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This study investigated the availability and utilization of cataloguing tools in Abia State University Library, Uturu. The study was guided by five (5) specific objectives and five (5) research questions. The study employed descriptive survey research, while the population of the study is ten (10) cataloguing staff of Abia State University Library. The sampling technique is the complete census method. Questionnaire and checklist were the instruments used for data collection. The questionnaire and checklist were validated by three (3) experts in Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike. Reliability test of the instrument was done using Cronbach’s Alpha. Frequency count and mean were used in analysing data for the study. The study identified Anglo American Cataloguing Rule II 2nd edition, Library of congress classification Schedule, Dewey Decimal Classification Schedule etc. as cataloguing tools that are available in Abia State University Library. Machine readable catalogues 21, Resource Description and Access, OPAC, PUC etc were not available. The study also revealed that the following cataloguing tools are used in Absu Library: Anglo American Cataloguing Rule 2nd Edition, Library of Congress Classification Schedules, Cataloguing worksheet, Sears list of subject heading, Library of Congress (LC) subject heading List, while the following are not used: Dewey decimal classification schedules, Machine readable catalogues, Resources Description and Access, Universal Decimal Classification Schedules, Bliss’ Bibliographic classification, Online cataloguing etc. The reason for the use of cataloguing tools according to the study are as follows: It serves as guide in the application of cataloguing rules, for confirming the correctness of the entry, to provide quick access to materials, to ensure uniformity, for checking if a book has been previously acquired and catalogued by the librarian, aids in updating of catalogue entries, for confirming and checking of available materials, for assignment of subject heading, for assignment of class mark and assignment of author numbers. Some of the challenges experienced by cataloguers are: inadequate cataloguing tools, presence of analogue cataloguing tools, absence of guide on how to use most of the tools, the tiny characters of some cataloguing books, absence of agreement between some tools, epileptic power supply to use digital cataloguing tools. The solution to the challenges of using cataloguing tools by cataloguers include the following: provision of adequate cataloguing tools, incorporation of ICT cataloguing tools, provision of guide on the use of cataloguing tools, use of bold characters for cataloguing books, use of tools that are free of contradiction, ensuring portability of cataloguing tools, ensuring regular power supply to use digital cataloguing tools. The study recommends that adequate cataloguing tools should be provided in ABSU library, including the incorporation of ICT cataloguing tools, relevant incentives for cataloguers and that regular power supply to the cataloguing rooms.


Title pages                                                                                                                   i

Certification                                                                                                                ii

Declaration                                                                                                                  iii

Dedication                                                                                                                  iv

Acknowledgement                                                                                                      v

Table of contents                                                                                                        vi

List of Tables                                                                                                              viii

Abstract                                                                                                                      ix



1.1       Background of the Study                                                                               1

1.1.2    Background information of Abia State University, Uturu library                  6

1.2       Statement of the Problem                                                                               7

1.3       Purpose of the Study                                                                                      8

1.4       Research Questions                                                                                         9

1.5       Significance of the Study                                                                               9

1.6       Scope of the Study                                                                                         10



2.1     Conceptual Framework                                                                                     11

2.1.1  Concept of cataloguing                                                                         11

2.1.2 Cataloguing tools in University libraries                                                            15

2.1.3 Utilization of cataloguing tools in University library                            21

2.1.4 Challenges to the Use of Cataloguing Tools in University Libraries                 24

2.1.5 Solutions to the Challenges of Use of Cataloguing Tools in

         University libraries                                                                                             25

2.2 Theoretical Framework                                                                                         27

2.2.1 Connectivity theory by George Siemens (2011)                                                27

2.2.2 Theory of self-efficacy by Albert Bandura (1977)                                            28

2.2.3 Theory of reasoned action (TRA) by Icek Ajzen and

         Martin Fishbein (1975)                                                                                      29

2.3    Empirical Studies                                                                                               30

2.4    Summary of Literature Review                                                                         33                                                       


3.1       Design of the Study                                                                                        35

3.2       Area of the study                                                                                            35

3.3       Population of the Study                                                                                  36

3.4       Sample and Sampling Technique                                                                    36

3.5       Instruments for Data Collection                                                                     36

3.6       Validation of the Instrument                                                                          36

3.7       Reliability of the Instrument                                                                           37

3.8       Method of Data Collection                                                                             37

3.9       Methods of Analysis             





4.1 Data Analysis                                                                                                        39

          4.2 Summary of findings                                                                                            51

          4.3 Discussion of findings 



5.1 Discussion of Findings                                                                                         45

5.2 Conclusion                                                                                                            47

