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MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY APPLICATION TO INFORMATION SERVICE IN SELECTED UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES IN THE NORTHERN STATES OF NIGERIA
This study was carried out to investigate Multimedia Technology Application to Information Service Delivery in the university libraries in the Northern states of Nigeria. Five research questions and 3 hypotheses were formulated and tested with respect to the types of multimedia technology application available and used; types of information services provided using multimedia technology applications and effect of multimedia technology on information service delivery in the university libraries in the northern states of Nigeria. Survey research design was used for this study. A total of four hundred and seven(407) librarians from ten (10) target university libraries were drawn as the population while the sampled number was eighty one(81) from six selected libraries. The six selected university libraries were those of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Bayero University, Kano, Federal University of Technology, Minna, University of Jos and University of Maiduguri respectively. Questionnaire was used to collect data for this study. The data collected were presented and
analyzed using frequency distribution tables and percentages .Chi Square ( procedure was used to test hypothesis three while hypothesis one and two were tested with Pearson Product Moment correlation procedure. The null hypothesis that multimedia technologies available and used in the university libraries in the northern states in Nigeria had no significant effect on information service was rejected as the observed significant level was 0.000(P<0.05) The research discovered that there are different types of multimedia technologies applied for information services in the university libraries. These include text, audio, video, sound recordings and animations along with their streaming mode of presentation either live or stored audio and video; and that the application of multimedia technologies available in the university libraries has significant effect on information service delivery. The findings indicated that none of the libraries studied applied live interactive audio and live interactive video for information service delivery. The research recommends that a periodic in-house training for all library staff on the application of multimedia technologies be the starting point for their deployment. It also recommends acquisition of up-to-date hardware and software that are necessary for effective application of multimedia technologies to information service delivery.
1.1 Background to the Study
The traditional library consists of information resources in printed form. Its task has been to collect, process, store and disseminate information for the purpose of reading, teaching and consultation. The information, largely in print form, has been the most widely accepted format for providing information and library services to satisfy the needs of library customers, (Lvhua 2011). Today this is being complemented by electronic or digital resources that meet the needs of researchers and information seekers. Thus, at a time of ever increasing demand for information, libraries must keep abreast of developments in information technology and advanced communication to enable them provide services that today‟s society both expects and needs. Dahl et al (2006) posited that libraries that cling to traditional service models in an era of new information technology, rising costs and flat budgets cannot thrive.
During the 1980s computer specialists succeeded in integrating the text, graphics, animation, audio and video information after converting them into digital media (homogeneous media) called multimedia for publicity purposes. Since then, multimedia technology applications are permeating the educational system as a tool for effective teaching, learning and research. With multimedia, the communication of information can be done in a more effective manner. Mayer (2005), Ramaiah (2008) and Oshinaike & Adekumisi(2012), identified a common feature of multimedia technology which they observed to be a combination of various digital media types such as text, images, audio and video resulting into an integrated multi-sensory interactive application or presentation to convey a message or information to an audience. Mitchell (2014) defined multimedia technology as a rapidly developing technology
that permits customers to combine digital images, video, graphics, animation, and audio. Multimedia technology is also defined as the combination of various digital media types such as text, images, sound and video, into an integrated multi-sensory interactive application or presentation to convey a message or information to an audience. Bodnar and Fones (2009) defined Multimedia technology as the field concerned with the computer controlled integration of text, graphics, drawings, still and moving images(video), animation, audio and any other media where every type of information can be represented, stored and transmitted digitally. Multimedia technology also includes both hardware systems and software programs used to develop and run these systems. It also encompasses interactive computer based applications that allow people to communicate ideas and information with digital elements.
