Purpose – The main objective of this paper is to analyse usage patterns of e-Resources by the postgraduate engineering students of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India. It considers the impact of e-Resources on their academic studies and the problems they face while using them.
Design/methodology/approach –A structured questionnaire was used to collect the information regarding the use of e-Resources: frequency of use, purpose of use, frequency of locating the desired information, and the problems faced by the respondents while using e-Resources. The collected data were analysed and interpreted with the help of MS Excel.
Findings – The study shows the use of e-Resources is very widespread among the postgraduate students of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, in particular, e-Journals. The majority consider e-Resources to be indispensable in their academic work. They also believe that their use has improved their competence. The study indicates that the IT infrastructure has improved to large extent, but that training programs should be revised and conducted frequently in order to make students aware of the e-Resources available and capable of using them. Some of the problems in using e-Resources were also explored, and timesaving, more informative, more useful, and easy to use are some of the reasons why they use these resources. Finally, it is evident that the majority of the respondents are quite satisfied with their use of e-Resources.
Originality/value – The study evaluated the use of e-Resources by the postgraduate students of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Results from the study are encouraging and it is hoped that the findings will provide the administration of the University with useful feedback on the success of their large expenditure on e-Resources from the library budget.
Keywords - e-Resources, engineering students, India, Jamia Millia Islamia, user studies
Paper type - Research paper
The advent of Information technology gave possibility of production of information resources in different non-print formats. These are commonly called electronic resources or e-Resources. They contain same information as their print counterparts but the information is in electronic format or digital format. They can be accessed and retrieval of information stored in them is possible with the use of computers or electronic devices. Some of the common e-Resources are electronic journals; electronic databases; e-Books, etc.
Due to several features of these e-Resources such as timeliness; search facilities; readily updated, remote access, etc changed the view of librarian, students and scholars in using e-Resources. e-Resources are gaining preference over print media.
The importance of e-Resources becomes more indispensable after the arrival of Internet for the common man. Now the e-Resources can be accessed over the Internet without physically available in a library. They are hosted on publishers/aggregators/institutions servers and user can access them, search, retrieved required information from them directly from respective website. Libraries have undergone drastic changes in recent years, in both information gathering and dissemination techniques.
A number of studies on the use of e-Resources have been carried out previously. The studies use different research methods, such as observation, surveys, interviews, experiments, and transaction log analysis. Each of these research methods give different types of conclusions, and it is only when they are taken together that we get a clear picture of what respondents actually do, why they do it, what they would prefer, and what they are likely to do in the future.
Tripathi and Jeevan (2008) discussed the different barriers to providing electronic resources and services to distance learners and also gave some valuable suggestions on how to overcome those barriers, such as the implementation of resources and services, the promotion of resources and services, the infrastructure at the study centres, and the use of orientation and user-education programmes.
Upadhyay and Chakrabarty (2008) described the use of online journals and databases and their awareness among researchers at IT- BHU. They examined the awareness of researchers and their use of the databases of online journals, available through UGC-INFONET, INDEST consortia. They also highlighted some suggestions given by the respondents for improvement of online resources, such as the need for more awareness and training programmes.
Vishala and Bhandi (2008) stated that electronic publishing is an important media of the new Information Technology. e-Journals are attracting readers’ attention in today’s networked environment. These e-Resources are the main vehicles used by researchers for scholarly communication. Their study revealed that there is increased acceptance of e-Journals by the university academicians and also by the information centre.
Madhusudhan (2008) found that 78% of respondents feel that the use of the UGC-Infonet e-Journals has created high value in their research work and they are dependent upon ‘current article alert’ services and ‘electronic document supply’ services.
In one of their studies, Eqbal and Azhar (2007) concluded that 67.64% of research scholars in the Faculty of Science and 69.23% of research scholars in engineering use e-Journals for research work, whereas 35.29% of researchers in the sciences use e-Journals to update their knowledge, and 23.70% of engineering researchers use them for studying.
In one of the previous studies at this University (2007), 49% of respondents were marginally satisfied with the online services provided by the Library. The survey indicated that the e-Resources in Jamia Millia Islamia were not satisfactory and that researchers need constant guidance/orientation to enhance their usage.
According to Kennedy (2004), lack of training is a major de-motivating factor in the usage of e-Journals. Kennedy proposed the inclusion of web pages in the library catalogue as a solution to the maintenance of increasing website links.
Kaur (2006) reported that e-Resources can be good substitutes for conventional resources if the access speed is fast, access to all the important e-Journals is provided, and more computer terminals are made available.
Renwick (2004) recommended there be greater promotion of the library’s e-Resources.
Kaur and Verma (2006) found that respondents regularly use all of the sources that are available to them, such as CD ROMs, online databases, web resources, and audio/video tapes.
Scope and Limitation
The scope of this study was confined to the postgraduate students of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Jamia Millia Islamia and only those postgraduate students who visited the Computer Laboratory of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology were surveyed.
