TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cover Page – – – – – – i
Title Page – – – – – – – ii
Approval Page – – – – – – – – iii
Certification Page – – – – – – iv
Dedication – – – – – – – v
Acknowledgements – – – – – – – vi
Table of Contents – – – – – – vii
List of Tables – – – – – – – x
Abstract – – – – – – xi
Chapter One: Introduction – – – – – – 1
Background to the Study – – – – – – 1
Statement of the Problem – – – – – – 9
Purpose of the Study – – – – – 11
Research Questions – – – – – – 11
Significance of the Study – – – – – 12
Scope of the Study – – – – – – 13
Chapter Two: Review of Related Literature – – – 14
Conceptual Framework – – – – – – 14
Overview of the University Libraries, Software Generally and Library Oriented Software package(s) – – – – – 14
Availability of Library Software package(s) – – – – 17
Selection Methods of Library Software package(s) – – 23
Selection processes of Library Software package(s) – 27
Problems of Library Software Selection Practices – 32
Strategies for Enhancing the Library Software Selection Practices 36
Review of Related Empirical Studies – – – 40
Summary of the Review – – – – 44
Chapter Three: Research Method – – – – 45
Design of the Study – – – – – – 45
Area of the Study – – – – – – 45
Population of the Study – – – – – 46
Sample and Sampling Technique – – – – – 46
Instrument for Data Collection – – – 47
Validation of the Instrument – – – – – 48
Method of Data Collection – – – – – 48
Method of Data Analysis – – – – – 48
Chapter Four: Presentation and Analysis of Data – – – 50
Research Question One – – – – – 50
Research Question Two – – – – – 52
Research Question Three – – – – – 54
Research Question Four – – – – – 56
Research Question Five – – – – – – 57
Summary of the Major Findings – – – – – 58
Chapter Five: Discussion, Recommendation and conclusion – 59
Discussion of Findings – – – – – – 59
Implications of Findings – – – – – – 61
Recommendations – – – – – – – 63
Suggestions for Further Studies – – – – – 63
Limitations of the Study – – – – – 64
Conclusion – – – – – – 65
References – – – – – – – 66
Appendix A: Population of the Study – – – – 72
Appendix B: Sampled Population – – – – – 72 Appendix C: Data Collection Instruments – – – – 73
Appendix D: Instrument Validation – – – – 80
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1A: Availability of Library Software (Observation Checklist)
Table 1B: Availability of Library Software (Questionnaire)
Table 2: Methods of Software Selection Practices in the Libraries
Table 3: Effectiveness of Software Selection Processes of the Libraries
Table 4: Problems of Software Selection Practices in the Libraries
Table 5: Strategies for Enhancing the Software Selection Practices of the Libraries
examined the software selection practices of two federal university libraries
in south east Nigeria.
Specifically, five purposes and research questions guided the study. It was a
descriptive survey study that used disproportionate stratified random sampling
technique to select eighty (80) samples out of two hundred and forty seven
(247) library staff. The study used structured questionnaire and observation
checklist as the instrument for data collection. Eighty (80) copies of
questionnaire were distributed to the respondents and seventy two (72) of them
returned. This represented a return rate of ninety percent (90%). The data
collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics of frequency tables,
simple percentages and mean scores. And the decision rule for research question
one items was based on fifty percent (50%) benchmark for either availability or
non-availability percentage values while that of research question two to five
was based on whether the item’s value for mean score was equal to or above the
criterion mean for acceptance or otherwise rejected. In addition, the findings
of the study revealed that: eight library software packages as Tin-lib, X-lib,
Lib-plus, GLAS, Resource-mate, Koha (open source), Alice for WINDOWS and
Greenstone are available in the libraries; selection practice methods such as
quantitative, intuitive, decision analysis, political, technological and
experiences from seminar approaches were employed in the selection practices of
the libraries; and selection practices processes such as criterion dependent,
library requirement dependent, technological advancement dependent, library
development and growth dependent, software evolutionary trends dependent, and
among others were effective in the selection practices of their libraries. It
further revealed that: problems as financial barriers (funding), insufficient
infrastructure, political barriers, inadequate planning and communication,
among others affected their software selection processes and strategies like
adequate funding, planning and communication as well as involvement of top
management, use of reliable data, consultation with previous users, adherence
to selection criteria, and among others were appropriate for enhancing their
software selection practices. With respect to the above findings, the study
recommended the selection of software package(s) that will sustain the
operations and services of the libraries and the adoption of methods and
processes most appropriate for the libraries.
