1.1 Background Of The Study
The basic purpose of an academic library is to provide sufficient information for making informed decisions by users. Academic libraries normally provide for educational needs of students, to support the teaching staff in their teaching role and provide for research activities of both the students and teaching staff. The academic library collections must reflect the subject interests of the institutions. It must also be adequate in terms of quality, quantity and variety. The library does this through useful selection and acquisition of materials for teaching learning and research; process and organization of the materials for easy retrieval: and dissemination of information about the collections and encourages their active exploitation.
Library is an educational tool, which constitutes important components in the infrastructure of knowledge in institution research and teaching, particularly to make information accessible to the students. Library’s operations are divided into various sections, which include; Reference section, Technical section, and Serials section etc. The importance of serial collections to students in institution of higher learning such as the polytechnic cannot be overemphasized particularly in academic and university libraries. This is so, because the library resources provide the users with up-to-date information resources that can assist them in their academic pursuit especially in research and learning.
Meanwhile, serials have historically and presently focused on the provision of current or up-to-date information in general or specific fields of study, this is one of the reasons why according to Woodward (2009) it constitutes a major part of the collection of academic libraries and also accounts for a large sum of the library expenditure, the academic library inclusive. The academic library is an integral part of tertiary institutions and accounts for majority of the information material holdings of a tertiary institution, serving all and sundry especially staff and students of a tertiary institution. To further underline the importance of the academic library to a tertiary institution, Kwampong (2000) stated that the academic library is the heart and aorta of any academic institution, he went further to state that the health and effectiveness of any academic institution depends on the state of health of the library in that academic institution. The academic library therefore, cannot claim to be the determining factor for the state of excellence of its parent body i.e. the institution where it is situated, if it cannot provide the immediate needs of individuals in that institution, which it can only do through the provision of information materials. Immediate needs as the name implies refers to current information gaps that individuals have identified during the course of their activities on a specific field of study, therefore, the academic library is obligated to be current in its holdings so as to fill immediate information gaps as they are discovered. If immediate needs are not meet, the academic library is considered to be inert and moribund which results in an inert and moribund academic institution and automatically low standard of excellence for patrons the academic library serves especially undergraduates.
Apart from books, serials form a vital part of the academic library’s collection for meeting the immediate needs of patrons in its community especially undergraduates for the purpose of this study. Academic libraries acquire, process and make serials available to its patrons who are usually undergraduates through continuous subscription. Serial are usually treated separately in libraries i.e. they are acquired, processed and disseminated separately due to rate of subscription and peculiarity of its nature. The unit responsible for serials management is the serials unit, which was described by Oni (2004) as the unit responsible for serials operations. Osborn (2000) defined serials as a printed work that appears regularly, founded with the expectation of unlimited duration, which is not predominantly concerned with events of the day or else it pays attention only to the latest development in a special field. In addition to this, Harold (2007) describes serials as any publication bearing either chronological or numerical designations issued in successive parts, appearing at intervals and as a rule, intended to be continued indefinitely. The definitions above not only describe serials literature but also underlay the major importance of serials: providing current information. This importance is very essential to the relevance of the academic library to its immediate community and the general population. Kinds of serials include journals, newspapers, newsletters, proceedings, transactions of societies and other periodicals like abstracts and indexes. These types of serials vary in content and interval of appearance. Daily Newspapers constitute the highest rate of issues because of its daily publications, but it doesn’t provide information on specific fields of study, it takes a little of everything in one issue. Unlike journals, that will not be published daily but focuses on the specifics in a field of study. Serials are usually in print formats but with the advent of information technology, serials are not computerized appearing in e-formats.
