EXAMINATION OF SOFTWARE SELECTION PRACTICES OF TWO FEDERAL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES IN SOUTH-EAST NIGERIA
The study examined the software selection practices of two federal university libraries in south east Nigeria. Specifically, five purposes and research questions guided the study. It was a descriptive survey study that used disproportionate stratified random sampling technique to select eighty (80) samples out of two hundred and forty seven (247) library staff. The study used structured questionnaire and observation checklist as the instrument for data collection. Eighty (80) copies of questionnaire were distributed to the respondents and seventy two (72) of them returned. This represented a return rate of ninety percent (90%). The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics of frequency tables, simple percentages and mean scores. And the decision rule for research question one items was based on fifty percent (50%) benchmark for either availability or non-availability percentage values while that of research question two to five was based on whether the item’s value for mean score was equal to or above the criterion mean for acceptance or otherwise rejected. In addition, the findings of the study revealed that: eight library software packages as Tin-lib, X-lib, Lib-plus, GLAS, Resource-mate, Koha (open source), Alice for WINDOWS and Greenstone are available in the libraries; selection practice methods such as quantitative, intuitive, decision analysis, political, technological and experiences from seminar approaches were employed in the selection practices of the libraries; and selection practices processes such as criterion dependent, library requirement dependent, technological advancement dependent, library development and growth dependent, software evolutionary trends dependent, and among others were effective in the selection practices of their libraries. It further revealed that: problems as financial barriers (funding), insufficient infrastructure, political barriers, inadequate planning and communication, among others affected their software selection processes and strategies like adequate funding, planning and communication as well as involvement of top management, use of reliable data, consultation with previous users, adherence to selection criteria, and among others were appropriate for enhancing their software selection practices. With respect to the above findings, the study recommended the selection of software package(s) that will sustain the operations and services of the libraries and the adoption of methods and processes most appropriate for the libraries.