The effect of information literacy on the utilization of electronic information resources in selected academic and research institutions in Uganda
Kinengyere, Alison Annet
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Purpose – Uganda has gone a step forward in ensuring that information resources available for researchers and students are maximally utilized. Academic and research libraries are participating in supporting and achieving the missions of their respective institutions by teaching the competency of information literacy (IL). This paper seeks to examine the effect IL has had on the usage of electronic information resources in academic and research institutions in Uganda. It aims to focus on the innovations that Makerere University Library (the biggest and oldest academic library in Uganda) has undertaken to ensure that library users (the Makerere University community and other collaborating universities and research institutions in Uganda) are trained on how to access a variety of available information resources, evaluate the information and apply it to address their needs. Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected for the study using interviews to both library staff and users of the selected institutions: two library staff in charge of e-resources and ten students/researchers were interviewed from each institution. However, user statistics for the years 2004-2005, as well as the IL training sessions conducted, were the main sources of information. The study focused on academic and research institutions – Makerere University, Uganda, Martyrs University, Nkozi and National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS). The researcher is physically involved in the IL program in Makerere University. The usage statistics were compiled and interpreted. Findings – The paper finds that availability of information does not necessarily mean actual use. The study shows that some of the available resources have not been utilized at all. This means that users are not aware of the availability of such resources, they do not know how to access them, or they do not know what the resources offer. All this calls for continued information literacy programs. IL is very vital in influencing utilization of e-resources. Information professionals are needed to pass on IL skills to library users, while library users should endeavor to find out what information is available online for their consumption. Their attitudes and perceptions also influence the level of utilization. Originality/value – The paper shows the extent of information literacy and its influence on electronic resources in Uganda. It points out the challenges for the future and provides a number of recommendations for the way forward, which will be helpful both to the relevant communities in Uganda and to other academics in similar circumstances.