Use of ICT Facilities for Serials Functions in Southern Nigeria Federal University Libraries Chinwe V. Anunobi Ph.D
Nnamdi Azikiwe University
Benson E. Edoka
Department of Library and Information Science
University of Nigeria, Nsukka
User expectation from any information providing system is to make available directly or remotely and in real time the needed information, format not withstanding. In the university environment, the library a major information providing system supports teaching, learning and research with information materials of various types. Among these diverse information materials, serials are needed especially by faculty and research students. Before the development and use of ICT facilities for capturing/acquisition, processing dissemination and retrieval of information, serials operations were predominantly manual. However with the development of ICT based library service which brought with it self service and simultaneous access to resources (Womboh & Abba 2008), peoples' interest switched from print to electronic information. Furthermore, serials operations in developing countries which was besieged with problems associated with cost (Millis 1992, de Marcas 2000; Aina 2003), inadequate acquisition and processing tools (Szilvassy 1996), competency and accessibility problems (Cohen 1989 and Mullis 1992), embrace the use of ICT facilities as an approach to overcome some of the mentioned problems. This is necessary since according to Ajayi (2003) any industry information or any other which ‘sidelines ICT has simply signed a death warrant' The ICT facilities applied in the library in general and serials unit in particular are based on the functions performed therein. The functions performed in the university serials unit as indicated by Tuttle (1983) are acquisition, processing, public service and preservation. These functions are synonymous with the functions performed in the university library though with some peculiarities emanating from the nature of serials. Therefore ICT facilities used in the broad university library are also applicable to the serials unit but also with peculiarity occasioned by the nature of serials. These services and operations have been transformed using ICT. Aina (2004) informed that there is efficiency in resource organization as delivery and dissemination of information have become effective and easy. Repetitive and routine tasks in the library have been eliminated. Furthermore, the availability of bibliographic database, full text documents and digital library collection is now taken for granted as noted by Chesenga (2004). The IT (ICT) facilities use in the library is defined by the American Library Association (1993) as “the application of computers and other technology to the acquisition, organization, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information. Ifidon (1985) enumerated the functions available for ICT use in the library to include ordering and acquisition with the following activities: ordering, receiving, settlement of invoice and administration of records and expenditure.. Further to that, Oketunji (2001) and Chesenga (2004) listed library functions in which ICT could be applied to include acquisition, cataloguing, circulation, serials control, selective dissemination of information services and preparation of management information. Furthermore, the application of ICT facilities in the library could be in the stand alone or integrated form. Many countries and institutions are at varying level of ICT application in their library operation. Islam and Islam (2007) documented the use ICT in libraries in Bangladash and informed that though the use started between 1964 and 1995, progress was not made until 1996. In Nigeria many universities are at the advanced stage of ICT use in library operations....