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The study was on the utilization of DSpace open source institutional repository software in University of Jos, Nigeria. It was a survey research with seven research questions. The major objectives of the study are to ascertain users’ level of knowledge of key provisions of Dspace software for institutional repository services, examine the extent these provisions are utilized by the University of Jos, identify the challenges of Dspace IR software to University of Jos and suggest strategies to enhancing the utilization of the Dspace IR software in University of Jos. Two separate questionnaires were prepared and administered to academic and library staff respectively. The population of academic staff was 908 and 227 was sampled, all the library staff of 24 were studied due to the small seize. The data collected were analysed using mean scores and percentage. The findings revealed that the academic and library staff have the knowledge of the provisions but the academic staff still lack knowledge of some of the provisions, as a result of this library staff utilizes these provisions more than the academic staff. It was also found that the benefit of DSpace IR includes: open access to research output, preservation of content, scholarly communication, institutional visibility and prestige, electronic publishing and self-archiving. The major challenges of the utilization of DSpace IR were found to be network and server problem, lack of training and retraining of staff, copyright issue of intellectual properties and constant power failure. The strategies recommended for improvement based on the findings includes but not limited to: provision of enough funds for the maintenance of infrastructure, provision of standby power generator, legal experts to throw more light in copyright issues, training and retraining of staff and provision of effective internet facilities.
Background of the Study
University libraries are libraries attached to university institutions. The main mandate of university libraries is supporting the mission of their parent institutions which is teaching learning and research alongside with preservation and access to knowledge and information. University libraries are at the forefront of providing information services to their respective communities which comprises of students, lecturers, and researchers in order to support their teaching, learning and research needs. Many a times academic libraries are referred to as the heart or nerve centers of institutions of higher learning where all academic activities revolved (Bappah, 2011). University library is an integral part of an institution of higher education.
Paradigm shift in university library services with the advent of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has dramatically changed the role and position of libraries. In library systems all over the world, the traditional method of books, shelves and preserving output of respective institutions was the order of the day. The system was too laborious and time consuming. As more and more research and educational material is born digital, institutions and organizations are increasingly realizing the need for a stable place in which such material may be stored, preserved and accessed long-term. Recently, some universities in Nigeria, like University of Jos, joined their counterparts and other libraries to plan on how to organize their resources in order to promote access to intellectual resources. The intellectual outputs of an institution are built up as institutional repository. Institutional repository is a digital library system that uses open source software to capture, index, preserve, and distribute the intellectual output of the university research faculty, staff and students in digital formats. According to Akintunde (2009) Institutional Repository (IR) is an online store for collecting, preserving and disseminating in digital form the intellectual output of an institution. IR contains institution’s intellectual output depending on the goal established by the repository managers. It could contain any work product generated by the institution's students, faculty, non-faculty researchers, and staff. This material might include student electronic portfolios, classroom teaching materials, journal articles submitted for publication (pre-prints), articles accepted for publication (post prints), conference papers, working papers, theses and dissertations, technical reports, datasets resulting from research projects, the institution's annual reports, video recordings, computer programs, data sets, photographs, and art works, virtually any digital material that the institution wishes to preserve. In his view, Lynch (2003) states:
A university – based institutional repository is a set of services that a university offers to the members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and it’s community is members….At the most basic and fundamental level, an institutional repository is a recognition that the intellectual life and scholarship of our universities will increasingly be represented, documented, and shared in digital form, and that a primary responsibility of our universities is….to make them available and to preserve them….It is a new channel for structuring the university’s contribution to the broader world.
Institutional repository consists of formally organized and managed collections of digital content generated by faculty, staff and students of an institution. Institutional repositories are commonly referred to as digital repository or digital archives. IR is limited to digital research materials for which the copyright is owned by the author or the university. It offers the opportunity to provide access to research of the institution through one interface (location). It further represents university’s scholarship and showcases the international prominence of the faculty and staff, both individually and collectively. The ability to distribute research results quickly will emphasize the cutting-edge nature of university’s research. Akintunde (2009) also said that the main objectives of IR are:
To create global visibility for the institution’s scholarly research, collect content in a single location, provide open access to the university research output by self-archiving it, and store and preserve other digital assets, including unpublished literature like theses or technical reports. It consists of University original research in digital form, including articles, working papers, technical reports, conference papers, books, data sets, the university’s undergraduate and graduate catalog, images, etc.
One of the advantages of IR is that it relieves community staff of the time-consuming chores entailed in maintaining a publications presence on the Web. It enables easy and remote access to the university's research and scholarly materials from one location, (University of Delaware Library, 2010). A digital repository can hold a wide range of materials for a variety of purposes and users (JISC, 2005). Institutional repository is used in the following ways: scholarly communication, storing learning materials and courseware, electronic publishing, managing collections of research documents, preserving digital materials for the long term, adding to the university’s prestige by showcasing its academic research, knowledge management, research assessment, encouraging open access to scholarly research, housing digitized collections and so on. Most institutions and libraries are now considering open source software technology for building and developing their institutional repositories, because of its advantages. Open source software technology is a branch of software that is free for use.