The main objective of this study is to analyse usage pattern of students on e-Resources, the impact of the e-Resources on their academic studies, and the problems faced by them while using e-Resources. Some of the major objectives are to:
assess the various electronic resources available in the Faculty of Engineering & Technology, Jamia Millia Islamia;
study the impact of these electronic resources on the academic work of the students;
find the hurdles faced by the students while accessing the electronic resources available in the Faculty.
The Faculty of Engineering and Technology
Faculty of Engineering and Technology was established in 1985. The Faculty has over 3000 students and over 200 academic, administrative, and technical staff. The faculty offers graduate and postgraduate programmes, including postgraduate programmes in M. Tech. (Environmental Sciences and Engineering), M. Tech. (Earthquake Engineering), M. Tech. (Electrical Power Systems Management), M. Tech. (Control and Instrumentation Systems), M. Tech. (Mechanical Engineering – with specialization in Thermal Engineering, Production and Industrial Engineering, and Machine Design), and M.Sc. (Electronics). All of the courses of the Faculty are duly approved by the All India Council for Technical Education, and the medium of instruction is English for all courses. At present, there are six departments in the faculty:
Department of Applied Sciences and Humanities;
Department of Computer Engineering;
Department of Civil Engineering;
Department of Electrical Engineering;
Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering;
Department of Mechanical Engineering.
A survey method was used to learn the usage of e-Resources. A structured questionnaire was used to collect the information regarding their use: frequency of use, purpose of use, frequency of locating the desired information, and the problems faced by the respondents while using them. This was followed by an interview technique, where necessary. A total of 200 questionnaires were distributed, in order to collect the primary data. The collected data were analysed with the help of MS Excel and interpreted in the form of numbers and percentages in tabular form.
Of the 200 questionnaires distributed, 154 were returned, with a rate of 77%. Four questionnaires were not used in the analysis, due to incomplete information given in them. Therefore, 150 completed questionnaires were used for the analysis. Out of these respondents, 97 (64.67%) were males and 53 (35.33%) were females. The age group of the respondents shows that majority, i.e., 87 (58%), were from respondents in age group of 27-32 years. The number of respondents in masters’ programmes was 105 (70%), and 45 (30%) of the respondents were pursuing postgraduate diplomas.
Table -I Demographic Data of the Respondents
Post Graduate Diploma
Table II Various types of e-Resources used
Table II shows the types of e-Resources used by the respondents. It was found that the majority of them, i.e., 58 (38.67%) prefer to use e-Journals. The second highest preference is use of e-Mail, 45 (30%). Twenty (13.33%) respondents use e-Newspapers, followed by e-Thesis with fifteen (10%) of the respondents. e-Bibliographic Databases and e-Research reports are used by seven (4.67%) and five (3.33%) respondents, respectively. Because the study covers postgraduate students, their work consists mainly of assignments and their use of e-Thesis, e-Research reports, and e-Bibliographic databases is low. Most of the literature they require is available in e-Journals.
Table III Accessibility of e-Resources
Table III shows the ease with which respondents can access the e-Resources. A total of 112 (74.67%) of the respondents are able to access the e-Resources very easily. Only 38 (25.33%) respondents felt that access to e-Resources is not easy. Although Jamia is conducting a number of programmes in use of computer applications in its Libraries and other areas, there is still a need to train faculty members and students in the use of e-Resources on an on-going basis.
Table IV User-friendliness of the Library Website
Table IV highlights that majority of respondents, i.e., 125 (83.33%), responded that the interface of the Library website is user-friendly. Very few of the respondents, 25 (16.67%), are of the view that the interface of the Library website is not user-friendly. They feel that links to e-Resources, using WebOPAC should be on the homepage to facilitate access.
Table V Library Website as a Gateway to these e-Resources
Table V shows that almost all the respondents, 145 (96.97%), access e-Resources by using the Library website as a gateway. A negligible number of respondents, five (3.33%), do not use the Library website as a gateway, but log on directly to the respective publishers’ websites, since they use few e-Resources and can remember the URLs.
Table VI Training needed to access e-Resources
Table VI shows that 85 (56.67%) of the respondents have taken the training course on access to e-Resources, while 65 (43.33%) of the respondents received no training.
Table VII Frequency of Use of e-Resources
Table VII indicates the frequency of use of e-Resources by the respondents. About 97 (64.67%) respondents access e-Resources frequently, while 33 (22%) access the e-Resources sometimes, and twenty (13.33%) of the respondents access them rarely.
Table VIII Need of searching Other Libraries' OPAC
Table VIII indicates that 58 (38.67%) of the respondents search the catalogues of other libraries, while 92 (61.33%) of the respondents do not. The majority of the respondents do not access the catalogues of the other libraries, indicating that Jamia caters to their demands satisfactorily.
Table IX Frequency of Use of Different Databases
Web of Science
Table IX shows that majority of the respondents access Web of Science, Science Direct, and Springer Link frequently, i.e., 94 (62.67%), 90 (60%) and 75 (50%), respectively. The numbers of respondents choosing the ‘Use Sometimes’ option are 75 (50%) for Emerald, and 53 (35.33%) for IEEE. Use of IEEE is not high, possibly due to access being restricted to one concurrent user at Jamia. The moderate number of 75 (50%) respondents that are unfamiliar with Wikipedia may be due to its unauthorised sources of information.
