Access and utilization of Information resources and services by Water specialists in Kenya: The case of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation

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Moi University
Enabling technologies have led to the transformation of libraries and informationcenters‘ collection & services from the traditional prints to e-collections such as e-books, e-journals and other virtual reference services. This has been necessitated bythe environment of increasing economic pressure, rapid shifts in the behaviors andexpectations of the patrons and evolving patterns of scholarly publishing. Thechanges have exerted pressure on libraries and more on the parent institutions in theprovision of the necessary infrastructure and the actual access to e-resources. Thepressure on libraries is in the sourcing, acquisition, repackaging and the provision ofnecessary guidance to end users. Underutilization of these resources may lead to userapathy and affect funding. The aim of the study was to investigate the access and useof e-journals by students and academic staff at USIU and propose strategies forimprovement. The objectives of the study were to: identify the types of e-journaldatabases available in the library; determine the frequency of access and use of e-journals by users; establish the policies in place for governing access to and use of e-journals; examine the level of information and computer literacy skills among userson their access and use of e-journals; establish the degree of awareness of theavailability of e-journals; identify major inhibitors to access and use of e-journals,and suggest measures to enhance access to and use of e-journals. The study wasguided by the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology Model byVenkatesh, et al (2003). The study adopted mixed method approach. Stratifiedrandom sampling, simple random sampling and purposive sampling techniques wereused to collect data from students and academic staff. Questionnaires and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from 202 respondents constituting 186students, 16 academic staff and 4 informants from the library. Collected data wasintegrated, presented and analyzed using qualitative and quantitative techniques ofnarratives and numerical. The major findings of the study were: USIU library has avariety of online research databases hosting online journals that are not adequate andcurrent in meeting the ever-changing information needs of users; the frequency ofaccessing e-journals is relatively low with most users accessing them occasionally;the level of awareness of e-journals and their use is low among the library clientele asmost of them do not go through training prior to access and use e-journals; libraryusers are challenged in their access and use of e-journals by restrictions via InternetProtocol (IP) addresses and slow internet speeds. The study recommends that:librarians develops and offer orientation and training programmes regularly; offercurrent awareness on e-resources; acquire and make available peer reviewed e-journals in support of education and research to meet their needs and institutionalbandwidth bundle as well as providing computer literacy program to cater for lowskill users. The librarians to develop promotional strategies that is blended, integratesand coordinates all communications channels.