Assessment of ICT Literacy Skills of Digital Library Users and Staff in Salem University Lokoja, Kogi.

Author:Anyim, Wisdom O.
Position:Information and communications technologies - Report
 
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Introduction

In the modern societies, Information and communications technologies (ICTs) have been universally developed as inevitable tools for enhancing the quality of education by providing access to information and knowledge contents leading to improvements and innovation in teaching, learning and research. ICT-driven library in academic institutions have assumed new roles in creation of new products and services.

The Salem University (SU), Lokoja, is a privately owned university located in Lokoja, Kogi State Nigeria. The university was founded by Archbishop Sam Amaga, the president of Salem International Christian Center, the global international base of Foundation Faith Worldwide. The university was founded in 2007 and commenced operation in 2008 alongside with a digital library. The essence of establishing digital library in SU is basically to provide online resources to staff and students in order to bridge the knowledge and digital divide between the developed and developing countries, enhance educational infrastructural development and provide educational resources for effective learning, perform library functions and provide innovative user services. The digital library provides lecturers and students with the resources to collect and analyse data, create multimedia presentations and acquire greater depth of knowledge. According to Salem University Student Handbook (2013), the focus of the library is that no matter where they may be, students and teachers can use technology to tap into the world's knowledge bank and explore exciting information about topics such as science, current events, history, and languages, the arts and communication, and share their findings with peers around the globe. Salem University digital library provides users with ample of ICT facilities and e-resources.

Development of digital libraries in Salem University (SU) changes the pattern of use and information seeking behaviour of the users. As a result of these changes, ICT devices and their creative application have without doubt transformed the quality of users' academic outcomes by improving the effectiveness of teaching, learning and research activities in the university. There is higher preference in the information age for utilizing digital libraries which is the reason Salem University is under pressure to provide the necessary ICT facilities and e-resources to enable its digital library function effectively.

However, to make effective use of information communication technologies in the digital library environment for information search and retrieval, the users and staff of the library must be well equipped with ICT literacy skills. This condition must be fulfilled if the users and staff must fully utilize digital library products and services. According to Anderson and Ainley (2010), one of the basic conditions for using the potential of ICT is to have access to the technology and the internet, and it is evident that there are wide disparities in the extent to which those technologies are available to patrons, both between and within countries. Secondly, another condition for active consummation of digital library product and services is the competence and expertise of users in utilizing ICT facilities and resources. The European Commission (2008) opines that ICT literacy is increasingly becoming an essential life competence and the inability to access or use ICT has effectively become a barrier to social integration and personal development. ICT literacy skill, in no small way has become increasingly necessary for users of digital library in Salem University. ICT literacy skills will enable the users of digital library to create, manage and distribute information.

Statement of Problem

Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) have gradually transformed library environment into virtual or digital planet. Majority of library users prefer making use of digital library where information is packaged in electronic format. This necessitates the acquisition of ICT literacy skills to be able to make effective use of the library. ICT literacy skills enable the users to make effective use of avalanche digital information resources. Unless a user possesses ICT literacy skills it is impossible to navigate a world of information sources in the digital library environment.

Lack of ICT literacy skills among users might lead to underutilization of digital library resources. Due to lack of ICT literacy skills to navigate various e-portals, databases and other e-resources, users may conclude in their minds that the library has nothing valuable for use. Therefore, this would affect the teaching, learning and research objective of the university library.

It was observed that the students and staff of Salem University are underutilizing the digital library. This may be attributed to lack of requisite ICT literacy skills of the users. It appears that there has not been any study carried out to assess if the users of digital library of Salem University possessed the ICT literacy skills to be able to access and retrieve digital information resources. It is based on this fact that the researcher embarks on this study to fill the knowledge gap by assessing ICT literacy skills among digital library users of Salem University, Lokoja, Kogi State.

Objective of the Study

The general objective of the study is to assess ICT literacy skills of digital library users and staff of Salem University Lokoja, Kogi State. Specifically, the study intends to:

  1. Examine the ICT facilities and resources available in Salem University digital library.

  2. Assess the level of ICT literacy skills possessed by digital library users and staff of Salem University.

  3. Assess the challenges associated with the acquisition of ICT literacy skills among digital library users and staff of Salem University.

  4. Identify strategies for enhancing acquisition of ICT literacy skills of digital library users and staff in Salem University.

    Research Questions

    The study is guided by the following research questions:

  5. What are the ICT facilities and resources available in Salem University digital library?

  6. What is the level of ICT literacy skills possessed by digital library users and staff in Salem University?

  7. What are the challenges associated with the acquisition of ICT literacy skills among digital library users and staff in Salem University?

  8. What are the strategies for enhancing acquisition of ICT literacy skills of digital library users and staff in Salem University?

    Significance of the Study

    With respect to the objective of this study, it is expected that the findings of this study will be of great significance to the following groups: library managers and staff, lecturers, educational planners, students, researchers, government and university management.

    The results of this study will provide useful information to library managers and staff in the identification of possible solutions to the problems of acquisition of ICT literacy skills.

    The study will provide useful information to lecturers and educational planners on the need to integrate ICT in academic curriculum, teaching ICT literacy courses and to students and researchers on strategies for making fruitful and effective use of digital library services.

    The government will also stand to gain from this research as it will help create an impact in policy formulation with regards to the National Information Technology Policy in the country.

    Finally, this study will be beneficial to the university management in the sense that the findings of this research will serve as a tool for review of ICT facilities and resources available in the digital library and the need to provide others that are non-existence.

    Scope of the Study

    The crux of this study is an assessment of ICT literacy skill among users and staff of SU digital library in Kogi State. The study specifically covers digital library at Salem University Lokoja.

    Literature Review

    Concept of Digital Library

    Digital library is an electronic version of the conventional library. It is ICT driven library environment that provides information users access to digital information resources and services. Digital library is a home for avalanche ICT devices and applications used to access, store, retrieve, evaluate, repackage and distribute information. Ekere. Omekwu and Nwoha (2016) define digital library as a collection of digital documents or objects. Their definition reflects universal perception of people about digital library. However, Smith (2001) defines a digital library as an organized and focused collection of digital objects, including text, images, video and audio, with the methods of access and retrieval and for the selection, creation, organization, maintenance and sharing of collection. Digital library is the library where the holdings of the library are available in electronic format, and the services of the library are also made available digitally and frequently over the Internet so that users can access them remotely (Onwuchekwa and Jegede, 2011).

    The term 'Digital Library' may be used in different ways or replaced with some other terms. Chowdury and Chowdury (2000), Bishop, Buttenfield and VanHouse (2000) and Borgman (1999) draw attention to both the complementarities and contradictions in various definitions as terms such as electronic library, virtual library, hybrid library, gateway library, library of the future, and library without walls, sometimes synonymously with digital library, sometimes to denote a subset, or a superset, of it whilst at other times to denote a rather different concept. Whatsoever term it bears, digital libraries have been a place where information resources and services are delivered electronically. Anyim (2018) posits that digital libraries make research more interesting as it serves as intellectually organized information resource centre and a world of knowledge at researchers' fingertip. Okerson (2009) refers...

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