A brief look at the origin of serials show that, according to Osborn (2000), serials can be traced back to the period when annals where written on the tombs of Egyptian kings during the first dynasty. This is no surprise as the growth of papyrus started along the Nile River in Egypt, papyrus being a paper-like material was a major landmark in the history of writing and ultimately the beginning of serials. As time evolved, other notable inventions such as the moveable types by Johannes Gutenberg, typewriters, and of course computers have facilitated the development and use of serials up to the 2000s when serials and the internet were compliments of one another. Undergraduate students are an integral part of the university community. They form the “receiving” members of the university community, while the lecturers and other staff form the “giving” members of the university community. This makes learning the most important issue. A brief look at the origin of serials show that, according to Osborn (2000), serials can be traced back to the period when annals where written on the tombs of Egyptian kings during the first dynasty. This is no surprise as the growth of papyrus started along the Nile River in Egypt, papyrus being a paper-like material was a major landmark in the history of writing and ultimately the beginning of serials. As time evolved, other notable inventions such as the moveable types by Johannes Gutenberg, typewriters, and of course computers have facilitated the development and use of serials up to the 2000s when serials and the internet were compliments of one another. Undergraduate students are an integral part of the university community. They form the “receiving” members of the university community, while the lecturers and other staff form the “giving” members of the university community. This makes learning the most important issue for undergraduates. As the “receiving” group, undergraduates are expected to use information usually based on specific courses of study for assignments, reports, presentations, seminars, and final year projects, this is encouraged and expected of the undergraduate for excellent performance. The academic library located in the university should be open to undergraduates for the use of its serials, as serials are vital information materials providing the latest in a field of study and suiting the needs of the learning group, which will always have immediate needs. This is supported by Fayose (2005) when he stated that serials are very useful because they are the most up-to-date materials in the library and that articles in serials are written by experts in the field, making them reliable and precise. Although, even with the enormous benefits of serials to the academic performance of undergraduates, it seems undergraduates do not recognize this, or they ignore the benefits they can derive from the use of serials and some cases the few undergraduates who are interested in the use of serials are denied access, a brief look at some findings show this.
The explosion of knowledge and publications of all kinds, conventional or non-conventional, means the universe of materials has grown much larger. One very important set of library materials in the library is serials. A serial is a publication in any medium issued in successive parts and intended to be continued indefinitely. This definition includes periodicals, newspapers, annuals (reports, yearbooks directories, etc., journals, and memoirs proceedings, transactions of societies, monographic series, and unnumbered series. The Anglo American Cataloguing Rules (1988) define serial as a ‘continuing resource issued in a succession of discrete parts usually bearing numbering that has no predetermined conclusion for example, print and electronics journal, magazines, continuing directories, annual reports, newspapers and monographic serves’.
This is why authors such as Attama and Ezema (2002) defined serials as publications issued in successive parts, appearing at intervals bearing numerical or chronological designations and intended to continued indefinitely. The term thus embraces such materials as periodicals, magazines, annuals which include reports, yearbooks, directories, proceedings, and transactions etc. Serials formed the backbone of research collections as a result academic libraries cannot do without it because of the usefulness to researchers, scholars, and investigators. They see serial collections as sine qua non to the development of research activities in academic environment.
The Library serial collection/material was established to serve the Polytechnic libraries. It coordinates the collections and services of the polytechnic Library. The administration of the Library System is centralized under the polytechnic Librarian. The last years have been a period of rapid growth, with the printed book collection now well stocked. The Library stocks other items as well as current periodical titles. The virtual Library will be available to the polytechnic students and staff online 24/7 via the Internet, regardless of the user’s physical location.
Serials are essential tool of teaching and research in academic endeavor and remain a potential tool for dissemination of knowledge .It is in support of this that Attama and Ezema (2002) stated the importance of serials in academic environment particularly for undergraduate students, which include the followings:
- Serial provide up –to -date information on any issue than textbooks.
- It supplies scientific and discoveries and results of latest findings.
- It makes researchers frequent and current in the frontiers of knowledge.
- It provides a first hand and detailed information on a particular subject and also it provides empirical evidence on issue being treated.
According to Okiy (2008) the serials constitute an important part of the resources of an academic library because, they provide the latest information on research and current affairs. For this reason, it is necessary for the serials division to be as complete in its holdings as possible in order to support the teaching, learning, recreations and research programmes of the University. The serials collection is made up of both current and backsets of periodicals for lecturers and students to access within the library but cannot be borrowed for home reading. Ogbomo (2000) defines serials as “a publication issued in successive parts, usually at regular intervals and as a rule, intended to be continued indefinitely”. Serials include journals, magazines, bulletins and newsletters, proceedings learned societies and associations etc. they may be published daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly etc the search for information on any subject in an academic library must include the examination of serial publication because they current information about new ideas or discoveries and keep researchers abreast of growth of knowledge in their areas of investigation.
