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CHAPTER ONE

Introduction
The use of Information Communications Technologies (ICTs) in the Library and Information Science profession has been widely reported. Ezeani and
Ekere (2009); Ozioko R; Ezeani C; Omeje E (2009) Adebisi, O (2009) Ahiauzu B (2008) Armah, A. (2009). Ezeani and Ekere (2009) have further
established that Librarians and information professionals presently operate within a professional climate that is characterized by change. Ezeani (2005)
furthermore, has posited that in developing countries such as Nigeria, libraries have had their budgets steadily on the decline. As a result most Nigerian
libraries have had to perform their services within a reduced purchasing power. Knowledge of the use of these new skills will ensure that services are
rendered more creatively and ensure the effective discharge of duties even within a reduced budgetary allocation.
From the twentieth century need for computer literacy we have gradually migrated to a more advanced use of the Internet known as Network literacy.
There has therefore, been a move over time from print literacy, to computer literacy and recently to network literacy. Network literacy therefore, is distinct
from the forms of technological literacy present during the first generation of Internet communication. This is because it goes beyond the responsibility of
knowing how to access information on the web, to critically reading web content and determining the credibility of online sources. This is often recognized
as the critical literacy for the twenty-first century. Adrian (2007) has defined Network Literacy as the ability to participate as a peer within the emerging
knowledge networks which are now the product of the Internet and to have a ‘deep’ understanding of the logics or protocols of these networks as we do
of print. It therefore, requires an understanding of the means of participating on the web by writing and connecting to the public sphere. Librarians in the
twenty –first century need to be abreast of these emerging skills in order to be able to deliver their services effectively. They need to be able to have an
understanding of the ways in which people read, write, and participate actively in the distributed, collaborative environment of the Internet in its current
form Benson and Reyman (2009). The Internet offers a uniquely rich resource for authentic inquiry and librarians must learn to orchestrate sophisticated
strategies to become literate in this complex environment. This work therefore, seeks to examine the network literacy skills of librarians in the university of
Nigeria, library system in recognition of the fact that these are critical skills needed for optimal service delivery within the 21st Century.
Research Questions
The following research questions formed the major basis upon which this study was hinged:
1. What is the level of proficiency of the use of the Internet by Librarians in The University of Nigeria, Library system?
2. What is the level of proficiency of the use of Web 2.0 tools by Librarians
3. What is the extent of use of Library 2.0 by Librarians
4. What are the factors that encumber the level of Network Literacy of librarians.
5. What strategies are proffered for improving the Network Literacy skills of Librarians in the University of Nigeria, Library system.
Scope
This work deals primarily with Network Literacy which according to Slavonien (2002) is one of the four important aspects of literacy needed to become
effective life-long learners. In terms of content scope the work is delimited to the examination of the level of skills possessed by Librarians in the
university of Nigeria library system with respect to the use of the Internet, the frequency of use of the Internet, the web browsers used for surfing the
Internet. Other areas examined are the different uses of some web2.0 and library 2.0 tools which are seen as new Internet tools. The geographic scope is
the University of Nigeria, library system in Enugu State Nigeria.
Conceptual Framework
Scholars have variously examined and defined Network literacy. The term means several things to several authors but the underlining factor acceptable to
all is that this is a twenty-first century critical skill needed by scholars generally and Librarians in particular to function effectively within the emerging
technological environment. The term ‘Cyberliteracy, Computer literacy, Internet literacy, Medialiteracy, Technological literacy and Network literacy are
replete in Library and Information science literature. Often times these terms are used interchangeably however, a deeper examination of these terms
shows that they are not exactly the same. There is therefore a need to clarify certain basic concepts.
Table 1: Conceptual definitions of Network Literacy.
Author Conceptualization
Selfe C.(1999) This author makes a distinction between computer literacy which she defines as the mechanical skills of using computers, software, or the web and
technological literacy which she defines as a complex set of socially and culturally situated values, practices, and skills involved in operating
linguistically within the context of electronic environments. The author further delineates that technological literacy focuses on effective and
appropriate communication within online spaces, not just the technical know-how necessary to access them.
Benson and
Reyman (2009)
The authors see network literacy as a skill that goes beyond technical skills and computer literacy but a skill that involves the understanding of the
ways in which people read, write and participate actively in the distributed, collaborative environment of the Internet in its current form
Walker (2005) To this author Network Literacy means linking to what other people have written and inviting comments from others, it means understanding a kind of
writing that is a social, collaborative process rather than an act of an individual in solitary
Hu, (1996) This author has linked Network Literacy to the library practice. He posits that Librarians are asked how to use information rather than just retrieve it
and are asked to assist and train users to locate , evaluate and use information effectively as information navigators rather than traditional
bibliographic instructors. Librarians act not only as the intermediaries in connecting users with networked resources but as partners with teachers to
educate the target groups for network literacy.
Savolainen,(2002) According to this author traditional; computer; media; and network literacy are the four important aspects of literacy needed to become effective lifelong
learners, however, the concepts differ in information content and the level of utilization of information tools in the various types. The researcher is
concerned with network literacy which has been relatively under-researched

 

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