Date of this Version
Introduction: Though e-resources come with a plethora of advantages, there are some hindrances regarding their management, usage, maintenance, and access in terms of space and time. Upon the lockdown of all institutions per restrictions and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, students were all ordered to move to their various homes. Some students are located in remote areas where there is lack of internet connectivity, others from poor financial backgrounds are not using android phones, others never offered or know much about information literacy. However, all these students are expected to participate in online learning using virtual platforms, online library services, and access to e-resources. The study investigated the challenges and obstacles confronting students’ access to e-resources in terms of space and time in a resource-limited environment like Ghana.
Methodology: The study employed open-data-collection-kits (ODK) and google forms, coupled with statistical tools (Excel 2013 and GraphPad Prism 8) in analysing a purposively y selected 174 students’ responses to a survey-based questionnaire. The study used level 400 students from Departments of Social Science Education and Business Studies Education of the Simon Diedong Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies. This is because they offer an information literacy course and will have had the opportunity to use the library resources and are conversant with the techniques of searching library collection.
Results: Findings from the study indicated that students need e-resources and virtual libraries to gain access to quality and briskly available information for their academic work. The results also showed that most students do not have the time to search for quality information online. They resort to places like google.com, ask.com, seek.com, and other non-academic sites for quick information. It was also realized that students do not know how to gain free access to internationally free e-resources and are not conversant with virtual libraries and most rely on social media platforms for assistance from non-staff and inexperienced people for support. It also emerged that quite a significant number of students indicated they are not aware of the availability of e-resource or the digital library. Major challenges identified were the following: lack of suitable devices for access, poor internet connectivity for downloading, lack of access to professional support, and poverty as major which lead to their poor usage of e-resources and virtual libraries.
Conclusion: Students had no experience in accessing e-resources, techniques involved in accessing them, and their usage. They did not also know the difference between academic and non-academic sources of information. Information literacy should therefore be introduced as a required course for levels 100 and 300.