Published on February 28, 2014
International Journal of Library and Information Science (IJLIS), ISSN: 2277 – 3533 (Print), ISSN: 2277 – 3584 (Online), Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), © IAEME INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE (IJLIS) ISSN : 2277 – 3533 (Print) ISSN : 2277 – 3584 (Online) Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), pp. 32-48 © IAEME: www.iaeme.com/IJLIS.asp Journal Impact Factor (2013): 5.1389 (Calculated by GISI), www.jifactor.com IJLIS ©IAEME KNOWLEDGE PROCESSES FOR SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES IN NIGERIA Ugwu, Cyprian I (Ph.D), Ekere, J. N. (Ph.D), Ekere, F. C. (Ph.D) University of Nigeria, Nsukka ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to identify knowledge processes for successful knowledge management application and determine the extent of application of these processes in university libraries in Nigeria. The study adopted a survey research design and data were collected on 456 librarians in federal university libraries in Nigeria using questionnaire. The entire population was studied and data collected were analysed using Mean ( X ) and Standard Deviation (SD). The findings reveal that knowledge identification, acquisition, organisation or creation and dissemination were carried out to a large extent in university libraries in Nigeria. It was also found that knowledge creation was carried out to a low extent in these libraries. The greatest of these knowledge processes being carried out in the libraries studied was knowledge acquisition. It is therefore recommended that organisational commitment to knowledge creation should be intensified. The knowledge creation efforts in the university libraries should focus on creation of databases, reporting of data analysis in research endeavours, indexing of knowledge of generated in Nigeria universities and cataloguing of online resources. INTRODUCTION Knowledge management (KM) has been defined from different perspectives. It has been defined as a process or set of processes, as a method of management, and a new dimension of information management. Taking a process view, White (2004) defined KM as a process of creating, storing, sharing and re-using organizational knowledge (or know- how) to enable an organization achieve its goals and objectives. From management perspective, Shanhong (2000) defined KM as method of management which works for converting 32
International Journal of Library and Information Science (IJLIS), ISSN: 2277 – 3533 (Print), ISSN: 2277 – 3584 (Online), Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), © IAEME intellectual assert of workers and staff members in the organization into higher productive forces. From business perspective, Shanhong (1999) defined KM as the systematic, explicit and deliberate building, renewal and application of knowledge to maximize an enterprise’ knowledge related to effectiveness and returns from its knowledge asserts. In this study, KM is seen as a collection of processes that govern the creation and transfer of knowledge in an organization. These processes are within the organization and are capable of being blended systematically with the organization’s internal work processes. In the library environment, these processes must cover completely what librarians do in a given area of library service. Analysis of literature in this area revealed that a number of factors have pushed libraries to embrace knowledge management. These factors include knowledge-based economy, technology, budget shortfalls, and user expectation. These factors have provided an explanation to the proposition that the library is one of the organizations where KM can be applied to improve services. Besides, KM has also been found to have potentials of providing opportunities for librarians. Knowledge management represents an opportunity in that it creates new roles and responsibilities for libraries and LIS professionals. A study of literature argues that KM expands the horizon of LIS and offers a number of opportunities for them (Rovi and Snyman, 2006; Southon and Todd, 2001; Townley,2001). This means that a number of job opportunities with new job titles and positions have emerged from KM. Some of these job descriptions in a KM environment as compiled by Bishop(2000) include competitive intelligence leader, knowledge and information manager, intranet content manager, knowledge management officer, and knowledge coordinator. Also, Skyme and Amidon(1995) proposed new roles and functions for LIS professionals in a KM environment. Some of these new roles and functions include knowledge engineer, knowledge editor, knowledge analysis, knowledge navigators, knowledge gatekeepers, knowledge brokers and knowledge asset managers. However, some authors have argued that these new roles are more or less the same as the current job titles and activities of librarians and professionals (Malhan and Rao, 2005). Another way of looking at the opportunities for librarians in a knowledge management environment is by identifying the specific roles for librarians in KM. Rooi and Snyman(2006) employed a content analysis approach to identify five broad roles for librarians. These roles include; facilitating an environment conducive to knowledge sharing, managing the corporate memory, transfer of information management and related skills to next content that is linked to business processes and core operations, development of corporate information literacy and friendly management of information in a digital environment. Even though KM is too well established in the business world, there is a very positive feedback toward it among LIS professionals. KM has been recognized in the library organizations as having much to offer to the management of libraries and to improving library services as well as changing the status of librarians. LIS professionals are challenged to be at the centre stage of KM initiatives in their libraries. These initiatives must be anchored on some identifiable knowledge processes. The knowledge processes identified in this study are simply the benchmarks for successful KM implementation in university libraries, especially in developing countries. 33
