EFFECTS OF LIBRARY GUIDELINES ON THE USE OF INFORMATION RETRIEVAL TOOLS BY LEARNERS IN POLYTECHNIC LIBRARIES IN NORTH-EASTERN STATES OF NIGERIA
Instructing library users on effective utilization of information resources and services could not be over emphasized in tertiary institutions due to increase in students‟ intake, complexity of library systems, and introduction of information and communication technology in library services. Academic libraries in Nigeria and in particular the Polytechnic libraries are putting much effort to simplify ease of access to retrieve their library resources through the use of catalog cards, online public access catalos OPACs, indexes and abstracts which implies that the issue of availability has been addressed. Meanwhile availability does not translate to use. Therefore, This study seek to investigates the Effects of Library Instructions on the Use of information Retrieval Tools by Students in Polytechnic Libraries in the North-Eastern States of Nigeria with specific emphasis on the type of library instruction programs, effects of library instructions on the use of Information retrieval tools,challenges militating the library instruction, type of Information retrieval tools available in the libraries, level of utilization of Information retrieval tools.Quantitative research method was adopted for the conduct of the study and crosssectional survey design was used. Simple random sampling technique was used to select respondents to accommodate the different subjects involved in the study. A structured questionnaire was used as the instrument for data collection.The data collected for the study were analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. Copies of questionnaires that were returned were analyzed using one way ANOVA. The study discovered that traditional face-toface instructions are offered in the Polytechnics and correspondingly has significant effect on students‟ use of information retrieval tools and other library resources. It was equally revealed that manual retrieval tools are available in all the Polytechnic libraries while the electronic search tool is available in only one Polytechnic. Catalog card report the very frequently used retrieval tool by Polytechnic students.The study concluded that, library instruction prepares polytechnic students toward effective utilization of retrieval tools expending the strategies and techniques acquired on how to search and retrieve information materials in their libraries. So therefore, Polytechnic libraries need to reevaluate library user instruction to strengthen the use of both manual and electronic retrieval tools. It is recommended that library instructions should be incorporated into the Polytechnic curriculum to affect changes in students‟ library behaviour.
INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background to the Study
Library instruction is an academic program that is designed by higher institutions to educate library users on how to effectively utilize library resources and its services (Esse, 2014).Library instruction is referred to in current literatures as bibliographic instruction, library orientation and information literacy. Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL 2006) in their document information literacy competency standard for higher educationdefined Library instruction as a set of abilities requiring individuals “to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, retrieve, evaluate and use effectively the needed information”. Therefore, imparting knowledge on how library users can effectively utilize the library resources is an important element in education. Similarly, seeking, retrieving, use and evaluation of information are activities engaged by students in their academic pursuit.
To avoid serendipity in sourcing information resources, students will be required to know and be conversant with themanual information retrieval tools like classification, catalogue, index, abstract, bibliographies, etc and also to develop logical, creative and critical technique to search and retrieveinformation. This is because these manual methods show the process of evolution of information retrieval and most importantly, recent developments in information retrieval from the internet have their roots in the manual tools and methods. In order to do this, students must be taught to be independent as they need knowledge and skills to help them. As pointed out by Edoka (2010), the objective of library instruction is to help users make best use of overall library resources and to develop skills necessary for retrieving required materials. In the same vein,
Passarelli and Millicent (2006) pointed out the need for helping library users in accessing the resources and services available in libraries. The emphasis on self-education, tutorials, seminars, projects and guided reading teaching methods placed less reliance on formal lessons and lectures. There is an implicit assumption in these educational changes that learners are capable of finding materials relevant to their need. In practice, such assumption is not valid the learner requires to be taught that skill. Only then is the student able to prepare for taking full and active part in the new ways of learning.
1.1.1 Library Instruction
Education is a lifelong process, it has no end. As far as library activities are concern, the users are novice. They need some sought of library instruction on how to use library resources and services. They require assistance and guidance (instruction, initiation, and education) about library facilities, collection and services. Library instruction, bibliographic instruction, user education, library orientation, reader instruction, information literacy are terms used to imply in the field of librarianship to describe educating library users in the independent use of library resources effectively and efficiently (Bhatti 2013).
