Information sources used by postgraduate students in library and information science: a citation analysis of dissertations.

Author:Echezona, R.I.


Academic libraries are struggling with diminishing funds for acquisition of library materials. The price of books continues to rise, which has forced many libraries to cut back on purchasing. Academic libraries are faced with the problems of meeting the information needs of researchers in different fields of study. This ugly trend affects learning and research in our academic institutions, and leaves researchers with few resources. Online resources can help alleviate these problems; however, there is a limit to the quantity and quality of information that one can easily access. Some electronic materials require subscription fees that may not be within the reach of the users. Librarians must have a clear understanding of information needs and information resources used by researchers. One way to do this is by analysing theses to discover what materials are cited most by researchers. This will enable librarians to provide these materials and encourage learning and research. This can be done through citation analysis. The result of the analysis will help librarians base the acquisition of library materials on facts not on opinion.

Citation analysis is a tool for measuring library collection use. It has been applied in the evaluation of journal collections, for deciding whether to acquire, continue, or discontinue the subscription (Smith 1981). Citation analysis is an aspect of bibliometrics, which studies the references used in documents. Citation analysis involves counting how many times a paper or researcher is cited, assuming that influential scientists and important works are cited more often than others. Citation analysis was developed in information science as a tool to identify core sets of articles, authors, or journals in particular fields (

The study was carried out to find out what journals were most cited, the major subject areas covered in the research, and the extent to which different library and information science resources were cited by postgraduate students in the Department of Library and Information Science. Citation analysis can be used to determine information sources used by doctoral students in their research projects (Kuruppu and Moore, 2008).

Researchers need access to many different kinds and formats of information, including books, journals, etc. The type of information sources used and their currency are necessary for both research and for national development. The poor economic situation and devaluation of the currency make it difficult to acquire the much needed resources to keep our resources up to date. The Internet has contributed to the provision and spread of information, information are accessed irrespective of time and location. Majority of the information we access are current and up-to-date. Publishing in the Internet is quite easy. It is much faster and easier than with print publication. These are all recent innovations that have come in to easy the problem of accessibility of information materials, all it involves is to sit down at a computer and navigate from one information source to another by the click of the mouse. Information is power and there is need for it to be always current and up to date. This can be achieved through the libraries performing their functions in the provision of information.

The understanding of the information sources used by postgraduate students will help the library to acquire regular and current journals and other information sources needed by these researchers. Acquisition of needed...

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