International Journal of Library and Information Science (IJLIS), ISSN: 2277 – 3533 (Print), ISSN: 2277 – 3584 (Online), Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), © IAEME LITERATURE REVIEW Concept of Knowledge Management Attempts to define knowledge management have resulted in many divergent views of the concept. Many disciplines are contributing to both the theory and practice of knowledge management. Yet a universally acceptable definition of KM appears to be elusive. However, an understanding of the concept may be achieved through examination of the different generations and levels of knowledge management. Mutula and Mooko (2008) identified two generations of knowledge management. The first generation of KM focused on knowledge capture. This means the capturing of information and experiences and making them available to the organization. According to Mutula and Mooko, this generation relied on the capabilities of information technologies. This generation led firms and companies to see KM as IT systems. These companies invested so much on IT systems but got very little return on investment. They were therefore pushed to believe that KM was a buzz word or another management fad. The second generation is organization and people focused. This generation is concerned with the way knowledge is created and shared in an organisation. This generation is a shift away from the information technology dependency and is based on the consideration of the factors within the organisations that can facilitate knowledge creation and transfer. Organisational learning is a pre-condition for the success of the knowledge activities in this generation. Apart from the above generations, KM can be defined in terms of its levels. Sveiby (2001) cited in Mutula and Mooko (2008) identified three levels of knowledge management, namely: track level, organization level and individual level. The track level of knowledge has IT track KM level and the people-track KM level. At the IT-track level, the emphasis is on information processing. That is information or knowledge is seen as an object that can be identified and handled in information systems. At the people-track level, emphasis is on maximizing the abilities of human resources and encouraging them to create knowledge though some processes. Most importantly, while the IT-track level is concerned with the management of information, the people-tract level is concerned with the management of people. The second level of KM is individual. This level is highly dependent on the third level, which is organizational. According to Mutula and Mooko (2008), the organisations role here is to provide conducive environment that will nurture the sharing of knowledge and allow staff to try new things, which results in new products, new markets or acquiring a competitive advantage. The above discussion have put the KM researchers into two groups, namely: those who believe in technology centred perspective of KM and those who believe in the people centred perspectives. Those who believe in the technology centred perspective see IT solutions as the answer to knowledge management problems in an organisation (Silver and Shakshuki, 2002), whereas the proponents of people centred perspective see IT solutions of KM as only a small part of an approach to knowledge management within an organisation (Mutula and Mooko, 2008). Another way to enhance understanding of KM is to look at it from the analysis of its different definitions, resulting in two view of KM. They are the process view and project view of KM. Some researchers took a project view to define knowledge management (Rowley, 1999; Liebowits, 2000; Branin, 2003). For instance, Rowley (1999),taking a project view, defined KM as being concerned with the exploitation and development of the knowledge assets of an organisation with a view to furthering the organisations’ objectives. Based on this view, Rowley (1999) categorized knowledge management into four broad types 34
International Journal of Library and Information Science (IJLIS), ISSN: 2277 – 3533 (Print), ISSN: 2277 – 3584 (Online), Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), © IAEME of perspectives; to create knowledge repositories, which store both knowledge and information, often in documentary form; to improve knowledge access and transfer with emphasis on connectivity, access and transfer; to enhance the knowledge environment so that the environment is conducive to more effective knowledge creation, transfer and use, and which also involves tackling organisational norms and values as they relate to knowledge; and to manage knowledge as an asset which also includes recognising the value of knowledge to an organisation. The process view was adopted by many researchers to define knowledge management (Duffy, 2000; Bukowitz and Williams, 1999). For instance, Duffy (2000) defined knowledge management as a process that drives innovation by capitalising on organisational intellect and experience. Knowledge management is also defined as a process by which an organisation generates wealth from its intellectual or knowledge base assets (Bukowitz and Williams, 1999). Holm (2001) also taking a process view defined knowledge management as the process of getting the right information to the right people at the right time. Knowledge management can also be defined in term of its dimensions. The dimensions of knowledge management, according to Brun (2005), include people, process and technology. People refer to the entire human resources to be motivated and rewarded for creating, sharing and using knowledge in an organization. Processes refer to the internal processes in the organization that are to be structured and organized for successful knowledge management. Technology refers to the organizational tools that are used to support the people and facilitate the knowledge processes. In their dimensions of knowledge management, Okunoye (2003) and Handzic (2001) identified processes and enablers. Perhaps, what these authors did was to put people, technology and other elements together as enablers. The enablers are the factors in the organizational environment that influence or are related to knowledge management process. These enablers have been described variously in the literature as critical success factors, knowledge management infrastructures and organizational factors. They are factors that an organization needs to put in place for successful knowledge management. Okunoye (2003) summarized the issues raised here thus, “when we talk about knowledge management, we are primarily talking about supporting the knowledge processes with enablers or organizational factors”. The implication of the above definition by Okunoye (2003) is that, firstly, the management of knowledge begins with the identification of the internal processes of the organization. Secondly, the enablers or organizational factors that support the processes should be identified. KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT PROCESSES THEORY Attempts to define knowledge management process are numerous. Davenport (1993) identified KM process as consisting of knowledge acquisition: finding existing knowledge, understanding requirements, searching among multiple sources, knowledge creation: research activities, creative processes in advertising, writing books or articles, making movies, and so on, packaging: Publishing, editing, design work, applying or using existing knowledge: Auditing, medical diagnosis, and Re-use of knowledge for new purpose: Leveraging knowledge in product development processes, software development. The knowledge management process proposed by Galagan (1997), include: gathering new knowledge, accessing knowledge from external sources, representing knowledge in documents, databases, software and so forth, embedding knowledge processes, products or services, transferring existing knowledge around an organization, using accessible knowledge 35
International Journal of Library and Information Science (IJLIS), ISSN: 2277 – 3533 (Print), ISSN: 2277 – 3584 (Online), Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), © IAEME in decision-making, facilitating knowledge growth through culture and incentives; and measuring the value of knowledge management. Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) described four knowledge conversion processes: socialization, externalization, combination and internalization. Each process involves converting one form of knowledge (tacit or explicit) to another form of knowledge (tacit or explicit). They used these processes to identify and evaluate certain key activities in the management of knowledge. Oluic-Vukovic (2001) identified knowledge management process as consisting of five steps which include gathering, organizing, refining, representing and disseminating. Writing from the business strategy point of view, Hron (2006) provided a framework for knowledge management process. The elements of the framework include knowledge creation, knowledge storage and retrieval, knowledge distribution and knowledge application. From the foregoing, it is clear that knowledge management process refers to series of steps that can be taken to identify key activities in the management of knowledge in an organization. The International Labour Organization (ILO) in its 2004 Document identified these steps as follows; identification of required as well as available information/knowledge, information/knowledge capture, organizing scattered information/knowledge to create knowledge assets, sharing of knowledge, use of knowledge for planning, budgeting and brining about better results. Most of the above steps can be built upon the already existing expertise among libraries. For example, Foo, Chaudhry, Majid and Logan (2002) observed that knowledge of classification schemes and controlled vocabularies can be very useful for building taxonomy and ontology, an area that is becoming extremely important for organizing knowledge resources on intranets, websites and portals. Knowledge and experience of cataloguing provides an excellent foundation for metadata creation. Likewise, librarians’ experience in resource selection and collection development can help them to be actively involved in content creation and management. This expertise is needed for sharing knowledge through library portals. Writing from the academic library perspective, Maponya (2004), proposed knowledge management process as consisting of creation, capturing, acquisition and sharing of knowledge. Knowledge creation is a particularly important process of knowledge management. It focuses on the development of new skills, new products, better ideas and more efficient processes (Probst, Raub and Romhardt, 2000). In addition, knowledge creation refers to the ability to originate novel and useful ideas and solutions (Bhatt, 2001). Knowledge in the context of academic libraries can be created through understanding the user needs and requirements as well as understanding the University’s curricula. Tang (1998) cited by Maponya (2004) pointed out that from the library’s perspective, knowledge creation implies participating more in users’ reading and studying by identifying information needs. In order to succeed, academic library services must be linked with the university’s academic programme or church curricula. Academic libraries can become part of the knowledge creation process through participating in the teaching and research activities of the University. Knowledge creation in this context should involve all the management effort through which the academic library consciously strives to acquire competencies that it does not have both internally and externally (Maponya, 2004). Capturing and acquiring knowledge is critical to the success and development of a knowledge-based organization. Organizations often suffer permanent loss of valuable personnel to dismissals, retirement and death. The reason for this is that much knowledge is stored in the heads of the people and it is often lost if not captured elsewhere. 36
