TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page – – – – – – – – i
Approval Page – – – – – – ii
Certification Page – – – – iii
Dedication – – – – – – iv Acknowledgements – – – – v
Table of Contents – – – – – – vi
List of Figures – – – – – viii
List of Tables – – – – – – – ix
List of Appendixes – – – – – – xi
Abstract – – – – – – xii
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION – –
Background of the Study – – – – 1
Statement of the Problem – – – – – 9
Purpose of the Study – – – – – – 10
Research Questions – – – – – – 10
Hypotheses – – – – – – – 11
Significance of the Study – – – – – 11
Scope of the Study – – – – – 13
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW – – – 14
Conceptual Framework – – – – – – – 14
Concept of reference services in libraries – – 14
Overview of information and communication technology – 21
Concept of digital reference services – – – – 24
Application of ICT facilities for reference services – 30
Current trends in the utilization of (ICT) for reference services in libraries – 40
Problems of ICT use in reference services in university libraries – 48
Strategies for the effective utilization of ICT facilities in reference service – 50
Theoretical Framework- – – – – – 52
Theories of reference services – – – – 52
Theoretical model for the study – – – 55
Review of Related Empirical Studies – – 59
Summary of Literature Review – – – – – 66
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHOD – – – 68
Research Design – – – – – – 68
Area of the Study – – – – – – 68
Population of the Study – – – – 68
Sample and Sampling Technique – – – 70
Instruments for Data Collection – – – 71
Validation of Instrument – – – 73
Reliability of Instrument – – – – 73
Method of Data Collection – – – – – 74
Method of Data Analysis – – – – 75
CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS – – – 76
CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS, IMPLICATIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION 102
Discussion of Findings – – – – – 102
Implications of Findings – – – – – 113
Recommendations – – – – – – 114
Limitations of the Study – – – – 115
Suggestion for Further Research – – – 115
Conclusion – – – – – – – 115
REFERENCES – – – – – – 117
APPENDICES – – – – – – 127
LIST OF FIGURES
1. Adopted from General Process Reference Model – – 57
2. Bar Chart Showing the Ranking of Problems Militating Against the Utilization of ICT Facilities in Reference Services as Perceived by Librarians 92
Bar Chart Showing the Ranking of Problems Militating Against the Utilization of ICT Facilities in Reference Services as Perceived by Library Users 93
LIST OF TABLES
- Availability of ICT Facilities in the Reference Sections of the Federal University Libraries – – – – 77
- Databases for the Subscription of E-Resources by the Federal University Libraries – – – – – – 78
- Mean Responses of Librarians on What Purposes ICT Facilities are Utilized in Reference Services – – – 80
- Mean Responses of Library Users on what Purposes ICT Facilities are Utilized in Reference Services – – – – 82
- Mean Responses of Librarians on Extent of ICT Facilities Utilization in Reference Services in the Federal University Libraries – 83
- Mean Responses of Library Users on Extent of ICT Facilities Utilization for their Reference Needs – – – 84
- Mean Responses of Librarians on the Perceived Benefits of ICT Facilities Use in Reference Services in the University Libraries under Study 86
- Mean Responses of Library Users on the Perceived Benefits of ICT Facilities Use for their Reference Needs – – – 87
- Mean Responses of Librarians on Perceived Problems Militating Against the Utilization of ICT Facilities in Reference Services in the Federal University Libraries – – – 89
- Mean Responses of Library Users on Inhibitors to their Use of ICT Facilities for their Reference Needs – – 90
- Mean Responses of Librarians on the Strategies for Enhancing the Utilization of ICT Facilities in Reference Services of the University Libraries Under Study – – – 94
- ANOVA Test Analysis of Significant Difference Between the Mean Responses of Librarians in the Six Geo-Political Zones on the Extent of Utilization of ICT Facilities in Reference Services – 98
- ANOVA Test Analysis of Significant Difference Between the Mean Responses of Librarians in the Six Geo-Political Zones on the Problems Militating Against Their Utilization of ICT Facilities in Reference Services 98
- ANOVA Test Analysis of Significant Difference Between the Mean Responses of Library Users in the Six Geo-Political Zones on the Benefits they Derive
- from their Utilization of ICT Facilities for their Reference Needs. – 99
LIST OF APPENDICES
A. Questionnaires for Librarians and Users on the Utilization of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), for Reference Services in Federal University Libraries – – – – 127
B. Availability of ICT Facilities in the Reference Sections of the Federal University Libraries – – – – – 137
C. Validation of Research Instrument on Utilization of ICT Facilities for Reference Services in Federal University Libraries – – 138
D. Reliability of Instrument – – – – – – 139
E. List of Selected Federal Universities Studied from the Six Geo-Political Zones 151
F. Interview Guide for Reference Librarians – – – 152
G. Distribution and Collection of Questionnaire – – – 153
H. Formulas for Mean, Standard Deviation and ANOVA Test Statistics. – – 154
I. List of Federal Universities in Nigeria – – – – 155
