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APPLICATION AND USAGE OF CLOUD COMPUTING FOR LIBRARY SERVICE PROVISION TO UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN

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DEPARTMENT OF LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE

Abstract

The application of cloud computing services is one of the ever-growing effects of the library service. It is an upgrade that makes library services work easier for library personnel. Cloud-based services are a type of service that relies on sharing cloud resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications.   The application of Cloud computing in library services has so much beneficial output on the overall services rendered in the library, overall, the application is relatively important or essential for any library that seeks to be in constant charge of the ever-changing information needs of its clientele. The high cost of setting up a cloud computing service serves as the major obstacle to using it in most libraries and dynamic scaling renders it an innovative driver for library service in developing countries where paucity of the fund is been experienced. Library personnel are aware of and use cloud-based library services. 

         The study adopted a descriptive survey research design.  The population for the study consisted of Two hundred (200) undergraduates of the University of Ilorin. The questionnaire titled Application and Usage of Cloud Computing for Library Service (AAUCCLS)

 Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22 Software.

Keywords: Cloud computing, Application, undergraduate students, Library service.

CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

1.1       Background to the study

Cloud computing is an emerging field in the paradigm of technology, its application and usage is at a high tenacity since its original inception in 2007. Cloud computing is a set of network enabled services, sharing available resources through an end to end terminal known as network, it is based on high development and integrations of computer technologies such as micro-processor, high-speed network and huge memory (Steve, 2018).

The application and usage of cloud computing for library services is at its inception, only a few number of a library can at the moment actualize it because of its demanding core.  Cloud computing is a technology which provides transparently managed systems and applications and it enables users to access it without having knowledge or experience. The use and application of cloud computing in libraries is considered one of the most important modern approaches which is directly aimed at improving library services. According to Hamzat, Zubairu, and Akiola (2021), cloud computing is an innovation of computing administrations offered over the Internet by giving a shared pool of assets that assists individuals with getting to their specific corporate utilization of the data. Thus, cloud-based services provide organizations with a way to share resources and services (Onwubiko, Okorie & Onu, 2021). Therefore, library personnel can take advantage of ICTs facilities to advance their efforts towards connecting library users to information resources in the cloud by using computers and their associative gadgets (Wada, 2018). Consequently, cloud-based services enable the library to provide services to a more significant number of users

Libraries and information centres across the globe are faced with the challenges of development and growth. Application of cloud computing in library services has curbed these challenges of growth and development, with the right application, libraries can boost rapid and improved service to their clientele. The growth of libraries in the Western world has been largely characterized by the assistance of technology and timely information. In recent times, libraries across the world are developing rapidly in the technological space by depending on information technology, particularly cloud computing, services rendered are continuously developed.  Eric (2020) In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the internet instead of your computer’s hard drive

            Experts believe that librarians have already benefitted from cloud computing applications even before the concept was widely used for computers and internet users. Many libraries depend on programs installed on far-away servers to perform library operations which include cataloguing and classification. It is also worthy of note that applying cloud computing to library services comes with various steps and procedures to be duly noted.  Benlian et al (2018), Cloud computing is a model for allowing access to computing resources that evolved in information technology and has become a dominant commercial model for delivering IT infrastructure, components, and applications. It lowers the entry point to increased performance computing, allowing organizations to leverage computing power for which they have neither the capital budget nor the operational expertise to acquire (Arasaratnam 2011).  Cloud computing has various definitions from different scholars, Bharadwaj et al. (2013), cloud computing speed up industry dynamics, disrupts existing business models and fuels digital transformation. In his work, he opines that Cloud computing and its application in industrial activities assist digital transformation. Hess et. al, (2016) Defying initial concerns, cloud computing has become a vital IT infrastructure for almost every aspect of day-to-day living, and it will continue to change the world we live in on different levels and in various ways.  Mell and Grance (2011) Cloud computing enables individuals and organizations to access IT resources on-demand, from any device, and at any time, as a measured service. The impact of cloud Computing in the last decade is noticeable, without a doubt it is worth it that every institution and sector adopt it and its usage. cloud computing has changed the way in which IT services are invented, developed, deployed, scaled, updated, maintained, and paid for (Marston et al. 2011).  Ranger (2018) stated that Cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computing services — from applications to storage and processing power — typically over the Internet and on a pay-as-you-go basis.

    ENISA (2012) Cloud computing is an on-demand service model for IT provision, often based on virtualization and distributed computing technologies. Cloud computing technology has found application in every sphere of human life. For example, financial services companies use the cloud to sway real-time fraud detection and prevention. In healthcare, cloud computing technology has found use in personalized treatments for patients (Gogia, 2020). Consequently, it has become an essential tool in organizations due to its capability in providing solutions to several I.T related issues and is cheaper with a limitless storage facility and capabilities (Sangaiah & Muhammad, 2019). Tuncay in 2015 opines that libraries can benefit from cloud computing services through increased computing performance, universal accessibility, cost reduction, and massively scalable and elastic storage capacity.

According to Knot (2016), the Internet generally and technology have a formidable role in developing library services and information centres and creating new ones. Libraries from across the world will benefit from cloud computing when rightly applied.  Nowadays libraries find themselves developing rapidly inside a distinguished technological space. Cloud computing came to light to increase the growth of libraries and make good and rapid use of it. The application of cloud computing in libraries has drastically improved its services, the number of clientele whose queries are answered within hours has improved through the application of cloud computing, and library users can access information from anywhere and anytime through cloud computing-based applications such as email.