In the 21st century, Library professionals have created different definitional structures for the concept of library instruction. Salony (1995) considers library instruction as the systematic nature of the efforts to teach something- a set of principles or search strategies relating to library, its collections or services using the pre-determined methods in order to accomplish a pre-defined set of objectives.Klaib (2010) maintains that library instruction program is organized in order to inculcatein users library use skills such as bibliographic instruction and information literacy skills. Oji (2009) in Morris (1990) maintains that user education is instruction given to users to help them make the best use of the library. Library instruction has also transformed and expanded to includeinformation literacy and learning for life. It reduces the library staff‟s time and efforts in solving individual problems regarding the use of library services and also prepares users to exploit information effectively in any circumstances.Ilo& Jerome (2011) portrays two types of library user‟s education: library orientation and bibliographic instruction. Library orientation is mainly concerned with introducing the users to the library generally and the services available. This may include the organization of the library and the general principles governing the use of the library. On the other hand, bibliographic instruction is concerned with introducing the users to the sources of information and the best ways to use them.
1.1.2 Need for Library Instruction Programs
Library instruction is an important platform through which information literacy is achieved. The literature (Koenig, 2003; Nicholas, 2003) demonstrates that many students in higher educational institutions need library instruction programs because courses of study are becoming interdisciplinary and their pattern is changing. It makes imperative for students to become better library literate so that they can make the optimum use of the available sources of information. Kumar (2009) opined that rapid change in teaching methods and the resulting trend towards wider use of multi-media learning resources ranging from the press cutting to slide tapes package and multiple kit. Such format has added new dimensions to the learning process in all types of institutions. He emphasize the need for comprehensive program that aim to teach the concepts, skills and techniques of searching.
Orientation sessions, handouts, workshops, course related and course integrated instruction are the activities aimed to achieve the goals of user education. The term bibliographic instruction has more recently broadened to include the concept of information literacy. Library instructions support the concept of educating for a lifetime (life-long learning). The think Tank II report on bibliographic instruction (Tiefel, 1995) defined information literacy as encompassing the entire world of information and information seeking to prepare people to pursue the concept of lifelong learning. Information literacy extends its objectives to teaching information-seeking skills to all ages at all times.
The user library instruction experts recommended strongly that educating users must be compulsory for all, because library instruction helps developing information seeking and critical skills independently (Bhatti 2008). He further emphasized that as a lot of latest information is accessible via internet. The information explosion has accelerated the need for development of such expert system.
1.1.3 Library Instruction Programs in Polytechnic Libraries
Libraries in institutions of higher education other than the university comprises of all the libraries of the various colleges of science and technology, polytechnics and advance teachers colleges or colleges of education. Library is one of the chief instruments in institution of higher learning established for achieving the laudable objectives of seeking, teaching, and preserving the fact through its basic function of collecting and preserving learning resources in its varied form (Ilo& Jerome 2011). It also provides facilities and guidance for the effective exploitation and use of these materials, both in printed form as in books and journals or non-book form such as audio-visual aids, for study and research by the members of the institution. These institutions of higher education are involved in broad-based programs of courses that inevitably lead to different depths of study. Polytechnic libraries acquire, and processes information sources in various areas of knowledge. Students who secure admission into polytechnics come from various secondary schools some of which have no libraries. In respect of this, the libraries and the institutions incorporate various programs which properly position its fresh students to explore the library‟s avalanche of resources without stress. Such include teaching of use of library and study skills, library orientation, bibliographic instruction, and individualized instruction. Other methods of library instruction in Nigerian polytechnics include one- to- one session, library orientation/tours, tutorials, staff guidance, library handbook, classroom instructions (Aina 2004). He further stressed that in one- to- one session, the reference librarian take a new user round the various sections of the library. The reference librarian explains to the user the activities of the different sections without distracting the staff in the sections. The user is also enlightened on the basic services of the library and on how to search for materials. Ogunmodede&Emeahara (2010) in citing Akande (2002) reported that library orientation involves taking fresh students on a guided tour of the library, they cited the case of University of Ibadan and stressed that the program features events like talk, exhibition, demonstration, guided tour and so on.