International Journal of Library and Information Science (IJLIS), ISSN: 2277 – 3533 (Print), ISSN: 2277 – 3584 (Online), Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), © IAEME The academic library as an organization may want to look outside its own boundaries to acquire new knowledge. To achieve this access to external information should be provided. Librarians have been dealing with building and searching online databases for a long time. This kind of experience can be very helpful in building knowledge bases and repositories. Knowledge acquisition is the starting point of knowledge management in libraries (Shanhong, 2001). Knowledge in academic libraries can be acquired through; establishing knowledge links or networking with other libraries and with institutions of all kinds, Attending training programs, conferences, seminars and workshops, Buying knowledge products or resources in the form of manuals, blueprints, reports and research reports. Academic libraries need to develop ways of capturing its internal knowledge, devise systems to identify people’s expertise and develop ways of sharing it. Formal process of capturing knowledge can include collating internal profiles of academic librarians and also standardizing routine information – update reports. In addition, successful libraries are those that are user-centred and are able to respond to users’ needs. As users become sophisticated, academic libraries need to develop innovative ideas to add value to their services. Academic libraries need to be aware and to aim at capturing the knowledge that exists within them. The type of enquires, for example, that are most commonly received at the reference desk should be captured and placed within easy reach to better serve users in the shortest time possible. It is important to create a folder of frequently asked questions to enable academic libraries to not only provide an in-depth customized reference service but also to become knowledgeable about handling different enquires and decision–making (Maponya, 2004). Knowledge sharing is based on the experiences gained internally and externally in the organization. Making this know-how available to other organizational members will eliminate or reduce duplication of efforts and form the basis for problem solving. One of the best ways to avoid collective loss of organizational memory is to identify the expertise and skills of staff and capture them. In the context of academic libraries, it can be noted that a great deal of knowledge sharing is uncoordinated, informal and usually based on conversation. Although knowledge has always been present in organizations, and to some extent shared, this has been very much on an ad hoc basis, until recently it is managed or promoted as the key to organizational success Kude, Nalhe & Mankar (2012). Jantz (2001) had pointed out that in many library settings; there was systematic approach to organizing the knowledge of the enterprise, and making it available to other librarians and staff in order to improve the operation of the library. For academic libraries to utilize their know-how, it is necessary that libraries need to prepare themselves for using and sharing knowledge. The importance of knowledge sharing can be seen from the ability of academic librarians to identify, integrate and acquire external knowledge. This should include knowledge denoting library practices, users and operational capabilities (Maponya, 2004). Within the context of knowledge Management process, Choo (2000) stated that information professionals, in managing explicit knowledge, were often involved in many stages of knowledge processing cycle such as; acquiring or extracting knowledge from or with the help of experts; writing up and editing raw knowledge such as presentations and turning it into processed knowledge (best practices, lessons leant); organizing the processed knowledge and adding index terms, subject heading, and cross links; and disseminating knowledge through a variety of knowledge assets in libraries and information centres. It is important to note that the KM processes are designed to be implemented or to achieve results. According to Martin (2000), knowledge management processes should meet the following five organizational objectives, connect people with other knowledge people, 37