Generally, multimedia systems are being used for many purposes by different people in different organizations, offices, and environment. The main functions include media integration, storing, organization and dissemination of information at different places in different ways. Zhuang (2005) defined multimedia technology application as an application which uses a collection of multiple media sources eg text, graphics, image, sound/audio, animation and/or video. Multimedia technology applications mean the various ways in which the finished formats of multimedia elements can be delivered. Cheung and Rao (2003) expounds the several modes of multimedia technology applications to include streaming stored audio and video, streaming live audio and video, real time interactive audio and video, , interactive TV, download-and-play applications and those embedded digital objects within web pages talking books, etc. The computer, according to him is the biggest conduit for multimedia applications because multimedia content is always delivered electronically or digitally (Jumping et. al. 2008). Most of the libraries are using multimedia resources for reference service and instructional purpose as
well as in training using tutorial packages. For instance, multimedia tutorials are available on how to do online searching, how to use Boolean operators, how to decipher bibliographic citations as well as guide for performing a virtual tour for electronic library (VIKO 2012). Cell phones now have many features as the computer so they provide multimedia applications as well.
Multimedia technology not only helps the customers in providing information from different media (print, microforms, audio and video) on one platform (integrated), but also saves space, money, maintenance, operational inconveniences, etc. The other advantages of multimedia applications in libraries include helping satisfying different information needs such as reference, enrichment, entertainment, leisure, etc.; meeting various types of information preferences of the users, such as scholarly, scientific, vocational, artistic, recreational, etc. Being in digital format, information can also be accessed by remote users on a network. It also helps in overcoming the barriers of boundaries, proximity and physical capacity of a library to accommodate customers. It is interesting and easy to use over the existing form such as print, microforms, and other analogue formats. Similarly its control and interactivity helps the customers elicits positive attitudes towards the application.
1.1.1 University libraries in Nigeria
All Universities in Nigeria have academic libraries. As at 2014, there are about a hundred and fifty (150) universities in Nigeria (Top 100 Universities in Nigeria and Their Ranking, 2014, and Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, 2014). Nigeria‟s university system is been supervised by the National Universities Commission (NUC), a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Education Agoulu (2002) defined a university library as a place in which literary and artistic materials, such as books, periodicals,, pamphlets, prints records are kept for reading,
reference or lending. University libraries (also called Academic Libraries) are libraries attached to Universities to disseminate information and store information for its users. Akporhonor(2005) and Singh and Kaur (2009) stressed that preservation and access to knowledge and information is the main mandate of university libraries alongside supporting the mission of their parent institutions which is teaching, research, learning and community services. University libraries are at the forefront of providing information services to their respective communities which comprised students, lecturers, researchers and administrators in order to support their teaching, learning, research, and administrative needs.
With the advent of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), the role and position of libraries has dramatically changed. Agbalogun (2013) observed that the rapid pace of development in the field of information technology and the advent of networked information services have prompted a comprehensive review of the Library and Information Science (LIS) profession. This is supported by the views of Mohammed (2003) who posited that “the world is continuously revolving around societal dialectics usually manifested in form of continuous changing needs of all and sundry irrespective of their socio-economic and political divide to achieve their collective and individual objectives, goals and mission…” Today, the contemporary practice in university library services in the 21st century is being propelled with an information explosion, and the inclusion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in all aspects of library services (Kumar, 2009).