The purpose of this work was to examine the extent of utilization of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in reference services in Federal university libraries in Nigeria. Six research questions and three null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. Descriptive survey was the research design adopted for the study. The population of the study comprised all the librarians and reference library users in all the federal university libraries in Nigeria. Simple random sampling was used to select two Federal university libraries from the six geo-political zones, making a total of twelve libraries that were used for the study. Four hundred and sixty-five (465) librarians from the federal university libraries and a total of twelve thousand six hundred and fifty two (12,652) users (Masters and Doctoral students) of the reference sections of the Federal university libraries as stated by the reference librarians made up the population. Stratified random sampling was used to sample two hundred and eighty-five (285) librarians while accidental sampling was used to sample one thousand, five hundred and sixty (1,560) library users for the study. Two structured questionnaires were used to collect data from librarians and library users. Observation and interview guides were also used to elicit information from reference librarians on utilization of ICT in reference services. Frequency, Mean scores and Standard deviation were used to analyze data from the questionnaire, while data from the observation and interview were analyzed qualitatively and the hypotheses were tested using analysis of variance (ANOVA) test statistics. Major findings showed that ICT facilities were available in federal university libraries, that the ICT facilities were utilized for reference services but that they were not utilized reference operations like inter – library loans, resource sharing, networking and chat services. The utilization of ICT facilities in reference services has made reference operations faster, easier and interesting. The constraints facing the utilization of ICT in reference services included poor funding, irregular power supply, lack of reference librarians and lack of ICT information policy in the country. The researcher also found out strategies that could be used to enhance the utilization of ICT in reference services: adequate funding, training and retraining of librarians through seminars, workshops and conferences. The National Universities Commission (NUC) should mandate all universities to automate their libraries within a stipulated period. There should be regular supply of power and maintenance of the ICT facilities.
Background of the Study
Contemporary societies generally rely on universities for their development and their sustainability. Universities have been recognized as critical centers for the development of societies through the advancement and diffusion of knowledge. Universities are required to generate and organize information for teaching, research and management decision making (Yusuf and Onasanya in Agabi & Uche, 2006). It is for these reasons that research, teaching and community service are considered the most central objectives of the university system. According to Jega (2007), universities as institutions for knowledge generation and its transfer to the society have been central to development, contributing ideas, skills, technology and expertise in many spheres of human endeavour. Uzoigwe and Onwubiko  opined that university libraries are central to the functions of the universities and contribute to the overall development of the society through its provision of relevant information resources that are necessary for sustaining the teaching, learning, research and public service.
The university library is an academic library that is located in a university to serve primarily the students, workers and the community at large [Wikipedia 2012]. Oyedun  concisely defined academic libraries as those libraries that are mainly found in tertiary institutions. In the same vein, Ubogu  maintains that academic libraries continually seek to identify their roles in contributing to institution outcomes and objectives in the areas of teaching, learning and research. He reveals that priorities in most academic libraries include active participation in furthering the institutional objectives of producing students who are information literate and are prepared for lifelong learning.
According to Oparah (2006), the university library through her reference services is expected to provide the following:-
- access to information resources :-
- Through online catalogs, indexes and databases including full text e – resources.
- Through connections to local, regional and global networks and
- By securing materials for students, academics and staff through interlibrary loan and other resources sharing arrangements.
- ICT infrastructure: state-of-the-art hardware and software and sufficient bandwidth and responsive network management at multiple levels, from the institutional level upwards.
- Expert professional support to facilitate thorough and accurate use of all library resources,
- Access to library materials and services to the community.
According to Ajidahun (2004), it is worth mentioning that university libraries in Nigeria are now being gradually computerized, thus these libraries are expected to provide ICT facilities for greater productivity and service in which case; users will no longer be dependent on reference librarians as search intermediaries. According to Rockman  ‘the role of reference librarians has changed from search intermediaries to information competence teachers’. Wilson  argues that with the emergence of electronic reference and ask-a-librarian’ services, the information that was once provided at the reference desk is now being offered on the library homepage.
