THE ELECTRONIC RESOURCE SERVICES OF
THE DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY-DASMARIÑAS
LIBRARY: STATUS AND PROSPECTS
Sonia M. Gementiza
The role of libraries in an academic institution is to operate in an environment with a growing array of electronic capabilities in order to provide and organize updated information for the needs of the academic community. For this reason, faculty and students expect that the library will be as powerful and easy to use as electronic teaching tools. To address the expectation of the faculty and students, some libraries adopt new technologies such as CD–ROM, databases, the on–line public access catalog (OPAC), Internet facilities and other electronic format. Library users, particularly in this electronic age, need to develop a progressive range of information skills to manage a corresponding set of information.
Adapting to a new technology is necessary for the improvement and development of academic libraries. This is to improve the existing library services and facilities provided by an educational institution. It is also an accepted fact that libraries and librarians will continue to play important functions in the development of electronic resources.
According to Lancaster (1997), the future library must be a combination of “actual” and “virtual” materials using the electronic channels of different libraries. The virtual collection is an electronically browsable collection. He also emphasized that in contrast, tomorrow’s library, like today’s, will go beyond the limits of its own collections both “actual and virtual” in response to specific information request. Lancaster (1997) further emphasized that technology and technological resources need to be integrated as closely as possible with traditional resources within a unified approach to information founded on principles derived from studies of information seeking and using.
The library in conjunction with the computer center and the academic press must assume direct responsibility for disseminating information among scholars, and this is the reason why the Electronic Resource Services of Aklatang Emilio Aguinaldo was established.
The Electronic Resource Services of De La Salle University–Dasmariñas was introduced in June 1998 to adapt to the changing needs of the library and information technology. It provides services to students, faculty and other library clientele on the use of CD–ROM, on-line databases, Internet and other materials used with computers. This section is also in–charge of updating the library databases in the On–Line Public Access Catalog (OPAC) and other library computerization program. Moreover, it takes care of the repairs and maintenance of the library hardware. The main objective of this section is to provide resources on electronic format, electronic services and Internet facilities in order to meet the instructional, informational, and research needs of the academic community. It also serves as supplementary sources of the printed materials found in the library.
Realizing the significant role of electronic services and Internet facilities in information dissemination, therefore, it is a must to assess library services in order to meet the clientele’s need for knowledge, ideas and information (Orendain 1990).
According to Vallejo (1989) the success of any enterprises depends on proper management of the resources and activities of the unit. Management as defined by the American Management Association is guiding human and physical resources into dynamic organization units that attain their objectives to the satisfaction of those served, and with a high degree of morale and sense of attainment on the part of those rendering the service.
The Input – Process – Output (Gerstein, 1994) served as the framework of the study. The input identifies the electronic resource services aspect that needs to be assessed: services, collection, personnel, and facilities.
The process involves the assessment of the identified input. The assessment was done through a validated survey questionnaire.
The output refers to the proposed action plan for the development and improvement of the Electronic Services.
This study used the descriptive method of research. The survey was conducted at the start of the second semester, SY 1999-2000. The respondents of this study were the students and faculty members of De La Salle University – Dasmariñas who used the Electronic Resource Services during the day of survey. The faculty members and students from the different colleges comprising one hundred seventy-seven (177) respondents, who at the time of the distribution of the questionnaire used the Electronic Resource Services, answered the validated survey questionnaire. The PAARL standard, PAASCU and Competencies of Special Libraries Association in the United States were consulted and used as basis for the improvement of the questionnaire.
Descriptive statistics such as frequencies, mean and percentages were used in presenting the obtained responses to the instrument.
Results and Discussion
1. Status of the DLSU-Dasmariñas,
Electronic Resource Services
The respondents agreed that faculty members had limited participation in the selection and acquisition of Electronic resources. Most of the time resources were adequate to meet instructional and research needs. Moreover, online databases, CD-ROMs, Internet and Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) were often up to date and relevant.
The CD-ROMs and Online databases presently available at the ERS may substitute for the respondents’ research and study needs while internet resources most of the time supplemented the respondents classroom and information needs.
Most of the respondents were “often” aware of the CD-ROM and databases available at the ERS such as Jurisprudence, Social Science Source, Business Source, ERIC, Encyclopedia, Calculus, Bible Explorer and Biological Science but were “seldom” aware of the availability of the Chemistry database in CD-ROM.
The respondents rated the following items as “good”. CD-ROM, Internet directory, On-line public access catalog using the CDS/ISIS and the databases in social sciences, business sources, ERIC, Jurisprudence and Laws. The Internet and OPAC using Follett were the only ERS collection rated as “very good.”