Software is a set of programs, procedures, algorithms and its documentation that provide the instructions for telling a computer what to do and how to do it. It is also a set of programs and procedures that are intended to perform specific tasks on a computer system. There are three major types of software are: application software, system software and programming software. Application and system software are available in two broad classifications; open source and commercial or proprietary software. Our emphasis in this study is on open source software. An open source software therefore is, software that is available free of charge on the internet, one can download it for use as long as one has internet facility. Software such as moxilla fire fox and koha are open source. Open source software is software that has been released under an Open Source Initiative (OSI) (http://:www.oss-watch.ac.uk/resources/opensourcesoftware.xml). Open source provides broad rights to use, modify, and distribute software. The source code is accessible and flexible to manipulate and this allows user of the software to contribute to its further development and fixing of bugs. Open source software are available free of cost and its license authorizes users to run and distribute the software without any restriction. Some of the popular open source licenses are the GNU (GNU's Not Unix) General Public License (GPL), BSD license and GNU (GNU's Not Unix) Lesser General Public License, they have some differences in their terms and conditions; they ensure users freedom to use, copying, distribution and improvement of software (Iwundu and Ifeanyichkwu, 2010). The development of open source software is an effective way to create digital library operations without financial investment (Lee, 2009). Open source is very popular and widely adopted by libraries because of its low purchase costs; there are no initial purchase fees, licensing fees, or upgrade fees. It is generally not tied to proprietary hardware, thus lowering the hardware cost. Some of the open source software use for building institutional repositories are: DSpace, Eprint, Fedora, Greenstone, i-Tor and many others.
Dspace is a digital repository software platform with broad functionality for the capture, management, preservation and redistribution of digital scholarly research materials in a variety of formats, for a variety of purposes (Walker, 2010). Pennock (2006) views Dspace as a digital repository system designed to capture, store, index, preserve, and provides access to institutional digital research materials. Morris (2009) opined that it is an out-of-the –box repository software package for creating open repositories focused on delivering digital content to end users, and providing a full set of tools for managing and preserving content within the application. The Dspace application itself provides ways of capturing, storing, indexing, preserving and disseminating digital objects. With its primary role as an institutional repository package, it houses the intellectual output of the institution when such output is in digital form. This can include, but is not limited to, research papers, conference papers, book chapters, datasets, learning objects and, of course, E-Theses.
DSpace was initially developed by Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in collaboration, [http//www.ariadne.ac.uk/issued41/jones/#8]. Their objective was to create a package that could provide an institutional repository which addresses the problem of digital preservation as a central theme. The software development started in November 2000 as part of the HP and MIT alliance and in November 2002 they released Dspace version 1.0. In July 2007, Dspace foundation was formed. Since then there have been considerable changes to the process of development, and these changes are continuing. A number of Dspace users have taken on the role of developers contributing codes back into the core.
DSpace open source software possess many feature and functionalities such as: authorization and authentication features, Dublin Core metadata, Open Archive Initiative Harvesting Protocol (OAI-PH), etc. Among the numerous advantages of DSpace software as an open source for institutional repository are that it appears to have the largest community of users and developers that provides frequent upgrades; be completely customizable; be effective for long term preservation of digital material; be user interface friendly. It also possesses basic and advanced search capabilities; support all file formats.
The most common use of the DSpace IR software is by academic and research libraries as an open access repository for managing their faculty and student output. However there are many organizations using the software to manage digital data for project, subject repository, web archive or dataset repository. Despite continuous and sustained effort on the part of libraries to encourage participation, it was clear that the biggest challenge to IR is how to enrich the content and increase their utilization. Therefore, for institutions to attain good height and achieve their objectives, they must have quantitative user education approach and set objectives such as to achieve high level of satisfaction and ensure the survival of their IR.
User Education means educating the library patrons, whether students, staff, or members of the public on how to use the library, its services and invites them to find out more of the services. In order to successfully promote the true value of IR, library staff of the institution must move out and become personal advocates for the institution. They must find authors to submit materials and convey the value of IR to the campus community. The library does this by organizing series of conferences, capacity building workshops and seminars. Getting users to become aware of and utilize what is available in IR is at the centre of maximizing the use of IR. But, in spite of its numerous advantages, not many universities in Nigeria have started using this software for repository. Only the University of Jos has launched its DSpace repository on the internet.
