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University Library -Problems and Prospects of Digitization

The Problems and Prospects of Digitization in University Library of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State

Introduction

Background to the Study

There has been great need for academic libraries to meet and become responsive to the changing needs of the society which they serve. These needs are necessitated by the ever increasing literature within academic environment and the zeal with which library patrons chase them.

Indeed the old concept of librarianship as storehouse of information is fast Changing as computer can now assist a great deal in ordering of books, cataloging and classification, charging and discharging of books. There is also an online public access catalogue.

Madu (2007), states that computers are electronic devices that are capable of accepting information inform of code information signal, storing this information in the form of code information signal in the basis of a set of instruction called programme. This implies that computers are vehicle for the processing of data. A computer can then perform any data processing task that can be specified completely for it in the form of computer programme. Computer has been defined in various forms by different authors, Woherem (2000) defined Computer as an “electronic device that uses instructions provided to it which it stores in its memory units to accept data input from it’s peripherals. Roger (2002) sees computer as a device which enable you to process information (that is, it can carryout capture-process-store-communication sequence) all by itself or at least with minimum of human intervention.

Nevertheless, Ifeka (2000) defined academic libraries as those found in tertiary institutions like Universities, polythecnics, or Colleges of education e.t.c.  Thus, computerization of academic libraries means the application of computer in controlling the operations of  Universities, Polythecnics or Colleges of education libraries. Anaehobi (2007) observed that advances in the information and communication Technology, Electronic information in  form of electronic books, Electronic Journals and the Internet has launched the world into an Information age. No Institution or Organization can still rely on only the traditional printed Information resources to perform effectively. Reynolds gave many reasons for development of computer based library system as

– To promote better services at less cost.

– To entertain the cost of future expansion.

– To give added benefit at less cost.

– To carryout task with accuracy within the shortest time and with increased control than with the previous manual system. Ekpeyoung, stated that computer technology is still in it’s infancy stage in Nigeria, those who have started off are faced with the problem of fund. Although several workshops, seminars, conferences and exhibition-summit had been organized by so many agencies in the country on the need for every field of endeavor to be computerized and connect to the development of a global information society. Unfortunately, Nigerian academic libraries are still far behind to fit into this new information order, but as the decades progresses, there is no doubt that an increasing number of academic libraries in country will have to address some of the important issues relating to library computerization. In this study, a case study of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Library Awka is projected. The problem of library computerization for academic libraries show that there is the increasing recognition that Nnamdi Azikiwe University Library Awka is under-printing academic study and research, thereby making it incapable of responding effectively to the aspiration and collective objective of academic library. Therefore, the research suggests that solving the computerization problems of NAU Library means the recognition of several principles that encourages the take off of the new technology. For instance, Computerization of library will be useless unless the library staff and users are computer knowledgeable and literate.

The library started in 1982 as Awka campus library of the defunct Anambra state university of technology (ASUTECH), which has it’s headquarter at Enugu. The University librarian at that time was Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Ene and Mr. R.C Nwamefor was the deputy University librarian in charge of the Awka campus library. In 1985, Awka campus was suspended by Anambra State Government and was merged with Enugu campus library. The library of the institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu was later merged with Enugu campus library of ASUTECH. As a result of the demerger of the two institutions in 1987 and re-establishment of Awka campus of ASUTECH, Awka campus library was re-established at Awka in 1987. With the creation of Enugu State in 1991 and the resultant emergence of the new Anambra State, Awka campus became the University of the New Anambra State and was later renamed Nnamdi Azikiwe University following the take-over of the University by the federal Government of Nigeria in 1992. By that fact and development, the library assumed the new status of the library of a federal University i.e, Nnamdi Azikiwe University library Awka. And was later renamed after the first vice-chancellor of the school (Prof. Festus  Aghagbo Nwako).

