ACADEMIC REPOSITORY AS A RESOURCE FOR EFFECTIVE STUDENTS ACADEMIC WORK
Institutional repositories also known as digital libraries serve to provide services that support users in their tasks. This study investigates the usage of the digital resources and repository system in an academic institution of higher learning.
The purpose of this research is to investigate the effects of the digital repositories as a resource for an effective students’ academic work using the “Kubanni” repository and students of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria as our case study. We analysed the usage of the digital repository from the user perspective of effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction, and awareness construct. Ultimately, it will find out the extent to which the users are utilizing the resources, barriers that exist and the options that exist to help increase usage. The study engaged 200 users of the system. It is a mixed research that used both qualitative and quantitative data. 200 postgraduate students were used as our case study.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The ever evolving Internet platform and technological advancements in the area of information management offers innovative ways to information managers to use in the acquisition, storage, management and dissemination process of information. To this end, university libraries are always on the lookout to adopting the new tools to improve their services to the users. Digital repositories are the new platform that libraries are adopting as an additional digital resources and services on their portals. This requires additional investments and increase in resources towards the full creation and implementation of the institutional repositories.
Institutional repositories also known as digital libraries serve to provide services that support users in their tasks and they involve interacting with the systems and interaction behavior. The components of import in the scenario of such services include users, the presented content as well as the system on which they are performed.
The latest innovations for academic institutions and resources centers in the area of information are the digital information resources. Digital Information resources have been defined by Bhattacharya, U. (2007) as information bearing material in digital form and it includes databases both local and remote, CDs and DVDs, and electronic publications that include e-journals, e-books and the Web resources.
Many academic institutions worldwide have adopted e-resources as important infrastructures in improved service provision for their users. Included and of special focus in this study are digital libraries or repositories defined as “organizations that provide the resources, including the specialized staff, to select, structure, offer intellectual access to, interpret, 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”, Digital Library Federation (1999).
In the same manner that Libraries became hallmarks of a university, Digital repositories are stamping their existence in many academic and research institutions. It seem that it is a ‘must have’ in universities and research institutions. In a survey of 1152 respondents in the information world about digital repositories, 70% had established and implemented digital repositories while 22 indicated their intention to implement.
It is then a reality that digital repositories can only increase in number in as many felt that the importance of repositories was on the increase. In Africa, digital repositories will certainly increase in the universities as they are tied to webometric ranking that help increase the research visibility of African universities.
“KUBANNI” the repository of the Ahmadu Bello University runs on DSpace (2), an open access proprietary software that is not only useful for archiving and disseminating research-related documents but offers excellent utility features such as reuse, metadata storage that are in tandem with requirements for modern repository usage.
Wherefore, traditional studies focused on assessing the value of information technology to the organization and the determinants of that value with the objective of helping firms to “better deploy and manage their IT resources and enhance overall effectiveness”, Several approaches have been used to address this problem. Of interest to this study is the approach to examine the determinants of IT adoption usage by individual users as advanced by Davies, (1989) and Davies et al, (1989). The forerunners of this thinking were Delone and Mclean (1992) who focused on the examination of usage as a surrogate measure for information systems success.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Digital information resources have carved an important place in academic institutions who offer information materials and services online to reach their expanding user base wherever they are. The services range from e-resources to digital libraries and include social media such as face book and twitter.
Many challenges exist in the Digital resources and digital repositories which are in the library domain. They range from technical, legal, organizational as well as usage problems. One of the critical challenges is to understand the issues that confront users in dealing with or using the digital libraries.
These issues have become critical research areas in recent years. Research on usage is important to determine and find out if the various user groups are on board and are able to utilize products and services on the digital platform of an institution and if the usage is optimum among the communities for which it is intended. Research on usage interrogates existing barriers and helps give insight into the relationship between effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction on important user criteria. The answers from such a study sets a suitable basis for appropriating the right strategic approach towards enhancing access to the information in a repository and overall contribution to the objectives of the organization in its quest for maximum online visibility.
1.2 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The main objective of this research is to analyze the usage of the academic repository KUBANNI by the students of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and its effects on students’ academic performance.
The specific objectives are;
1. To have an overview of the KUBANNI academic repository.
2. To establish the effect of academic repository on academic performance of the students of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.
3. To investigate the challenges to the digital repository usage in Academic institutions.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Research in usage of information systems are increasing over the years. This study follows this path in the desire to give insight into the usage of the digital repository by students of academic institutions and how it affects academic performance. After the results have been analyzed, conclusions will be made. These conclusions will be significant to the, Library Management, the University management and the university community at large on several issues;
1. It will inform the library management on the extent to which the digital resources on the libraries digital platforms is being utilized in the university by the various user groups.
2. The existing barriers to accessing these resources by the different user groups.
5. The study results would offer useful insight and recommendations to creators and managers of future Academic repositories being set up in the country at large and to the new area of knowledge in Nigeria.
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The research sample was drawn from the Ahmadu Bello University main campus in Zaria. The e-resources are online and accessible online worldwide by all the students based in all the campuses, researchers and academic staff of the university wherever they maybe.
The actual users of the e-resources are all the university students, lecturers and academic staff.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
REPOSITORY: This is a place where or receptacle in which things are or may be stored.
ACADEMIC REPOSITORY: This is a specifically designed digital repository used by universities to store their documents.
ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE: Academic Performance: This is referred to as the result of a task given to student in an academic environment.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows;
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.