This study was carried out to examine the utilization of reference resources by undergraduate students of library and information science for effective research in university libraries in Enugu state. Specifically, the study examined if there are reference and information services and resources available to students. The study also find out the extent the students use the various bibliographic tools in their search for information. The study further determine the extent of accessibility of reference and information services and resources. Lastly, the study determine if there is a purpose for the utilization of information services and resources by students. The study employed the survey descriptive research design. A total of 30 responses were validated from the survey. From the responses obtained and analyzed, the findings revealed that there is a reference and information services and resources available to students in Enugu state university of technology. Also,students use the various bibliographic tools in their search for information to a very high extent. Furthermore, accessibility of information resources and services is available to a very high extent to students of Enugu state university of technology. Lastly, students make use of the information resources and services in the University library. The study thereby recommend that library authorities should as a matter of policy enforce library orientation to its students for effective utilization of library resources. Also,there is also need to motivate the students to ensure that the bibliographic tools for information search will be used to a high extent. Furthermore, University management, stakeholders and government should as much as possible provide facilities in the University libraries so that the information services and resources will be accessible to students to high extent and equally the percentage of students using the different resources and services of the library will remarkably increase.
Background of the Study
University libraries are important sources of reference materials for high-quality teaching, learning, and research. Indexing and abstracting services in print and electronic media make reference materials available and accessible. The ultimate purpose of reference resources is to deliver precise and timely information. Reference resources are information-bearing assets in the form of persons, prints, and electronic files that reference librarians utilize to offer users with access to particular information. Personnel, such as reference librarians and support staff; print materials, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, research monographs, directories, biographies, and almanacs; information retrieval tools, such as indexes, abstracts, bibliographies, and catalogues; and electronic materials, such as computers, projectors, CD-ROMS, and the internet, as well as e-journals, databases, and e-prints Unlike other library items, users value reference resources because they include data gathered from a variety of sources and structured for simple and rapid access for a particular purpose. They are not intended to be read from cover to cover or borrowed from the library, but rather to be utilized as research tools (Abdulahi & Mamza, 2014). Reference resources are gold mines in the reference section, and their worth to users seeking relevant information is incalculable (Attama, 2013). Given the impact of these resources on student academic achievement, university libraries must employ qualified employees with a love for humanity, as well as services that will assist in providing simple access to reference materials if users can make excellent use of these rich resources. The extent to which users can access and use reference resources that are physically or electronically published in the bibliographic universe to obtain specific and accurate information in the library through indexes, abstracts, bibliographies, and catalogues is referred to as reference resource accessibility. Accessibility, according to Azubuike (2014), is the “ability to acquire access to and benefit from some system or organization.” According to Azubuike, the notion often focuses on the outcome (getting happiness from the product) rather than the methods. The degree to which library users utilize and profit from reference resources in various forms to meet their information requirements is referred to as reference resource utilization. Students’ ability to use technology effectively improves their knowledge and overall academic achievement. According to Mucai (2013), usage is defined as “taking advantage of and profiting from a thing.” As a result, using proper resources is critical to achieving educational objectives. The amount and quality of information acquired, as well as the quality of users’ research output, are determined by use. As a result, there is a need to investigate how undergraduate library and information science students in Enugu State use reference materials to conduct productive research in university libraries.
Statement of the Problem
While there may be a high grade of reference and information resources available at the University library, it is essential that these resources be made available to students on a regular basis. Given their high prestige, the amount to which reference and information resources are made available, and the extent to which students utilize them, is unclear. On the other hand, while the University library may not be perfect in terms of reference and information services, it is unlikely that the available materials are not made available to students within the limits of their availability, and that students do not make full use of the resources that are available. However, according to other academics, such as Aguolu (2002) and Ugah (2008), the availability of information resources does not always imply accessibility or utilization due to a variety of reasons. This demonstrates that the availability and utilization of resources varied significantly. This is equally concerning, as it necessitates more research into these issues in order to bridge the gap between availability, accessibility, and consumption. It’s also crucial to determine the degree of sufficiency, accessibility, use, usefulness, and pleasure received from students’ use of resources. As a result, the study’s rationale becomes clear: there is a need to evaluate how undergraduate library and information science students in Enugu state use reference materials for productive research in university libraries.
Objective of the Study
The objective of the study is to examine the utilization of reference resources by undergraduate students of library and information science for effective research in university libraries in Enugu state . Specifically the study seeks to:
- To identify if there is a reference and information services and resources available to students in Enugu state University of technology.
- To find out the extent the students use the various bibliographic tools in their search for information in Enugu state University of technology.
- To determine the extent of accessibility of reference and information services and resources in Enugu state University of technology.
- To determine if there is a purpose for the utilization of information services and resources by students of Enugu state University of technology.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study
- Is there a reference and information services and resources available to students in Enugu state University of technology?
- To what extent do the students use the various bibliographic tools in their search for information?
- What is the extent of accessibility of information resources and services to students of Enugu state University of technology?
- Do students make use of the information resources and services in the Enugu state University of technology libraries?
Significance of the Study
The study will examine Utilization of Reference Resources by Undergraduate Students of Library and Information Science for Effective research in University Libraries in Enugu State. Hence the study will be significant in the following ways:
Librarian: The librarians as information providers will benefit from the result as they will improve on the approach for information provision to students. They will also identify information resources that are lacking and provide them in their various institutions.
The study will be significant to the academic community as it will serve as a guide to other researchers in other Universities who would want to conduct similar research in the area in their respective states as well as add to the existing literature in the field of librarianship especially in the area of accessibility and utilization of reference and information services and resources in the Universities.
Scope of the Study
This study will identify the types of reference and information services and resources available to students. The study will also Find out the extent the students use the various bibliographic tools in their search for information. The study will further determine the extent of accessibility of reference and information services and resources. Lastly, the study will determine the purpose for the utilization of information services and resources by students. Hence the study is delimited to Enugu state.
Limitation of the study
In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.
In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.
More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other companies and locations.