Internet as a source of information: A survey of Ph.D Scholars

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1 Annals of Library and Information Studies Vol. 54, December 2007, KHARE pp S K,THAPA N & SAHOO K C: INTERNET AS A SOURCE OF INFORMATION: A SURVEY 201 Internet as a source of information: A survey of Ph.D Scholars Shashi Kant Khare a, Neelam Thapa b and K.C. Sahoo c a Former student of M.L.I.Sc., b Lecturer and c Professor and Head Department of Library and Information Science, Dr. Harisingh Gour University, Sagar, Madhya Pradesh The article attempts to report the findings of a survey conducted to study the pattern of Internet use; satisfaction with the search results and the Internet services; and reasons of non-use of Internet by the Ph.D. scholars of Dr. H.S. Gour University, Sagar, M.P. The findings show that the rate of Internet use is more in research scholars of Science, Life Sciences, Engineering, Technology and Management faculties as compared to the faculties of Arts, Social Sciences, Law, Education and Commerce. Among the non-users of Internet, the number of female research scholars is more as compared to male. The research scholars use Internet for research purpose, entertainment as well as for job search. Introduction Internet is a channel through which tens of millions of scholars, scientists, businessmen, librarians, journalists, artists and software developers are woven into a global information society. Internet has emerged as a major source of information in today s IT age. Researchers from all corners of the earth are finding that their work thrives in a networked environment. Immediate access to the work of colleagues and a virtual library of millions of volumes and thousands of papers afford them the ability to incorporate a huge amount of knowledge. It not only provides a number of services like , file transfer, video conferencing, etc. but also facilitates 24x7 access to information from the comfort of one s home or workplace, thus saving both the time and effort of the researcher. These advantages have made Internet a popular source of information among the research scholars. In this millennium if there is one force that is transforming the lives of people, and promises to deliver tumultuous impact as a constant in the future, it is the Internet 1. Internet provides a wide variety of services that can help the researchers in their quest for knowledge. Raychoudhary and Krishna Pal have discussed the various Internet services like , Usenet, www, Telnet, mailing list and FTP 2. Satyanarayana and Mishra conducted a survey of 50 users of the Central Library, Lucknow University to determine the use of Internet 3. They found that 80% of the users make use of Internet and out of these 10% users are not able to find relevant research information. They also found that 90% of the users wanted training for Internet use. The study suggested that a user-friendly environment in the library and training for the users in information search and Internet services should be provided. Biradar and Sampath Kumar studied the use of Internet by Physicists in the universities of Karnataka and they found that the major obstacles in Internet use were lack of Internet facility and lack of training regarding Internet use 4. A study on the use of electronic resources by research scholars in Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore showed that 97.71% of research scholars used Internet for information search and Google was the most popular search engine among the users 5. The study suggested the institution should provide hands on experience and conduct user orientation programmes to improve the efficiency of research scholars in accessing electronic information. Patel and Srivastava explored the coverage of Indian legal information on Internet 6. The study found that a wide range of legal information is available on the

2 202 ANN. LIB. INF. STU., DECEMBER 2007 Internet and so it is required that law libraries should get connected and make their users aware of the sources of legal information available on the Internet. Khongtim has pointed out that studies on information seeking behavior on Internet shows that users are able to get required information from the Internet but the users still feel a need for instruction and training for using Internet 7. Doctor Harisingh Gour Vishwavidyalaya, formerly University of Saugar, was established on 18th July 1946 by Dr. Harisingh Gour ( ) by his lifetime savings. This 18th University of India and the oldest and the biggest university of Madhya Pradesh has perhaps the singular distinction of being founded by the munificence of a single person s hard earned money of about two crore of rupees. It has 10 different faculties namely, Faculty of Arts with 12 departments; Faculty of Science with 7 departments; Faculty of Social Science with 6 departments; Faculty of Life Sciences with 4 departments; Faculties of Technology; Engineering, Law, Commerce and Management with 1 department each; and Faculty of Education with 3 departments. The university has a large number of Ph.D. scholars pursuing research in different disciplines with new research scholars joining every year. In year alone, 210 Ph.D. scholars registered in the 10 faculties of Dr. H.S. Gour University. Internet facilities, if made available and fully utilized, can prove to be a boon for these research scholars. So, it is pertinent to study the pattern of Internet use by the Ph.D. scholars in order to ascertain the problems faced by them and to suggest ways to overcome the same. Objectives The objectives of the survey are: 1. To know the purposes of using Internet by research scholars, 2. To ascertain the knowledge of users about the Internet resources, 3. To identify the popular search engines, 4. To determine the level of their satisfaction with the services, and 5. To suggest ways of providing better Internet services to users. Hypotheses The hypotheses of the present study are: 1. In the present IT age the research scholars would be aware of Internet resources and services and hence extensively use Internet for research purpose. 2. Internet being a source of information would be of immense help to Ph.D. research scholars. 3. In present information age, Internet connectivity would be provided by the central library and the departments of the university. Methodology The methodology adopted for the study is questionnaire based survey. A total of 210 Ph.D. scholars have registered in the 10 faculties of Dr. H.S. Gour University during the year A sample population for the study included 100 Ph.D. scholars with 10 scholars from each of the ten faculties. Analysis Internet Use To ascertain the Internet use by research scholars, a faculty-wise break up of the respondents in the survey was done as shown in Table 1. Table 1 shows that 66% research scholars use Internet while 34% do not use it. The data also revealed that out of 34 non-users, 12 (35.29%) were males while 22(64.71%) were females. It is also seen that there is wide fluctuation in the use of Internet in different faculties, 100% respondents from the faculties of Technology and Management use Internet whereas only 2% respondents of faculty of Education use the same. If the faculties are divided into two groups as Group 1 (Faculty of Life Sciences, Sciences, Engineering, Technology and Management) and Group 2 (Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences, Education, Law and Commerce), out of the total 66 users of Internet, the use of Internet among research scholars of Group 1 (69.69%) is much more compared to that of Group 2 (30.31%). The 34% respondents who do not use Internet were queried to understand the reasons for their not using the Internet (Table 2).

