Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


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Library Philosophy and Practice 2011


Universities the world over are centres for academic pursuits as well as place where learning is sought at its maximum level. A university library, be it federal or state owned, is part of a university set up. Accordingly, it seeks to advance the functions of the institution (Kumar, 1987) by generating and transacting information in form of records for teaching, learning, research and for administration in the course of its daily activities (Akporhonor and Iwhiwhu, 2007). In other words, records are created and used in the operation of a university and its library. For a university library to function effectively and carry on with its services, there are usually one form of record or the other. Records are synonymous with human activities and have existed for centuries (Esse, 2000). Records are any recorded information, regardless of form or medium received and maintained by an agency, institution or organization, or individual in pursuance of its legal obligations or in the transaction of business of any kind (Charman, 1990). Thus records are documentary evidence of transaction made or received in pursuance of legal obligations regardless of the physical form or characteristics of the media. They are information identified by the particular functions they perform in support of business, accountability and cultural heritage. They substantiate who did what, where and when. According to Popoola (2000), what actually keeps the civil service going is any modern system of government are recorded information, which are used for planning, decision making and controlling. For any effective planning decision-making and controlling to take place, there must be timely access to records. University libraries are great producers of records, some of the very vital university libraries record include, financial, and personnel records (Asogwa, 2004).

Financial records refers to all records in respect of financial matters including budget requests, actual budget allocation, statement of expenditure, shipment receipt and invoices, requisition and purchase orders, receipt of moneys received or expended. Of all the record generated in the university library, personnel records pose one of the greatest challenges. Employee or personnel records may be defined as those that contain initial application forms, results of physical examination, periodic appraisals, transfers and promotion etc. Emmerson (1984) argued that personnel records pose a particular problem because of their bulk, longevity and sensitivity. Professional literature on records management pays little or no attention at all to the subject of the management of personal records. Yet, these records occupy large area in public offices. Most archival institutions are reluctant to accession personnel records in their custody, arguing that these records occupy valuable office space, which cannot be justified (Republic of South Africa, Circular, 1963).

Records and archives occupy different ends of a continuum, records become archives after they have been appraised and found worthy of permanent preservation in an institution.

Odlyzko (2000) and Rebore (2005) see records management as the management science of controlling the quantity, qualities and costs of records and it encompasses the procedural system operations, space, equipment and staff required to administer the records. In the same vein, Kemoni and Wamukoya (2000) Venne (2001), Efunbayo (2003), Chris (2006), Ijaduola and Sotunde (2006) have posited that proper records management go a long way in enhancing effective administration of a university. Nonetheless, despite the indispensible value of records and the gargantuan amount of money spent on its creation and maintenance, proper management of records that will lead to economy and efficiency in their creation used and maintenance as well as disposition is seldom considered the top priority of the university system (Popoola, 2003). Week (1986) identified the following component as major component of records maintenance: filing system, retention and disposal and preservation. Accordingly, this study seeks to provide empirical data on how record are managed in federal and state university libraries in south-south zone of Nigeria.