ICT facilities: ergonomic effects on academic library staff.

Author:Adeyemi, Aderonke O.
Position:Information and Communication Technology - Report
 
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Introduction

The term Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which is often used interchangeably with Information Technology (IT), encompasses methods and techniques for automated information handling and retrieval, including computers, telecommunications, and office systems. It encompasses business data, conversations, still images, video, and multimedia. The (IT) sector will probably continue to expand (Ivergard, 2000). ICT has fundamentally affected the operations of library and information services. The application of ICT to library operations has made electronic cataloguing and online reference services possible, along with other library operations, such as digital information, online access and file transfer, networking and sharing of information resources.

Aina (2004) observes that ICTs have been implemented in information handling and processing because of the increased workload involved in coping with an information explosion. Madu and Adeniran (2000) describe the values of IT and ICT. According to them, ICT makes it possible for an individual or a company to meet all their information-related needs rapidly and easily. Shrestha (2000), referring to OECD (2000), asserts that the rapid movement of information across local, national, and international borders is contributing to revolutionary changes that include the academic library.

The use of ICT requires working at a computer. Working long hours on a computer may result in some form of ergonomic problems. More and more workers are suffering from backaches, neck-aches, sore wrists, arms, and legs, and eyestrain which are all symptoms of ergonomic problems. Ergonomics is a discipline that extends across all aspects of human activity. It is also known as human factors/human engineering, and is the design or modification of the workplace to match human characteristics and capabilities. Ergonomics was developed as a consequence of problems presented by new work systems. It was developed through the same processes that led to disciplines like industrial engineering and occupational medicine (Bridger, 1995).

Employers are always faced with balancing efficiency and productivity with safety and comfort. Good ergonomic assessment and remedial design can ensure both. Every workstation should be designed with both the worker and the task in mind, so that work can be performed comfortably, smoothly, and efficiently. Positioning or using your computer improperly can lead to injuriy, from the short term discomfort to serious conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. ILO (2008) rightly notes that for many workers in developing countries, ergonomic problems may not have a high priority among the health and safety problems they face. The large and increasing numbers of workers affected by poor work design, however, make ergonomic issues...

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