This formal library instruction has superseded the old type of spoon feeding students. Consequently, students are more than ever before directed to apply library resources in consolidating their lecture notes, and prepare their projects or research work.This important responsibility which is placed on academic libraries has made it imperative for libraries to become integral part of the teaching process as they (libraries) cannot afford to exist in isolation. They are required to be represented, especially in curriculum development of their parent institutions so that they can make the desired impact and thereby meet their educational objectives. They can accomplish these by concentrating on two main targets: the provision of good services to meet all the information needs of the institution of which they form a part and its educational goals, and ensure that staff and students can exploit efficiently and fruitfully the whole range of library resources. It is in this respect that library instruction is considered important and crucial strategy.
Libraries of various Polytechnics perform similar, unique and indispensable function in the educational process of their respective parent institutions because they beer the central responsibility for developing a well-balanced collection in the light of the curriculum in order to meet the information needs of the students and support research, maintain bibliographic control over these collection and organize both formal and informal courses of instruction for the library users in the form of orientation courses as well as literature and bibliographic instruction. A wellstructured library instruction program is required for the training of the members of the college community in the various methods of identifying and using information resources, particularly the library collection.
It is generally accepted that the importance of science and technology in the development of a nation need not to be over-emphasized. All over the world the impact of the application of modern science and technology is very in evidence. Advancement in science and technology determines the level of economic, social, political and military status of nations. It was for these significant benefits of science and technology that various governments in the country support the establishment of the polytechnics and colleges of technology among which the polytechnics under study occupies a premier position.
The libraries as an integral part of these institutions are considered crucial to the attainment of the aims and objectives of these institutions. This is because its services touch the academic and professional aspirations of students and staff at every point. It is in this light that the National Policy on Education considers the academic library as one of the most important supporting services to education at all levels. 1.1.4 Information Retrieval
Owing to information explosion and the emergence of new technologies, information needed by students is now found in different formats in polytechnics, colleges, universities, technology centers and computer laboratories. These technologies have an alternative to facilitate access to scholarly information for teaching and learning. Students‟ information needs for research are met without difficulties. They collect current information for research from primary, secondary and tertiary sources. These information sources are no longer only in print, but in electronic forms. They can now be retrieved from different types of sources such as CD-ROMs, internet, OPACs, electronic books and electronic journals by using appropriate search strategies such as Boolean operators i.e. OR, AND, NOT, truncation, proximity features and search engines like Yahoo, Google, Excite and Alta vista.
Information retrieval (IR) is concerned with the exploitation and extraction of information and other contents of documents from different information sources (Ajiboye, 2013). Hersh(2003) echoed IRas the field concerned with the acquisition, organization, andsearching of knowledge-based information. The term IR was introduced by Calvin Mooers (1919-1994), who define it in this way: Information retrieval is the name for the process or method whereby a prospective user of information is able to convert his needs for information into an actual list of citations to documents in storage containing information useful to him. It is the finding or discovery process with respect to stored information. It is another, more general name for the production of a demand bibliography. Information retrieval embraces the intellectual aspects of the description of information and its specification for search, and also whatever systems, techniques, or machines that are employed to carry out the operation. Information retrieval is crucial to documentation and organization of knowledge (Mooers, 1951).
A more recent definition of IR is that a broad area of computer science which focused primarily on providing the users with easy access to information of their interest, as follows: information retrieval deals with the presentation, storage, organization of, and access to information items such as documents, web-pages, online catalogs, structured and semi-structured records, multimedia objects. The presentation and organization of the information should be such that will provide the users with easy access to information of their interest. (Baeza-Yates &
Ribeiro-Neto, 2011). It is clear from the definitions above mooers considered Knowledge Organization (KO) to be part of information retrieval: it include the “description of information,” “specification of information for search,” and is crucial to organization of knowledge. Mooers found that IR covers both manual and automatic retrieval, while Baeza-Yates and Ribeiro-Neto limited it to automatic approaches.