1.1.2 Relevance of Multimedia Applications to Information Service Delivery
Information services are considered to be a sine-qua-non for the proper orientation and guidance of every society. The level of sophistication of any society and the nature of its development are largely determined by the availability of information channels-.Multimedia
technologies can be used for information service delivery through computer based training materials such as PowerPoint presentations, web-based training materials such as tutorials, audio and video collections (Mayer et.al. 2002, Ali, 2013). Information services that can be provided using multimedia technologies include web based services like media services reference and information services, current awareness services, customer relation services, etc (Ogunbote &Adesoye( 2006), Kanamadi &Kumbar, (2006), and Rao & Coughury (2010) These are what must be employed for effective transfer and diffusion of information and knowledge which is to be rapidly utilized for differing needs and purposes. Omagbemi et.al.,(2004), supporting this view
expressed that access to multimedia information could stimulate changes and creates conductive learning environment and make learning more meaningful and responsive to the localized and specific
needs of learners University libraries exist to promote knowledge and application of scientific information in direct support of an activity towards fulfilling the mission of an organization/institution (Aina & Adekanye 2013) . Information is organized to meet specific requirements using conventional or technically oriented information systems. It is line with this that Woodsworth and Williams II (1993) defined an information service as a set of activities that provide individuals with relatively easy access to data or information. Information services refer to activities carried out to satisfy the intended customers. Quality service package delivery is a formidable task for all institutions (Gupta, 2003).Mulla and Chandrashekera (2005) studied how digital information provisions have boosted a fundamental change in library and information services. The main advantage of a digital format is the flexibility in combining, transmitting, manipulating and customizing the elements of the multimedia according to the needs of the customer. Basically, a multimedia system will have a powerful PC with high-end graphics processor, a sound card (to play and record sound), CD drive, and multimedia extensions and drivers for playing digital audio and video (Ramaiah, 2008).
Information service delivery is concerned with producing and disseminating data, products and services that are fit for a purpose and relevant to customer needs. Umar (2010) defined information service delivery as the act of providing various information products and services to the right customer in the right place at the right time and in the appropriate channel and format that will satisfy the customers‟ need. Training manuals, tutorials, documentaries, feature films and/or video on demand, can (either through audio or video streaming) be delivered to customers with a view to providing relevant information concerning their needs. Typical types of services that can be delivered in libraries using multimedia application as observed by Chauhan (2004) include : reference services which can use store and forward multimedia mail, as well as utilizing programs like chats and Ask-the-librarian.link, Current awareness bulletins using predefined search strategy and running on the database either on CDROM or online periodically and getting the desired output, can be provided as information service in university libraries, Similarly, in customer relations, information literacy and/or user education, conventional user education programmes can be supplemented with web based instructions and guides for use of resources through multimedia based presentations and demonstrations (Gerolimos and Konsta, 2009).
University libraries are expected to perform information services‟ delivery to intended customers through use of varied media of communication. Most academic libraries deliver information services to customers through conventional print-based media. It is important to stress that because of the dynamics of growth of knowledge and information, university libraries are expected to provide both manual and automated/online information services in order to meet the ever growing needs of their customers.
The power of multimedia technology application in the provision of information services lies in the fact that it is multi-sensory, stimulating the many senses of the audience. It is interactive, enabling the end users of the application to control the content and flow of information. It can also help meet information preferences of the users scholarly, scientifically, vocationally, artistically, recreationally etc.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The objectives of a university library are to become relevant in information service delivery and to provide optimum level of service satisfaction to potential customers. In carrying out such objectives, the idea of providing multimedia system for information service delivery will have a far reaching audience than any form of traditional delivery sytem because of the creative and effective way of communicating information, (Ali 2013).
According to Aina and Adekanye (2013), the rich variety of multimedia expressions in society should be reflected in the services offered to customers by the libraries. The traditional information service options seem to be no longer acceptable to a larger majority of the customers (IFLA 2004). Lvhua (2011) observed that presently there is a strong demand for newer forms of services such as multimedia based which has now become a vital part of our cultural heritage. Libraries have throughout the history ensured a democratic, independent and free access to the knowledge and intellectual value represented by conventional books. It is evident that this principle is also valid for multimedia information (IFLA 2004). Thus availability of multimedia information through data networks may also open completely new ways for university libraries to obtain information for their customers (Gupta,1996),(Martey et. al. 2004), (Ubogu,2006).and Unagha 2009.
It has been observed that an ever-increasing amount of information – covering educational and recreational interests as well as information needs – is being produced in a wide range of multimedia technologies and electronic formats. Application of multimedia technology in libraries will attract new customers who at present see it as an out of date public service that provides “just books.” It is within this context that it is apt to study multimedia technology application to information services in the university libraries.
