books, theses and dissertations, Africana collections, government documents, documents of International organisations such as UNO, WHO, FAO, OAU, AU , etc. There is also a rich collection of audiovisual materials. These materials are organized and arranged in several sections including Reference, Media, Africana, Documents, Serials, and General Reading areas. They are classified using the Library of Congress Classification Scheme which is commonly used in university libraries. The Challenges of Computerizing a University Library in Nigeria: the Case of Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,” Grace Nok. Library Philosophy and Practice, Vol. 8, no. 2 (Spring 2006) 4 Library Automation and Computerization Universities libraries in Nigeria are realizing the need to move from their isolated past into integrated systems and networked operations. As Khalid (2000) observes, “[n]etworked 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.
University library automation in Nigeria, which started in the late 1980s, are at various stages of automation of library services. The Federal Government of Nigeria through the National Universities Commission (NUC), which supervises all the universities and disburses funds to all the federal universities in Nigeria, introduced projects aimed at computerizing university services across the country. They initiated Management Information Systems (MIS) and started the Nigerian Universities Network (NUNET) project. NUNET was aimed at developing a viable local and wide area network in each institution.
This was followed by the National Virtual (Digital) Library Project. The mission was “to provide, in an equitable and cost effective manner, enhanced access to national and international library and information resources and for sharing locallyavailable resources with libraries all over the world using digital technology. ” (UNESCO) The major objectives of the Virtual Library Project are: • to improve the quality of teaching and research in institutions of higher learning in Nigeria through the provision of current books, journals and other library resources; to enhance access to academic libraries serving the education community in Nigeria to global library and information resources; • to enhance scholarship, research, and lifelong learning through the establishment of permanent access to shared digital archival collections; • to provide guidance for academic libraries on applying appropriate technologies used in the production of digital library resources; and • to advance the use and usability of a globally-distributed network of library resources.
This project was designed to be carried out in five phases. The delivery of the Virtual Library was earmarked to be through the Internet, CD-ROM, and Wide Area Network (WAN). This laudable project has remained on paper for several years. Three years ago, the federal government came out with a “The Challenges of Computerizing a University Library in Nigeria: the Case of Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,” Grace Nok. Library Philosophy and Practice, Vol. 8, no. 2 (Spring 2006) 5 policy on library automation in academic libraries.
The policy provided for university libraries to be linked with other renowned academic libraries across the globe to provide unlimited access to print and electronic materials. So far this has also remained on paper. Initial efforts at automation of library services in Kashim Ibrahim Library of Ahmadu Bello University were made in the 1990s by the University Librarian at that time, Alhaji Inuwa Dikko. Although a committee was charged with automating the library and feasibility studies were carried out, no concerted efforts were directed at seeing automation become a reality.
Reasons for delay were lack of funds and trained manpower. Eventually, however, a software package was chosen and acquired: ALICE, which is popular in the UK. It is a modular system, designed by database experts and professional librarians, and it conforms to international cataloguing standards. It has unique features for corporate and special libraries, for academic libraries, and for school libraries. It is affordable and scaleable, and is usable on a standalone machine or over a wide area network.
A few staff of Kashim Ibrahim Library have been trained in using ALICE. They are currently entering all their catalogue data into the catalogue module. Electronic publications are gradually being introduced, audiovisual and multimedia reading rooms are provided, and CD-ROMs and the Internet services are offered. Several kinds of information can be found on the library homepages: information about the library, the catalogue, electronic resources, online information services, and related links.
This will also make interlibrary loan service available online. Users can enter the library homepage, click the relevant button, fill in a form, and submit it. Digitization of resources would also allowing the creation of electronic reading rooms, with computers to access the resources. Students can also do word processing or use Internet-related services on these computers. Challenges of Computerization Computerization, especially in the developing countries, is fraught with challenges. This is also the case with Kashim Ibrahim Library.