International Journal of Library and Information Science (IJLIS), ISSN: 2277 – 3533 (Print), ISSN: 2277 – 3584 (Online), Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), © IAEME connect people with information, enable the conversion of information to knowledge, encapsulate knowledge, making it easier to be transferred, and disseminate knowledge around the organization. Selection of Knowledge Management Process for this study For the present study, the Oluic-Vukovic process model was adopted though with some modifications. The reason for the choice of this model is that it has been described in the literature as one model that covers more completely the range of activities carried out in the university library (Bouthillier and Shearer, 2002). The modification of the model is as shown here. Firstly, the ”gathering” step has been separated into two processes each of which is distinct from the other: identification of knowledge and acquisition of knowledge. Secondly, refining and representing steps have been omitted. Refining is not a major process in the knowledge flow, but knowledge representation falls within the scope of knowledge organization. This modification has reduced the steps in the model to four instead of five. Based on this modified Oluic-Vukovic process model, the KM process dimensions selected for this study consisted of knowledge identification, knowledge acquisition, knowledge organization, and knowledge dissemination. 1. Knowledge Identification Knowledge in the context of an academic library can be created through identification or anticipation of the needs of the users. This will enable university libraries provide value – added services to their users. Librarians must embark on knowledge need analysis of users so as to provide quality or user – centred services. It has been found that the librarians can achieve this through careful study of the university curricular, linking library services with the university’s academic programmes, participating in the teaching and research activities in the University, and finally through participating more in user’s reading (Maponya, 2004). Therefore, knowledge identification refers to the knowledge activities aimed at identifying users’ needs and requirements for the purpose of providing them with a variety of quality services. It is the first step in the knowledge processing chain. 2. Knowledge Acquisition This is the second step in the knowledge processing chain in any organization such as libraries. Knowledge acquisition refers to knowledge activities directed at seeking and obtaining knowledge from the external sources and also from the internal environment. Generally, Maponya (2004) suggested that knowledge in academic libraries can be acquired through establishing links or networking with other libraries and with institutions of all kind, attending training programs, conferences, seminars and workshops, and buying knowledge products or resources in the form of manuals, blueprints, and research reports. To capture internal knowledge, it has been suggested that academic libraries should devise systems to identify people’s expertise and develop ways of sharing it. This requires a formal process, which includes collating internal profiles of academic librarians and also standardizing routine information (Maponya, 2004). Another approach is to begin to develop innovative ideas to add value to services. For instance, the type of enquiries that are most commonly received at the reference desk should be captured and placed within easy reach to better serve users. This can be achieved by creating a folder of frequently asked questions (FAQ). Apart from the fact that this will help librarians to provide in –depth customized reference service, it will also help them to become knowledgeable about handling different enquiries (Maponya, 2004). 38
International Journal of Library and Information Science (IJLIS), ISSN: 2277 – 3533 (Print), ISSN: 2277 – 3584 (Online), Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), © IAEME 3. Knowledge Organization or Creation This step ensures that knowledge captured is organized into easily accessible formats. The convenience of the user is usually considered in organizing knowledge /information for their use. This process usually results in creation of knowledge products and services targeted at satisfying the escalating needs of users, or helping them to get the right information at the right time (Holm, 2001). Knowledge organization is defined as the analysis of information gathered from internal and external sources to create new knowledge or new knowledge products. Some of these knowledge products include lecturers’ profile, database of experts, users profile and so on (Todd and Southon, 2007). In this study, knowledge organization and knowledge creation will be used interchangeably. Knowledge organization or creation is all about development of new ideas and new solutions aimed at meeting the needs of library users. 4. Knowledge Dissemination This is the fourth and last step in the model and it ensures that knowledge resources in the library are made available to users. This can be achieved through established system of communication between university libraries and their users. Knowledge dissemination refers to the knowledge activities aimed at making knowledge resources and services accessible to users. Kim (2004) noted that librarians should be able to extract, filter and disseminate external knowledge. Choo (2000) stated that, in libraries and information centres, knowledge can be disseminated through a variety of knowledge assets such as library alert system, library mailing lists and so on. It can also be disseminated through the use of new technologies such as groupware, internet/intranet and other discussion support systems (Rufai and Seliaman, 2004). KM application in organization is therefore defined in terms of the knowledge processes in an organization. The present study was focused to determine the knowledge processes for successful KM applications in Nigerian university libraries. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The objectives of this study are twofold, namely; 1. To identify the knowledge processes for successful KM implementation in university libraries, and 2. To identify the greatest of all knowledge processes for KM implementation in university libraries. METHODOLOGY The design of the study was a descriptive survey. A descriptive survey research design attempts to accurately describe a given situation. This study was carried out in federal university libraries in Nigeria. These libraries have sizeable collections of both print and online resources, established training programmes for staff, internet connectivity and are capable of providing leadership for other libraries in the country. Also, considerable variations exist among these libraries in terms of age, size, history and services. These varying attributes provide opportunity to conduct research. The population of this study consisted of librarians working in federal universities in Nigeria. There are 26 federal university libraries in Nigeria made up of 456 librarians. Since 39
