Date of this Version
Eserada E. R. and Okolo E. S.(2019) USE OF ONLINE PUBLIC ACCESS CATALOGUE (OPAC) IN SELECTED UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES IN SOUTH- SOUTH NIGERIA
This paper examines the use of OPAC in selected university libraries in south- south Nigeria. In actualizing this, four (4) research questions were formulated which are: How frequently do the users in university libraries in South-South Nigeria use OPAC? What are the purposes of use of OPAC? How frequently do the patrons search for various information resources through the OPAC? What are the challenges faced by library users with the use of OPAC? The study adopted the descriptive survey design. The population of the study is made up of 18,332 registered under -graduate library users and the sampling size of 920, which led to the distribution of 460 questionnaires to each of the University libraries. The findings from the study are as follows: Students’ use of OPAC in university libraries in South-South Nigeria is low, the main purpose for using OPAC by the respondents are to locate documents, to know about a document without physically visiting the library, to find out if a document is available in the library, as well as to search and retrieve information. The frequency of use shows that a large chunk of the respondents rarely and never use OPAC for searching for information resources in the library while a few respondents sometimes use OPAC to source materials in the library. From the findings the following challenges were identified: Poor/irregular power supply, lack of OPAC knowledge and unfamiliarity with the OPAC system, Inadequate computer terminals, Navigational frustrations, OPAC is not user friendly enough, Lack of assistance from library staff and failed search or no records retrieved, Inability to use appropriate search terms, Complicated/Confusing to me, retrieve unmanageably large number of records and search requests/terms are too broad or too narrow. The study thus concluded by giving the following recommendations: Efforts should be geared towards inculcating on university students the knowledge and skills required to use OPAC, Universities should be equipped with the enabling infrastructure such as adequate power supply, effective Internet connectivity etc. that will encourage the use of OPAC and University libraries should formulate policies that would encourage mandatory use of OPACs.