In Summary, Digital environment allow users to search for collection rapidly and comprehensively from anywhere at anytime. Digitization makes invisible to be visible, several Users can access the same material the same time without hindrances, it also removes the problem of distances as users do not have to travel to libraries that possess the hard copies of library material before they can use such materials. In Nnamdi Azikiwe University library, Awka, Theses and Dissertations are always there for researchers and students to use, it is an effort to increase the web content of the University website as well as to preserve it’s intellectual content and improve access to their collections. Although several efforts have been made towards the full establishment of a digital library in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, but some gaps exist in this pursuit or dream realization.

Some factors may not have been put into consideration to enable the sustenance. Universities are centers of research and development and Nigerian Universities have set standard to key into this, realizing the need to build and develop digital libraries that will enhance research activities. NAU library, Awka commenced the digitization of their resources in 1992, with the aim of preserving the collections and also increase the Universities web-visibility.

Finally, digitization of these resources is expected to improve the image of the University in the long run and also add to the digital making of the University among the top Universities in the world.

Statement of Problem

One major problem facing University libraries in Nigeria today is poor state of digitization which means inability to have access of the library materials on-line and internet services. This ugly situation has not only weaken the moral of the Nigerian students and scholars, it has also reduced the pace of library development and primary factor of University as a center for development and research. Although an impressive effort has been made in digitizing library collections all over the country, yet progress has been significantly slow in most Nigeria libraries. It is striking to note that no single University Library in the country has digitized all it’s resources.  For that, the researcher identifies some of these problems faced by the University libraries under digitization as enumerated by Fabunmi, Paris and Fabunmi (2006), Eke (2009), Ezra (2007) and library of congress. The problems are legal aspect, Expertise, metadata creation, and finance.

But the question remains how can these problems be solved? As a result of that, the researcher embarked on the research work. The problems and prospects of digitization in University libraries. A case study of Prof. Festus Aghagbo Nwako library of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

Purpose of Study  

The main purpose of this study is to examine the problems of digitization in University libraries, with particular reference to NAU library, Awka. Specifically, the study aimed at

  1. Ascertaining the progress made in digitization in NAU library, Awka.
  2. Determining the benefits of digitization.
  3.  Finding out the problems affecting the effective digitization of resources in NAU library, Awka.
  4. Suggesting workable solutions to solve these problems facing University libraries under digitization.

Scope of Study

This study concentrates on challenges or problems of digitization in our University libraries with particular reference to Prof. Festus Aghagbo Nwako library of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

Significant of the Study

The study no doubt, will go a long way in revealing the major problems of digitization of University libraries, From this light, students, lecturers and researchers in the research environment who intend to carry out further research on this topic or related ones will find the result of this work very useful because, it will serve as a model or pre-condition upon which they may build their study. The Nigerian University commission, will immensely benefit from this work, regarding their bid to digitize Nigerian academic libraries, this is because the study reveal the problems, benefits of digitization and suggest workable solutions to these problems. In this way, they will benefit, because with this work, they will be sensitized on the likely problems that need to be put into consideration before embarking on any digitization project.

Again, this study will re-introduce the Nigerian Universities commission to the major essence of digitization which will serve as a driving force to achieve their aim of digitizing Nigerian academic libraries. The study will also expose them to the way forward to ensure successful implementation of digitization in Nation’s academic libraries, hence, Information contained in this study will sensitize librarians especially those who are not computer literate on the benefits of digitization so that they shall make themselves available for training and retraining in order to cope with digital environment rather than discouraging computerization. Also this work will benefit all those in the field of library and Information Science because, it adds to the study of knowledge already existing in the field of library automation since it is said that every research work must contribute to the development or building of new knowledge or a given discipline.

Research Question  

  1. What are the progresses made in digitization of NAU, Awka?
  2. Are there benefits obtainable from digitizing library resources in Nnamdi Azikiwe University library, Awka?
  3. What are the problems affecting the digitization of library recourses in NAU library, Awka?
  4. What are the workable solutions to these problems faced by the University libraries under digitization project?

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