Table X Reasons for Using e-Resources
Reasons for Using e-Resources
Easy to Use
Table X shows that majority of the respondents prefer to use e-Resources instead of traditional resources because 90 (60%) of them feel that e-Resources are more informative, followed by ‘less expensive’, 75 (50%), and further followed by ‘more useful’ and ‘easy to use’, with. 55 (36.67%) and 44 (29.33%), respectively. Thirty-one (20.67%) respondents prefer to use e-Resources because they feel that they are ‘timesaving’.
Table XI Satisfaction with the Existing IT Infrastructure in Faculty
Table XI shows that the majority of respondents are satisfied with the existing IT infrastructure at Jamia. Only 42 (28%) of the respondents are not satisfied with the IT infrastructure of the University. However, the previous studies on use of e-Resources at Jamia indicated that the majority of respondents were not satisfied with the IT Infrastructure. This means that Jamia, and particularly, the Library has improved its IT infrastructure to a great extent.
Table XII Importance of Traditional Resources
Table XII reveals that a majority of respondents, i.e., 94 (62.67%), think that e-Resources have diminished the importance of traditional resources, whereas 56 (37.33%) of the respondents feel that e-Resources will never replace traditional sources of information.
Table XIII Time Spent in the Using e-Resources
Less than 1 hour per week
2-3 hours per week
5-6 hours per week
7-9 hours per week
10-20 hours per week
Over 20 hours per week
Table XIII reveals that a majority of respondents, i.e., 68 (45.33%), spend 5-6 hours per week in searching e-Resources. The second category of respondents, with 49 (32.67%), is using them for 2-3 hours per week. This indicates satisfactory use of e-Resources on campus.
Table XIV Most Frequently-used Location for Using e-Resources
At another place
Table XVI reveals that most respondents access e-Resources from University Library, with 101 (67.33%) respondents ticking this option. Twenty-two respondents (14.6%) access e-Resources at Computer Centre and fifteen (10%) access them at their Departments. Twelve respondents (8%) use them from other places, such as on the lawn or in the canteen, probably from their laptops. Access to e-Resources is restricted to the Jamia campus, and therefore, the respondents are not able to access them from outside the University.
Table XV Purpose of Using e-Resources
Any other purpose
Table XV shows that a 112 (74.67%) of the respondents use these e-Resources for the academic purposes, 28 (18.67%) of the respondents use them for research and ten (6.66%) respondents mention their use for other purposes.
Table XVI Problems Encountered while Using the e-Resources
Slow access speed
Difficulty in finding relevant information
Overload of information on the Internet
It takes too long to view/download pages
Table XVI shows that the problems encountered in use are ‘slow access speed’, with 58 (38.67%) respondents, ‘difficulty in finding relevant information’ with 32 (21.33%), ‘overload of information on the Internet’, mentioned by 39 (26%) respondents, ‘time too long to view/download pages’, mentioned by fifteen (10%) respondents, and ‘privacy problems’, mentioned by six (4%) respondents.
Table XVII Collection of the Search Material
Table XVII shows that 97 (64.67%) respondents download the search material in Pen Drives, 35 (23.33%) save it onto CDs, and eighteen (12%) respondents make a printout of it.
Table XVIII Reasons for Non-satisfaction with the e-Resource Facilities
Short opening times
Lack of proper guidance
Lack of proper e-Resources
Failures of hardware and software affect the functioning of the e-Resources facilities
Table XVIII shows that failures of hardware and software, technical problem in facilities, lack of proper e-Resources, and short opening times of the facilities are major reasons for dissatisfaction with e-Resource facilities, with 127 (84.67%), 113 (75.33%), 107 (71.33%), 101 (67.33%) respondents, respectively.
Table XIX Influences on Academic Efficiency
Decreases use of conventional documents
Increases dependency on e-Resources
Expedites the research process
Improves professional competency
Table XIX indicates the opinions of the respondents about the influence of the use of e-Resources on academic efficiency. The largest group of 63 (42%) of the respondents say that it has expedited the research process, 46 (30.67%) say that their dependency on e-Resources has increased, twenty-two (14.67%) respondents mentioned the decreased use of conventional documents, and nineteen (12.67%) respondents indicate improved professional competency.
At this time, e-Resources are of vital importance, especially in the field of technology, where they provide up-to-date information within a very short time. The study shows very high use of e-Resources by postgraduate students of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
The e-Journals are the most widely used of the e-Resources and the majority of the students consider them to be indispensable in their academic work. With the use of the e-Resources, their competence has improved.
The study also indicates that the IT infrastructure has improved to large extent, but that training programmes should be revised and conducted frequently, so that students are made aware of the e-Resources and are capable of using them.
Some of the problems of using e-Resources were explored, including slow access speed, difficulty in finding the relevant information, the overload of information on the Internet, the excessive time required to view/download web pages, and privacy problems. Some of the reasons for using these resources were found to be: ‘timesaving’; ‘more available information’; ‘more useful information’; and ‘easy to use’.
Finally it can be concluded that majority of respondents are quite satisfied with the e-Resources offered at the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.