1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Library is a fast growing organization, the ancient methods of maintaining it are no longer dynamic and efficient for expeditions, retrieval and dissemination of information and better service for the students; application of modern techniques has become absolutely indispensable. A properly computerized library will help its students with quick and prompt services. A digital library is an automated or electronic library where activities like accessing; with the help of a computer does resource sharing and storing. The word digital is concerned with the understanding of the design and development of electronic circuits. It includes system like word processing, micrographic, reprographic, video based information systems, message transmission such as fax, voice mail, e-mail and internet, (Encyclopedia, 2013).The internet is a global network of computers linked together over large distances (Brown, 2008). It was created by the American Military as a means of communication and has been in existence since the 1950s, until mid-eighties (80’s) when commercial organizations and educational institutions mainly used the internet. This was due to high costs. The rapid development of technology has seen improvement in communication links and a lowering of costs. The implication of this is that the internet is now more widely available to more people. Since the internet is now available to a wide sector of the population in the western world many educational establishments have seized on its educational potential. The internet is a valuable source of information for students looking for ideas for projects and assignments. With over 50 million web sites on the Net, the chances are that any information however obscure can be found. The only tools required to find this information would be some patience and a decent search engine (Ehrmann, 2008).
Libraries cannot exist as a single entity and technology to link their resources, the collections of these digital libraries are not limited to surrogate development but extend further to digital artifacts that cannot be represented or distributed in printed formats. Digital libraries are a shift in electronic content; this enables libraries to apply a growing range of information technology to the management of collection of print information.
The emergence of the World Wide Web is perhaps the great symbol to this shift with all applications for scholarly communication, raise of the computationally science, the new role of databases.
The term “e-library” refers to information accessed through the Internet. Unlike traditional libraries, e-libraries are not limited by location or time. Libraries have changed with the emergence and application of IT. They have assumed the role of educators, teaching users to find, evaluate, and use information both in the library and over electronic networks. As the use of e-library continues to soar, users are expected to develop information literacy skills. These skills, as Julien (2002) observes, will enable users to make efficient and effective use of information sources. Therefore, Information literacy is increasingly important (especially amongst students). Academic libraries in Nigeria have been responding to the call of ICT (information and communication technology) by providing instruction in information literacy, described as “the ability to locate, manage, critically evaluate and use information for problem solving, research and decision making” (Orr, Appleton, and Wallin, 2001). In developing countries like Nigeria however, both IT and the use of the e-library are still at an embryonic stage. The limits of the tradition library and the increasing popularity of IT have caused the use of the e-library to grow rapidly. Although people need no longer go to a building for some kinds of information, they still need help to locate the information they want. The resources of the University library are dynamic in nature and form aimed at accommodating the changes in medium of packaging, number and type of users served and dynamic program areas. Mindfully that the Library serves a university of Technology Community which focus on Engineering, Science, Agriculture, Technology, Management Sciences and Health/Environmental Technology, resources are acquired to satisfy the academic, recreational and all round developmental needs of the undergraduates; postgraduates; faculty and non-teaching staff of the University. Thus books, periodicals, newspapers/magazines, maps, technical reports, patents, documents etc. could be acquired in both electronic and print forms through purchases, gifts, donations, exchange and deposits of all publications emanating from the University community.
The existence of digital libraries doesn’t exist beyond experimental level however existence of databases, library online catalogues, electronic journals in different organization including academic institutions, professional organizations, international organizations. Digital libraries will be defined as these libraries that are greatly aided by networks, access electronic databases, and online public access catalogue and to some extent provide email and internet services to its users and at least certain percentage of their information resources are in electronic format.
In the modernization of business activities in the world today, electronic technology is imparting and dramatically changing the fabric of our lives. To be a player in development and to enjoy everything in the world today, organizations have adopted the use of internet and in particular the adopting of the digital libraries. In exchange of information and resources, cooperate projects to avoid duplications of efforts and bringing access to distant and disadvantages communities.
Acting as a “quality guide,” e-libraries “often follow certain guidelines for the selection of content in order to maintain a consistent collection of data” (Virtual Library 2007). They follow procedures to select the materials in their collections, to organize and make them available to users. Waters (2008) states that, “digital libraries are organizations that provide the resources, including the specialized staff, to select, structure, offer intellectual access to the Internet, distribute, preserve the integrity of, and ensure the persistence over time of collections of digital works so that they are readily and economically available for use by a defined community or set of communities.” The Kentuckiana Digital library (2005) points out the academic significance of the e-library, recognizing the use of appropriate technology and defining it as “an organized collection of selected digital resources created to support scholarship, research and teaching.” It states further that the use of appropriate technological standards by e-libraries will facilitate permanent access to the digital resources. At the most basic level and central to the definitions is a collection of digital resources selected according to certain criteria and made accessible for retrieval over computer networks.
Libraries all over the world are beginning to be more interactive than passive. The coming of ICT into the library has completely changed the face of the library to more of a social networking centre. This is the only way you can attract young audience to use the library outside reading to pass examinations (Akinbulumo, 2008). A good number of public libraries in the developing countries now have restaurants, snacks shop and computer games for the young audience as well as the adults. The new innovation has shot up the number of young people that use the library or make the library their second home. This has also cut down on crime rates in some of the countries. According to Onuoha (2008), the library at Loma Linda University in California has fully redesigned its reading spaces. They now have the quiet library reading area and the interactive areas. In the quiet reading areas you can hear a pin drop. The interactive reading areas are however different. They have the computer here for browsing. There is also a vending machine in that section. One can buy drinks and biscuits and take them in the interactive reading areas. This is so because the computer is interactive and when users go there they want to interact with others to ask for help on the system and other things. Some patrons actually spend all day working with computers. That is why the library makes provision for inter-personal interaction and something for the stomachs of those who want to spend time in the library.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The automated library perpetuates some of the problems of the paper library noted previously. Because the collections of documents are still on paper, a localized medium, the need for local collections, the space needed for paper documents, the inflexibility of paper documents, the separation of documents from the users, opening hours for the collections (though no longer for the catalog), and competition for use of copies of documents all remain as much a problem in both libraries: the automated library and the paper library. The catalog may be used in a number of places. In particular, with remote access to the on-line catalog, the user is no longer separated from the catalog and the separation of catalog and documents is somewhat diminished since, online, a catalog can at long last be used in the book-stacks. The automated library represents a significant improvement but for only some of the problems and, aside for the online catalog, benefits directly those who are providing the service rather than those who are using the service.
Currently the internet offers a range of services to users, such as e-mail, the World Wide Web, Usenet news, telnet, and others. Information research is a dedication to learning. This needs specific research skills, an awareness of research tools and gifted mind. Without knowledge of and access to relevant research worthy resources, your search will be severely limited and doubtful.
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