5.3 Educational Implication of the Findings                                                              49

5.4 Limitations of the Study                                                                                       50

5.5 Recommendations                                                                                                50

5.6 Suggestions for Further Studies                                                                           50

5.7 Summary of the Study                                                                                          51

References                                                                                                                 53

Appendixes                                                                                                                57



Cataloguing Tools (N = 10)                                                                                                   39

Cataloguing tools used in ABSU library (N = 9)                                                                  40

Reasons for the use of cataloguing tools (N = 9)                                                                  42 Challenges cataloguers experience in the use of cataloguing tools (N = 9)                          43

Solutions to the identified challenges experienced by cataloguers (N = 9)                           44











Academic libraries select, acquire, process, store and make available for use information resources in various fields of knowledge to support teaching, learning and research (Onyesiku & Oduwole, 2004). The purpose of the University library is to support the objectives of the university which is to promote teaching, learning and research. Thus, the university library is meant to serve the undergraduates, postgraduates, lecturers, researchers and other members of the university community. The library is regarded as the heart of the intellectual life of the university. Libraries are places that acquire and disseminate information. They are sources of knowledge and inspiration for many users. People use information in libraries for different reasons. Sindane (2004) observes that libraries, being sources of information could improve their environment by making basic information more easily available, accessible and user friendly. Silungwe (2006) states that, information in libraries is a life-giving force for efficient and effective performance in all service sectors, without which both the individual and the service are at immediate disadvantage. Therefore, it is very important to have a library which is properly managed to provide access to information materials.

Silungwe (2006) further states that the quality of the university is measured largely by the quality of its library because of its unique role in the university system. No university can exist without a library since the university is meant to teach and carry out research. For the undergraduates, the library is supposed to provide information, materials and services specifically designed to meet their needs. For the postgraduate students, teaching staff and research fellows, the university library is supposed to provide information resources and services of sufficient quality and diversity to efficiently serve users (Aina, 2004).

Prytherch (2005) suggests that an information society is one where the population is dependent on information accessed either through the traditional means or by modern technology for social, economic or political development. In these societies, information becomes a precious commodity to be enjoyed by every citizen.Information materials are organized through cataloguing and classification.

According to Ekere and Mole (2014), cataloguing is the process of describing an item of a collection with a view to determining its bibliographical attributes. Cataloguing is an aspect of library technical services which involves the organization of library information resources to ensure relative speed and ease of access by the clientele of the library. Cataloguing is unarguably the hob of librarianship.

Ekere and Mole (2014) are of the same view, cataloguing tools refer to those materials that cataloguers use in the process of cataloguing. They include: Anglo American Cataloguing Rule 2 (AACR2). Library of Congress Classification (LCC) schedule, Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) schedule, Machine Readable Cataloguing (MARC), Resource Description and Access (RDA) which is basically designed for the digital world, Universal Decimal Classification (UDC), thesaurus, dictionaries, Cutter Sanborn three figure author table, cataloguing worksheet, Sears List of Subject Headings, Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), metadata formats and standards, Online Cataloguing Database and Networks, cataloguers Web-based toolkits, ACM Computer Science Classification, Ranganathan’s Colon Classification, Mathematics Subject Classification, Online Public Access catalogue, Cataloguing cards, Catalogue In Publication (CIP) Data and Printed Union Catalogues (PUC). Cataloguers need these tools in cataloguing and classification.

Availability of these cataloguing tools is of paramount importance.  This is because cataloguers would only make use of the cataloguing tools available at their disposal. However, when there is shortfall in the provision of these cataloguing tools, Nnadozie (2007) asserts that the process would be undermined. Though, in most cases, these cataloguing tools may be available but its utilization is another issue of concern. Bowen-Chang and Hosein (2009) is of the argument that even as availability is necessary, the utilization and training to ensure quality utilization is also important. This is because availability does not necessarily mean utilization.

Hjorland (2008) opines that utilization of cataloguing tools is very crucial to the work of activities of the cataloguer. From the definition of cataloguing tools and resources, it can be deduced that the use of cataloguing tools and cataloguing job are inseparable. However, experience has shown that these tools are poorly utilised due to lack of skills by the cataloguers. Another challenge in the utilization of the tools is non availability of the tools. It is impossible to use what is not available. Hence, for cataloguers to perform optimally, cataloguing tools must be readily available and the cataloguers must possess the necessary competencies to the use of them. Nwalo (2001) laments the dearth of these tools in school libraries. In fact, at the recent workshop organised by Nigeria Library Association, librarians were photocopying the current edition of Moys Classification Scheme and Thesaurus. Aderinto and Obadare (2009) confirm high cost and obsolete cataloguing materials as major challenges facing cataloguers. Notwithstanding that cataloguing tools are usually very expensive they should be made available for use in the libraries for effective organisation of knowledge.

