Evaluation of electronic information services in academic libraries in Saudi Arabia
2010-12-06T09:51:48Z (GMT) by
This study aims to investigate the strengths and weaknesses of the information technology services in academic libraries in Saudi Arabia and to propose ways in which these services could be developed. The methodology applies theoretical models, questionnaires and structured interviews. Two models were developed to investigate the behaviour of academic staff and students, the first representing users' cognitive attitudes and the degree of user-satisfaction with the services provided. The second model examines interactions between the university administration, computer centres and libraries. Questionnaires and interviews have been used to generate empirical findings. The main findings concentrate on the following issues. Most respondents had used computers either on or off campus. Use of computers at the selected universities was found to vary significantly. Respondents from science faculties were found to use technology more than other users. IT systems, network infrastructure and the availability of qualified staff were, to varying degrees, found to be a constant source of concern and a hindrance to the provision of effective services. There was no consistent pattern of use and there was frequently a failure to provide any service at all. The only means for academic staff and users to gain access to the Internet was through departmental provision as, at the time of this research, this was not available in the libraries. A lack of funding, qualified staff, programmers and connections to the computer networks are regarded as major reasons for not providing efficient electronic services to users. The main recommendations of this study are that coordination and co-operation between libraries, making full use of technology, should be established. Universities should lobby the Finance Ministry to argue for a change in the regulations to allow libraries to generate their own revenue in order to enhance existing services. University administrations, computer centres and academic departments should establish formal procedures to provide effective electronic services to users. The present provision of training facilities for both staff and students needs to be extensively reviewed and enhanced.