Creator of Knowledge
Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Library and Information Science in Developing Countries: Contemporary Issues

Library and Information Science in Developing Countries: Contemporary Issues
Author(s)/Editor(s): A. Tella (University of Ilorin, Nigeria)and A.O. Issa (University of Ilorin, Nigeria)
Copyright: ©2012
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-335-5
ISBN13: 9781613503355
ISBN10: 1613503350
EISBN13: 9781613503362


View Library and Information Science in Developing Countries: Contemporary Issues on the publisher's website for pricing and purchasing information.


The field of library and information science is experiencing significant and continued transformation as a result of advancements in digital technology. Adapting to new technologies is crucial for librarians and other information professionals, but there exists a particularly acute gap in technology adoption among developing countries.

Library and Information Science in Developing Countries: Contemporary Issues explores the relationship between global technology development and the impact of new technologies on library practice, library education, and information science. Book chapters and case studies in this work provide insight to and support for practitioners and executives concerned with the management of knowledge, information, and organizational development in different types of work environments and learning communities.

Table of Contents




Library and Information Science is an interdisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to  libraries; the collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information resources; and the political economy of information. The field of library and information science is experiencing significant and continued transformation as a result of advancements in digital technology. Adapting to new technologies is crucial for librarians and other information professionals, but there exists a particularly acute gap in technology adoption among developing countries.

The revolution brought about by digital technology has lead to much development in various practices of library and information science. As a result, information professionals and information organisations have continued to integrate digital technology into the daily activities and practices. While this revolution and change has been evident in library and information science practice in the developed nations of the world, most developing countries are just experiencing the glimpse. It is worthy of note that many developing countries are not at the same level of technology or systems development as most Western countries. Most developing countries are currently in situation that developed nations were twenty years ago. The reason for this is not far-fetched. Most developed nations have advanced technological infrastructure and resources, which are driving them far ahead of the developing nations.

It should be noted again that the digital revolution has brought series of transformation, which have direct bearing on librarians and information professionals. Through digital revolution, these professionals in the developing countries are now experiencing different changes. These changes are what this book refers to as contemporary issues. The book therefore places great emphasis on those issues in the context of Library and Information Science in the developing countries. 

Library and Information Science in Developing Countries: Contemporary Issues explores the relationship between global technology development and the impact of new technologies on library practice, library education, and information science. Book chapters and case studies in this book provide insight to and support for information practitioners and executives concerned with the management of knowledge, information, and organizational development in different types of work environments and learning communities. Similarly, the book provides assessment of contemporary issues in anticipation of offering ideas in terms of practical guides and points of good practices as far as changes in Library and Information Science disciplines are concerned in the developing world. In the light of these, information organisations, library schools, librarians, and other information professionals should be aware of what constitute contemporary issues and how to integrate them into the specific contexts and audiences in the developing countries. 

This book should appeal to professionals and researchers, thinking and working globally in the fields of library and information science, knowledge management, information management, communication science, social sciences, and information technology. 

The chapters in this book are therefore divided into four major categories. They are: contemporary issues in library practice, contemporary issues in library education, issues in information science, and issues for information professionals in the third world countries. These four categories detailed the contents represented in the book, and more importantly, they appeal to readers to read along and enjoy the piece. The next section provides description of each of the chapters and describes their contributions to the book and generally to Library and Information Science. 


The book kick-starts its discussion on contemporary issues in library practices. It creates awareness on the emerging trend in library practices in developing countries, which many librarians might not be aware of currently. Readers and practitioners will be acquainted with the idea and good point of practice in their various libraries. The section also features contents such as career progression of library practitioners, synergy between education for, and practice of, librarianship, and marketing of library and information services. This first section starts with “Fostering and Developing Leadership Amongst Library Staff at the University of Zambian Library” by Christine Wamunyima Kanyengo. Christine critically discusses leadership development experiences at the University of Zambia Library by looking at the opportunities that are available to library staff. In addition, she discusses the challenges of leadership development at the institution, emphasizing the adoption of a case study approach to make inferences on leadership development. She contends that leadership development is an important aspect of organisational development, which enables an organisation to regenerate and carry on with its mission in an orderly and transformative manner. The chapter offers insights of leadership development and organisational transformation in resource constrained environments.