Background to the Study:
In an attempt to acquire all the relevant resources as well as the unalloyed services necessary for sustaining the teaching, learning, research and public services of the host university; a library is established. This is why Madu (2004) opines that “the academic health, intellectual vitality, vibrancy and effectiveness of any university depend largely upon the state of health, performance and excellence of their libraries”. Generally, libraries irrespective of types are meant to select, order, acquire, process/organize, store and disseminate relevant information resources to their clientele. Specifically, libraries in institution of higher learning (universities, polytechnics and colleges) that are organized to meet the information needs of the student, staff and school/faculty are referred to as academic libraries (Trustees’ Glossary, 2004). In Nigeria, the existence of such libraries dates back to the establishment of Yaba College of Technology in 1934 and University College Ibadan in 1948. Since then, it has become a tradition that every institution of higher learning must have her own library which must support the teaching, learning and research processes of such institution.
Consequently, university libraries in particular are established by universities. It gears towards the facilitation of learning, teaching and research activities of the academic community. Hence, university libraries as part of the university support the curriculum and research needs of student, staff and faculty of the university (Online Library Learning Glossary, 2006). In lieu of this, university libraries are indeed the most important organ in the university system. Thus, the establishment of libraries in the universities becomes inevitable as notwithstanding the support for conventional generic functions (teaching, learning and public services) the university libraries perform the following added functions as: pursuit, promotion and dissemination of knowledge, manpower development, provision of social economic modernization, provision of intra and intercontinental international understanding as well as provision of intellectual leadership. In the light of the foregoing, the prime functions of the university libraries include the following:
provision of material for undergraduate instruction, term papers, and project as well as complementary reading; provision of material in support for postgraduate research;
provision of expensive standard work especially in the specialized discipline; provision of material support for faculty and collaborated research; provision of material for personal self development; provision of special information on the region within which the university is located; co-operation with other academic libraries with a view to developing a network of academic libraries resources that is at the disposal of all scholars (Ifidion and Okoli, 2002: 24).
Consequently, with knowledge and or information explosion, the management of information in academic libraries and indeed university libraries becomes a challenge. This is primarily due to some inherent shortcomings that are associated with manual operations in our university libraries. Such shortcomings are: inaccuracy, limited access to information, retrospective conversion of records, slow pace of operation and breakdown of service delivery. It is against this background that the use of computers (an electronic device that accepts raw data or information as input, and through an encoded set of instruction (program); processes it (the raw data or information) to generate a meaningful and an accurate result (Obeta, 2007)) and its associated technologies in our university libraries and indeed libraries in general becomes imperative. Obeta further emphasized that computers as a system that works together for information processing are composed of three major components. Such components are:
Hardware: consisting of the physical and tangible components that make up the computer system as the input, output, and processing units as well as the backing storage.
Software: comprising of programs or set of instructions which computers will follow to perform its task, examples are the system software as operating system, language translators, utility programs and device drivers and the application software as word processing program, Statistical Programs for Social Sciences (SPSS), database programs, desktop publishing programs, library packages, e.t.c.
Livesware or humanware: consisting of varying professionals in the computing industries as system operators, system analyst, programmers, Database Managers (DMs), system engineers, hackers, e.t.c p.15.
But for the purpose of this research work, the interest is on computer software. Shameen (2006) defined it as; “instructions (programs) that when executed provides desired features, functions and performances” or “data structures that enables the programs to adequately manipulate information” or “documents that describe the operation and use of the programs”. As was stated earlier software are composed of two major categories, namely:
system software: These are software designed to operate the computer hardware and provide the platform for running the application software……; and the application software: which are generalized set of programs designed to enable computers to be used for a particular application or task…. (Ralph, et al., 2003: 65)
Notably, the growth in the use of these applications software or software packages in every areas of human endeavour are alarming. This is because they have some characteristics that sustain their usage. Such characteristics are; they are developed not manufactured, they do not “ware out” but deteriorates with changes and that most of them are custom built.
As a result of this, companies, institutions, co-operate organizations, and government agencies, ministries and parastatals rely heavenly on the use of software driven interconnected computer technology to execute their daily operations timely and accurately with improved performance. And by so doing, they are said to have automated their services cum operations. Thus, automation refers to the application of computers and its associated technologies to the execution of routinely manual operations of human endeavour (Obeta, 2007).
In libraries and indeed university libraries in particular and other academic libraries, the use of application software in the form of library software packages or library systems has become a reality. In lieu of these, the use of software in libraries specifically takes on a dual role. Such roles as was discussed by Luis, Senso and Felix (2007) are:
As a product, it delivers the computing potentials embodied by the computer hardware and networks of computers that are accessible by a local computer. In this context, software becomes an information transformer whether it resides in a cellular phone or micro computer. This means it produces, processes, modifies, displays, retrieves and transmits timely information. As a vehicle for product delivery, it acts as the basics for the control of the computers (operating system), the communication of information (networking), and the creation and of other programs (software tools and environment). This implies that it delivers the most important products of our time (that is it transforms personal data so that they can be more meaningful in the local contents)… P.70.
