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The Potential of Library 2.0 Model for Research Libraries in Kenya Research summary presented at the UNISA Doctoral Forum in Pretoria, March 4, 2009 Tom KwanyaPhD CandidateUniversity of Kwa Zulu Natal Supervisor: Prof Christine Stilwell (UKZN)Prof Peter Underwood (UCT)
Background The emergence of the ICT revolution has drastically changed the way people seek and use information. Center for Information Behaviour and Evaluation Research (CIBER) released a report in 2008 that indicates that people currently exhibit a new information seeking behaviour which is not compatible with the traditional library models of service. The report says that users are “promiscuous”; skimming and bouncing off information resources.
Background CIBER’s report further says that these users: Have high ICT competencies; Prefer interactive to passive information systems; Have a higher cyber (electronic) than offline presence (text more than talk); Multi-task; Prefer infotainment content; Exhibit zero tolerance to delays in information services provisions; Rely on their peers more than experts;
Background Feel the need to remain constantly “connected”; Believe everything is on the web; and Are format agnostic. This new information seeking behaviour, as reported by CIBER, seems to influence the perception of most library users about the institutions and services. OCLC’s 2005 report on perceptions of libraries shows that: Library users only prefer libraries for borrowing books; Many current library users indicate that they will stop using the libraries soon;
Background Users want library services that fit their lifestyles and not vice versa; Users want to self-serve; Essentially users want to get information anytime anywhere anyhow; Libraries are neither the first nor the only stop for information; Users find it easier and more rewarding to “google” than visit a physical library; and Users feel that libraries are about documents, not information.
Background Research by Public Access Computing Project (PACP) also reveals (through circulation statistics) that usage of traditional library resources has been on a constant decrease since the mid 1990s while their electronic counterparts have been soaring. PACP also reports increase in the use of libraries with Internet and other online services and suggests that including Internet services actually increases the usage levels of libraries.
Background But there are scholars (Herring 2008, Price 2003, Borsato 2004, Jörgensen 2004) who are of the view that the value of the “internetization” of library services is overhyped. They point out that: The Internet cannot substitute libraries; The Internet does not have everything as assumed; The Internet lacks quality control so content credibility is low; The Internet is not really ubiquitous, even in developed countries; Internet mostly provides mere links and not information.
Background These scholars conclude that though the Internet may marginalize the library in certain respects, it cannot completely replace it. They suggest that it is important for the Internet and Library to develop a complementary model in which they synergize and make libraries a preferred destination; not just an afterthought. Could this complementary model be Library 2.0? If so, how can it help research libraries which are one of the most affected library typologies?
Research Libraries in Kenya Research Libraries in Kenya basically face the following challenges (from KLA discussions): High expectations from individual researchers and institutions; Dwindling budgets; High obsolescence rates of information resources; Lack of trained professionals capable of meeting the demands of the researchers; Inadequate resource sharing and collaboration systems; Poor information capture and dissemination habits;
Research Libraries in Kenya Knowledge gaps – not being able to cope with the rapidly changing trends; Poor state of ICT systems and knowledge; Marginalization of library staff from the real “center” of power in the organizations – generally regarded as mere support staff; and Lack of a strong professional body to support the professional and other needs of the librarians. In Kenya, however, research libraries remain the best (collection, budget, ICT systems, etc) libraries compared to public, school or academic libraries.
Library 2.0 Many definitions exist; there is no agreement yet. It is a spin-off the Web 2.0 concept. Some scholars (Casey 2007, Casey and Savastinuk 2007, Miller 2005 and 2006, Rothman 2006, Cohen 2007, Chad 2005, Blyberg 2006, Maness 2006, Habib 2006, Crawford 2006) posit that it is the application of interactive, collaborative, and multi-media web-based technologies to library services and collections. The same group of scholars identify the following as the principles of Library 2.0: The library is everywhere; The library has no barriers; The library invites participation; and The library uses flexible best of breed systems.
Library 2.0 There is agreement that Library 2.0 represents a change in librarianship but no consensus on the nature of that change: Some scholars opine it is revolutionary; Others argue that it is evolutionary; and Yet others assert that it is neither evolutionary nor revolutionary – just normal change. There are many controversies around Library 2.0 concept: Is it better than “Library 1.0” ?
Library 2.0 Walt Crawford proposes a distinction between Library 2.0 and “Library 2.0”. He asserts that while the former is technology mediated change in design and delivery of library services, the latter is confrontational and views librarians as rigid. The role of ICT in Library 2.0 also remains controversial; just a hype by ICT vendors to popularize their products. Some argue that it is a hollow concept touted by lazy librarians to deflect attention from real issues facing the profession (Rothman 2006, Blyberg 2008, Sheehan 2008, Gray 2006, Deschamps 2008, Levine 2006, Crawford 2006, Mercado 2008, Farkas 2005).
Library 2.0 Library 2.0 is a commitment to assess, improve, integrate and communicate library services using the newest information technology and the tried and true “human technology” (Casey and Savastinuk 2007). There is a great synchronicity between librarianship and Web 2.0 through the “read/write” features enabling library users to have greater control over the services they are offered by the libraries (Maness 2006). Blyberg (2008) identifies catalogues as one of the areas proposed for a drastic shift in terms of access and control.
Library 2.0 Practitioners and scholars report discernible resistance to Library 2.0 (Crawford 2006, Smith 1990, Cohen 2007, Miller 2006). They suggest that this could be attributed to the following: Librarians think they know more than the users; Librarians do not encourage users to search for themselves; Librarians still prefer to use the old-time tested techniques of information searching and retrieval; Librarians want to classify as much information as possible; and Librarians operate in bureaucratic environments – no space for adventure.
