Demographics, Socio-Economic and Cognitive Skills as Barriers to Information Seeking in a Digital Library Environment

Demographics, Socio-Economic and Cognitive Skills as Barriers to Information Seeking in a Digital Library Environment

Felicia Yusuf (Landmark University, Nigeria), Sola Owolabi (Landmark University, Nigeria), Ayooluwa Aregbesola (Landmark University, Nigeria), Sunday Oguntayo (Landmark University, Nigeria), Foluke Okocha (Landmark University, Nigeria) and Toluwani Eyiolorunse (Landmark University, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0296-8.ch009


The chapter considers the importance of demographic and socio-economic factors as well as cognitive skills to information seeking in a digital library environment. Demographic factors such as age and gender were considered. Younger adults were found to respond positively to the demands of information seeking in the digital environment while their older counterparts are still struggling to come to terms with the changes. In the same vein, studies have revealed that the value placed on technology by men and women varies. While men express high level of confidence in navigating the digital environment, women still suffer low self-confidence in doing same. Identified socio-economic factors that also constitute a barrier to information seeking in a digital environment include income level, level of education, non-availability of ICT infrastructures and epileptic power supply especially in Africa among others. Unwillingness to see one's needs as information needs, inability to articulate one's information needs, unawareness of information sources, low self-efficacy, poor search skills among others were identified as cognitive barriers to information seeking in the digital environment. Based on the findings of this chapter, the study recommends that for persons who are adjudged to be the older generation, it is imperative for them to acquire requisite ICT skills that will make it easier for them to navigate the digital environment. There is also a clarion call on African leaders to provide infrastructures that will enable ICT to thrive as the digital environment is fast replacing the hitherto traditional one.
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Information Needs As Precedence Of Information Seeking

Information seeking is preceded by information needs. Without a specific need information seeking process will not have proper definition and seeker behavior that typifies the information seeking process. Thompson & Zeynep (2004) conceptualized need as a discoverable matter or fact. He further asserted that needs are objectives in the sense that they are what one must look for to support his or her profession. Needs are a matter of priority, what we need is overriding reason. Information needs could be seen as demand (requirement) and want (desire). Haruna and Mabawunku (2001) explained that needs arise when the state of possessed knowledge is less than what is needed to deal with some issues, and that information needs are diverse, consistently changing and not amenable to generalization. The uses of information vary among individuals, groups and society. Krikelas (1983) defined information need as the recognition of the existence of uncertainty in decision making. Information need is also referred to as the extent to which information is required to solve problems as well as the degree of expressed satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the information (Ehikhamenor, 1990).

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