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Nigerian university students have become receptive to Internet technology. However, literature indicates that there are sparse studies on how and why the students make use of this technology. The few studies on Internet uses and gratifications were conducted in the context of America, Europe and India. This research looks at Nigerian university students‟ Internet uses and gratifications with specific attention to two Internet access points – cybercafé and MTN Universities Connect in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and University of Benin, Edo State. Using a survey method, 350 copies of questionnaire were purposively administered and the results of the two-paired sample t-test shows discernible statistically significant differences between cybercafé and MTN Universities Connect uses. Also, the study applied an Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) to compare the gratifications of the two Internet access points. Applying Kaiser Criterion, all factors that had the eigenvalue of > 1.0 were retained. Through varimax rotation method, the factor analysis generated two and three gratification dimensions for MTN Universities Connect and cybercafé respectively. This study is therefore a demonstration of the fact that Internet access point (technology) is a predictor for Internet uses and gratifications.

Background of the study

Today‟s society is regarded as an information-based economy; a place where information is traded like commodity. Information is thus regarded as a major force of civilization, either in terms of technological advancement, human capital development or socio-cultural transformation. The evolvement of Internet has brought about the emergence of an enhanced society, through auto-aided human capacity or what Castells (2004:8) describes as informationalism, “a technological paradigm based on the augmentation of the human capacity of information processing and communication made possible by the revolutions in microelectronics, software and genetic engineering. Computers and digital communications, especially the Internet are the most direct expression of this revolution” (italics mine). Internet, being one of the twenty-first century world‟s greatest technological revolutions, is an augmentation of “human capacity”; it provides a wide range of possibilities in the new world order where information has become an essential commodity. Through its numerous and vast electronic resources, the Internet provides a pool of opportunities to individuals, groups, organizations and institutions. The Internet can therefore be described as one of the most versatile technologies in human history because information about virtually all aspects of human endeavors can be retrieved from it. More so, there is virtually no aspect of human life that has not been affected, either negatively or positively, directly or indirectly by the Internet. Educational institutions which are the hub of knowledge and information are equally taking advantage of this great revolution of the 21st century. Before the Internet revolution in the 1990s, libraries all over the world depended mostly on print materials as means of storage, dissemination and retrieval. But today, digital library as against the traditional library has become more relevant to the contemporary society because of its numerous resources and flexibility through the Internet technology. The resources of digital library are situated in the cyberspace and are available to multiple users operating and accessing it from different locations both synchronously and asynchronously. Virtual or digital library can therefore be described as the library without borders or library without walls because the Internet, which is a major drive of a digitalized library, has shriveled the limitations of time, space, speed and access. In Nigeria, serious application of information technologies to library processes did not start until the early 1990s after individual efforts at library automation at University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, and the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in 1970s and 1980s had failed largely due to lack of technical know-how (Alabi, 1987). Since then, tertiary institutions in Nigeria have been striving hard to catch-up with their contemporaries in developed countries. However, there are varied opinion on the extent and pace of adoption of Internet by Nigerians.

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