The next chapter is “Pakistan Library and Information Council: A Proposal,” by Midrar Ullah and Khalid Mahmood. This chapter discusses the proposed Pakistan Library and Information Council (PLIC), a council which will aim at regulating the LIS profession and to draft the Act of the council. The chapter analyses the acts of the councils of other professions in Pakistan and other places including Web sites of ALA, CILIP, and ALIA, in order to get the idea of the working of professional bodies in the field of LIS. According to the authors, the proposed PLIC will be a statutory professional body set up under an Act of Parliament in Pakistan, arguing that the proposed Council will register the professionals, establish code of conduct for their members, and be responsible for accreditation of professional training institutions. The chapter adds further that the proposal will devise and maintain standards for the professional organizations. It presents the anticipated proposal as an Appendix to the chapter for suggestions from LIS experts and recommends that a committee should be set up to review the draft before it is presented to the competent authorities.

Next is the chapter “Modernisation of Traditional Library” by Mehtab Alam Ansari. Ansari examines the automation process in different sections of the library at Maulana Azad Library, which is considered one of the major libraries of the world, with a glorious past and promising future. The chapter points out that the library was established with the foundation of Madarsatul-Uloom Musalmanan at Aligarh in 1875, which became Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College in 1877 and became full-fledged Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in 1920. Ansari adds that Maulana Azad Library came into existence with the donation of personal collection of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of Aligarh Muslim University in 1877, emphasizing that the library has very rich collections consisting of oriental and occidental printed and non-printed records. The chapter identifies the various formats of materials available in the library, such as books, journals, manuscripts, government publications, rot graphs, audio visual material, phonodiscs, phonorecords, microfiche, pre-recorded cassettes, microfilms, compact discs, floppies, et cetera, and concludes that the library has started the automation process of selecting LibSys software that is quite popular in central universities of India.

The following chapter is “Marketing Library and Information Services for Effective Utilization of Available Resources: The 21st Century Librarians and Information Professionals, Which Ways and What Works?” by Adeyinka Tella and Rachael Ojo. This chapter examines strategies already in place for marketing library and information services, the competencies needed by information professionals at this digital era, and also suggests methodologies that can be adopted for marketing information services available to libraries and information centres in the future. 

Following this chapter is “Strategies for Marketing an Academic Library in Africa” by Sylvia A. Ogola and Japhet Otike. The chapter examines issues that affect the marketing capabilities of academic libraries in Africa, pointing out that not much literature is available on marketing of academic libraries in the African setting. The chapter discusses problems such as reliance on mobile phones and social networking sites by the students before they can communicate; emphasizing that academic libraries in Africa have very tight budgets, and most cannot afford to earmark any funds towards marketing their services. It concludes with some solutions that can be applied without extra funding. 

Also featured in this section is “The Significance of Marketing in Library and Information Science” by Monday Obaidjevwe Ogbomo, which highlights the significance of marketing in library and information science, discussing concepts such as information science, marketing and marketing mix, marketing research and significance of marketing. The chapter concludes that marketing of information services is important and should be incorporated into the curricula of Library and Information Science Schools in Nigeria. The author anticipates that information provided in this chapter will enable librarians, lecturers, and students of Library and Information Science to understand the value of marketing in the process of providing information services to customers. A similar chapter to this is “Migrating towards Marketing Era in Nigerian Libraries” by Olamidipupo Solomon Ajigboye. Essentially, the chapter critically examines the Five Laws of Library Science as applied in library management today, revealing another place where marketing should be seriously deployed. 

The last chapter in this section is entitled “Libraries and Preservation of Indigenous Knowledge in Developing Countries: The Nigeria Experience” by K.T Omopupa, M. T. Bashorun, and A. Isah. It traces the role of libraries in the preservation of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) in developing countries and highlights the nature of IK and the traditional role of libraries at preserving it for posterity. It further discusses current issues surrounding the management of IK and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs) in libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions, as well as the various uses of IK by information users within and outside the libraries. The authors also x-rayed the traditional library services including identifying, acquiring, organizing, and presenting of IK for the adoption of information and communication technologies. The chapter concludes with the challenges faced in IK preservation and suggests possible measures to overcome the challenges. 