International Journal of Library and Information Science (IJLIS), ISSN: 2277 – 3533 (Print), ISSN: 2277 – 3584 (Online), Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), © IAEME the population of this study is not large enough to warrant sampling, all the librarians in the federal university libraries in Nigeria were studied. Instrument for Data Collection The instrument for this study was a questionnaire developed by the researcher. The instrument had two sections. Section A had only one item intended to obtain personal information on the university libraries studied. Section B covered the knowledge processes studied. These processes include knowledge identification, knowledge acquisition, knowledge creation and knowledge dissemination. Multiple item measure was used to develop the items for each of these processes. The items were homogenously keyed in a 4point scale and the subjects were guided to respond to each item thus: VSE= Very Small Extent; SE= Small Extent; LE= Large Extent; VLE= Very Large Extent. These response categories were scored thus: VSE=1; SE= 2; LE= 3; VLE= 4. A pilot testing was carried out to establish the reliability of the instrument using cronbach alpha procedure. This yielded an alpha coefficient equals to 0.91. Procedure for Data Collection The researcher used trained research assistants to distribute and collect the copies of the instrument. These research assistants covered 21 federal university libraries in Nigeria. The remaining 5 university libraries were visited by the researcher. The purpose of the study was explained to the research assistants who expressed willingness to distribute and collect the copies of the research instrument. A total of 456 copies of the research instrument were distributed to respondents. Out of this number, 354 copies were returned and found all usable which gave a response rate of 78%. METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS Descriptive statistical tools consisting of the Mean (x) and the standard Deviation (SD) were used to analyse the data collected. The decision on the cut-off point for the item Means was based on the Gregory and Ward’s (1978) formula for determining the lower and upper limits in Mean. This formula was applied thus: 0.50 – 1.49 – Very Small Extent (VSE) 1.50 – 2.49 – Small Extent (SE) 2.50 – 2.49 – Large Extent (LE) 3.50 – 4.49 – Very Large Extent (VLE). The minimum Mean value of 2.50 was used as the response acceptance level of each questionnaire item. This value was obtained by taking the average of the weighed response categories of the questionnaire items. 40
International Journal of Library and Information Science (IJLIS), ISSN: 2277 – 3533 (Print), ISSN: 2277 – 3584 (Online), Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), © IAEME Findings The findings of this study are presented as shown in the tables below: Table 1: Mean and Standard Deviation of Resources used for Knowledge Identification in Federal University Libraries in Nigeria SD Decision Statement N X ** University publications 354 2.80 0.76 LE Study of University curricular 354 2.78 0.87 LE Linking library services with university academic 354 3.11 0.89 LE programme Participating in the teaching and research activities in 354 3.16 0.92 LE the university Survey results 354 2.94 0.71 LE Contact with users 354 2.83 0.75 LE Contact with university teachers 354 2.60 0.80 LE Library liaison 354 2.64 0.78 LE Overall mean 354 2.86 0.50 LE ** VSE – Very Small Extent; SE – Small Extent; LE – Large Extent; VLE – Very Large Extent. Table 1 above shows different resources that university libraries use to identify the needs of their users. The results show that all knowledge resources listed are used. However, the ones that are mostly used are participating in the teaching and research activities in the University (3.16) and linking library services with University academic programme (3.11). Other important sources used are results from user survey (2.94) and contact with users (2.83). These findings indicate that university libraries in Nigeria use a variety of knowledge resources to a large extent in identifying the information and knowledge needs of their users. This is because the standard deviations of the responses of librarians on the above items do not show wide variation. Table 2: Mean and Standard Deviation of Resources used for Knowledge Acquisition in Federal University Libraries in Nigeria Statement N SD Decision X ** Personal experience 354 3.01 0.77 LE Consultation with colleagues 354 3.03 0.77 LE Library collection 354 3.49 0.61 LE Internet 354 3.22 0.72 LE Consultation with academics 354 3.10 0.71 LE Using other libraries collections 354 2.51 0.80 LE Interviewing those leaving the profession 354 2.71 0.88 LE Interviewing experts on operational processes 354 3.11 0.88 LE Overall mean 354 3.00 0.78 LE ** VSE – Very Small Extent; SE – Small Extent; LE – Large Extent; VLE – Very Large Extent. 41
