Internet use by social scientists at the Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan: a survey.

Author:Bhatti, Rubina


Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan South Punjab, Pakistan

Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan was established in 1975 by an act of the Punjab Legislative Assembly. To pay tribute to the Great Saint Hazrat Bahauddin Zakariya, the name was changed in 1979. The University offers a wide range of programmes: M.A., M.Sc. MBA, M.Com., MCS, M.Phil and Ph.D. It is divided into seven faculties: Faculty of Arts and social Sciences, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Business Administration, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Islamia Studies and Languages, Faculty of Pharmacy, Faculty of Veterinary Science (Prospectus, 2009 P-14).

Bahauddin Zakariya University Library, Multan

The library collection support not only every course in the curriculum but also include selected stock of general reference books, periodicals, publications, newspapers etc. Most of the departments have their own departmental libraries situated in their own buildings. The total number of books in the Central and Departmental libraries is 1,66,583. The BZU Library offers online access to latest material through internet and Higher Education Commission Digital Library Pakistan as well. The Internet facilities are provided in the main library, departmental libraries and computer laboratory. The administration of the Library is vested in the Library Committee, which is responsible for efficient management of the Library.

Important research questions:

The present study was conducted to find out the answers of the following


* How social scientist of Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan consider the Internet useful and effective for exploring information for teaching, research, recreational and other purposes?

* What are their purposes of seeking information on internet?

* What search engines are used by them?

* What places do they prefer for internet usage and time spent per week?

* What problems do they face in seeking information on internet?

Research Design

A survey questionnaire was applied. It was piloted on 12 social scientists with the purpose to ascertain reliability of the data collection instrument. A comprehensive review of related studies was conducted. The population of the study comprises 70 social scientist from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (Department of Economics, Education, History, Geography, Pakistan studies and Gender Studies, Political Science and International Relations, Mass communication, Sociology, Applied Psychology, Philosophy, Multan College of Arts, Undergraduate Studies in Social Sciences) in Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan. Author's friends in Multan helped in distributing and collecting the responses. Data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics: frequency counts and percentages. Several relevant studies and a few available questionnaires were used to develop a questionnaire with closed-ended questions. It is important to note that the simmilar questionnaire was used to assess infromation needs of faculty members in the Islamia University of Bahawalpur by the same author.

Why Internet?

Libraries in developing countries, Pakistan included have been facing problems of acquiring and providing latest sources of information to foster teaching and research activities in all kinds of academic institutions. Universities are responsible for supporting its faculty, researchers and students in their academic ventures, but the escalating cost of reading materials and space problems are the major obstacles. In the prevailing situation, the Internet has solved the problems of accessing current and relevant piece of information in less time to a great extent. It provides right information to the right user at the right time. It provides access to numerous sources of information and search engines and it eases and increases access to a large amount of data, saves time and money, and gives an opportunity to consult several experts with a single request (via discussion groups), and greater independence from specific times and places for information seeking (Savolainen, 1999).

Review of relevant literature shows that Internet is being utilised in academic institutions worldwide A library is responsible for providing all kinds of information resources in whatever format i.e. book, non-book and electronic. At the same time, it is imperative that users' internet use pattern must be studied together with library usage activities. This paper is an attempt to assess the same that helps in providing relevant collection, services and designing suitable library operations and systems.

Literature Review

A review of the related research was conducted with the purpose that these studies would help the researcher in...

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