A modern society is characterized by an
increasing need for specialized institutions in various fields of
activity for the performance of their day-to-day functions as well as
research and consultancy work. These institutions require speedy access
to qualitative published information.
Library and information services are a
key element in libraries since the ancient times. Their vital role is
increasingly becoming a measure of the library’s contribution to the
transformation and development of a society and the nation at large. The
use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) has caused a
transformation in the users’ perception from what is being hosted in the
library to how and when services are rendered to fulfill their
Consequently, libraries are becoming
less important for the materials they collect, house or stores. Instead,
their importance is being measured in respect to the fulfillment of the
users’ requests or needs. The movement of materials from publishers and
hosting them for "just in case" some users will need them is being
replaced by delivering materials from publishers “just in time” to
answer the user’s needs.
However, this transformation has brought
a challenge in the field of library and information services of dealing
with the ever-increasing complexity of information, differentiating
useful information from mis-information, and upholding the rising needs
and expectations of the users.
One of the major functions of a library
is to scrutinize publications immediately after receipt, make a
selection of publications pertinent to the programme of the organization
and bring individual item to the attention of the users to whom it
concerns. This is generally known as ‘current awareness’
service. Encyclopedia Americana (1976) defines current awareness
services as the purpose of informing the users about information in
their libraries. Current awareness service is referred to as
dissemination of information that will keep clarities, well informed and
up to date in their field of interest as well as their related subjects
or disciplines. Current awareness service includes the selective
dissemination of information, publication of current contents, and
publication of list of new arrivals, information retrieval and online
The objective of current awareness
service is to make available current information to those who need it,
usually for current researcher and to sustain the interest of the
library user in the services rendered by the library to make them lively
and active readers for their benefits. Provision of information on
recently required materials benefits all the users in several ways such
as providing maximum exposure and utilization of the library information
resources. Research tends to be associated more with the advanced form
of investigation. For instance, it is common to hear of research at the
post graduate and even post doctorate level mainly, than that of the
under graduate. Research is been carried out in addition to new
information to personal store-house of knowledge of others, it is to
enable man relate with his environment more effectively.
This study will discuss the available
technological opportunities that can be used by the library information
services in addressing such challenges particularly at the Federal
College of Forestry Technology, Ibadan.
1.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE FEDERAL COLLEGE OF FORESTRY TECHNOLOGY IBADAN.
While the special library movement dates
from the rise of business and technical libraries and the development
of the concept of specialized information service in the twentieth
century, prototypes of these special libraries could be found in the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Professional association and government
department libraries which served as on-the-spot working collections
were most directly related to today’s special libraries. Legal and
medical collections predominated, because in both professions a
considerable body of literature had developed and professional training
and practice dictated its use.
Early legal collections for state and
federal government and collections in medical societies and hospitals
date from the eighteenth century and continued to develop through the
nineteenth century. During this time, a few early company and trade
association libraries also appeared concerned with scientific, legal or
statistical literature. These latter libraries, however, were virtually
unnoticed until later reports dated the establishment of their
collection. Other early special libraries have a less direct
relationship to the modern special library. Scientific and historical
society libraries with specialized subject were also established in this
period, but they usually operate as leisure-time libraries for their
It is on this backdrop that the
historical background of the Federal College of Forestry Technology,
Ibadan (with a type of special library) is apt and without which this
study will be incomplete. The Federal College of Forestry Technology
started in Nigeria, West Africa on the 1st of May, 1941, at
the then Forest School, Ibadan, which has now, been redesigned to be the
Federal College of Forestry Technology.
Prior to this date, there was no formal
training for indigenous forest staffs in Nigeria. The forest officers
who were mainly British had on the job practical base training for the
forest guards in their charge. The training consisted of elementary
botany and identification of useful timber species, simple survey,
forest law, forest protection and siluiculture, especially, nursery
The expansion of the forest estate in
the country coupled with the increased number of timber exploitation
necessitated the creation of an intermediate cadre between the forest
office and the vocation level staff. Prior to the establishment of the
forest school, the training of technical staff started in 1939 with the
attachment of a professional forest officer to the teaching staff school
of agriculture at Samaru, Zaria in Kaduna State. Four trainees passed
out in 1940 after which the course was discontinued.
