PREDICTORS OF INFORMATION RETRIEVAL EFFECTIVENESS AMONG LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE UNDERGRADUATES IN KWARA STATE UNIVERSITIES.

Author:Tella, Adeyinka
 
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Background to the Study

Computer-based Information Retrieval (IR) has been around for at least 40 years, and its origins can be traced back to the late 1940s if not earlier(Fernandez-Luna, Huete, MacFarlane, &Efthimiadis, 2009).Information retrieval (IRj is the activity of obtaining information resources relevant to an information need from a collection of information resources. Searches can be based on full-text or other content-based indexing. Information Retrieval has been transformed since the revolution of the Internet and the Web. Due to this, information gathering, search and retrieval have entered popular culture and it is now a hot topic discussed in mass media, with widespread interest in the subject shown by the public who engage themselves in the use of IR tools either consciously or unconsciously for a very wide range of tasks, such as work, academic, pleasure, etc. Users of IR fall into two major categories that are non-mutually exclusive: those who develop and evaluate IR systems and services and those who consume them (Juan, 2009). The former are researchers and developers in disciplines such as computing and information sciences, while the latter are everyday users of the technology. Both of these groups have educational needs and competency requirement to engage in search and retrieval activity efficiently.

It has been widely recognized that information retrieval is initiated by information need, which has been described as "vague dissatisfaction" (Taylor, 1968), an "anomalous state of knowledge" (Belkin, 1980), a "gap"(Dervin, 1983), or an "uncertainty" (Kuhlthau, 1991). Such needs for information may arise from what we call 'tas&ssearchers' current professional activities, research activities, educational activities, recreational activities, and other personal activities, such as performing a job duty, completing a school assignment, or planning a vacation (Kim, 2009). Thus, information seeking and retrieval has often been characterized as being embedded and characterised with some factors which affect them positively or negatively as such acting directly as predictors of information retrieval determining the success or failure of the search. With the underlying belief that to understand information retrieval, we must understand the major predictors that determines information search and retrieval.

The meaning of the term information retrieval can be very broad. Just getting a credit card out of your wallet so that you can type in the card number is a form of information retrieval. However, as an academic field of study, information retrieval might be defined as finding material (usually documents) of an unstructured nature (usually text) that satisfies information need from within large collections (usually stored on computers) (Cambridge University Press, 2009). Information retrieval used to be an activity that only a few people engaged in: reference librarians, paralegals, and similar professional searchers. Now the world has changed, and hundreds of millions of people engage in information retrieval every day when they use a web search engine or search their email. Information retrieval is fast becoming the dominant form of information access, overtaking traditional database style of searching.

Just as animals evolve different methods of gathering and hunting food or prey in order to increase their intake of nutrition, humans also adopt different strategies of seeking and retrieving information in order to increase their intake of knowledge (Choo, Detlor& Turnbull, 1998).Foraging for information on the Web and foraging for food share common features as both resources tend to be unevenly distributed in the environment full of uncertainty and risk (Sandstrom 1994).Information retrieval effectiveness which presuppose a timely and easy access to useful and useable information lay directly on some important factors in the framework of information seeking and retrieval interactions. It is also observed that when seeking information, some searchers retrieve relevant information than the other. In the light of this, knowing or determining the predicting factors of search effectiveness is germane. Similarly, current search tools retrieve too many documents of which only a small fraction are relevant to the user query. Furthermore, the most relevant documents do not necessarily appear at the top of the query output order. As a result of these, it is imperative to identify some key variables which are capable of predicting information retrieval effectiveness as it has been pointed out that some users are quick while others slow, some get the required information while others do not during search and retrieval activities. As such, the aim of this study is to investigate the various factors that influence (predict) information retrieval effectiveness.

Statement of the problem

The web serves as a tool that enables users in various parts of the world to electronically publish information which is easily made available to a vast audience. In this information age, it is observed that, as the quantity of information grows the ability of individuals to search and retrieve the needed information decreases in a dramatically manner (Tella, 2011).Information explosion brought about by the development in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has resulted to various ways of storing and retrieving information which has grown to constitute challenges to undergraduates in their pursuit to accomplishing certain task or assignment through searching of the web and other available information sources in order to retrieve the needed information (Tella, 2011). Studies have been conducted on online information retrieval and information search through observation, survey, experiment and other research design. However, limited studies are available on information retrieval effectiveness particularly among the Library and Information Science undergraduate students whose field is narrowed down to assisting varying degree of users in the information search and retrieval exercise towards user information satisfaction and information retrieval effectiveness (Tamine-Lechani, Boughanem, & Daoud, 2010; Al-Maskari, Sanderson, Clough, & Airio, 2008).Similarly, information retrieval research seems to have been silence on investigating factors capable of predicting information retrieval effectiveness (Clough, & Sanderson, 2013; Tamine-Lechani, Boughanem, & Daoud, 2010). To bridge the identified gaps, this study was designed to examine the predictive factors of information retrieval effectiveness among LIS undergraduates inUniversities in Kwara State, Nigeria.

Objectives of the Study

The aim of the study was to examine the predictive factors of information retrieval effectiveness among LIS undergraduates in Kwara State Universities. The objectives are to:

  1. investigate the predictors of information retrieval effectiveness among library and information science undergraduate in Kwara State Universities.

  2. identify the factors that best predicts information retrieval effectiveness among library and information science undergraduate in Kwara State Universities.

  3. find out the contribution of each of the factors to information retrieval effectiveness.

  4. determine problems militating against information retrieval effectiveness among library and information science undergraduate.

    Research Questions

  5. What is the correlation among the factors identified as predictors of information retrieval effectiveness of LIS undergraduates in Kwara State Universities?

  6. Which of the factors best predict information retrieval effectiveness among library and information science undergraduate in Kwara State Universities?

  7. What is the contribution of each of the factors to information retrieval effectiveness?

  8. What are the problems militating against information retrieval effectiveness?

    Literature Review

    Ocheibi (2003) argues that information is a key resource that can bring about change and improvement in the society. User studies in library and information science are based on the premise that effective information retrieval must begin with a clear understanding of the actual needs of information users. Cambridge University Press (2009) defines information retrieval as the finding of material (usually documents) of an unstructured nature (usually text) that satisfies an information need from within large collections (usually stored on computers). The Great Soviet Encyclopaedia defines information retrieval as the process of locating in a certain set of texts (documents) all those devoted to a requested subject or that contain facts or information necessary to the user. Information retrieval is accomplished by means of an information retrieval system and is performed manually or with the use of mechanization or automation. Human beings are indispensable in information retrieval. Depending on the character of the information contained in the texts output by the information retrieval system, information retrieval can be documentary, including bibliographic, or factual. Information retrieval must be distinguished from logical information processing, without which directs reply to the questions posed by a human being is impossible. In information retrieval, only the information that is input to the information retrieval system is sought, found and retrieved.

    Information retrieval has been one of the major activities undergraduates in the universities engages. This is because they need information when carrying out research or doing assignment and also to support themselves scholarly. Information Retrieval (IR) is the automatic search for documents and information from wherever available (Julian, Monica, Diego & Jorge 2011). IR knowledge is a clear necessity for the undergraduates to alleviate the problem of managing the ever-growing information available. However, to get relevant and useful information is dependent upon certain...

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