International Journal of Library and Information Science (IJLIS), ISSN: 2277 – 3533 (Print), ISSN: 2277 – 3584 (Online), Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), © IAEME Table 2 above shows the resources that university libraries use to meet the needs of their users. The results show the resources listed are all used. Of all these resources, the library collection is mostly used (3.49). Other resources that are used next to library collection are internet (3.22), interviewing or consulting experts (3.11), consultation with academics (3.10), consultation with colleagues (3.03) and personal experience (3.01). The above results show that knowledge resources within and outside the university libraries are used to a large extent to meet the needs of their users. This can be seen from the fact that the responses of librarians on the above items do not show wide variation as seen from their standard deviations. Table 3: Mean and Standard Deviation of New Knowledge Products created for Usercentred Services in Federal University Libraries in Nigeria SD Decision ** Statement N X Database of users profile Database of experts publications Statistics about use and users 354 354 354 2.46 1.76 2.10 1.20 0.95 1.06 SE SE SE Reports of library surveys Database of information in specific subjects 354 354 2.15 2.37 1.05 1.05 SE SE Database of staff publications 354 2.92 0.70 LE Database of experts 354 2.83 0.72 LE Database of staff profiles 354 2.97 098 LE Data analysis reports Reports of observation and experiences Lectures’ profile 354 354 354 2.62 1.98 2.01 2.28 1.06 0.92 LE SE SE Index of knowledge generated in the university 354 2.52 0.79 LE Catalogue of online resources 354 2.62 0.82 LE Folder of frequently asked question FAQ Overall mean 354 354 2.32 2.47 0.76 0.52 SE SE ** VSE – Very Small Extent; SE – Small Extent; LE – Large Extent; VLE – Very Large Extent. Table 3 shows the knowledge resources created by university libraries to meet the needs of their users. The results show that out of fourteen (14) knowledge products or services listed; only six (6) were created in the university libraries studied. These services include database of staff profile (2.97), database of staff publication (2.92), database of experts (2.82), data analysis reports (2.62), catalogue of online resources (2.62) and index of knowledge generated in the university (2.52). The findings show that knowledge creation activities are carried out to a small extent in the universities libraries studied. This is because the standard deviations of the responses of librarians do not show wide variation. 42
International Journal of Library and Information Science (IJLIS), ISSN: 2277 – 3533 (Print), ISSN: 2277 – 3584 (Online), Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), © IAEME Table 4: Mean and Standard Deviation of Approaches used for knowledge dissemination in Federal University Libraries in Nigeria SD Decision Statement N X ** Library notice 354 2.87 0.77 LE Library signs 354 2.75 0.76 LE Library internal newsletters 354 2.79 0.81 LE University newsletter 354 3.34 0.83 LE Library presentation and demonstration 354 2.94 0.98 LE Library instructional programmes 354 2.73 0.89 LE Library alert system 354 2.81 0.88 LE Library mailing list of users 354 2.68 0.97 LE Reference librarian 354 2.61 0.87 LE Liaison librarian 354 2.18 0.96 SE Internet 354 2.08 1.03 SE e-mail 354 2.92 1.07 LE Library website 354 2.55 1.12 LE Mailing lists 354 2.70 1.07 LE Face to face communication 354 2.59 0.99 LE Telephone or mobile phone 354 2.90 0.87 LE Fax 354 2.84 0.87 LE Video conferencing 354 2.31 1.04 SE Snail mail 354 1.66 0.95 SE Intranet 354 1.63 0.93 SE Overall mean 354 2.57 0.47 LE ** VSE – Very Small Extent; SE – Small Extent; LE – Large Extent; VLE – Very Large Extent. Table 4 above shows the various ways university libraries make the needed information and knowledge available to their users. The results show that the most used medium is university newsletter (3.34) and the least used medium is the intranet (1.63). Apart from the university newsletter, other traditional approaches used greatly are library presentation and demonstration (2.94), library notice (2.87), library internal newsletter (2.79), library signs (2.75), library instructional programmes (2.73), reference librarian (2.68) and face to face communication (2.59). The results also reveal that the most conventional or modern medium used is e-mail (2.92) followed by mobile phones (2.90), by fax (2.84) and by library alert system (2.81). Other modern methods used include mailing list (2.70), library mailing list of users (2.68), and library website (2.55). Channels like liaison librarian (2.18), video conferencing (2.31) and snail mail (1.66) are not used at all. The above findings, therefore, show that both traditional and conventional media are used to a large extent to disseminate information and knowledge to library users. This is because the responses of librarians do not show wide variation as from their standard deviations. 43
International Journal of Library and Information Science (IJLIS), ISSN: 2277 – 3533 (Print), ISSN: 2277 – 3584 (Online), Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), © IAEME Table 5: Summary of KM Applications in Federal University Libraries in Nigeria SD Decision ** Statement X Knowledge identification 2.86 0.50 LE Knowledge acquisition 3.02 0.47 LE Knowledge creation 2.47 0.50 SE Knowledge dissemination 2.57 0.45 LE Overall mean 2.65 0.41 LE ** VSE – Very Small Extent; SE – Small Extent; LE – Large Extent; VLE – Very Large Extent. Table 5 above shows the KM processes for providing user-centred services in Federal University libraries in Nigeria. The data in the above table show that KM activities are carried out to a large extent in university libraries in Nigeria to meet user needs. The greatest area of activity is knowledge acquisition (3.02), followed by knowledge identification (2.86) and finally by knowledge dissemination (2.57). The above table also reveals that knowledge creation is carried out to a small extent in the libraries studied. The above