Lack of ICT infrastructure as a barrier to resource sharing in Nigerian libraries.

Author:Ejedafiru, Efe Francis
Position:Report
 
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Introduction

Information communication technology (ICT) refers to technology that transmits, stores, creates, displays, shares, or exchanges information by electronic means. Libraries and librarians must adopt ICT to be a successful part of the information environment (Ungern-Stran and Lindquist, 1995). ICT has brought radical change to libraries in Nigeria, but this change is not seen uniformly across the academic libraries in the country. Academic libraries need to forge partnerships in establishing online information sharing networks. Enabled by technology, resource sharing is the only hope for the future.

Battin (1980) notes that, "if we are to acknowledge openly our ... acceptance of the responsibility for the health of national scholarship, we must channel our energies in the design and development of effective cooperation activities at the national level." Libraries engage in resource sharing because no single library can meet all the needs of its community. That is why Song (2000) asserts that:

No library can effectively satisfy its users from the resources within its walls. We are living in a time where a library's worth is increasingly being measured by the services it offers in terms of helping clients to access universal information rather than its respective collection.

Efforts at efficient resource sharing in Nigeria seem to have come to naught. This is tied to the inadequacy of existing resources, lack of information about them, inadequate security of materials, uncooperative attitude of parent bodies, lack of policies, inflation ,and unstable budgetary allocation (Vervliet, 1979; Banjo, 1984; Edoka, 2000; Nwazuoke, 2001 and Ejedafiru, 2003). These problems are worsened in the traditional mode of resource sharing where ICT is not applied. The changing face of information services and the slow pace of adaptation in Nigeria creates a problem for future collaboration. Librarians require both theoretical and practical knowledge of information technology (Nwalo, 2000). Libraries must build up the necessary infrastructure to promote resource sharing.

Currently, library assessment focuses more on outcomes or "the ways in which library users are changed as a result of their contact with the library's resources and programmes (Ackerman, 2007). There is evidence that academic librarians use technology to obtain information not available within their own libraries. The issue is, will resource sharing activities made possible by ICT make academic libraries obsolete or enhance their role in networked environment? In the apt words of Tinio (2002):

ICTs greatly...

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