Anytime, anywhere access to information resources: a case study from Kuwait

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/LHTN-08-2019-0049
Pages20-24
Date02 September 2019
Publication Date02 September 2019
AuthorHanadi Jumah Buarki,Saleeq Ahmad Dar
SubjectLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,Library technology,Library & information services
Anytime, anywhere access to information
resources: a case study from Kuwait
Hanadi Jumah Buarki and Saleeq Ahmad Dar
Introduction
With emergence of mobile devices,
there has been wide adoption by
students for ubiquitous access of
information. The most important aspect
of the mobile devices is that it allows
teaching and other educational activities
to be delivered anywhere and anytime
removing geographical barriers, thereby
providing more freedom to learners
(Wang et al., 2009). The user base;
accessing information using miniature
devices is continuously growing (Mills,
2009). By 2020,it is expected that 80 per
cent of the world’s adult population will
own a smartphone(Johnson et al.,2015).
Walking onto an academic library,
one notices that the majority of students
are using mobile devices because they
provide students with immediate,
portable access to online information
retrieval, file sharing and interacting
with professors and fellow students.
Mobile devices have become an
indispensable part of students’ lives. In
the general population, mobile devices
provide access to timely medical
information during an emergency;
information on product reviews and
pricing; facilitate the sharing of
informationin a crisis or natural disaster;
and even enabling citizens to report
traffic barriers, potholes, or downed
power lines to community officials in
real time (Vollmer, 2010). Students
quickly employ mobile technology to
read the news, check the weather, send
and receive e-mails, use social
networking sites, and carry out business
transactions (Smith et al.,2010). They
can even now record class lectures,
record observations and analyse data.
One more modern trend Bring Your
Own Device (BYOD) refers to the
practice of students bringing their
laptops, tablets, smartphones or other
mobile devices with them to the
learning or work environment (NMC
Horizon Report, 2015).
To determine the usage of mobile
phones among university students,
Rajanithan (2014) found that students
mostly use mobile phone for entertainment
rather than education. However, medical
students mostly access medical
information, as investigated by Boruff
and Storie (2014). One more study
done by Economides and Grousopoulou
(2010) found that University students
use their mobiles mostly for arranging
meetings with their classmates and
being mutually informed about courses.
Mobile devices make it very easy to
move around with many reading
materials all in one small device; for
instance, userscan upload many e-books
for storage in Personal Digital Assistant
(PDA) and access whenever they feel
like (Hey et al,2007). Cismaru and
Cismaru (2011) examined that by
directly connecting to the Internet
through a wireless network on campus,
students can easilyenjoy several benefits
of laptop and mobiledevice use in higher
education courses.The growing need for
high mobility and to stay connected is
the prime driverof increasing mobile use
in the world today.
Cost is one more intriguing challenge
in implementing mobile technology in
libraries, especially in the developing
countries. Some institutions, especially
those in developing countries, are not
ready to invest in piloting new
technologies. Where the institutions are
convinced about the technology, It is
unlikely that they can provide individual
librarians with the required equipment
for the implementation process (Barnhart
and Pierce, 2011). Lack of ICT/inadequate
ICT skills is one more constraint in
libraries, particularly in third world
countries.
Access of information resources in Kuwait
Kuwait is a wealthy country that
provides its public with free social
amenities and educational services.
Kuwait has high levels of education The
College of Basic Education (CBE) at
the Public Authority for Applied
Education and Training (PAAET) aims
to meet the needs of the workforce and
development requirements of the
country. The CBE offers a four-year
program leading to the award of
Bachelor of Education and the teaching
faculty are graduates of worldwide
accredited and local universities
(Buarki et al., 2011).
Research plays a vital role in
improving education at the CBE and is a
necessity in getting promoted. Active
research raises students’ educational
level of learning and assists them in
decision-making. With mobile devices,
students are more likely to access
information, thus providing an
opportunity to indulge in the broader
realm of information overload and even
making learning and critical thinking
skills more attractive.
Kuwait offers mobile services on one
of the most advanced mobile networks in
the Middle East. Mobile networks cover
100 per cent of its land area and the
population. The long-term evolution
(LTE) coverage in Kuwait is considered
the fourth in the world, after South Korea,
Japan and Hong Kong (Emstell, 2017).
The mobile market in Kuwait experienced
substantial growth in mobile penetration to
over 200 percent in 2015 (Al-Hunaiyyan
et al., 2018). Another research study
suggests that a significant number of
users in Kuwait use the internet for
communication and academic purpose
(Al-Ansari, 2006). According to
International Telecommunication Union
ITU, 98 percent of individuals have an
internet connection, and 99.7 percent of
households have internet access at home
(ITU, 2018). Mobile pervasiveness is
changing information seeking behaviors
in Kuwaiti students.Al-Daihani (2018a),
reported students’ most frequent use of
20 LIBRARY HITECH NEWS Number 7 2019, pp. 20-24, V
CEmerald Publishing Limited, 0741-9058, DOI 10.1108/LHTN-08-2019-0049

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