Thus, when a software package are designed to carry out library operation and functions (as accessioning, charging in and charging out of books, library statistics compilation, bibliographic control, acquisition, cataloguing, serial control, overdue compilation, e.t.c.); it becomes a library software package (Madu, 2004). Specifically, as it is with other application software, library software package are task specific in function. This means that its capabilities are dependent on the purpose(s) for which it was designed. Moreover, these categories of application software are also operating system dependent (that is some are designed to run on WINDOWS Operating System (O.S) whereas others may be designed for UBUNTU, LINUX, UNIX or Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS) or both. In addition, there are two classes of library software as with every other application software. They are the stand alone (those designed for a single specific task) and integrated or modularized (those designed for a number of task, technically called software suit) library software package.
Functionally, irrespective of the platform upon which these library software packages runs, the class to which they belongs and whether they are designed in-house or contracted, the fundamental truth are that nowadays; they are used to perform virtually all library operations (selection, ordering, acquisition, organization or processing, storage and dissemination or transferring of information resources) with the justification of reduced cost and or increased performance. Interestingly, these processes of using computers and its related technologies (software) in performing library functions and or services has benefited the library world most especially the university libraries in a number of ways. The outstanding ones among the arrays of benefits accruing from the use of computer software in the university libraries as postulated by Ifidion and Okoli (2002) are:
It has increased the speed of various library operations; It has improved the performance of library staffs; It has equally improved both the storage and retrieval of information; It also created new services as Current Awareness Services (CAS), resent accession list, access to online databanks, Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) and resource sharing; It has improved statistical records and reporting; With Online Public Access Catalogues (OPACs), there is an improved access to library data-bases by the users P.25.
Specifically, library oriented software packages are of varying type (s) with varying designs as well (depending on whether they are in modules or integrated). As these software are task specific and institution or organization dependent, with some of them custom-built; a good number of them abounds in the market. The examples of some of these library oriented software are: Lib-plus, X-lib, Micro-CDS/ISIS, Resource-Mate, GLAS, AD-Lib, Auto-Lib, Fedora, Klas, Koha, Lib-Data.com, Tin-Lib, Libero, Minisis, Slam, Open D-Lib, Tapir, Ringgold, Alice, to name but a few. In Nigeria, very few of these packages are in use in university libraries. Fore instance, studies have shown that virtually all federal university libraries have Tin-Lib. This is because the federal government through the National University Commission (NUC) with National University Network (NUNET) acquired Tin-Lib for all the federal University libraries in Nigeria (Oyinloye, 2004). More so, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) distributed CDS/ISIS free of charge to some university libraries in Nigeria. Other library oriented software packages in use in Nigerian university libraries are: Alice for WINDOWS, X-Lib, Resource-Mate, Lib-Plus, Slam, Koha, and GLAS.
Technically, these arrays of packages individually have specific attribute; but below are some of the general attribute that are expected of a reliable library oriented packages.
They includes : cataloguing, indexing, abstracting, searching/querying and circulation functions; reporting and labeling wizards; flexibility of templates within databases; networking and multi-user environment; customized display of data; database maintenance with specialized data field controls; loan, graphical, numeric data, e-mail, internet address, and phone fields; table data, calculator, and html fields/wizards; e.t.c (Library Organizer, 2010). Consequently, the success of any university library depends on the state of health of her resources and services. With these resources and services tied together in a single stand-alone package or suit of library software package(s). It becomes evidential that a number of such packages be selected from a pool of them available. Hence, what is selection? Selection simply means “the processes of choosing something/somebody carefully from a group of thing/person” (Hornby, 2001). Therefore, software selection refers to the processes of choosing carefully a number of package(s) from a variety of them available. However, the big question is what actually necessitated the need for the proper selection of these packages? Interestingly, observations have shown that lots of situation and reason led to the adoption of some selection criteria and strategies before selecting a particular library oriented packages. For example, most packages crash after installation or are abandoned totally after installation. What is responsible for that? The answers to the above question are not far fetched, as Andy (2011) suggests that the following reasons are responsible for the failure of the library packages. Such reasons are:
poor planning or no planning at all; top management not involved or not committed to the project; use of unreliable data; lack of training or implementation assistant; poor selection processes, methods and strategies; and loss of project momentum P. 15.