Consequently, the cataloguers do not assume that his tools and methods for the control of these collections reflect permanent relationships between the user and the information materials. He must be prepared to constantly revise the configuration of the classification schemes, subject heading list, indexes and other devices at his command for the efficient management of his bibliographic store and to reconcile them with the changing demands of his users. Kim (2003) states that in library, it usually includes the bibliographic description, subject analysis, assignment of classification notation and other activities involved in physically preparing the items for the shelf. These tasks are usually performed under the supervision of a librarian trained as a cataloguer. There are two types of cataloguing, original and copy cataloguing. Original cataloguing refers to the preparation of a bibliographic record from scratch, without the aid of pre-existing catalogue record for the same edition which is time consuming for the cataloguer. Copy cataloguing involves the adaptation of a pre-existing bibliographic record from other bibliographic databases, such as Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) or National Union Catalogue (NUC), to fit the characteristics of the item in hand with modifications to correct obvious errors and minor adjustments to reflect locally accepted catalogue practice. Thus, when cataloguers engage in the process of cataloguing, they are entering information about a book or any other item into the library’s catalogue so that when users search the catalogue, they find what they are looking for or at least something that will help them find an answer to their question.

The library collections are organized through cataloguing and classification. According to Ekere and Mole (2014), cataloguing is the process of describing each of the book and information materials that a library has. It is the process of describing an item of a collection with a view to determining its bibliographical attributes. Cataloguing is an aspect of library technical services which involves the organization of library information resources to ensure relative speed and ease of access by the clientele of the library. Cataloguing also involves the determination of subject contents of the material. Classification gives guide to shelving according to content of the information material. Other activities are the labels on the materials to make circulation easy.

Cataloguing is an activity of the library with the intention to facilitate easy access and location of the collections by patrons. The essence of cataloguing is to make it easy for a searcher to identify the document in a collection when seen. Cataloguing involves two broad activities or stages, namely; descriptive cataloguing and subject cataloguing.

A catalogue therefore, is an indispensable tool, which facilitates the use of library materials Kumar and Kumar (2010) asserted, library is a comprehensive list of the books, periodical, maps, in a given collection, arranged in systematic order to facilitate retrieval (usually alphabetically by author, title, and/or subject). Because libraries usually contain a vast amount of materials, users might never find the information they need if these materials were not carefully organized.

The catalogue is an important retrieval tool to a library and its users. It is a means by which the library ensures effective control of the materials so as to aid users get what they need or require at the time they need it. As an organizational tool, it serves as an access point in the location of the stock of books in a library. Without the use of the catalogue, it will be difficult to find a book or material in a library. Catalogues are necessary whenever a collection grows too large to be remembered item by item. Kumar and Kumar (2010) opined that the catalogue has been described as the culmination of the library staff efforts at organizing information for access. From the users’ point of view, it is the key to the library collection of great variety. From the library management point of view, it is where technical processes and reader services meet and where the user interfaces with information available within the library system (Nnadozie, 2007). Succinctly, the library catalogue can be seen as the key with which to open and access the resources of the library, as it is a finding tool and an information retrieval device used by patrons to access a library collection.


1.1.2    Background Information in Abia State University, Uturu Library.

Abia State University was founded in 1981 as Imo State University under the first civilian governor of the defunct Imo State, late Chief Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe. The University was established based on the Imo State University Law Number 4 of 1981 and Number 21 of 1985 as amended by the Imo State University (Amendment) Edict Number 5 of 1991.

Following the 1991 state creation exercise, Abia State was carved out of old Imo State. Consequently, the then Imo State University found itself within the jurisdiction of Abia State. After a duly considered asset sharing between the two sister states, the university was ceded to Abia State and based on the provisions of the Abia State University Edict of 1995, the name of the university was changed to Abia State University, Uturu.

The University library is one of the key departments which came into force with the University. The library opened its services to patrons in June 1982. From 1981, the University operated a two-campus structure, which necessitated the establishment of two libraries; one at Etiti campus and the other at Aba Campus. The Etiti campus served as the main campus and the library there served the Colleges of Humanities and Social Sciences, Biological and Physical Sciences and the School of Architecture. The Aba Campus Library served the College of Business Administration and Legal Studies.