University of Ilorin is one of the seven (7) higher institutions created by the military decree of 1975. The University started off on a portion of the temporary campus of the Kwara State Polytechnic known as the mini campus. The University of Ilorin Library was created alongside the school itself. The University of Ilorin Library system consists of the Main Library at the permanent site, the College Library at Oke-Oyi in the College of Health Sciences and the Law Library in the Faculty of Law on the main campus of the university.  The library was consequently opened in May 1976.  The first University Librarian was Mr B. A. Oni Orisan.  He assumed duty in August 1976.  All data are extracted from the university website (https://www.unilorin.edu.ng/index.php/about-us)

1.2       Statement of the problem

To Hersh W. (2020), Cloud computing cannot alone be certified to be the most effective service in disseminating information among undergraduate students, some factors such as erratic power supply, low internet connectivity, and low government budget towards education and technology. This factor alone mitigates the successful use of cloud computing services in the library for undergraduate students. These factors are not self-sufficient, instead, they lay on the conformity of society to display its worth. It is worthy of note that, the aforementioned factors are environmentally subjected, it is not applicable in developed countries. The university library has had several cloud computing services applied for the steady use of her undergraduate students, but certain known and unknown factors impede the usage and full utilization of its application. Similarly, there is empirical evidence to show the purpose for which undergraduate students in the university use cloud computing appliances.

The complaint and forgery on the cost of incurring cloud computing services in libraries is also a bitter challenge that African society is yet to overcome. Hole (2016), stated that the question of how to use cloud computing in telecom systems is an active research area. Application and usage of cloud computing subject the library to cyber-attacks and threats, most organizations that use cloud computing services have well-spelt logins and passwords, which are in some cases not enough to stop hackers which may include undergraduate students. As against this background, this study aims at analyzing the application and usage of cloud computing for library service provision to undergraduate students at the University of Ilorin by proffering selective cloud-based software that can help in averting the challenges facing the use of Cloud computing services in the library.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

The sole objective of the research is to ascertain the application and usage of cloud computing for undergraduate students in the University library. The objectives of the research are:

  • Determine the level of awareness of the undergraduate students of the University of Ilorin to cloud computing.
  • Find out how convenient it is for undergraduate students of the University of Ilorin to make use of cloud computing implements in the Library.
  • Find out which of the cloud computing applications is mostly used among Saunder et al., (2012), undergraduate students of the University of Ilorin library.
  • Ascertain how cloud computing appliances of the University of Ilorin Library have helped undergraduate students
  • find out the challenges students face in accessing and using cloud computing appliances in the University of Ilorin library.
  • Find out why students of the University of Ilorin make use of cloud computing appliances in the Library.

1.4       Research Questions

            This study is literally set up to provide or proffer adequate answers to the under-listed research questions:

  • What is the level of awareness of the application and usage of cloud computing by undergraduate students of the University of Ilorin?
  • How easy is it to make use of cloud Computing appliances by Undergraduate students of the University of Ilorin when they use the library?
  • Which of the cloud computing appliances is most appreciated for use by undergraduate students in the University of Ilorin Library?
  • In what way has the application and usage of cloud computing in the university library contributed to the academic performance of undergraduates in the university?
  • What challenges do undergraduates undergo while using cloud computing appliances in the library?
  • Why do undergraduate students of the University of Ilorin use cloud computing appliances in the library?

1.5       Significance of the Research

This research work will help ascertain the application and usage of cloud computing in higher institutions, the University of Ilorin is a case study of higher institutions. It will also help in determining the relevance of cloud computing in academic sustainability, and how its use can help students academically. The research is significant as it provides a group of expected additions which may benefit researchers in the academic field and pursuit at all levels.  The research work will also help in identifying the importance of the application and usage of cloud computing in libraries, especially in answering queries from undergraduate students at the University of Ilorin. The research work generally will help identify the roles played by the application of cloud computing in disseminating answers to the queries of library users. The often-used cloud computing applications in the library are to be identified.  This research will as well provide a means to further research works in the field of cloud computing generally.

1.6       Scope and Limitations of the Research

The research examines in detail the applications and usage of cloud computing for library service provision to undergraduate students at the University of Ilorin library. Cloud computing is growing more popular by the day, and numerous companies have accepted this shift, creating space for it.  Hence, the researcher focuses on undergraduates of the University of Ilorin with its scope restricted to the university library alone as a perfect case study.

1.7       Operational definition of terms

  • Cloud computing: cloud computing refers to the provision of different facilities and amenities like databases, servers, storage or applications through the Internet. Cloud computing is internet-based computing in which large groups of remote servers are networked so as to allow sharing of data-processing tasks, centralized data storage, and online access to computer services or resources.
  • Application: (according to Merriam-Webster dictionary) “it is an act of putting something into use”.
  • Usage: Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “a firmly established and generally accepted practice or procedure”
  • Library service: library service covers direct services such as assistance to the user in the library and its tools, assistance in searching and locating documents, ready reference and long-range reference service, literature search and compilation of bibliography.
  • Undergraduate Students: an undergraduate student is a university student who has not yet received a first degree. Also known as a University or college student who is yet to receive a Bachelor’s degree.(first degree)

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