In the selection and acquisition of materials, the serials librarian and collection development librarian work closely with the university librarian. However, the libraries welcome recommendations from patrons and faculty lecturers. Broadus (2001) asserts that Selection must be given due importance because funds are always limited, the available money should be spent wisely to meet the needs of users towards fulfilling the objectives of supporting, teaching, learning and research needs of the University. The serial Liberian should be able to satisfy the patrons by selecting and acquiring their immediate and anticipated needs. Collection management involves managing the use of library collection, its storage, its organisation and making it accessible to users. The process of collection management has become very challenging and complex. As observed by Friend (2000), basic collection management activities include analysis of user needs, inter and intra-library communication, policy development, budgeting and allocation of resources, contract negotiations, macro-evaluations of collection, micro-evaluation for selection, relegation, preservation or withdrawal of stock and system evaluation. So this study intend to find out the availability and use of serial resources by students in tertiary institutions.
Historical Background Of Federal Polytechnic Auchi
Federal Polytechnic Library, Auchi, Edo State is a federal polytechnic library and was established in 1973 by the federal government of Nigeria as a result of federal government efforts to produced technicians, craftsmen, middle and skilled manpower that will help to bring about nation’s economy. The extent law establishing it assigns to the institution the task of producing well trained and highly skilled middle level manpower for the national economy in the areas of engineering technology, science environmental studies, Management studies and Art & Design. The permanent site of the Library is opposite the famous Imo lecture Hall (School of Business). The current building was completed in the year 2000 and commenced services to public in 2001. The Federal Polytechnic Auchi Library has different sections which include: the technical section (acquisition, classifying and cataloguing) circulation section, Administration leaders service, serial section and the andio-visual section. It also has the reprographic section which has different machines for the reproduction of Library materials. The library users the library of congress classification scheme which has mixed notation. The Polytechnic Library stores, a collection of materials relevant to student of the institution teaching and non-teaching staff and people living around Auchi who are carrying out research. Presently, the Library has about 38 staffs.
Delta State Polytechnic Oghara and Federal Polytechnic Auchi libraries are situated at different strategies places in the institutions. Their collection cut-across print and non-print media. They houses information materials in different fields of study namely: engineering, agriculture, computer and information technology, Business Administration etc. These libraries are divided into various units namely collection development unit, technical unit, circulation unit, reference unit, serial unit and audiovisual unit (ICT unit). These units provides different services ranging from current awareness services, research and bibliographic services, bindery services, registration of users, charging and discharging services, reference services all are being set up to meet the information needs of the users etc.
Historical Background Of Delta State Polytechnic, Oghara
Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe-Oghara was established through a bill that was signed into law by Governor James Onanefe Ibori in November 2002. This is the result of a partnership between the Delta State Ministry of Education and Westminster University, London. The partnership gave birth to the Delta State Higher Education Project (DSHEP). Located in the agricultural town of Otefe in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe-Oghara is a manifestation of an excellently conceptualized and articulated vision delivered for the benefit of humanity for entrepreneurial acquisition and advancement. The motto of technology for entrepreneurship underscores the fact of talent and technology skills advancement as tool for critical wealth creation. It therefore explains the role of entrepreneurial and technological skills in creating the abilities, courage, capabilities and managerial competences necessary for economic growth and wealth creation within and beyond Delta State. The mandate of the Polytechnic is to train and empower graduates who will be highly successful professionals armed with all the sufficient skills that are critical to the work place of the 21st century. The aim is to achieve the
- Status of excellence in computing and information technology (I.T)
- Qualitative training in specific areas of technology and entrepreneurship as a way of providing opportunity for students to take advantage of their inherent talent and theoretical skills to generate needed entrepreneurial ventures and wealth.
- Acquisition of entrepreneurship training and technology education, which forms the bedrock for industrialization, growth, development and wealth creation. This in turn will help all Nigerians and the global communities as students create industries and jobs associated with their skills.
The Government of Delta State reached an understanding with the University of Westminster, London to assist in management and technical support for the institutions. The institutions are centres of excellence in Agriculture, Computing and Information Technology, Fashion Design and Arts and Sports. Besides their primary areas of specialization, all students are trained in Computing and Information Technology as well as business and entrepreneurship.