The second section is “Contemporary Issues in Library Education.” The discussion in this section centres on curriculum delivery in library schools, ICT availability, accessibility, and utilization, staffing in library schools, and funding of library schools’ programmes. It opens with “The School Librarian in Rural China: A Stranger among Her People” by Peter Warning and James Henri, which analyses critically the School Librarian (SL) in rural China in terms of his/her roles as the school information specialist and reading programme catalyst. The analysis is based on case study observations from site visits and interviews over a four-year period. The analysis surfaced key obstacles faced by the librarians, including: low knowledge base and expertise; limited material resources; and a lack of understanding of their roles by stakeholders within their communities. The authors emphasise that SL’s roles need to be understood by the school’s stakeholders, so that they can be recognized as skilled professionals with important and unique contributions to the educational process.

The next chapter is “The Future of Readership Development: How ICTs have influenced User Habits and Library Acquisitions” by Elisam Magara. Elisam explores the challenges and opportunities of readership development within the ICT environments of the changing user habits and library acquisition trends. He discusses the impact of ICTs on the changing user habits; establishes the publishing industries’ response to the use of e-resources by libraries; analyses the various acquisition models for libraries; and assesses how the Makerere University Library has integrated some models to address the changing user habits and their implications. The chapter is based on a qualitative study that mainly adopted the documentary analysis of the existing studies and information on Ugandan Public University Libraries with more emphasis on Makerere University Library, Uganda. In conclusion, it suggests strategies for readership development to meet the socio-economic demands of the society. 

Next is the chapter “Status of Information Ethics Teaching at the School of Information Sciences, MOI University, Kenya” by Henry N. Kemoni, presenting the status of information ethics teaching at the School of Information Sciences, Moi University, Kenya with particular reference to the Bachelor of Science (BSc) Information Sciences programme. His discussion was based on review of literature and content analysis of the present BSc Information Sciences curriculum at Moi University, and attempts defining terms such as “ethics” and explains the role of ethics in development. He highlights the themes of conferences on ethics and development held at Strathmore University, Kenya. Other issues covered include: need for teaching information ethics, information ethics workshops and conferences that have taken place and proposed curriculum for information ethics, and concludes by providing suggestions for further research.

The section also featured, “An Assessment of the Perception of Library School Students towards Librarianship at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria: A Pilot Study,” by Abdulwahaab Olanrewaju Issa, which investigates the perception of the University of Ilorin library school students towards librarianship. He examines the characteristics of the students and how they got admitted into the Department and adopts the survey research design, where the entire 90 students (100 and 200 levels) constituted its population. A total of 74 students that were available during the data collection exercise formed the sample, while questionnaire and structured interview were used for data collection. The results revealed that majority of year one students and some year two students came in through the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Examinations and direct admission/transfer respectively. Their subject background include Arts, Science, and Commercial; while a majority had Senior Secondary School Certificate results with the mean scores of 219 from JAMB and from post-JAMB, respectively. Furthermore, the chapter indicates that majority of LIS students did not choose LIS originally and claimed to be initially uninterested; against the current positive perception. The analysis of the hypotheses tests showed no significant difference in subject background and current perception of students who chose and those who did not choose LIS as a first choice. The chapter concludes that the peculiar situation under which many of the pioneering students came into the department (i.e. transfer), was undesirable; given the prevalent negative perception of librarianship. 