1.3 Research questions
The study attempted to answer the following questions.
- Are multimedia technologies available for information service in university libraries in northern states of Nigeria?
2 What type of multimedia technologies are available for information service delivery in the university libraries in Northern states of Nigeria?
3 What type of multimedia technologies are used for information service delivery in the University libraries in Northern states of Nigeria?
4 What type of information services do librarians provide using the multimedia technologies in university libraries in Northern states of Nigeria?
- What are the effects of multimedia technology applications on information service delivery in the university libraries in the Northern states of Nigeria?
- What are the challenges to multimedia technology applications in information service delivery in the University libraries in Northern states of Nigeria?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
Specifically, the objectives of this study are:
- To determine whether multimedia technologies are available for information service delivery in university libraries in northern states of Nigeria.
- To determine the type of multimedia technologies available for information services delivery in the university libraries in Northern states of Nigeria.
3 To determine the type of multimedia technologies used for information services delivery in the University libraries in Northern states of Nigeria.
- To determine the type of information services that librarians provide using multimedia technologies in the University libraries in the Northern States of Nigeria.
5 To determine the effect of multimedia technology applications on information service delivery in the University libraries in the Northern States of Nigeria.
- To examine the challenges to multimedia application to information service delivery in the University libraries in the Northern states of Nigeria.
The research tested the following hypotheses:
Ho1 The Multimedia technologies available and are being used in the university libraries in the Northern States of Nigeria have no significant effect on information service delivery.
Ho2. The multimedia technologies used for information service delivery in the university libraries in the Northern States in Nigeria have no significant effect on the library customers‟ satisfaction with the information services provided.
Ho3 There is no significant difference among the Universities libraries in Northern states of Nigeria in the challenges to multimedia technology applications in information service.
1.6 Significance of the study
The findings of this research would be of great importance to university libraries under study following ways :
It will assist the university library management to provide adequate multimedia facilities in their respective libraries.
It will encourage staff and customers to use multimedia applications in such a way as to stimulate their interests.
It will bridge the information provision gap between those of multimodal type and otherwise.
It will increase the quality of education generally
Also, the study is important because like every research work, it would seek to add to the existing body of knowledge by providing relevant literature for researchers who may want to carry out related studies and will also show data from the perspectives of information service providers to their customers.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study covered only six (6) selected university libraries in Northern States of Nigeria. These University libraries were: Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi library; Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Bayero University Library, Bayero
University, Kano; Federal University of Technology Minna‟s Library; University of Jos library and University of Maiduguri library.
However, the library staff who were the subject of the study comprised librarians from the selected University libraries that were in the departments where multimedia-based information services are being provided.
1.8 THE LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
In this research, a lot of constraints has been identified which will definitely hinder the full implementation of the study. This included the following
Reluctance on the part of some respondents to offer useful information required of them.,
Inaccessibility to other relevant data
Risk involved in going round some violent prone areas for data collection, Hence the choice of selected university libraries within the study area.
Shortage of funds required to tour the study areas.
Delay caused by respondents in filling the questionnaire. Thus, a lot of questionnaires were not returned back for collection to research assistants concerned. Nevertheless, the researcher was able to compose and collect the relevant information for this study.
1.9 Operational Definition of Terms
The explanations of some terms used in this research are as follows:
Application – The use something is put to or the process of putting it to use for a particular purpose.
Information and Communication Technology– This embraces computers, telecommunications, and software systems that aid the organization, transmission, storage and utilization of information
Information Service- Any activity undertaken with view to producing and providing of
Information Service Delivery. :It is the act of providing various information products and services to the right customer in the right place at the right time and in the appropriate channel and format that will satisfy the customers‟ need.
University Library: This simply refers to the type of library established in the University to promote, encourage and support research, scholarship and academic excellence.