The Otefe-Oghara polytechnic has school that offer National Diplomas in Business Studies (Accountancy, Banking and Finance and Business Administration), Computing and I.T (Computer Science and Statistics) and Engineering (Computer Engineering, Electronic and Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering). It also has a School of Preliminary Studies that introduces all students to basic Business Studies and Science Technology.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Students in the polytechnic community are mainly concerned with one major pre-occupation: learning. Learning in tertiary institutions therefore, goes beyond class lectures or the traditional lecturer-student interaction in class. Students are expected to conduct research for immediate needs such as continuous assignment and assessment test, further reading apart from class notes, presentations and ultimately final year projects which serials are capable of providing information for. However, these students have unlimited access to serials in the academic libraries and even the internet. Researchers have shown that high price of subscription to serials both print and online, budget cuts by polytechnic management, lack of internet access, inadequate basic search skills, ignorance and so on are the major challenges. These challenges in turn bounce back on the students in Nigeria and this seems to be affecting academic performance and overall knowledge standard, this as well escalates to affect the educational standard of the entire nation. The role of academic libraries, open access journals and other sources for current serials is to provide students with immediate information needs. However, there appears to be lack of access to these serials or restriction to their use.
Moreso, in developed countries, use of serial library resources is easy because of it availability nature, but in developing countries like Nigeria, available literature and the researcher’s personal experience have shown a low use of serial resources in library by the students because of the observed inadequacies and lack of knowledge of their availability by the students. It is against this background that this study investigates the availability and use of serials library resources by students in the two polytechnic (Delta State Polytechnic and Federal Polytechnic Auchi, Edo State).
1.3 Objectives of the Study
Objectives of the study are to:
- Identify the types of serial collections available in polytechnic
- To find out the extent at which polytechnic students make use of serial collections
- Examine the purpose for the use of serial collections by polytechnic students
- Identify the challenges facing the use of serial collections by polytechnic students
- Find out probable solutions to the challenges facing the use of serial collections by polytechnic students
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the types of serial collections available for students in polytechnics?
- To what extent do polytechnic students use serial collection?
- For what purpose do polytechnic students use serial collections?
- What are the challenges facing the use of serial collections by polytechnic students?
- What are the solutions to the challenges facing the use of serial collections by polytechnic students?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study is essential because it is hoped to provide an insight into availability and use of serial library resources by students in Federal Polytechnic, Auchi and Delta State Polytechnic, Oghara. The study would reveal the effect of non-availability and low usage of serial library resources by students. The recommendations that may be given would be important to our government policy makers at the federal, state and local state levels.
The study will provide lecturers, school authorities and government the dangers and damage of non-availability of serial library resources and it effect on the academic performance or achievement of students. Finally, it shall serve as a veritable source of information on issues of serials library resources, also, school authorities would find the finding of this study useful. They could use them to detect and prevent such symptoms that are likely to head students’ low academic performance in the selected tertiary institutions
1.6 Scope Of The Study
This study is restricted to the availability and use of serial resources by students in Federal Polytechnic Auchi and Delta State polytechnic Oghara Libraries only.
1.7 Limitation Of The Study
The project work of this kind cannot come up without some limitations. The major limitations of the study is finance, limited time at researcher’s disposal, and because of these limitations, this study was only able to select two polytechnics in Edo State. Despite these limitations, due care was taken not to sacrifice quality and in-depth of this study on the iota of time, data and money.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Below is the definition of the contextual use of terms in the study:
Library: A Library is a building or room containing collections of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for use or borrowing by the public or the members of an institution.
Serial: A publication in any medium issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designation and intended to be continued indefinitely.
Serial Collections: This is the action or process of collecting a publication that is issued in successive parts. Examples are periodicals, magazines, journals, newspapers, annual reports, and series. Journal and periodical are terms also used to describe such publications.
Use: An act that brings something into services for a particular purpose.
Availability: This is the quality of being able to be used or obtained.
Periodicals: Periodicals are form of magazines or newspaper published at regular intervals.
Virtual Library: A Virtual Library is a collection of resources available on one or more computer systems, where a single interface or entry point to the collections is provided
Internet: The internet is a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.
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