Factors influencing utilisation of Ejournals at Daystar University
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The society we live in has developed from being an agricultural society, to industrial society and now we are in the so called information age. In this age, information is the power to gain wealth. Societies and indeed Countries that are information rich tend to be more economically empowered.. This brings about the ‘digital divide’ between the rich and the poor, the young and the old generation. The advent of I.C.T. technology has revolutionized the way this information is acquired, processed and disseminated. In the 21st Century there is more emphasis on electronic and online resources which are accessible through the help of computers and the internet 24/7 ( twenty four hours a day, seven days a week )and its users are more interested in accessing the information than ownership. This has brought a felt need of keeping up with the neighbours so as not to lag behind in technological advancements. To achieve this, mushrooming libraries are pooling together to form consortiums to enable easy and affordable access to information. In Kenya such a consortium that enables access to e-journals in academic libraries is known as KLISC-Kenya Library and Information Services Consortium under an international body known as INASP ( International Network on Availability of Scientific Publication ). Daystar University is a member. The consortium enables the member countries to have unlimited access to ejournals at a reduced fee. It is therefore evident that the global trend is accessing information online. It is amazing that there exists a problem of low utilization of the e-journals at the Multi- Media Center. The purpose of this study is to investigate the factors that may have necessitated this. Both the subscribed and the free journals are accessible at the Multi-Media Centre. Many reasons can be fielded as bringing about this problem. However the researcher intends to concentrate on five of these possibilities and they form the objectives of the study. Namely: a) The attitude of the students towards the Multi Media Centre. b). The attitude of the students towards the e-journals at the Multi-Media Centre. c) Preference of sources of information. d) The effectiveness of the training on e-journals access. E ) Other factors / Challenges that influence utilization of online resources. The reviewed literature has indicated that there is very little that has been done on online access to e-journals in libraries. More so none has been done on the problems users face in accessing ejournals at Daystar University. This study intends to fill this information gap. The study used the descriptive design of a case study. Both qualitative and quantitative data was obtained from the field. The target population for the study were the multi-media users and the staff working at the Multi-Media Centre as an information provider. The student population in Athi-river is 1780 students and the report findings are generalized to be for the entire student community. To obtain a representative sample, three data collecting methods were used namely the stratified sampling method, Proportional sampling and the random sampling method.10% of the population was worked out from the nominal roll obtained from the registrars’ office. The instruments used to collect data are the students’ questionnaire ,a focus group discussion with the students and a structured interview with the library staff. Data was cleaned and edited A total of 137 questionnaires were filled in correctly and were then self administered to the respondents from their lecture halls. The study established that the user’s attitude towards the space facility and the fact that the computers are few act as factors that hinder them from accessing the e-journals. The study revealed that many users have sources they prefer to access more than others. They perceive the search engines such as Google and yahoo to be more user friendly , very familiar and easy to use compared to the e-journals as they claim to always get what they want from them. Perhaps this explains why there is low usage of the e-journals. There was evidence that majority of the users recognize e-journals as important sources of information even when they do not maximize on their benefits. Also, the users are trained on how to access the e-journals. The study therefore recommended that the management should provide more computers and a larger space at the Multi-Media to enable users to adequately access the e-journals. The users should continue to be trained on e-journals access to a point where they will find the e-journals to be user friendly, very familiar and easy to use and get what they are looking for. These are the overriding qualities that they claim the search engines have over the e-journals hence they are more utilized. According to the TRA theory that has been adopted, due to subjective norms the users would use the e-journals so as to comply. The study there fore recommends that the lecturers should instruct the users to refer to the e-journals and this way, more users will utilize them.