In another dimension, Garg& Sharma (2012) believes that Information Retrieval on the Web has always been different and difficult task as compared with a classical information retrieval system (Library System). To explain the difference between classical information retrieval and information retrieval on the Web, they compare the two and the differences can be partitioned into two parts, namely differences in the documents and differences in the users. They discuss the differences in the documents as.
- Hypertext: Documents present on the web are different from general text-only documents because of the presence of hyperlinks. It is estimated that there are roughly 10 hyperlinks present per document.
- Heterogeneity of document: The contents present on a web page are heterogeneous in nature i.e., in addition to text they might contain other multimedia contents like audio, video and images.
- Duplication: On the Web, over 20% of the documents present are either near or exact duplicates of other documents and this estimation has not included the semantic
- Number of documents: The size of Web has grown exponentially over the past few years. The collection of documents is over trillions and this collection is much larger than any collection of documents processed by an information retrieval system. According to estimation, Web currently grows by 10% per month.
- Lack of stability: Web pages lack stability in the sense that the contents of Web pages are modified frequently. Moreover any person using internet can create a Web pages even if it contains authentic information or not.
However, users on the Web behave differently than the users of the classical information retrieval systems. The users of the latter are mostly trained librarians whereas the range of Web users varies from a layman to a technically sound person. Typical user behavior shows:
- Poor queries: Most of the queries submitted by users are usually short and lack useful keywords that may help in the retrieval of relevant information.
- Reaction to results: Usually users don‟t evaluate all the result screens, they restrict to
only results displayed in the first result screen.
- Heterogeneity of users: There is a wide variance in education and Web experience between Web users.
Thus, the main challenge of information retrieval on the Web is how to meet the user needs given the heterogeneity of the Web pages and the poorly made queries.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The orientation of students in the use of library in Nigerian institutions has become a tradition due to increase in students‟ intake, complexity of library systems and introduction of information and communication technologies in library services. Also increase in acquisition of library resources and complexity in their organization for easy retrieval, calls for educating users with skills to use libraries (Ishola 2012). The aim of library instruction is to acquaint freshmen on the existence of the library and its organization, layout and services available at hand. The benefits include: increased usage, increased awareness and educating freshmen on the use of library resources and services among others. Without doubt, libraries have numerous instruction programs such as user orientation, use of library course, staff guidance, tutorials, library tour etc. which are organized to attract users patronize the abundant information resources carefully organized in the library. Among the essence of these instruction is to educate students how to search documents with retrieval tools such as catalogs, abstracts, indexes, bibliographies and search engines which can be used to effectively locate and retrieve document in the library.
Integration of library instruction into school curriculum will improves students‟ strategies and techniques to search and retrieve information resources with retrieval tools from the library stalk at all levels and in all curriculum content areas (Kamba 2009). American Library Association isencouraging the need for incorporation of information searching skills, concepts and theories into the curriculum to prepare students for a lifetime information seeking and use
(ACRL 2006). The phenomenon has an effect on students‟ academic performance and lifelong learning. In spite of the formal traditional face-to-face instruction programs offered in Nigerian polytechnics on library use, yet retrieval tools are dramatically underutilized by students, which in turn leads to underutilization of library resources and poor academic performance (Esse 2014).
