Researchers have frequently examined the information seeking behaviour of particular professional groups in an effort to assess the ways and patterns of locating and utilization of information so as to enhance information provision to these groups. Information needs and seeking activity differs from one profession to another. Thus, adequate knowledge of the information needs and seeking behaviour of Postgraduate Law students is imperative for law libraries to support their research activity. Such an understanding will help law libraries to develop library collections and services that are more likely to satisfy users' information needs. This is because the success of a library in meeting the information needs of its users will determine the number of future library use by the users'. The study aims at accessing the pattern and use of library information resources by Postgraduate law students in Nigerian Institute of Advanced Library Studies library, Lagos, Nigeria.
In assessing law libraries in Lagos State, no effort has been made to find out how knowledge of the information needs and seeking behaviour of Postgraduate law students in research law libraries could lead to provision of current and up-to-date legal materials as well as adequate utilisation of legal materials for improved legal research. It was in the light of this that this study investigated information needs and seeking behaviour of Postgraduate law students in NIALS library, Lagos.
The objectives of the study are to
find out the legal information resources available to Postgraduate Law students;
find out the information needs of the students;
find out the sources of obtaining academic information by students;
find out if students get their required information from the identified sources;
find out how students rate the general availability and access to information in the library
Specifically, the following research questions were addressed in the study:
1 What are the legal resources available to Postgraduate law students?
2 What are the information needs of the students?
3 What are the sources of obtaining academic information by students?
4 Do students get all the information required from the identified sources?
5 How will student rate the general availability and access to information in the library?
A significant body of literature exists on the information needs and seeking behaviour of different user groups across disciplines. According to Bates (2002) "Information could be defined in terms of tools, processes or knowledge". Postgraduate Law students seek information for several purposes and like any other user, they experience considerable problems in satisfying. Thus, everything the students do, whether providing legal advice, drafting a legal document or conducting a legal research requires information (Otike and Mathews, 2000). Law is a highly knowledge-intensive domain and obtaining accurate and up-to-date legal information can improve the legal information needs of postgraduate law students.
Otike (2000) explored the legal information needs of lawyers in Kenya. It was noted that a lawyer's work is determined by the legal needs of the clients, which, in turn, influences the information needs of the lawyer. The lawyers seek assistance from the High Court library or collections in other law firms. Haruna and Mabanwonku (2001) examined the information needs and seeking behaviour of lawyers in Lagos, Nigeria. The study revealed that many lawyers perceived the need to know the latest decisions of superior courts as their greatest professional information need. Other expressed needs include knowing recent legislation, obtaining information on local and international seminars and conferences, and on acquisition and application of legal "know-how". These legal information needs are met through a number of sources. Another study by Kuhlthau and Tama (2001) also found out that lawyers expressed a preference for print texts over computer databases for more complex tasks. The legal profession continues to rely heavily on printed media. Electronic media is used only as a last resort. Changes in the information environment have influenced the information behaviour of students and the way in which they seek, find and use information resources for learning (Prensky, 2001).
Otike (2002) investigated the information needs and seeking behaviour of lawyers in England in the United Kingdom and found out that lawyers information needs are greatly influenced by the nature of the work they do. Oyediran-Tidings (2004) studied information needs of library users at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, and observed low use of the library by the students, which was "attributed to the expressed unavailability of...