Analysis of information technology (IT) applications in academic libraries in Kuwait

Publication Date05 Apr 2011
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/07419051111135227
Pages9-15
AuthorVeeramani Marimuthu,Vinayagamoorthy Paraman
SubjectLibrary & information science
Introduction
This study was conducted in some of
the major universities and academic
institutions in Kuwait. Exhaustive
research was undertaken by the author’s
visiting some of the major libraries in
Kuwait, spending time spent with key
personnel there. It has been an arduous
task to assess the overall situation of the
library and information services in these
libraries in Kuwait. As far as it can be
determined, the library and information
sector is not commensurate with the
general development of the country.
Undoubtedly, there is insufficient use of
technologyto allow for the effectiveflow
of information and this is a major
hindrance to R&D. The author believes
that this can be solved if there is a more
positive attitude towar d information
dissemination. It should be viewed as
one of the important facets for national
development and should be integrated
into socio-economicdevelopment plans.
When priorities in development plans
have to be set, the value attributed by
decision makers to information services
will be clearly reflected in the
budget allocations set aside for the
establishment and development of
information institutions and information
education programs. Setting priorities in
these important areas will undoubtedly
enable the countryto meet the challenges
of the information era of the next
millennium. As sta ted by John F. Budd,
“The dissemination of knowledge is one
of the cornerstones of civilization.”
Development and use of information
technology (IT) enables the libraries to
offer their clientele not only the
appropriate resources available within
their own libraries but also to provide
access to information in other libraries,
both local and farther afield (Raza and
Nath, 2007).In this age, there is a greater
responsibility on the part of the library
and information centers to provide the
latest and most timely information to
their users to facilitate improvement in
the quality of education in the country.
This cannot be accomplished without
each institution having IT applications
associated with theirlibrary services. To
meet current requirements, library
professionals must be able to perform
various tasks in order to cope with the
changes in the technological
environment.
Need for the study
Today’s academic libraries are
confronted with challenges on several
fronts: information availability, rising
costs, mega bookstores, online
information providers, multimedia
products, document delivery services,
and other competitive sources of
information are apparently threatening
their role and even their very survival.
With evolving technological innovations
and the variety and abundance of
information that is becoming available
to information users, competitive
pressures will continue to intensify for
academic libraries. The products/
services introduced in the library should
match the requirements of intended
users. The present study highlights the
application ofIT in academic libraries in
Kuwait.
Objectives of the study
The primary objective of this study
was to understand the nature of
IT-supported resources, facilities, and
services provided in academic libraries
in Kuwait. The main objectives of the
study were conducted to:
.Survey academic institutions in
Kuwait with regard to background
information about the library
infrastructure and librarians.
.Gain information about the status
of IT based resources, facilities and
services provided by the academic
libraries in Kuwait.
.Identify the types of IT-based
service possessed by the librarians
under the study.
.To learn the impact of IT on library
functions as perceived by library
professionals and users.
Methodology
This paper is based on the
questionnaire survey conducted at
academic institutions in Kuwait.
Opinions of librarians rega rding IT
application were elicited using a
structured questionnaire, followed up
with interviews. Opinions on different
issues pertainingto the library operations
were sought from the respondent
libraries. The questionnaires were
mailed to 128 respondents in the
country, out of which 102 respondents
(79.69 percent) were received filled out
completely with all the relevant
information requested in the
questionnaire. However, geographically
the scope of the study is limited to only
academic institutions located in the
country. Table I illustrates some
examples of institutions surveyed for
the proposed study .
Analysis of data and discussion
Details of questionnaires distributed to
librarians and responses received
The current study received
102 completed responses from
librarians; this information constitutes
the primary data for analysis and
interpretation (out of 128 mailed
questionnaires, or a 79.69 percent
Library Hi Tech News
Number 2 2011, pp. 9-14, qEmerald Group Publishing Limited, 0741-9058, DOI 10.1108/07419051111135227 9
Analysis of information technology (IT)
applications in academic libraries in Kuwait
Veeramani Marimuthu and Vinayagamoorthy Paraman

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