Awareness and perception of reference sources and services by undergraduate students of the Federal University OF Technology, Owerri, Nigeria
This study is on the use of reference sources and services by undergraduate students of the Federal University of Technology. Owerri. The descriptive survey method was adopted. Questionnaires were distributed to a sample of three hundred and twenty-five (325) respondents selected from a population of one thousand seven hundred and twenty-six (1726) registered undergraduate students in the university library for the 2013/2014 academic session, using quota and random sampling method. The data was analyzed using percentage analysis. The findings of the study show among others that while 260 (80%) of respondents are aware of the reference sources collections and reference services available in the university library, 286 (88%) are not aware of the new/modern types of reference service available in the library like e-mail, telephone and social media (e.g. facebook). It was also revealed that 228 (70.45%) have good knowledge of what reference source are; 192 (59.08%) have good understanding of what reference services are, and 241 (74.15%) make use of reference sources in the Federal University of Technology, Owerri library. The reference sources mostly used are encyclopedias 215 (66.15%) and dictionaries 193 (59.39%), while the major challenges facing the undergraduate students in the use of reference resources and services are outdated resources 168 (51.69%), students not always getting the information they need 152 (47.08%) and the reference section of the library not been conducive for reading 150 (46.13%). The findings also reveal that the students use the reference sources mostly for writing assignments 221 (68%), research purposes 212 (65.25%) and for personal knowledge 176 (54.15%). It is recommended among others that the library should regularly provided current reference resources in all the programmes, organize regular library orientation on the use and importance of reference sources and services and making the library conducive for reading and learning. It is thus concluded that the undergraduate students make good use of the reference resources and services because they have a good understanding of them.
Keyword: Awareness, Perception, Reference, Sources, Services, Students,