E-Library Resources and Services: Improvement and Innovation of Access and Retrieval for Effective Research Activities in University E-libraries in Kogi State Nigeria.

Author:Anyim, Wisdom O.


University e-libraries have made research more interesting and have attained the status of intellectually organized information resource Centre and a world of knowledge at researchers' fingertips. Adoption of university e-library is a good match towards making researchers, students, faculty members and the university more research driven. The rationale for adoption of e-libraries in universities in Nigeria is solely to provide electronic and online resources for staff and students in order to enhance educational development and provide educational resources for effective teaching, learning and research activities. Electronic library achieves its objectives by creating opportunities for the users to access and retrieve appropriate information that cater for their information needs at their "beck and call". University e-library is responsible for providing instant access to digitized information, electronic information resources and services with the aid of computer or telecommunication technologies. Electronic library acquires, processes, stores, evaluates and disseminates information via electronic means to the audience in need of information. It can serve as a medium for achieving national and community development through provision of relevant information necessary for decision making and policy enhancement. Electronic library is a multi-disciplinary concept that shares various branches of computer science including data management, information retrieval, library science, document management, information systems, the web, image processing, and artificial intelligence. Multidisciplinary nature of electronic library engenders flexibility in the definitions which makes it difficult to have a singular definition of e-library. However, the format, form and nature of digital libraries give clearer picture of what digital library means.

Electronic library is the library where some or all of the holdings of the library are available in electronic format, and the services of the library are also made available electronically-frequently over the Internet so that users can access them remotely (Onwuchekwa and Jegede, 2011). According to Hirsh (2014), the mission of e-library is to provide both information services and resources that are capable of meeting the research, teaching and learning needs of the faculty and students. Of course, academic researchers see e-library as research Centre and intellectual energy house where knowledge, ideas and directions are generated to achieve research goals of the university.

Digital library provides library and information resources in electronic format other than print format and enhances searching of electronic collections distributed across networks, rather than merely creating electronic repositories from digitized physical materials. A digital library is a library in which collections are stored in digital formats (as opposed to print, microform, or other media) and accessible by computers. The content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely (Arora, Trivedi and Kembhavi, 2013).

Daniel in Akpoghome and Jerome (2010) opine that the potential of e-library lies in its use of electronic wide area network in the library in which the users enjoy the euphoria of being in distance and still access library collection. The foregoing reveals that e- library eliminates physical boundaries of data storage, access, retrieval and dissemination of information to users within and across the globe with the use of internet network.

The Library of Congress Collections Policy Statements Supplementary Guidelines (2008) stressed that electronic resource are any work encoded and made available for access through the use of a computer. It includes electronic data available by remote access referring to the use of electronic resources via computer networks; and direct access (fixed media) referring to the use of electronic resources via carriers (e.g. discs/disks, cassettes, cartridges) designed to be inserted into a computerized device or its auxiliary equipment.

Ugwu and Onyegiri (2013) clearly gave examples of electronic resources which include, but are not limited to: web sites, online databases, e-journals, e-books, electronic integrating resources, and physical carriers in all formats, whether free or fee-based, required to support research in the subject covered, and may be audio, visual, and/or text files. Similarly, Okore, Asogwa and Eke (2009) define electronic information resources as any information resource that is accessed via the internet including CD-ROMs. They further enlisted specific types of electronic information resources as consisting of electronic books (e-books), electronic journals (e-journal), and indexes, collections of journal articles, reference works, digital collections and databases. According to Ekere, Omekwu and Nwoha (2016), electronic information resources include World Wide Web; WIFI; search engines; online indexes; video CDs VSAT based Internet connectivity; online Library catalogue; online databases; portals; E- journals and E-books.

Services in e-library include the typical traditional library and information services and other global information services through computer and telecommunication system. Ekere, Omekwu and Nwoha (2016) showed the various services provided at digital library which include: online internet search services; e-mail services; online reference services; online cataloguing and classification service; customer care services; management of online databases; Subscription services; awareness and workshop services; Audio and video communication services; news groups/dialogue databases; electronic document delivery Services; Interoperability services; Technical training in ICT for staff and users; online inter-library services; digitized finding aids such as online indexes and bibliographies and online cataloguing and classification services

Digital library has become an integral part of academic research activities. It provides academic researchers with electronic access to national and international scholarly journals. These journals span wide areas of natural and physical sciences, social sciences and humanities, and address a long-standing need of the university community for access to scholarly publications for effective research and development activities in the universities. Okerson (2009) posits that digital library is a place of hope and adventure for every sort of searcher after knowledge. It is a place where people and ideas meet and new ideas are ignited, making possible new relationships and new possibilities.

University e-library plays prominent roles in promoting research in academic through provision of wide arrays of researchable information resources, mechanized access and retrieval information system. Having all the research articles, abstracts, thesis, dissertation, conference proceedings, textbooks, index and other reference material, students and academic staff tend to produce a better and more quality research project timely and with relative ease. Impact of digital library on research according to Trivedi (2010) includes provision of access to large amounts of information to users wherever they are and whenever they need it, access to primary information sources, support multimedia content along with text network accessibility on Intranet and Internet, user-friendly interface, hypertext links for navigation, client-server architecture.

The role of e-library to research activities impacts significantly on nation's social and...

To continue reading