Access to and Usage of E-Resources in Selected Higher Learning Institutions in Tanzania

Access to and Usage of E-Resources in Selected Higher Learning Institutions in Tanzania

Wulystan Pius Mtega (Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania), Philbert Nyinondi (Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania) and Andrew Msungu (Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4070-2.ch010
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Abstract

This chapter assesses the usage of e-resources in higher learning institutions in Tanzania. It identifies how electronic resources are acquired, determines the factors influencing the usage of e-resources, and assesses how e-resources are managed and disseminated. The chapter also investigates the efficiency of the Consortium of Tanzania University and Research Libraries in enhancing accessibility and usage of e-resources. The study employed a survey in data collection where face-to-face interviews and online surveys were used. Collected data was analysed through content analysis. The study found that all higher learning institutions in Tanzania had Internet connectivity, thus providing an opportunity for usage of online and offline resources. It was found that the usage of e-resources was influenced by users’ attitudes, preference and searching skills, funds for e-resources subscription, Internet connectivity, and electric power. It is recommended for higher learning institutions to invest in ICTs infrastructure and support the current trends of subscription and usage of e-resources.
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Background Information

Information and Communication Technologies in Higher Learning Institutions

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be defined as the techniques, methods and tools used to manipulate, manage, access and communicate information. The phrase is equally used to refer to applications of computer and Internet, which are used for collection, processing, storage, and dissemination of information resources. The usage of ICTs can be acknowledged from all aspects of man's life. In supporting the argument, Emmanuel and Sife (2008) presented the positive effects of ICTs in various sectors including business, production, education, politics, governance, culture and other aspects of human life. In the educational sector, ICTs are used for teaching, learning and research purposes. This is possible as ICTs have capacities to create/collect and manipulate data, store and share information resources. The technologies are also used for accessing stored information from electronic storage devices.

ICTs have influenced the way people access information. In the education sector, ICTs are commonly used for instructional activities. For instance, in developed countries these technologies are adopted from primary to higher education. In developing countries, the technologies are mainly accessible and applied in higher education. Moreover, ICTs and information hubs for higher learning institutions in developing countries are libraries. In fact, it is a prerequisite for each of the higher learning institutions to have a library for supporting teaching-learning process to be accredited. In libraries, ICTs are used for acquisition, storage and dissemination of e-resources. Angello and Wema (2010) reported that Libraries in Tanzania’s higher learning institutions have computers connected to Internet, and CD-ROMs as an alternative during slow Internet and/or when offline.

Off-line resources stored in CD-ROMs and databases are common among institutions with limited Internet connectivity, those connected to the Internet use both online and offline resources. In most cases, some of the libraries have databases to meet information needs of the users. Few libraries subscribe to e-resources; others enjoy the national-wide subscription of e-journals through the Consortium of Tanzania University and Research Libraries (COTUL).

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