The information age has permeated all aspects of human existence (Spies 1998). This has brought certain challenges to academics the world over (Pinfield 2001, Rader 2001); it is therefore clear that any attempt to have meaningful academic communication can only be successful through the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), which is the application of the computer and its peripherals in communicating data within the shortest available time and over geographical space.
The university library is a dynamic unit within a dynamic system which underscores the need for the library to be proactive in its thinking. The library as the storehouse of knowledge is concerned with the acquisition of materials for teaching and research, processing of materials for easy retrieval, and the dissemination of information to facilitate the active and effective exploitation of the acquired resources. The thrust of all library services is the provision of up-to-date and timely information to her clients. The computerization of the academic library and digitization of records are significant changes that well shape the delivery of services and potentially affect the image of the librarian and status of the university library.
According to Eyitayo (1996), automated library systems have enormous potential in the management of vast resources available in the library. As a result of the information explosion and the development in information technology (IT) in the last three decades, it is imperative for an academic library to go outside the walls of its own collection to satisfy its clients' information needs. The Internet, as the largest computer network in the world, can complement our array of learning tools (Achebe 1996). Many reviews of what can be done on the Internet and its benefits are available in the literature ( for example, Daniel 1999, Alasa and Kale-Chuckwu 1999, Eyitayo and Eyitayo 1999). To exploit the immense resources available in this global information village, a library must be computerized and academic libraries, in particular, stand to gain by joining this trend if they are to remain relevant to the community they serve. It was based on this premise that the Fatiu Ademola Akesode Library (Formerly Lagos State University Library) embarked on its computerization project. This paper describes the basic elements of managing the library's automation planning process as an example of how this can be done in medium- to large-sized academic libraries. The paper provides a detailed overview of a planning process designed to help librarians make decision about library automation; offers practical suggestions on how library managers can effectively organize the process of acquiring a system, and shares the experience of Fatiu Ademola Akesode Library in the planning and implementation of its computerized system and sub-systems.
The history of automation in academic libraries in Nigeria dated back over 30 years (Sanni and Idiodi 2004). In 1973, Nigerian universities generated the first serials listings on computers, since then, various attempts were made and are still been made at full automation of library processes by academic, special and research libraries. In July 1984, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan blazed the trail of full automation when it converted its library's catalogues to the online public access catalogue, thereby creating the information system ALISTRA (Automated Library and Information Services for Tropical Agriculture) (Adedigba et al 1995). The system integrates all catalogue, circulation and acquisition records so that they can be searched at the same time. Other research libraries like the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs and the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) followed suit in 1991 using TINLIB and the CD/ISIS software respectively. The RMRDC later introduced a more user-friendly software, X-Lib, which is complete library management software with provision for all aspects of library operations (Uga 2001).
University libraries in Nigeria took some time before adopting automation because of their large size and complex. The Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, began with computerization of its acquisition operations in the 1988/1989 sessions, while the Ladoke Akintola University of Science and Technology Library, Ogbomoso, commenced computerization activities in 1991 using the TINLIB version 250 which it later upgraded to 270.
In 1994/1995, the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC), through a World Bank facility, acquired and distributed ICL computer systems along with 4-user TINLIB software to some federal universities (Falaiye 2002). Only a few universities were able to make some headway with the TINLIB software after a lot of adaptations. As a result many university libraries had changed to more user-friendly library software.
The Kenneth Dike Library, University of Ibadan was able to generate computer readable tickets as at December 1995. The library database now runs on library software called Alice for windows. Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, created its own database with the TINLIB software and as being operational since September 1997, (Jagboro 2003).
FATIU ADEMOLA AKESODE LIBRARY'S EXPERIENCE
Fatiu Ademola Adesode Library came into existence following the passing of the Lagos State University Law No. 15 of 1983 by the Lagos State House of Assembly. However, the Library did not become operational until the assumption of duty of the university librarian on 7th May 1984.The library system is made up of the main library and the law library at the main campus, Ojo; the College of Medicine library at Ikeja; the Epe branch library at Epe; and the School of Communication Library at Surulere, Lagos, Lagos. All the five libraries are centrally administered. From the collection of 2,281 volumes that it started with in the 1984/85 session, the library's collection has grown astronomically to about 101,140 volumes. The library presently has a total number of 16,000 registered users, and has the responsibility of supporting learning, teaching and research of staff, students and university community with their diverse information needs.
At the inception of the Lagos State University in 1984, and conscious of the revolution permeating libraries all over the world, the university administration adopted as one of its priorities for r the acquisition of computer hardware and software to facilitate information retrieval in the university generally...