The University relocated to its permanent site at Okigwe in 1987. The libraries at Etiti and Aba were therefore merged into a single University Library as the two-campus structure no longer held sway. With the expansion of academic facilities and programmes in the University, departmental libraries were established for the College of Legal Studies (now Faculty of Law), the Language Centre (French) and the Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba. Equally, the movement of the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine to Umudike, Umuahia occasioned the establishment of another library there. This means that Abia State University has a central university library with four faculty libraries.

Library materials are centrally acquired, processed and distributed to the departmental and faculty libraries. The pioneer University Librarian was K.K. Onyeoku who was in charge from 1981 to 2001 when he retired from the services of the University and M.C. Onwubiko, a Deputy University Librarian on acting capacity as the University Librarian took over the post. Presently the University Librarian is Professor Udo Nwokocha. The library has two (2) principal librarians, one (1) senior librarian and seven (7) para-professional librarians. In addition to the above staff, there are fifteen (15) library assistants, two (2) supervisors, three (3) library attendants and three (3) porters. Apart from the Faculty of Law Library that is headed by a professional librarian, the other Faculty libraries are headed by the para-professional librarians.

The stock value of the library has grown steadily to the effect that the present book volume is well over 55,000 with over 8,400 serial volumes. In addition to these, traditional book stock, the library’s virtual library was recently commissioned by the Executive Secretary of the National University Commission, Prof. A.N. Okejie in the year 2002.


Providing quality service and easy way of accessing and retrieval information and information resources is critical for libraries. One way through which libraries provide guides to their collections is through the use of catalogue, among other means. Effective cataloguing is important because it provides adequate information on materials available in the library, as well as serves as a pointer to the location of such materials (Nnadozie, 2007). For cataloguers, their part in the provision of quality service is to facilitate access to information resources to meet the needs of the users in relation to the goals of the library and the parent institution. In most libraries, the issue of cataloguing is partially considered. The effect of this could be seen in the presence of few staff in the cataloguing workroom, presence of volumes of information resources, disarrangement of shelves as a result of absence of catalogue cards, frustration by library users, low patronage of the library, and users’ non-satisfaction. However, this can only be achieved through the application of the right cataloguing tools. The inadequacy and poor use of cataloguing tools will bring about books in the library not being catalogued. This will make the library to be a collection of books that are not organized for ease of access and efficient use. The researcher’s preliminary observations in Abia State University, Uturu library revealed that there are backlog of information materials that are not catalogued. This may be as a result of issues surrounding the availability and use of appropriate cataloguing tools for the operation, and therefore necessitated the need for this study, which by all available literature, is the first of its kind.


The main purpose of this study is to ascertain the availability and use of cataloguing tools in Abia State University Library, Uturu. The specific objectives are:

1.                  To identify the cataloguing tools available in Abia State University Library, Uturu.

2.                  To identify the cataloguing tools used in Abia State University Library, Uturu.

3.                  To ascertain the reasons for the use of cataloguing tools in Abia State University Library, Uturu.

4.                  To find out the challenges cataloguers experience in the use of the cataloguing tools to process information materials in Abia State University Library, Uturu.

5.                  To proffer solutions to the identified challenges cataloguers experience in the use of the cataloguing tools for processing information materials in Abia State University Library, Uturu.


The following research questions were answered.

  1. What are the cataloguing tools available in Abia State University Library, Uturu?
  2. Which of the available cataloguing tools are used in Abia State University Library, Uturu?
  3. What are the reasons for the use of cataloguing tools in Abia State University Library, Uturu?
  4. What are the challenges of cataloguers in the use of the cataloguing tools for processing information materials in Abia State University Library, Uturu?
  5. What are the solutions to the identified challenges cataloguers experience in the use of the cataloguing tools for processing information materials in Abia State University Library, Uturu?


It is expected that the present study will be of utmost benefit to different categories of persons and groups, cutting across librarians, especially the cataloguers, library administrators, researchers and authors

The result of this study will help the librarians and administrators understand, from the cataloguers’ perspective, what they think should be done to improve the availability and use of cataloguing tools in the library. The study will equally aid researchers and authors who are interested in knowing the areas, and possible solutions, to the problems, of use of cataloguing tools. It will also be a source of information in ensuring that every librarian becomes an accomplished cataloguer due to the solution to the identified challenges.


The study covered Uturu, Abia State. Specifically, the study covered Abia State University Library, Uturu, Abia State Nigeria. The study identified the cataloguing tools available, extent of availability, extent of use, challenges facing use and solutions to the challenges facing the use of cataloguing tools inAbia State University Library, Uturu. The above mentioned presents the content scope of this study. Consequently, the instruments for data collection were restricted to questionnaire and observation checklist. Additionally, the cataloguing staff of the University library served as respondents for the study.


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