WAN/LAN To a large extent, the existence of a University Wide Area Network (WAN) and a Local Area Network (LAN) within the library determines the success of computerization of library services. This is a major challenge to many universities in Nigeria. There is no reliable LAN in most universities. “The Challenges of Computerizing a University Library in Nigeria: the Case of Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,” Grace Nok. Library Philosophy and Practice, Vol. 8, no. 2 (Spring 2006) 6
Where this exists, it is achieved through surface cabling which exposes the cables to the effects of fire, storm, vandalization etc. In Kashim Ibrahim Library, although there is a LAN in the computer room where data entry is occurring, achieving a reliable LAN within the whole library is a Herculean task. The library building did not originally incorporate cabling for LAN. A LAN would have to be achieved through surface cabling with its attendant risks. Computer Literacy/Education Many of the staff of university libraries are not computer literate. This is a great setback in computerization.
Many of the staff are reluctant to jettison their old mindset which resists change. Many are conservative and traditional, and suffer computer phobia. Research results show that, although the use of electronic information increases job satisfaction, confidence, and the effectiveness of librarians in their work, lack of technical expertise can be very frustrating to the librarians (Edward, et al, 1995). There is also a lack of technical support. Only one librarian is formally trained to initiate, develop, implement, and maintain computerized applications in the entire university library system.
Those who had been trained gain only limited, or no access, to the packages in which they had been trained. Inquisitive users with IT skills cause serious dissatisfaction to the library staff (Bii and Wanyama, 2001). Poor State of Power Generation Regular power generation remains a problem in Nigeria. Frequent power outages constitute a serious bottleneck to automation. The cost of running generating plants is prohibitive. Poor Maintenance and Update Culture There is a poor maintenance culture in Nigeria. Universities, particularly the first generation like Ahmadu Bello University, have very poor maintenance.
The size and complexity of the task have almost completely eroded maintenance at Ahmadu Bello University. This erosion is manifested in the frequent computer and network breakdowns and/or failures. To handle the growth of the library database and ensure fast data entry, retrieval, and inquiry through the OPAC, there is need for regular and consistent upgrade of computer facilities. Getting Used to ALICE “The Challenges of Computerizing a University Library in Nigeria: the Case of Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,” Grace Nok. Library Philosophy and Practice, Vol. , no. 2 (Spring 2006) 7 The lack of IT skills and the slow process of automation mean that the library staff will take a very long time to become very familiar with the ALICE package. If the library staff find it difficult to get comfortable, the situation is worse for library users, who depend so much on the library staff for orientation and user instruction. Unfortunately, the library orientation programme and the entire user education package do not fully address IT skills. Poor Funding of Library Services Poor funding is a major challenge to libraries in Nigeria.
Academic libraries in Nigeria derive their funds from the government. Although the federal budget provision has moved from 5% of the approved recurrent budget for library development to 10%, the budget of many academic libraries continues to dwindle. A high rate of inflation, low and unpredictable national income, the effects of global economic depression, and local currency devaluation continue to water down whatever budgetary provision is made for academic libraries in Nigeria. Many academic libraries in Nigeria have not initiated viable income-generating strategies to supplement government funding.
Education and Training Most staff in academic libraries in Nigeria were trained in traditional librarianship. They are finding it difficult to cope with the requirements of the electronic age. Staff training and retraining have not been given a pride of place. Kashim Ibrahim Library has initiated computer literacy training for all staff, which has had a lukewarm reception. This attitude is a great deterrent to the computerization of library services. These challenges have far-reaching effects on the implementation and sustenance of the automation of library services in Kashim Ibrahim Library of Ahmadu Bello University.
Recommendations The need for staff training in computerized library applications cannot be overemphasized. The success of automation in the university library depends largely on the ability of staff to facilitate and implement the process. Proper, frequent, and regular in-house IT training is a necessity if the maximum benefit is to be gained from the automation of library services and, most importantly, if the operations of the automated systems are to be “The Challenges of Computerizing a University Library in Nigeria: the Case of Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,” Grace Nok.
