Collection Development Policies of Electronic Resources in University Libraries in Southeast Nigeria.

Author:Okogwu, Flora Ifeoma


With the emergence of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), digital information and knowledge preoccupy the prints, users' expectations from the library and information sources are different from what is used to be in the past. These changes or development affects library services in all aspect and collection development was not an exception. Collection development has become a very popular term in library and information centers, as a need for an efficient and balanced collection. Collection development serves as a foundation upon which other library services are built. It is the systematic building of a library collection based on meaningful data rather than subjective choice. It is the process of accessing the strength and weaknesses in a collection and then creating the plan to correct the weakness and maintain the strength. The process of collection building includes selection of current as well as retrospective materials and the evaluation of the existing collection observed Kumbar and Hadagali in Igiamoh and Duro (2012).

The introduction of electronic resources has called for a drastic revolution in library collections and management practices of libraries. IFLA, (2012) described electronic resources as those materials that require computer access, whether through a personal computer, mainframe, or handheld mobile devises. They are increasingly important component of collection-building activities of libraries and may be accessed remotely via the internet or locally. With the new development, libraries are now being described as traditional, hybrid, digital or electronic. With the emergence of information and communication technology, traditional libraries (print libraries) are turning into hybrid, digital and many to digital libraries (Yeow- fei, 2012). This is noticeable in the format of their collection which is the adoption of electronic resources. The challenge of the digital era is how to integrate electronic resources with print resources on a finite or dwindling budget without reducing the services of libraries. The way out is to adopt policy changes. This has to do with the changes in the philosophy of collection development, incorporation of technology-related facilities, increase budgeting to accommodate the hardware and software costs, so that the collection development librarian will have numerous resources to select from observed Golwal and Moltewa (2012) as cited in Sambo, A.S, Abu- udenyi, H. & Enite, A.U. (2014).

Statement of the Problem

The emergence of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has led to information explosion in libraries. There has been an increase in the number of information resources in digital form on daily basis and in different forms. A large number of e- resources collection has become a challenge to libraries as a lot of information are now available to the public without having to visit and use the traditional library. The need for libraries to build their collection with e-resources to the benefit of the libraries as well as the users is of great importance. As such, there is need to transform and adopt policies that will promote the better building of electronic resources.

Objective of the Study

The objective of this study is to examine the collection development policy of electronic resources in university libraries in South East Nigeria. The specific objectives of the study include;

  1. ascertain the types of policies guiding electronic resources collection development practices of university libraries in South East Nigeria;

  2. identify the tools used in making sound electronic resources collection development in university libraries in South East Nigeria.

  3. determine the criteria considered in evaluation of electronic resources of university libraries in South East Nigeria.

    Research Question

    The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

  4. What are the types of policies that guide electronic resources collection development practices in University libraries in South East Nigeria?

  5. What are the tools used in making sound electronic resources selection in university libraries in South East Nigeria?

  6. What are the criteria considered in evaluating electronic resources in university libraries in South East Nigeria?

    Conceptual Clarification

    University Library

    University library is any library established and owned by a university for the primary purpose of supporting teaching, research and learning activities in the university. Edem, Ani, and Ocheibi (2009) opined that the main purpose of a university library is to support the university in areas of learning, teaching, and research. They further disclosed that the university library is regarded as the "heart" of any academic institution, particularly the university. Igun (2013) affirmed that university libraries are the primary hub in the network of information provision for university students, researchers, lecturers, management and other users. The university library users include the staff and students of the university-the undergraduate students of both regular, part-time and the postgraduate students and other users from outside of the university community who have the permission to access the university library resources. University libraries are categorized into three types, namely federal university libraries-those established, owned and maintained by the federal government; state university libraries - those established, owned and maintained by the state government; and private university libraries- those approved by NUC that is neither owned nor maintained by the federal or the state government. They are owned by individuals, group of people or religious bodies.

    Ka (2005) opined that university libraries play a significant role in supporting research. University libraries do not just store books and journals and offer space for student learning, but they also provide systematically digitized information. Edoka (2000) outlined the functions of the university libraries as thus; to provide information materials required for the academic programmes of the parent institutions; to provide research information resources in consonance with the needs of the faculty and research students; to provide information resources for recreation and for personal self development of users; to provide study accommodation in a useful variety of locations; to provide protection and security for these materials; to co-operate with other libraries as appropriate levels for improved information services; to provide specialized information service to appropriate segments of the wider community. Campbell (2006) argued that academic libraries are complex institutions with multiple roles. They not only provide traditional prints resources but also provide electronic resources to support the teaching, learning and research activities of the university. Edem, Ani, and Ocheibi (2009) observed that for a university library to perform its myriad of functions of supporting the parent body, its library collections must not only have quality and current books/journals, but also modern information sources in electronic formats, such as e-books, e-journals, internet etc.

    Services in the university libraries include the traditional and electronic related services. Adeyemi (1991) and Fabunmi (2004) observed that the traditional library services are offered in form of provision of print materials, loan transactions, physical inter-library loan transactions, manual bibliographic and literature searches, provision of physical reading facilities, binding, photocopying, paper-based current awareness services, manual indexing and abstracting, newspapers clipping, development of reading list, face-to-face reference and information services. While in the university libraries, electronic services are offered with the aid of computers and internet facilities which include: Online Public Access Catalogues (OPACs), automated circulation system, online reservations, provision of access to bibliographic/full text databases, subjects gateways, virtual reference services, online helpdesk, and access to electronic journals, e-books, digitized resources, online instructions, documents delivery, institutional repositories, and other web-based resources observed Elhafiz (2004), Anunobi and Okoye (2008).

    University libraries in South East Nigeria are also established to support the research, teaching and learning activities of their parent institutions. With the emergence of information and communication technology, the university libraries in South East are not left out in building their collection with electronic resources to educate and support in the actualization of the aims and objectives of their parent institution.

    Electronic Resources

    Electronic resources are concepts which evolved as a result of the rapid growth of information and communication technology. It has been described by different authors in different ways. Shukla and Mishra (2011) described the electronic collection as the collection of information which can be accessed only by the use of electronic gadgets. International Federation of Library Association (IFLA) (2012) described electronic resources as those materials that require computer access, whether through a personal computer, mainframe, or handheld mobile devices. They may be accessed remotely via the internet or locally.

    Similarly, Mansur (2012) described electronic resources as electronic products that deliver a collection of data, be it text referring to full text databases, e-journals, e- books, image collections, other multimedia products and numerical, graphical or time based, as commercially available title that has been published with a sole aim of being marketed and for information dissemination. These may be delivered on an optical media or via the Internet. Graham (2003) sees electronic resources as the mines of information that are explored through modern...

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