results show that university libraries pay more attention to acquisition followed by identification and dissemination of knowledge but less attention to creation of knowledge. This can be seen from the responses of librarians which do not show wide variability. Discussion of the Findings From the findings depicted in tables 1 - 5, it is clear that knowledge management is being applied to provide user-centred services in university libraries in Nigeria. This application begins with the identification of the needs of library users. The university libraries in Nigeria engage in many knowledge activities to identify the needs of their users. These activities include participating in teaching and research process in the university, linking library services with university academic programmes, library use survey and contact with users. The greatest area of activity is participating in the teaching and research process of the university. The next area of KM application is knowledge acquisition based on the identified needs of the users. The university libraries use different sources to gather information and knowledge to meet the needs of the users. These sources include library collection, internet, interviews, consultation with colleagues and personal experience. The most widely used source for the purpose of meeting user needs is library collection. The findings also reveal that the university libraries engage to a small extent in knowledge creation and slightly above average in knowledge dissemination activities. The knowledge resources created to meet user needs in the libraries include database of staff profile, database of staff publications, and catalogue of online resources and index of knowledge generated in the university. Knowledge dissemination was found to be done through university newsletter, library presentation and demonstration, library notice, e-mail, mobile phone, library alert system and fax. These results are not surprising because technological infrastructures have not been fully developed in university libraries in Nigeria. Information and communication technology (ICT) is a necessary condition for KM success. 44
International Journal of Library and Information Science (IJLIS), ISSN: 2277 – 3533 (Print), ISSN: 2277 – 3584 (Online), Volume 3, Issue 1, January - June (2014), © IAEME Poor ICT development or lack of it affects negatively the success of KM application, especially in the areas of knowledge creation and dissemination. The findings also reveal that knowledge acquisition constitutes the greatest area of KM application in these libraries, followed by knowledge identification. This result is expected because acquisition of information resources is one of the core competencies of librarians. The knowledge management process found in university libraries in Nigeria consist mainly of knowledge identification, knowledge acquisition, and knowledge dissemination. This finding is expected because the elements of KM are long present in libraries. The finding supports the KM process in academic libraries identified by Maponya (2004). According to Maponya (2004) knowledge management process in academic libraries involves the capturing, sharing or dissemination and utilization of knowledge. Maponya further identified specific knowledge management activities in academic libraries as participation in the teaching and research activities of the university (knowledge identification), collating internal profiles of academic librarians (knowledge creation), establishing knowledge link or contacts (knowledge acquisition) and using both internal and external media to disseminate knowledge. The findings also support the KM process identified by Chen and Mohammed (2004) which included knowledge acquisition and knowledge dissemination. IMPLICATIONS OF THE STUDY The major finding of this study is that knowledge creation is carried out to a low extent in federal university libraries in Nigeria. This finding has implications for university libraries in Nigeria. It means that these libraries should begin to engage seriously in knowledge innovation and creation. They are to be seen making available to users knowledge products and services that have the capacity to meet their needs. University libraries should encourage their staff to be committed to knowledge creation. That is, these staff should be encouraged to be involved in knowledge activities such as creation of databases, indexing of indigenous knowledge or knowledge created in Nigerian universities and cataloguing of online resources. Library staff should be trained and retrained to acquire knowledge management competencies for knowledge creation and transfer in Nigerian university libraries. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS The present study reveals that knowledge processes for KM application in Nigerian university libraries consisted of knowledge identification, acquisition, creation and dissemination. These processes were applied to a large extent in providing user-centred services in federal university libraries in Nigeria. KM was found to be applied to user-centred services, especially in the areas of identifying the needs of users by using different sources, acquiring knowledge resources based on user needs and disseminating these knowledge resources to library users through different approaches or methods. The greatest area of activity was acquisition of knowledge resources based on user needs. It is therefore recommended that organisational commitment to knowledge creation should be intensified and the knowledge creation efforts in Nigerian university libraries should focus on creation of databases, engaging data analysis report, indexing of knowledge generated in the university and cataloguing of online resources. 45
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