Library Philosophy and Practice, Vol. 8, no. 2 (Spring 2006) 8 independent of any one librarian. The need for organized training on all aspects of automation can be justified by the frequent minor system breakdowns or malfunctions that render the library systems inoperative unless the systems librarian is available. Conclusion Lack of funds and lack of information resources have been problems for academic librariesin Africa for many years. In addition, automation of information resources and services pose new problems. These include the acquisition, selection, and cataloguing of online information resources, the onstruction of databases, providing information literacy education for library users, and the new skills required by, and continuing education for, librarians. However, if the library ensures sound and quality automation of services and information resources, creates new approaches to user education, pays attention to the provision of continuing education for library staff, helping them to master the new techniques required for the management of electronic and the networked information resources and services, the gains of automation are immeasurable. Works Cited Abolaji, J.
A. (2000). “Automation of Cataloguing Processes in Nigerian Libraries: The Experience of Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife”, Nigerian Libraries, 34(2): 1-7. Abubakar, Iya (1971). “The Library and the Computer”, Annual Conference Lecture Delivered at the 10th Nigerian Library Association, Jos. Agboola, A. T. “The New Library Building of the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria”, New Library World, 96 (1122), pp. 23-40 Edwards, C. , et al (1995). “IMPEL Project: the impact on people of electronic libraries”, Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 47 No. , pp. 203-8. Ekpenyong, Georgina D. (1997). “Automating a large library in Nigeria: the story so far”, New Library World, 28 (1134), pp. 106-110 Harrison Kibet Bii and Patrick Wanyama (2001). “Automation and its impact on the job satisfaction among the staff of the Margaret Thatcher Library, Moi University “, Library Management, Vol. 22, No. 6/7, pp. 303-310 “The Challenges of Computerizing a University Library in Nigeria: the Case of Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,” Grace Nok. Library Philosophy and Practice, Vol. 8, no. 2 (Spring 2006) 9 Ifidon, Sam E. Okoli, Godwin N. , (2002). “40 Years of Academic and Research Library Service to Nigeria : Past, Present, and Future”. Paper presented at the 40th Nigerian Library Association, ASCON, Badagry, pp. 22- 33. Khalid, H. M. (2000). “Co-operation and networking in library and information systems of advanced countries: a framework for countries with less developed systems”, Library Review, Vol. 49 Nos. 1 and 2, pp. 57-63. Tang, Jinhong (2001). “The new face of academic libraries in mainland China as they enter the twenty-first century”, Library Management, Vol. 22, Nos. 45, pp 181-186. What are the advantages and disadvantages of computer? In: Computers, Computer Maintenance [Edit categories] | Micro Librarian Systemswww. microlib. co. uk Library management systems for schools, colleges & corporates Ads 1. Disadvantage It destroys your life and interactions with other people. 2. It may effect your eye sight from the radiation of the computer. 3. It may cause pimples and zits. 4. It may decrease your interests in studies and social life. 5. Infact too much time in front of the monitor may cause effect your eye sight and can also make you fatter. 6.
The way it distracts your mind can trouble our thoughts and activities, towards activities you can get a heart attack. 7. It could cause violation of privacy, impact on labor force, health, impacts on environment, distraction of work, and it may ruin your life with others and with your family. 8. the computer can get you away from real life and it may give you bad influence ADVANTAGES 1. The computer helps you automate various tasks that you can not do manually. 2. It helps you organize your data and information in a better way. 3. The computer has much more intelligence power then an ordinary human. 4.
It helps your make work in an easier way. 5. It is the storage of your important data and files. 6. It might be your handy book. 7. The computer must help you solve problems in the easier way and fastest way than an ordinary human being can do. 8. It has speed, reliability, consistency and you can communicate with others. 9. It helps you and gives you instructions to find useful information using the Internet. 10. The computer helps anyone, everywhere and in everything ex: in businesses, factories, offices, schools and homes. Read more: http://wiki. answers. com/Q/What_are_the_advantages_and_disadvantages_of_computer#ixzz1JuqJJpk7