The third section in this book, “Issues in Information Science,” considers Web 1.0 and 2.0, digital library, digital scholarship, e-learning, e-government, database management, and digital divide. The first chapter in this section is “Demystifying Digital Scholarship” by Stephen Mutula, who argues that digital scholarship has attracted attention from the scientific community, publishing industry, and libraries not only as a subject of study or methodology, but also as a tool that aims at addressing how new digital media and technologies can be leveraged to transform teaching, learning, and research. He identifies the advantages of digital scholarship including opportunity to develop cyber infrastructure, facilitate large scale collaborative projects, and share research data and methodologies across disciplines. It enables scholars to develop research questions at appropriate level of sophistication and abstraction in order to allow large scale collaboration that cuts across disciplines, borders, and methodologies. The author points to the fact that despite its increased pervasiveness, digital scholarship as a discipline of study or as a tool and technology for enhanced learning and research is yet to be widely understood. In the light of this, the chapter strives to demystify the concept of digital scholarship, its scope, tools for its study and application, what it aims to achieve, why it is important, and challenges of implementing it, especially in the scholarly environments. 

The next chapter in this section is “Establishing the Digital Library: Don’t Ignore the Library Standards and Don’t Forget the Training Needed” by Alan Hopkinson. It elaborates issues that need to be considered when establishing digital libraries, laying emphasis on standards and training needed and the fact that the literature on digital libraries tends to be about developing one’s own digital library. The chapter identifies the main problem, which concerns spending wisely the little money that developing countries have and establishing the infrastructure to get the digital materials to the users who need them. It also identifies the standards needed to implement digital libraries in developing countries including: the need to be aware of the standards and support implementation, developing an appropriate infrastructure, and the need to put resources into training so that the tools can be used to good effect. 

The next chapter, “A Review of E-Government Services in Nigeria” by Gbola Olasina, reviews literature on eGovernment services and applications available to the public in Nigeria. He emphasises that adoption of eGovernment applications and services has transformed traditional government services delivery in many countries, with attendant implications for governments and citizens. The chapter synthesises the related literature and draws up conclusions by proposing a plan for eGovernment services in Nigeria. 

The section also features the chapter “Digital Libraries: Their Challenges and Issues in the Perspectives of Developing Countries like India” by N. Swaminathan. This author discusses the general overview of digital libraries, their brief historical background, and some emerging issues, including the future prospects of digital libraries in India. Lastly, the chapter identifies the challenges faced by digital libraries in India such as quality problem, interoperability, intellectual property rights, privacy and security, human use, preservation problem, services, integration, and the role of librarianship at the digital era. 

The last chapter in this section is “Information Flow and Democratic Governance: An Analysis of the African Experience” by F.A. Aremu and H.T. Saka. These authors examine the unfolding dynamics in information science and technology and its place in the democratization of the governance process in Africa. The chapter dwells on the changing contexts of information content development besides engaging the core conceptual issues. It also explores the nexus between the “democratization of information content development” and democratic consolidation in Africa. 

Lastly, the book considers issues for information professionals in third world countries such as: knowledge society, knowledge management, professional competencies, skills, and attitudes of ICT and globalisation of information services. It is in an attempt to keep information professionals in the developed nations abreast of development in the developing countries context. The section opens with “Librarians, Records Managers and E-Government” by Cathrine T. Nengomasha, which discusses the role of librarians and records managers in promoting e-government, arguing that their traditional role of collecting, organizing, preserving, and disseminating information places librarian and records managers in a very significant position in e-governance implementation. She also identifies a number of challenges faced by librarian and records managers in an electronic environment including economic, technological, and information literacy. The chapter discusses the role played by these professionals, and the challenges met by each, and concludes by providing some recommendations to enhance the role of these professionals in e-government implementation.

The next chapter in this section is “Information Services Provision to Person with Visual Impairment in Nigeria: The Salient Issues” by Niran Adetoro. Niran highlights the situation of the visually impaired information users in Nigeria as well as the providers of information services to them. He focuses on the availability and use of information materials in alternative formats, pointing out the impact of technology on information provision to persons with visual impairment. The chapter concludes that stakeholders should collaborate and increase transcription activities and that information materials should be provided to meet the reading interest of the visually impaired.

Next is the chapter “Organisation of Information and the Information Retrieval System” by Edeama O. Onwuchekwa. The main goal of this chapter is to enable students, practicing librarians, and others interested in information services to understand the concepts, principles, and tools behind information organisation and retrieval. It concludes with emphasis on the need for continuous evaluation of these principles and tools for sustained improvement.
There is also the chapter “Social Media in Libraries and Information Centers” by Ayodele John Alonge, which considers social media as an enhancement of library services, library outreach and librarians’ collaboration. The chapter presents social media as an effective tool in information management that is capable of creating future prospects, opportunities, and hope for library users and information and library professionals. 

