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Background of the Study

Academic libraries are libraries which serve institution of higher learning such as Colleges of Education, Universities and Polytechnics. Academic libraries serve the teaching and research needs of students and staff. It always serves two complementary purposes which are to support the school curriculum and to support the institution, faculties and students. Since they are higher institutional libraries, they are charged with the duty of gathering and assembling all the necessary resource materials the students and researchers may need. The totality of the students and researchers performances is highly dependent on the quality and effectiveness of the library the institution breeds. Modern libraries provide resources to students and researchers through the online search. It also provides avenue for students and researchers to access resource materials across other automated libraries. 

Library automation is one of the latest technological development which involves the application of computer technologies, library software, C.D.-ROM, telephones and other ICT facilities in library functions to make library resources available to users and also accessible online. An automated library refers to library which consists mainly of materials and services in electronic format transmitted over network and also accessible online (Geisler 2005).

Since the development in software technologies has made it less expensive to compile and disseminate scholarly information to users, many academic libraries are on the race to join the library automation in order to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date resource materials to their users. According to Calhoun (2006), libraries of the future may be evaluated based on their ability to provide their users with technologies that allow application to communicate across platforms and programming languages using standard protocols based on extensible markup language (XML) to connect catalogue and other library resources to search engines, e-learning system, portals, amazons etc. This is however hinged on libraries running operating systems that will leverage their automation projects on the “switching layer” platform. This “switching layer” platform runs on computer software.

Computer software package is a collection of computer programs and related data that provides the instruction, telling a computer what to do and how to do it. According to Oketunji (2006), computer software packages refer to one or more computer program and data, held in the storage of the computer for some purpose. It is a series of instruction designed for a computer to carry out specific functions. According to Ceruzzi (2000), there are two main types of computer software packages which are system software and application software. System software is responsible for managing variety of independent hardware components so that they can work together harmoniously. It provides the basic function for computer and helps run the computer hardware and system. It includes the combination of the following-device drivers, utilities, operating system, window system, and servers. Application software is the second type of software which is developed to aid in any task that benefit from computation. It is a broad category and encompasses software of many kinds, including the internet browser, library software, business software, computer aid design, spread sheet, mathematical software, educational software etc. For the purpose of this study, emphasis will be placed on the application software since it embodies the library software.

Library software packages are computer software packages designed to perform and accomplish library functions. The tasks designed for the software to accomplish in the library are in cataloguing, acquisition, circulation, reference sections etc. The advent of computer and software as a product of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) makes it easy to automate library operations, thereby facilitating students and staff in higher institution in searching information and carrying out research in their respective fields.  Raseroka (1999) asserted that the application of ICT has created in the library a new information service unit providing electronic acquisition, electronic cataloguing, electronics serial control Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC), inter library loan and electronic circulation control. The application of computer and software in the library has brought into the world a data base for students and researchers to acquire knowledge or engage in participatory research. Illorah et al (2007) posited that computers are now being made use of in importing knowledge acquired. They also maintained that the application of computer and software in the library enables the library user to take charge of their own learning through direct exploration, expression and experience.   

            The advances in the area of software as well as breakthrough in the field of communication brought about a great revolution in the way libraries deliver their services. Also the arrival of the internet has moved the revolution beyond the imagination of information seekers both in terms of speed with which queries are answered and the volume of materials available in response to the given query (Olanlokun, 2003). Some of the library oriented software packages which are commonly used in academic libraries includes:- TINLIB Software, Resources Mate, Polaris ILS, Atrium, SLAM, X-Lib, Evergreen Software, CDS/ISIS, D-space, Alice for window, Oliver Koha, Fedora etc. From previous research reports,the methods of acquisition of library oriented software includes purchase, gift and exchange. In acquiring software for library, there are things to be considered before acquisition. The choice of software is an important, issue, its price, availability of manual and the type of training it gives (onsite or online) matters. Idahosa (2001) confirmed the in house development of software to be one of the best way of acquisition because it allows the developer to access the hardware and software available, the purpose of the software and other requirements before developing the software. Such software is only meant for the purpose it was created and cannot fit into any other library. 

            The purpose of utilization of software is to make resource materials available on line for students and researchers. These library software support library functions and are designed to meet all the library requirements which include online catalogue, circulation control, acquisition (Monographs), serial control, data import, data export, inter-library loan, report generation, CD-ROM interface and telecommunication and above all,  most of them are available separately as well as together in a fully integrated system.


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