Critically, it was observed that the management of our university libraries and indeed other academic libraries in most cases do not plan before embarking on automation project; when they even plan, it will be poorly executed. In some cases, the top management of the parent institution were not involved and committed in the automation project. Most importantly, the project team either consciously or unconsciously overlooks the software selection methods, processes and strategies, hence the prime reason for system breakdown after installation. Closely related to this, was that if unreliable data were used; wrong result will be generated and the automation project loses momentum from both the management and the designers. These scenarios, therefore call for a periodic selection of library software package that will stand the taste of time. It is in line with these that Osaniyi (2010) and German (2010) stated that the current and future potentials of library software package be evaluated before selection. For current and future potentials, it was emphasized that the software must be capable of:
accommodating large collection; integrating the basic operation of acquisition, cataloguing and circulation; having modular design and ease of use; Searching and retrieving of records by different fields; produce end user reports; define security or restrict users to specific screen; backup and restore; have a high response time and level of configurability; possessing operating system compatibility and upgrading potentials; as well as hardware compatibility P. 9.
In a related development, Fisher (2008) stated that there are six key criteria that should be considered in any university library’s software selection. He suggested that by gathering the right information from the software vendors as you go through your software selection and evaluation process, you can make an informed decision and have the greatest chance for implementation success. Such criteria are: functionality, technology, software vendor, implementation vendor, maintenance and support, and cost of ownership. Moreover, there are processes or steps to be followed while selecting library oriented packages. Such steps as formulated by Komosky (1995) are; analysis of needs, specification of requirements, identification of promising software, previewing of the software, making of recommendations and getting of the post-users’ feedback.
In a nutshell, the steps, methods or processes involved in library software selection are summarized in three ways as: (a) Define the critical requirement that are unique to your library and match to the vendor with your short lists. (b) Visit a library using the software and ascertain the efficiency of the software. (c) Ask the vendor to bring in the trainer whom you will work with at the implementation stage. Similarly, as these packages are enormous, several selection methods and processes abounds. In this regards, Leung (2002) stated that these methods are usually used in software selection by libraries (intuition approach, quantitative methods, decision analysis approach, political approach, imposition approach, e.t.c.) whereas, a number of steps have been integrated into processes to form software selection processes (seven, six, five, or four). Such steps are as depicted by Komosky (1995) –seven steps, Tim (2004) – seven steps, SEI (2005) –five steps, Sue (2008) –eight steps and Minadihar (2010) –five steps; consisting of preliminary planning (objective /requirement definition), feasibility study, system analysis (cost, hardware, humanware and support), system design ( prototype design, detailed design, and coding [if in-house]), implementation, evaluation, demonstration/training, and documentation stages.
Subsequently, in the Nnamdi Azikiwe Library UNN that was established in 1960 together with her parent institution; the use of library automated systems dates back to 1995 when she obtained Tin-lib software version 270 from National University Commission (NUC). However, with growth, expansion, and development in the library; Tin-lib version 270 was upgraded to version 280 in 1998. In 2001, when the Disk Operating System (DOS) based systems were becoming obsolete; with Tin-Lib version 280 systems being DOS based, the Nnamdi Azikiwe library changed to X-Lib software. Moreover, as their collections expanded, coupled with trends in technology; she upgraded the X-Lib software to Lib-plus with both standalone and web-based version in 2007. Progressively, as the library moved to her newly completed ultra-modern building in 2009, the need for a more robust, versatile, and all-inclusive library package arose; and with insufficient fund at her disposal she opted for an open-source package that will sustain the needs of the library. In this regard, open-source Greenstone software was acquired and installed. Nevertheless, the package did not survive the testing and/or implementation stage. Thus in 2010, Koha open-source library package was acquired and installed for use in the library. Currently, Nnamdi Azkiwe library uses this package; however efforts are in progress for future upgrades at present (Office of the NAL’s System Analyst, 2012).
In the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) library, that was established in 1981 as well as her parent institution; the trends of her software adoption followed a similar pattern to NAL. For instance, she equally obtained the Tin-Lib software from NUC in 1995. But due to the nature of the institution, the use of the software only saw light for a period of three years and was deemed redundant for four years. This scenario necessitated the change to X-Lib software in 2002. However with technological development in computing and information management, X-Lib software became incapacitated in the management of technological information and needs of the library. As a result, she acquired Graphical Library Automated System (GLAS) WINDOW based in 2004. Yet this package upon installation was having compatibility problems with their existing library databases. In view of this, the package was upgraded to resource-mate library software in 2007. Consequently, with expansion and development in the library; this package can no longer sustain the activities and operations of the library. Sequel to the above, this software was later upgraded to Alice for WINDOW software in 2009; which she currently uses for her services and operations (Office of the FUTO’s Library System Analyst, 2012).
In summary, based on these discussions on the concepts, potentials, attributes, availability, and selection practices and principles of library software as well as the state of the libraries software adoption of the libraries understudy; this study deems it necessary to investigate the software selection practices of Nnamdi Azikiwe Library and FUTO library.