Preliminary investigation was carried out by the researcher to ascertain the students‟ skills on use of retrieval tools after completing the formal instruction program. The study shows that the students exhibits little competency on how to make use of retrieval tools to search and locate documents from their library collections, either because they were not been effectively instructed or library staff are not assisting them to use the tools.Ajiboye (2013)observed insufficient orientation of students on the use of search tools in Nigerianinstitutions deprive student from making use of information resources for their academic activities. To buttress this assertion, Oyedipe (2013) reported that majority of students acquire skills of using retrieval tools from library instruction and information literacy programs. Previous investigations on library instruction were mainly focused on students‟ performance and library services while information retrieval techniques have been neglected in some ways. It‟s on these basis these research was conceived to assess the impact of Library Instruction on Students‟ Use of Retrieval Tools in their quest for access and retrieval of library resources in polytechnic libraries in the North-eastern States of Nigeria.
In this study, answers were provided to the following research questions:
- What type of Library Instruction programs offered to students in polytechnic libraries in the North-eastern States of Nigeria?
- What are the effects of Library Instructions on the use of Retrieval Tools by Polytechnic students in the North-eastern States of Nigeria?
- What are the challenges of Library Instruction programs in polytechnic libraries of the
North-eastern States of Nigeria?
- What type of Retrieval Tools are available for students in polytechnic libraries of the
North-eastern States of Nigeria?
- What is the level of utilization of Retrieval Tools by students in the Polytechnic libraries of the North-eastern States of Nigeria?
1.4 Research Hypotheses
In this study, two Null hypotheses were tested:
Ho1 There is no significant difference on the type of Retrieval Tools available for students in polytechnic libraries of the North-eastern States of Nigeria.
Ho2 There is no significant difference on the use of Retrieval Tools demonstrated by students after completing the instruction programs in polytechnic libraries in the North-eastern States of Nigeria.
1.5 Objectives of the Study
The study has followingobjectives:
- To identify the types of Library Instruction programs offered to the students in the polytechnic libraries of the North-eastern States of Nigeria
- To determine the effects of Library Instruction on the use of Retrieval Tools by Polytechnic students in the North-eastern States of Nigeria
- To find out the challenges of Library Instruction program in polytechnic libraries in the North-eastern States of Nigeria
- To identify the types of Retrieval Tools available for students in polytechnic libraries in the North-eastern States of Nigeria
- To find out the level of utilization of Retrieval Tools by students in the polytechnic libraries in the North-eastern States of Nigeria
1.6 Significance of the Study
The significance of this study therefore, lies in the fact that the findings of the study would assist in planning and decision making by polytechnic librarians and administrators. Polytechnic librarians and library instructors would determine the strength and weaknesses of library instructions to the students. It is hoped that library instruction will be repositioned to place teaching students how to utilize retrieval tools in the library to easily retrieve information from the library stalk. The study will add to the literature on library instruction as an educational document for users as well as polytechnic management by making the research findings potentially useful as well as accessible by its intended audience.
Finally, the findings and recommendations of this study will contribute to the depth of literature in the relevance of library instruction to the utilization of retrieval tools in libraries.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study was centered on the Effects of Library Instructions on National Diploma (ND) students‟ use of Retrieval Tools in Polytechnicsof all the six states of North-eastern states of Nigeria (vizBauchi, Gombe, Yobe, Adamawa, Borno and Taraba States). The libraries have various instruction programs such as user orientation, library tour and staff guidance that are offered to students and also retrieval tools such as catalogs, indexes and abstracts are also provided for their usage. This instruction programs mode delivery need to be standardize at all levels to prepare freshmen towards effective utilization of library resources and services.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined within the context of the study for more elaborate understanding.
Assessment: variety of methods or tools that the researcher use to evaluate, measure and document the academic readiness, learning progress, skills acquired by students from the instruction programs.
Library instruction: educating the library users-newly joined student, faculty, and research scholar on how effectively and efficiently use the library resources and services.
Retrieval tools: any device used in identifying and extracting information material from library collection.
Use: act of using a device or tool to retrieve document from the library collection in different curriculum content areas by students
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EFFECTS OF LIBRARY GUIDELINES ON THE USE OF INFORMATION RETRIEVAL TOOLS BY LEARNERS IN POLYTECHNIC LIBRARIES IN NORTH-EASTERN STATES OF NIGERIA