The University of Jos (UNIJOS) is a federal university in Jos, Plateau State, central Nigeria. The school offers courses in law, medicine, pharmacy, natural sciences, social sciences, the built environment as well as arts and humanities. What became Unijos was first established in November 1971 as a satellite campus of the University of Ibadan. The first batch of students were admitted in January 1972 as pre-degree students with the first Bachelor of Arts degree program begun in October 1973. In October 1975, then military government under General Murtala Mohammed, established the Unijos as a separate institution. Classes began at the newly reorganized University of Jos in October 1976 with 575 students spread over the existing four faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Education, Natural Sciences and Medical Sciences. Post-graduate programs were added in 1977. By 1978 Faculties of Law and Environmental Sciences were established and the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences were separated. The University of Jos Library is organized on subject division basis, with three broad units; namely the administration, subject libraries, and support services. Support services include the bindery and technical services (including orders, cataloguing, circulation, serials and reprography). This unit is generally responsible for the acquisition and processing of all library materials. The library administration, which includes the systems unit, ensures the effective running of the university library. The systems unit is responsible for the computerization and digitization of the library. Subject libraries are service points, eight in number corresponding with the number of faculties in the university. The subject libraries seek to concentrate at one point and for the convenience of the reader the range of library materials of interest to clients irrespective of their format. Each subject library is headed by a librarian whose primary duties include the development of the collection (in conjunction with lecturers and students) and provision of reference and information services to the clientele. Each subject library has a collection of encyclopedia, dictionaries, handbooks, other reference materials, serials and related materials. (http://www.unijos.edu.ng/library/?q=FAQ).
To facilitate the utilization of IR in University of Jos, online electronic resources were subscribed by the library. The University of Jos Library has in recent years through licensing, and solicitation acquired institutional access to appropriate databases to supplement the hard copy collections towards meeting the research, teaching and learning needs of the entire research and University of Jos communities. Some of these are: eGranary, EBSCOHost, AGORA, HINARI, Oxford Journals, JSTOR, DATAD, OARE, and Nigerian Virtual Library. (http://www.unijos.edu.ng/library/?q=FAQ).
There are significant achievements of the University of Jos (Unijos) library in her adopting theDspace IR, (http://dspace.unijos.edu.ng/). Part of its great features include but are not limited to: Contains research outputs of university community as well as other institutional, and self-archiving. Unijos is among the top 800 universities in the world which adopted Dspace IR in their library, created in 2009, she ranked 668 by July 2010 (712th in January 2010), (http://repositories.webometrics.info/top800repinst.asp?offset=650).
Statement of the Problem.
A lot of teaching and research goes on in the Universities and therefore a lot of research outputs
are generated. There is a need then to preserve, manage and disseminate these outputs to other
researchers. Such output include: journal articles submitted for publication (pre-prints), articles accepted for publication (post prints), conference papers, working papers, theses and dissertations, technical reports, etc. In some years back, some of these intellectual output like theses and dissertations are preserved and managed in libraries manually. The manual approach lack quick and wide access to researchers around the globe. Recently, the importance of application of technological innovations in the management of academic libraries has greatly improved the situation. Information technology helps to provides access to resources to several people at a time, unlike the manual way of information delivery services. Today, one of such tremendous improvements in the library services is the introduction of Dspace Institutional Repository with seemingly good features and potentials.
However, in spite of the applause and recommendations of Dspace IR software, there appears to be intriguing ignorance on its performance. Some scholars are yet to understand how the software works. Many need clarification, assurance and certainty that the innovation is effective as well as workable. However, these studies really do not illuminate the full range of developments surrounding institutional repository software utilization. With particular reference to Nigeria, research on this emerging technology appears to be lacking. It is against this backdrop that this study was conducted to address the critical relevance of Dspace technology in the management of institutional repositories. In other words, what are the major institutional repository service provisions accommodated in Dspace for their institutional repository. It is equally important to know the extent that these provisions are utilized by both librarians and academic staff of institutions that have deployed Dspace. This is the critical knowledge gap that this study sets out to fill.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the utilization of Dspace open source institutional repository software in University of Jos Library, Nigeria. Specifically, the study is intended to:
i. Ascertain users’ level of knowledge of key provisions of Dspace software for institutional repository services.
ii. Examine the extent these provisions are utilized by the University of Jos
iii. Find the extent University of Jos is benefiting from Dspace institutional repository utilization.
iv. Find out the user education methods for the promotion of Dspace institutional repository.
v. Examine the academic staff’s level of awareness of the various user education methods
provided for Dspace institutional repository.
vi. Identify the challenges of Dspace IR software to University of Jos.
vii. Suggest strategies to enhance the utilization of the Dspace IR software in University of Jos.
The following research questions were formulated to guide this study:
i. What is users’ level of knowledge of key provisions of Dspace software for institutional repository services?
ii. To what extent are these provisions being utilized by the University of Jos library staff and academic staff of the University?
iii. To what extent is University of Jos benefiting from Dspace IR utilization?
iv. What are the user education methods for the promotion of Dspace IR?
v. What is academic staff level of awareness of the user education methods provided for Dspace IR?
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