Library 2.0 David Lee King (2007) proposes a framework for implementing Library 2.0. Begins with the traditional library as we know it today; Augmenting traditional libraries – adding search engines, online databases, email referencing, etc; Scanning the horizons for new technologies and techniques usable in the library; Experimentation with the emerging technological tools; Customer participation in testing and adopting the tools; Community creation and engagement.
Library 2.0 The following have been identified as the major challenges facing libraries attempting to implement Library 2.0 (Helling 2007): High staff turnovers, especially if any members of the core team are involved; Use of inappropriate Library 2.0 tools; Resistance to change by various members of the library community; and Some of the core services or tools may be outside the direct control of the implementing libraries.
Library 2.0 In such cases, the following best practices have been suggested by professionals who have implemented the model: Constant training and re-training of staff to boost the competence pool; Preparation of adequate budgets for 2.0 model tools as well as the staff to handle them; Reduction of the level of third party 2.0 service dependencies; and Establishment of the services the clients really want so as to minimize resistance.
Library 2.0 Andrea Wright (2007) suggests the following “ten commandments” for effective Library 2.0 implementation: Listen to your staff; Involve staff in planning; Tell stories – demonstrate why and how; Be transparent; Report and debrief; Do your research; Manage projects efficiently and effectively; Formally convene the Emerging Technology Group; Training 2.0: Let everyone play and experience; and Celebrate success.
Research Objectives/Questions Understand the role of research libraries in Kenya What is the vision of research libraries in Kenya? What is the mission of research libraries in Kenya? Overall, what is the role of research libraries in Kenya? How well has this role been played? How are the roles of research libraries in Kenya changing in light of the information revolution? Understand the operations of research libraries in Kenya What service models are currently employed by the research libraries in Kenya?
Research Objectives/Questions How effective are these models in fulfilling the vision and mission of the libraries? How are the models applied compliant to the provisions and requirements of the Freedom of Information Policy (2006) as well as the Kenya National ICT Policy (2006)? Are there any social networks existing in the ecosystems of these libraries? What is their current impact? How can they benefit the library? What are some of the challenges already identified by the libraries and their communities of users?
Research Objectives/Questions Identify and explore other models of library service that could be adopted by the research libraries in Kenya What other library service models exist? What are their advantages and disadvantages for research libraries in Kenya? Explore the Library 2.0 Model What is Library 2.0? What are the controversies around the model? Which libraries have adopted this model? Which lessons can be learnt from their experience? What is the future of Library 2.0?
Research Objectives/Questions Applying the Library 2.0 Model for Research Libraries in Kenya What are the benefits of adopting the model for research libraries in Kenya? What challenges are the libraries likely to face when adopting this model? What is the plan of action that should be taken by research libraries in Kenya seeking to become Research Library 2.0?
Theoretical Framework David Lee King Ripple Effect Framework – for Library 2.0 implementation Maness’ four theories of Library 2.0: It is user centered It provides a multi-media experience It is socially rich It is community innovative Theories Conversation theory, Social Network Theory, Network Effect Multiplier
Research Methodology Qualitative interpretive research Case study research method Cases – Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), African Medical & Research Foundation (AMREF), International Centre for Agroforestry Research (ICRAF), and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The choice of cases is based on: The general perception of the libraries’ and their parent institutions’ commitment to excellent research both locally and internationally;
Research Methodology Representation of the local (KEMRI and KARI) and the international (AMREF, ICRAF and ILRI) scenarios which will enable the researcher to obtain diversified findings which can be applied both locally and internationally; Ease of access and anticipated cooperation from the librarians due to existing rapport between them and the researcher; The current level of adoption of new technologies in the delivery of library information services to the users; The large and remarkably diverse population of the research communities served by these libraries; and The expressed desire and willingness of the libraries to constantly modernize and transform their models and delivery of services.
Data Collection Techniques Data collection techniques to be used: Documentary analysis Individual face to face interviews Focus Group Discussions Observations (informed consent) Mystery Shopping (ethical issues) Individual interviews for librarians and library users will be conducted by research assistants who are graduates of Information Science using semi-structured questionnaires. FGDs for librarians and users will be done by the researcher using appropriate interview guides.
Data Collection Techniques Researcher and assistants will selectively conduct participant observations directly and through mystery shopping at all the cases. FGDs will be recorded on tape for further reference and back-up. Secondary data will be collected from books, journals, white papers, professional articles and online resources.
Data Analysis Data will be analyzed through: Content Analysis Conversation Analysis Descriptive/Interpretive Techniques Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) Non-numerical Unstructured Data with Indexing, Searching and Theorizing (NUD*IST) software (Nvivo) Reliability will be ensured through accurate coding, issuing explicit instructions to the participants in the project as well as maintaining objectivity throughout the process .
Data Analysis Validity threats are likely to come from Hawthorne Effect (e.g. librarians performing much better because they are aware that they are being observed) and Halo Effect (observations influenced by the researcher’s impression of the subjects). However, the researcher will strive to ensure the study achieves high validity through triangulation and use of appropriate samples which are truly representative of the research population.
Challenges This is a relatively new discipline; limited information resources. The researcher identified only one precedent of this study: a Masters (LIS) project by Michael C Habib at the University of North Carolina in 2006 focusing on academic libraries. There is also a paper by Dr Heila Pienaar and Ms Ina Smith, University of Pretoria There is also limited theory development for the subject. Lack of ubiquity of ICTs and the requisite infrastructure. Financial and time constraints.