The reference section is one of the most sensitive sections of the university library due to the variety of services it offers to the users. The reference section, which provides reference services, according to Ezeani (2005), plays very crucial and critical roles in presenting a good image of the library. This is because the reference staff is the ‘front line’ staff as the section is usually the first port of call for any researcher. It is because of this role, reference librarians often determine the extent a library is successful in serving its clientele. Reference Services as perceived by many is all about rendering assistance to users in pursuit of their information needs. Reference Services, according to Gama  means personal assistance given by librarians to users in pursuit of information. The assistance could be in form of referral to likely sources of information. Idris, Oji and Abana  noted that the central course of discourse in reference services is ‘personal assistance’. It is also the formalized provision of information in diverse forms by a reference librarian who is interposed between the questioner and the available information. Reference services involve translating the queries of users into terms that can be met by a given reference source.
There are two types of reference services: direct and indirect services. The direct reference services involve person- to- person relationship, usually one in which the librarian answers the user’s question. Indirect reference services consist of behind-the-scene activities which comprise the preparation and development of catalogues, bibliographies and all other reference aids that help in providing access to the library collections for the provision of reference services. The information glut and increased production of materials have made it difficult for the reference librarian to render efficient services to users using traditional means. Moreover, the traditional reference strategies of searching card catalogue, instruction to users, helping the users to locate books on the shelves, inter-library loan, using indexes and abstracts to answer users’ queries are characterized by increased inefficiency and ineffectiveness.
The delays in manual reference services have frustrated library users to the extent that many may have resolved not to come to the library again. Ehikhemonor, Rugh and Dewoth in Achebe (1998) have shown that there could be reduction in patronage if library users’ interests are not met. As Onifade and Sowole (2011) put it, libraries are no longer passive and archival institutions but are effective service institutions. The responsibilities of libraries go beyond gathering and organizing books and journals to include an active role in disseminating information. One way this can be achieved is through effective reference service, which can be harnessed by the use of computers and ICT facilities.
According to Agbo (2011), information and communication technology (ICT) is an umbrella term that includes all technologies for the manipulation and communication of information. It encompasses any medium to recorded information (magnetic disk, tape, optical disks (DVD/CD), flash and paper record), technologies for broadcasting information (radio, television, and cinema), technologies for communicating through voice and sound or images (microphone, camera, loudspeaker, telephone to cellular phones) and wide varieties of computing hardwares (desktop computers, laptops, servers, mainframes, networked storage. It can also be defined as the mechanism of capturing, processing, storing, transmitting and communicating information. Along, with this rapid technological advancement entered the “internet”, which has today created a borderless surge of information which also boosted reference services in our libraries.
The emergence of computer technology and its related information and communication technologies in library operations has come as a potential rescue to reference librarians in their bid to cope with the above challenges. Since the problems of information explosion in the 1970’s, libraries in the developed world have strived to adopt ICT in their services to facilitate the flow of information to and from users (Okore, 2005). In fact, the contemporary reference services that have indisputably made the application of ICT to reference services mandatory include: on line searches of information, bibliographic searches and easy retrieval of information. Other services like current awareness services (CAS) provision of current statistics on the use of reference materials in the libraries and listing of current reports and selective dissemination of information (SDI). The main purpose of ICT in reference services is to help users find an information source or the information itself to meet their individual needs. It will also help users to outsource documents or information based on available databases. It makes it possible for library users to access their catalogues and other documents without pulling their drawers of three by-five cards.
The introduction of ICT in reference services has the potential of eliminating the bottle-necks and cumbersomeness associated with manual reference services. According to Martell (2003) rendering of reference services to users using ICT can be on-site or off-site. The functions of the reference librarian have remained constant. The difference that exists now is primarily in the tools that are used. In the past, the librarian used books, magazines, encyclopedias, guides, newspapers and other print materials, with only the library catalogue to answer reference queries. Today, reference librarians have incorporated a host of new tools for digital reference services which include the telephone, photocopier, fax machine, television, computer, printers, modem, disks, CD-ROMs, telecommunications, scanners, e-mail, data bases, e-resources and the Internet to help their patrons. Libraries in the developing world are currently attempting to take advantage of these new devices (Corral, 1995). With ICT, the On-line Public Access Catalogue (OPAC), a networked universally accessible entity, helps the reference librarian to access the holdings of a library anywhere easily. Before the introduction of ICT, inter-library loan was a problem because of the physical delivery of documents, but with the new technologies of scanning and digitizing, delivery and retrieval of journal articles and other documents to off-site users has been made easy.
With the availability of functional virtual libraries that have full internet connectivity and linkages to massive databases and ICT systems, one can source information anywhere. With ICT, reference services are apparently faster, easier and at the convenience of the user. All relevant information materials can virtually be accessed by the reference librarian using ICT systems and made available to library users. With the application of ICT, reference librarians are expected to answer queries by down-loading and manipulating files to assist users with software application. Information and Communication Technology has led to the establishment of databases which have enabled libraries to out-source content and disburden themselves of the task of collection building (Wolf in Okore, 2005). Other areas where ICT resources are used in digital reference services include: current awareness services, co-operative resource sharing, compilation of electronic bibliographies and user education for library users.