The chapter “Bibliometric Analysis of DECIDOC Journal of Library and Information Technology” by S. Thanuskodi presents a study that deals with bibliometric analysis of articles and references provided at the end of each article featured in DECIDOC Journal of Library and Information Technology from 2006-2010. The analysis in this chapter covers the number of articles, authorship pattern, forms of document cited, et cetera. The findings in the study point towards the merit and weakness of the journal, which will be helpful for its further development. This study showed that most of the contributions to the journal were from India. The authorship pattern of the articles published during the period of study was also revealed. A considerable number of articles published in the journal were by two authors. This study also showed that majority of the contributors preferred journals as the source of information.  

The last chapter in this section “Cataloguing and Classification of Library Resources in the 21st Century” by Lydia O. Adedibu, Evelyn O. Akinboro, and Titilola A. Abdul-Salam critically examines cataloguing and classification of library resources with particular reference to the 21st century. Based on the analyses, the chapter makes suggestions for improving cataloguing and classification services in libraries in developing countries. Future research directions on the topic were also highlighted by the authors. 

This book, which is a product of the innovative ideas by the editors and contributors across the globe, and consists of twenty two chapters, is enthusiastically recommended for use in all library schools throughout developing countries, various libraries, information organisations, and other related organisations. The text strives to present, in a clear and concise way, the contemporary issues in Library and Information Science. It should be borne in mind that the text is, in some respects, a concise summary, which should be expanded, further elaborated, and deepened in the future.

Reviews and Testimonials

While many books abound on the practice of library and information science in the developed world, there are very few local materials devoted to the developing world, and yet still, only a negligible proportion of such books emanate from the local environment. This book, edited by Drs. Tella and Issa, has filled the void. This book will provide LIS students in developing countries the mastery of library and information science practice in developing countries. The contributors are distinguished professionals in their own rights, who have based their contributions mainly on research in their local environment.

– Prof. L.O. Aina, Dean, Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

"This book would be a useful addition to the collections of academic libraries. In the developing world, most of the articles could be useful study resources, and in developed countries it is valuable to have access to differing perspectives on ways of looking at and doing things that many of us have come to take for granted."

– Barbara Frame, Dunedin Public Library, Australian Library Journal, Vol. 61, No. 3

Author's/Editor's Biography

A. Tella (Ed.)
Adeyinka Tella is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Library and Information Science, Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, University of Ilorin, Nigeria. Tella is a Commonwealth Scholar who finished his PhD in September 2009 from the Department of Library and Information Studies; University of Botswana where he was awarded small grant for thesis writing for the PhD category in 2007 by the Council of Development in Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). He has written and published articles mostly in internationally reputable, refereed journals, together with chapters in books. He is one of the contributors to an information science reference “Cases on Successful E-learning Practices in the Developed and Developing World: Methods for the Global Information Economy.” Currently, he is the Associate Editor International Journal of Library and Information Science, and Editor-in-Chief- International Journal of Information Processing and Communication. He is also editorial board member, for Library Philosophy and Practice. Tella is an external examiner for Library and Information Science PhD candidates at Annamalai University and Bharathidasan University, Trichy, both in India. His re-search areas include e-learning, information literacy, information communication technology and management, information system evaluation, and psychology of information.

A.O. Issa (Ed.)
Abdulwahab Olanrewaju Issa holds DLS (1987), BLS (1991), and MLS (1996) Degrees from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and a PhD from the University of Ibadan (2007). He has taught in different library schools in Nigeria since 1992, including the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; the Federal Polytechnic, Offa; Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode; Kwara State University, Malete, and is currently, Senior Lecturer at University of Ilorin. He has also been an ex-Head of a LIS Department, ex-Director, Centre for Contining Education and ex-Chief Lecturer, Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State, Nigeria, Issa was once Vice-Chairman and now Chairman, Nigerian Library Association, Kwara State Chapter, and thus, a National Council member of NLA.


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