3 KHARE S K,THAPA N & SAHOO K C: INTERNET AS A SOURCE OF INFORMATION: A SURVEY 203 Table 1 Faculty-wise break up of showing Internet use S.No. Name of the Faculty No. of No. of who do Total No. of Ph.D. who use the Internet not use the Internet Scholars 1 Arts Science Social Sciences Life Sciences Technology Education Law Engineering Commerce Management Total Table 2 Reasons for non-use of Internet by S.No. Reasons for not using the Internet This table shows that the Ph.D. scholars (34%) don t use the Internet because 52.94% Ph.D. scholars have no technical know-how about the Internet, 26.47% Ph.D. scholars do not feel its necessity, 11.76% have other reasons such as language related problem and 8.82% Ph.D. scholar have no interest in it. Objectives of Internet Use No. of Ph.D. Scholars 1 No interest 03 (8.82%) 2 No technical know-how 18 (52.94%) 3 Do not feel its necessity 09 (26.48%) 4 Other reasons 04 (11.76%) Total 34 (100%) Internet can be used for many purposes like educational, job search, entertainment, communication and business purpose. The Table 3 shows the objectives of Ph.D. scholars for using the Internet. As seen in Table 3, 42.42% users use internet for educational, job search, entertainment and communication purposes; 19.69% use it for educational and communication purpose; 12.12% users use it for educational and job search; 9.09% use it for only Table 3 Objectives of for using the Internet S. No. Objectives of Ph.D. scholars No. of Ph.D. Scholars 1. Only for education 06 (9.10%) 2. Education + Job Search 08 (12.12%) 3. Education + Entertainment 04 (6.06%) 4. Education + Communication 13 (19.70%) 5. Education + Job Search + Entertainment 03 (4.54%) 6. Education + Job Search + Entertainment + Communication 28 (42.42%) 7. Education + Job Search + Entertainment + Communication + Business Purposes 04 (6.06%) educational purpose, 6.06% use for education and entertainment purposes; 4.54% use for education, job search and entertainment; and 6.06% use internet for education, job search, entertainment, communication and also for business purpose. Use of different types of Internet Services Internet provides a number of services like , FTP, TELNET, USENET, BBS, mailing list, etc. Table 4 shows the type of services being used by the respondents.

4 204 ANN. LIB. INF. STU., DECEMBER 2007 Table 4 shows that most of the users (37.88%) use e- mail and Internet search service while there are no users of TELNET and USENET service. Use of search engines Internet search is a fast and easy method of information retrieval and research scholars use different search engines to retrieve the required information. Table 5 shows that 42.42% use the Google search engine to access information on the Internet, 24.24% use both Google and Yahoo, 21.21% use only Yahoo, 6.06% use Yahoo, Google and Web Crawler and 6.06% use search engines other than Yahoo and Google. Difficulty in using the Internet Table 6 shows whether the respondents encountered any difficulties in using the Internet or not.it is found that 33.33% users feel some difficulty in using the Internet and 66.67% users do not feel any difficulty in using the Internet. Table 6.1 shows the type of difficulties that are encountered by 33.33% of the users in using the Internet. It is seen that the difficulties faced by research scholars in using the Internet are technical problems (40.91%), language related problems (31.82%)and network related problems (27.27%). Satisfaction with the information retrieved from the Internet Table 7 tries to assess the level of satisfaction with the retrieved information among the respondents.it is seen that 42.42% users are of the view that retrieved information is not pin-pointed, 30.30% believe that information is sufficient, 19.70% believe that information is not fully sufficient and 7.58% users believe that retrieved information from the net is not sufficient for their research purpose. It was found that only 30 (45.45%) out of 66 research scholars use Internet facility available in the university library and even they were not satisfied with the service. The reasons for their dissatisfaction are shown in Table 8. Table 8 shows that out of the 30 scholars, 60% face computer system related problems, feel access time is slow as well as the number of computers available is not adequate % scholars feel there is only lack of adequate number of computers, 13.33% scholars are not Table 4 Tyes of Internet services used by the S.No. Internet Service No. of 1 E- Mail (only) 09 (13.64%) 2 Mailing lists (only) - 3 TELNET (only) - 4 USENET (only) Mailing lists 04 (6.06%) 6 + BBS 11 (16.67%) 7 + FTP 12 (18.18%) 8 + FTP + BBS 05 (7.57%) 9 + Internet Search Service 25 (37.88%) Total 66(100%) Table 5 Search engines used by the S.No. Search Engine No. of 1. Yahoo (only) 14 (21.21%) 2. Google (Only) 28 (42.42%) 3. Yahoo + Google 16 (24.24%) 4. Yahoo + Google + Web Crawler 04 (6.06%) 5. Other than Yahoo and Google 04 (6.06%) Difficulty Table 6 Difficulty in using the Internet No. of Encountered 22 (33.33%) Not encountered 44 (66.67%) Table 6.1 The type of difficulties encountered by Ph.D. Scholars S.No. Types of Difficulty No. of 1. Technical problems 09 (40.91%) 2. Language problems 07 (31.82%) 3. Network related problems 06 (27.27%) Total 22 (100%)