The provision of reference services in an electronic environment is becoming very complex. According to Roesch (2006), the current application of ICT to reference services involves high-tech information resources and operations, including various media: e-mail, web forms, chat, video, web customer call centre software, voice over internet protocol (VOIP) and video conferencing. These media are divided into two categories, namely: asynchronous and synchronous. Asynchronous forms involve communication between the users and the librarians which is experienced with little time delay within 24 hours. They include e-mail, web form, chatterbot and frequently asked questions (FAQs). On the other hand, synchronous forms involve immediate communication with the users. They include simple chat; instant messaging as a chat variant, extended chat, voice over internet protocol (VOIP) and video conferencing. Other variants of digital reference services media, according to (Roesch 2006), include the web contact centre, which combines several forms of digital reference offered by a library and collaborative reference which is provided by several libraries that have formed a consortium by pooling their resources and sharing work-load together. The Question Point Software in addition to library Profile Modules are used to co-ordinate the collaboration amongst the participating libraries (Roesch, 2006). The author further explained that digital reference via e-mail is very easy and cheap to implement and may be asked even when the library has closed; their only disadvantage is the time delay in answering the queries.
Many libraries, according to Davis (2000), have good virtual reference desks. Reference via web forms allows users to provide further and more structured details of their information needs. This notwithstanding, it is not suitable for more complex needs, such as detailed research queries. Chatterbots is an interactive data-base that contains a range of pre-paid information; the users do not communicate with the librarian but rather enter their queries in the fields provided and receive replies immediately. They are available round the clock and to several users concurrently (Roesch, 2006). It is doubtful that this advanced form of digital reference services is obtainable in Nigerian university libraries.
The utilization of ICT in reference services in Nigeria has been very gradual. The provision of ICT in Nigerian libraries started with special libraries and spread to academic libraries (Ohaji, 2004). Ogunleye cited by Ajihadan, (2004) reported that attempts to apply ICT in library operations and reference services in Nigeria in the 1970s and 1980s failed. The literature of these efforts is replete of tales of flop and unsuccessful implementation. Nevertheless, a few stories of success have been recorded earlier, mainly in the foreign-owned or sponsored libraries like the IITA library, the British Council Libraries in Enugu, Ibadan, Kano, Kaduna and Lagos, the United States Information Services (USIS) library and a few others (Nwachukwu, 2006). The NUC (2002) and UNESCO (2003) planned virtual libraries for Nigerian universities, but the plans were not actualized in many universities (Gbaje, 2007). Furthermore, Gbaje laments that the failure of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has led to poor implementation of the virtual library initiatives in the universities and that this has continued to adversely affect the application of ICT in library operations in university libraries in Nigeria. Olanlokun (2003) concluded that the application of ICT in library services in the universities in Nigeria is still at its infant stages of development.
However, Nkanu  reported rapid growth of computerization exercise in libraries because of its immense benefits in breaking the barriers of time, distance and location that used to impede the provision of library services. These benefits of utilization of ICT for reference services were hindered in our libraries by the high costs of maintaining ICT facilities, epileptic power supply, and lack of trained ICT staff and the menace of virus in ICT systems (Uzoigwe, 2004). O’Connor (1998) sees the lukewarm attitude of Nigerian government and some university authorities to the electronic library as a basic problem. All these may hinder the effective functioning and utilization of ICT in reference services in the federal university libraries.
The ICT use these days in federal university libraries according to Gama (2008) is better than that of state-owned university libraries because the federal government sponsored the computerization of federal university libraries, although the Education Tax Fund also helped to computerize most of the state university libraries. Studies by Asamoah -Hassan (2002) showed that many of the universities in West Africa, including Nigeria, have ICT facilities in their libraries. A similar study conducted in Nigeria by Ajidahun (2004) on the status of ICT in university libraries indicated that there were ICT facilities in all the 21 university libraries studied. Ibegbulam (2000) and Anunobi (2005) conducted research on the use of ICT for reference services in federal university libraries in Nigeria while Asamoah-Hassan (2002) conducted a research on the state of information and communication technology (ICT) availability in West Africa. These studies revealed that ICT was much used for administration, serials, cataloguing and not much in reference services. Many university libraries from different geo-political zones in Nigeria show evidence of utilization of ICT facilities more than other zones. Studies by Anunobi  support the above assertion that some zones have and utilize ICT facilities more than others. These studies did not dwell extensively on reference services.