The information environment of academic social scientists in some African universities
The study attempted to delineate the nature of the existing information environment of academic social scientists in African universities. Data was collected from academic social scientists in three African universities:- Makerere University, Kampala, University of Nairobi,and University of Ibadan in the following disciplin~s: Economics, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and from Social Science researchers in the Research Institutes of the respective universities. It was hypothesised that academic social scientists in African univereities need and use identical information resources and services, and generally have uniform information-gathering habits. The general characteristics of the information needs of, the evaluation and utilization of various information resources and services bYt and the information-seeking habits of academic social scientists were analysed in relation to the selected independent variables of their academic rank, academic discipline and the institutional-affiliation. The statistical analysis of the data indicated that generally academic. social scientists in African universities have similar basic information needs, utilise, largely, the same information resources and library services to satisfy their information needs, and generally follow the same procedures to locate the information they need. It was revealed that the academic rank of the social scientists is a significant determinant of the nature of the information environment ~f the academic social scientists in African universities. On the other hand, it was revealed that the academic discipline and institutionalaffiliation had no significant effect on the academic social scientists' evaluation and utilization of various information resources and services nor on their information-gathering habits. It is recommended that African University libraries serving academic social scientists should give priority to acquisition of current journals rather than to monographs; that librarylayout should allow for extensive browsing since most academic social scientists locate information while browsing; and that librarians should be more interactive with aondemic social scientists in order to assist them in effective exploitation of existing information resources and services.