Awareness and Utilization of Electronic Library Resources by Students of Tamale Technical University, Ghana.

Author:Bawa, Kojo Dukper
 
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Introduction

Over the last decade, electronic resources have become increasingly substantial components of academic libraries. This is due to the growing development of information technology and its impact on collection development policies in Libraries (Nataranjan & Santhi, 2012). In view of this, libraries have transformed into digital and virtual libraries where books, journals and magazines have changed into e-books, e-journals, and e-magazines (Akpojotor, 2016). This has increased the global dissemination of information such that, e-journals, e-books, e-databases, web resources, e-serials amongst others are easily accessible in remote areas. Jone (2008) in Akpojotor (2018) opined that electronic resources solved storage problems and controls the flood of information by eliminating physical limitations of storing data, access, retrieval and distribution of information to several users within the shortest possible time.

The rapid growth of new technologies has changed the information seeking behavior of users and reduced the cost and time of searching for information in the library. Electronic information resources can be defined as the electronic representation of information which can be accessed via electronic system and computer network (Johnson et al, 2012). They further buttress that electronic information sources can be seen as the most recent development in academic libraries and that they are available in various forms like e-books, digital libraries, online journal magazine, e-learning tutors and online test. Application of information communication technology (ICT) in libraries has given enough opportunities for the provision of e-resources and its dissemination to suit the needs of its patrons (Nataranjan & Santhi, 2012).

The changing trend of users' need and attitude to information is virtually forcing librarians to succumb to the collection and development of electronic resources. Thus, it has been the rights of users to know more about the availability and management of electronic resources (Dadzie, 2005). With the changing needs of users and growing popularity of e-resources, academic libraries are gradually migrating from print documents to e-resources. This has led the academic libraries to redesign their collection development policies and its implementation drives, giving every opportunity for equal access to information (Kesavan, 2009). The content of libraries is no more restricted to traditional printed resources such as books, magazines or journals but to online resources and other electronic-driven materials (Yebowaah & Plockey, 2017). Electronic library resources facilitate an effective provision of information to all calibre of users, promote collaborative efforts in research; using communication network tools and encourages generation and dissemination of knowledge.

The use of electronic library resources does not however take the place of printed resources but facilitates it through access to large stock of library materials (Okazie, 2016). The change that has occurred in the world of ICT is what has shifted the content of libraries' resources from printed information to online information resources. Electronic resources give new dimension to learning and have affected education in many ways (Bajpai et al. 2016). In spite of the role of electronic resources; it appears that users of Tamale Technical University library seem not aware of the existence of e-resources in the library and its services have not been fully utilized. This has grossly affected effectiveness of research activities and thus requires improvement in terms of awareness creation to sustain adequate usage. In the mist of all these, it seems very little research is known about students' awareness and utilization of electronic library resources in the Tamale Technical University, hence the need to carry out this study.

Background of the Study Institution (Tamale Technical University)

The Tamale Technical University formerly of Tamale Polytechnic located in Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana began as a Trades Training Centre in 1951 and then became the Government Training School in 1954. It was converted to a junior Technical institute in 1960. The School was later elevated to the statutes of a Polytechnic in August 23, 1992. As a result of the Educational Reform Programme and the enactment of the PNDC Law 321 in 1992, Tamale Polytechnic was elevated to tertiary status together with Accra, Kumasi, Ho, Cape Coast and Takoradi Polytechnics and subsequently to University status in 2016.

With a current student population of over 5000, the University offers various tertiary and non-tertiary programmes to fit the interest of all people interested in pursuing programmes of their choice. Some of the tertiary programmes include HND Mechanical Engineering, Agricultural Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Building Technology, Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management, Industrial Arts (Leather Works, Ceramics, Painting and Decorating and Textiles options). The non-tertiary programmes include Painting and Decorating, Electrical Installation, carpentry and Joinery, Block-laying and concreting, Welding and Fabrication, Radio and TV, and Fashion and Designing. To further enhance research and learning among students, the University established an electronic library system in 2017 directly opposite the main library of the school. The facility is opened to all students in the school.

Objectives of the Study

The study sought to achieve the following objectives. These are:

  1. To identify the awareness level of students about electronic library resources.

  2. To determine the e-library resources mostly consulted by students

  3. To assess the level of utilization of electronic library resources by students

  4. To identify the challenges encountered by students in accessing electronic library resources.

Hypothesis

[H.sub.0]: There is no significant relationship between awareness and utilisation of electronic library resources by students.

[H.sub.1]: There is a significant relationship between awareness and utilisation of electronic library resources by students.

Literature Review

Awareness of Electronic Resources

'Awareness' is knowledge about particular information and manifested through a particular behavior (Akpojotor, 2016). Oni and Ahiauzu (2008) also indicated that 'Awareness' is knowledge about something that exists or understanding of a situation or subject at the present time based on information or experience. It can also be seen as knowledge or perception of a situation, fact, consciousness, recognition, realization, grasp and acknowledgement concern about and well-informed interest or familiarity in a particular situation or development.

Awareness of the changes in technology in recent years has dramatically altered how information is accessed, stored and disseminated (Tsakomas & Papatheodorou, 2006). Whereas information provision and usage in academic libraries was previously based upon the collection of physical library materials, it is now increasingly the case that academic libraries are moving into the virtual arena. University students in their reaction to such stimuli ought to be aware of the availability of such resources to aid them in their academic pursuit. With advances in technology and e-publishing, online test full text databases, Emerald, Science Direct, Academic Search Premier, Ebscohost, TEEEL, Oare Sciences, Hinari, Virtual Library (NUC), online public access catalogue (OPAC), CD-ROMs (Compact Disc-Read Only Memory), e-books...

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