5 KHARE S K,THAPA N & SAHOO K C: INTERNET AS A SOURCE OF INFORMATION: A SURVEY 205 Table 7 Satisfaction with the information retrieved from the Internet S. No. Retrieved Information No. of 1. Sufficient 20 (30.30%) 2. Not fully sufficient 13 (19.70%) 3 Not sufficient 05 (7.58%) 4. Not pin-pointed 28 (42.42%) Table 8 Reasons for dissatisfaction with Internet facility in the University Library S.No. Reasons for Dissatisfaction No. of 1. System related problems 3 (10.0%) 2. No. of computer systems 5 (16.67%) 3. Time to access the Internet 4 (13.33%) 4. Computer system related problems no. of systems, Access time, and poor networking 18 (60.0%) Total 30 (100%) satisfied with the speed of connectivity and 10% face computer system related problems only. Suggestions From the analysis above, the following suggestions have emerged: 1. There is a need to make research scholars aware of the advantages of Internet. Also a short training on how to use the Internet effectively needs to be imparted. It is suggested that the university should conduct such a training programme and make it mandatory for all the research scholars to attend the same. 2. University needs to improve the Internet facility being provided by them at present. More number of computer systems should be allocated for Internet use and some of them should be earmarked for the exclusive use of Ph.D. scholars. Broadband connection can greatly enhance access time. 3. Internet connection should be available in the individual departments also and the research scholars should be encouraged to use the same. 4. More emphasis needs to be given to female Ph.D. students. They should be motivated to use the Internet. If Internet facility is made available at the university campus during working hours, the problem of not getting permission from parents and hostel to access Internet at cyber cafes will be reduced to a great extent. 5. Madhya Pradesh being a Hindi speaking belt where the students encounter problems in using English language. As most of the information on Internet is available in English, a short course in English will help the Ph.D. scholars to use the computers with ease and retrieve the required information from the Internet. The university should take initiative in this direction. Conclusion The first two hypotheses of the study are satisfied as it is found that 66% of the respondents use Internet for research purpose and this shows that research scholars are aware of Internet services and realize its immense importance in research work. The third hypothesis is also satisfied as Internet connectivity is provided by the Central Library of the University and the teaching departments. But the study also shows that the respondents are unable to search pin-pointed information and are not satisfied with the number of computers available for Internet access, the speed of connection and the timings for Internet access. In today s information age, Internet is a boon for researchers as it has brought information scattered all over the world within the easy reach of the researchers. Internet can help researchers to get the nascent information in their field without time lag and hence save their time, avoid duplication and improve the quality of research. But to gain full advantage of Internet it is required that institutions of higher education make better Internet facilities available and also make an effort to make their research scholars aware of the merits of Internet and train them to use Internet effectively to meet their information needs. References 1 Yunus M and Khayal R, Glamour or guile: The Internet today, IASLIC Bulletin, 45 (2) (2000) Raychaudhury A and Pal J K, Internet services for exploring Social Sciences resources, IASLIC Bulletin, 46 (4) (2001)

6 206 ANN. LIB. INF. STU., DECEMBER Satyanarayana N R and Mishra J, Use of Internet in a university library: A case study, ILA Bulletin, 37 (4) (2001) Biradar B S and Samapath Kumar B T, Use of Internet by Physicists in universities of Karnataka State: A comparative study, ILA Bulletin, 41 (4) (2005) Kumbar M, Kumar N G, Raj N V and Praveen J K, Use of electronic resources by research scholars in CFTRI, Mysore: A study, ILA Bulletin, 41 (3) (2005) Patel A K and Srivastava V, Access to Indian legal information through Internet: An experience of Judges Library, Allahabad High Court, ILA Bulletin, 42 (3) (2006) Khontim J, Information seeking behavior on Internet: A review. Proceedings of the 4 th Convention on Promotion of Library Automation and Networking in North Eastern Region, Mizoram University, Aizawl, 9-10 Nov., INFLIBNET, Ahmedabad. P

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