When the Federal College of Forestry was
opened in 1941, it was mainly aimed at training forest assistants,
although, a selected number of forest rangers received some lectures
with the first set of trainees. The Federal College of Forestry
technology Ibadan remained the only higher institution for the
production of forestry technical man power in West Africa until the
early sixties. Since its establishment, the school had trained and is
still training students and helping researchers from other African
countries, notably among the countries are, Cameroon, Liberia, Sierra
Leone, the Gambia, Uganda and Kenya.
Forestry technical education started in
Nigeria with the establishment of a school of forestry by the Federal
government in Zaria, Kaduna State in 1939. In the same year, the school
was moved to moor plantation, Ibadan, Oyo State from where it was
finally moved to its present site at forest hill, Jericho, Ibadan in
1941. As at 1941, the Federal School of Forestry was the only higher
institution of forestry education in the African sub-region until the
For every year until recently, the
trainees were candidates sponsored by various state government agencies
or foreign countries and as such at the beginning; many trainees were
serving officers with sponsoring agencies.
From 1939 – 1956, the only course that
was offered by the college was a one calendar year forest assistants’
programme. This was changed to an eighteen months course between 1956
and 1961. From 1961 to present, the programme has been a two level
programmes, now designated as the National Diploma (ND) and Higher
National Diploma (HND) programmes, student run each level for two
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Provision of such services as current
awareness services and selective dissemination of information (SDI) are
faced with such challenges as lack of requisite library information
resources in the library which affects the satisfaction needs of its
users and researchers.
Users and researchers are not always
aware of the arrival of new library materials and this is due to lack of
adequate current awareness services in the institution by the library
and Lack of internet facilities (i.e. e-library) to cater for the
growing needs of users and researchers through prompt and up to date
current awareness services.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study include among other things
I. Identifying the level of current awareness service at the
library of the Federal College of Forestry Technology, Ibadan.
II. Identifying the level of the satisfaction of information
needs of researchers at the library of the Federal College of Forestry
III. Identifying how the use of the traditional methods helps
the library in their current awareness services.
IV. Highlighting the constraints (if any) involved in the use
of information and communication technology as one of the tools in
their current awareness services.
V. Determine the success attained through the use of current
awareness service at the library of the Federal College of Forestry
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This study tends to answer the following questions
I. What are the levels of current awareness service at the
library of the Federal College of Forestry Technology, Ibadan?
II. What are the levels of the satisfaction of the
information needs of researchers at the library of the Federal College
of Forestry Technology, Ibadan?
III. How does the use of traditional method help the library’s current awareness service?
IV. What are the constraints involved in the use of
information and communication technology as a tool for the library’s
current awareness service?
V. What are the successes attained through the use of current
awareness service as a tool in satisfying the information needs of
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this study is to
improve the level in which current awareness service and dissemination
of information to users of the library at the Federal College of
Forestry Technology, Ibadan and to also improve the academic standard of
the students of the institution by making adequate use of the available
library materials through the provision of current awareness services
by the institution’s library.
This study will also assist in
increasing the research efforts of researchers both within and outside
the institution. More so, it will shed more light on areas needing to be
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION
This study covers the development of the
satisfaction of the information needs of researchers at the library of
the Federal College of Forestry Technology, Ibadan. It will be limited
to the satisfaction of the information needs of researchers at the
college alone, other areas of satisfaction of the information needs of
users or researchers that have nothing to do with current awareness
service will be excluded in the course of this study.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
A library can be defined as a building
where selection, acquisition, organization, processing, evaluating,
retrieval and dissemination of information to the community of users are
These are materials that are used to
help achieve reading and research goals, especially books and equipments
that are found in the library.
These are provision of information
services to the library users in order to satisfy the information needs
of users, and it includes current awareness services, Selective
Dissemination of Information (SDI) among others.
It makes available of what is being done
in a specific field of endeavor through documents such as notes,
abstracts, clippings, etc.
- SELECTIVE DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION:
SDI refers to tools and resources used to keep a user informed of new resources on specified topics.
This is an individual or group desire to locate and obtain information to satisfy their conscious or unconscious need.