The respondents agreed that ERS personnel were most of the time competent in both personal and professional competencies particularly in the content of information resources, assistance, subject knowledge, and provision of instruction and support.
1.3 Use and Services.
The respondents used the ERS daily with an average of 29.4 percent followed by a twice a week which got 26 percent usage. The lowest percentage use was monthly. Most of the respondents’ reason in using the ERS were to check e-mail which has a frequency of 139 or 78.5 percent followed by those who explored the internet with a frequency of 136 or 76.8. The lowest percentage was on those who used the On-line database.
Majority of the respondents conducted direct searching in the computer regarding the information they need, and the lowest percentage was just to consult the CD catalog and ERS personnel.
The respondents agreed that they seldom used the CD-ROM and On-line databases but most of the time they used the Internet and often used the On-line public access catalog.
The extent of user satisfaction on CD-ROMs and OPAC in meeting their research and study needs was often, but seldom for On-line databases.
The respondents also agreed that most of the time Internet resources were available while CD-ROMs and On-line databases were often available.
Most of the respondents agreed that the On-line databases often gave the full information they need.
1.4 Physical Facilities.
ERS physical facilities were accessible, had adequate space, offered reasonable service hours and printing cost, were architecturally arranged and properly ventilated.
The respondents agreed that the number of computer stations for networking, stand alone, CD-ROM drives and printers available were rated “good” which shows that there is a need to acquire more printers and computers.
2. Problems encountered by the respondents
The ERS respondents agreed that instructions on how to use the CD-ROM collection were not at all provided; and their use for these resources were limited.
2.2 On-line databases.
The instructions on how to use the On-line databases were seldom provided. Respondents also agreed that most of the time they had limited time to use the On-line and they lacked knowledge on how to use it.
Most of the respondents agreed that instructions on how to use the Internet were not provided at all. They also stated that most of the time respondents had “limited time” to use the Internet. They seldom retrieved information quickly, and seldom found the software/programs needed in downloading information.
2.4 OPAC (On-line Public Access Catalog) and Other Electronic Formats.
The respondents assessed that most of the time Menus format for searching information was relevant and useful, and software/programs available were enough for them to use.
3. Proposed ERS Development Program for DLSU-D.
After a careful analysis of the results of the study, the proposed action plan program for the development and improvement of De La Salle University-Dasmariñas, Electronic Resource Services was formulated. The action plan consists of mission/vision, objective, action goal, purpose, resources required, time frame, responsible persons and evaluation method. In this article only the vision/mission, objective and goals were presented.
PROPOSED ACTION PLAN
For De La Salle University-Dasmariñas Library,
Electronic Resource Services
The DLSU-Dasmariñas library which is commonly known as Aklatang Emilio Aguinaldo will respond to the dynamic information, instructional and research needs of the academic institution.
To provide resources, services and facilities for Internet, CD-ROM and other materials in electronic format in order to meet the instructional, information, and research needs of the academic community.
Evaluate and acquire CD-ROM, databases and Internet website that will support and supplement the curriculum programs offered by the university.
Prepare, design and conduct IT seminar for the library personnel that will enhance their knowledge in providing technical know how on the available electronic resources of the DLSU-Dasmariñas library.
Prepare and develop modular training for the academic community to help them identify what electronic resource collections they need in their research and make them aware on the use of electronic resources.
Propose separate Internet lease line and proxy that is solely allocated for the library use to speed up internet access.
Improve the facilities, provide additional room as well as number of computers to manipulate the electronic resources collection and additional printer to accommodate those who will ask for printing services.
Propose written policies and guidelines on the use of Electronic Resource Services
Formulate collection development policy on Internet resources.
Based on the findings of the study, it is concluded that the Electronic Resource Services are responding very well to the library and information needs of both faculty and students, however these are the components that need improvement and development. Those problems experienced by the respondents in the use of the electronic resources are not those serious, there are proposed solutions offered, and the proposed action plan, if properly implemented, will redound to the efficient and effective management of the ERS.
In the light of the significant findings and conclusions of this research, it is recommended that this study be submitted to DLSU-Dasmariñas library management council for policy decision, that the action plan and collection development plan be implemented, and the study be replicated in other DLSU-Systems for possible networking of all electronic resources.
Gerstain, M. S. (1974). The technological connection. New York: The Mac Millan
Oredain, M.A. (1990). Philippine school librarianship: A primer for Teacher-Librarians.
Manila: MCS Enterprise.
Lancaster, F. W. & Sandore, B. (1997). Technology and management in library and
information services. London: Library Association.
Vallejo, R. M. (1989). Some considerations on the establishment and management of an
information consolidation unit (ICU). Journals of Philippine Librarianship. 12, 5-16.