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Type Working Paper - DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Title A survey of information resources required by Ulama to perform their work roles: a case study of Borno State, Nigeria
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
URL http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1576&context=libphilprac
The shift in emphasis from the study of Information system to the Individual as the
finder and user of information, has over the years received unprecedented
attention among librarians and information professionals as indicated by the
overwhelming number of researches carried out in the area. Various groups
ranging from professionals to unskilled workers have been studied to identify their
information needs with a view to providing them the right information in order to
contribute their quota to the development of the society. One important
professional group which has been playing, and will continue to play influential role
in the life of individuals and the society that is not given corresponding attention is
the Clergy. A search into the literature shows that between 1973 and 2008 a
period of thirty-seven years, only seven major studies (Porcella 1973, Erdel 1978,
Allen 1987, Tanner 1992, Phillips 1992, Wicks 1997, and Daniel 2008) were
conducted on the information behavior of the clergy in different context. All the
studies however were on Christian clergy and with the exception of Allen’s which
concentrated on developing countries of South America; all others were conducted
in the United States and Canada.
Similarly, the paucity of literature in information behavior research in developing
countries is further exposed by Dutta (2009). She reviewed studies conducted on
information behavior of people in developing countries and lamented that “there are
relatively small number of studies done on the information behavior of the citizens
of developing countries, and the few studies concentrate on educated individuals
and certain geographic areas of the urban population.” In Nigeria the few includes
Tiamiyu’s (1990) study on the use of information sources in government
institutions, Haruna and Mabawonku (2001) studied the information needs and
seeking behavior of legal practitioners in Lagos State, Momodu (2002) investigated
the information needs and seeking behavior of rural dwellers in Edo State, Nweke
(2002) compared the information seeking and use of human and veterinary medical
students of University of Maiduguri. Others include Njoku (2004) who examined
the information needs and seeking behavior of fishermen in Lagos State, Hassan
(2007) studied the information needs and gathering of medical practitioners, and
Kamba (2009) investigated the information seeking behavior of school teachers in
rural areas of Nigeria.
Despite the increasing interest in the information behavior of professionals as
indicated by the large number of researches as illustrated above, Wicks (1997)
lamented that the clergy as a professional group has not been adequately covered
in terms of their information behavior. The situation is further compounded when
viewed from the general perception the society has of the clergy as a conservative
group which very little or nothing is known about the kinds of sources they prefer
and the purposes for which they put the information to use.
It is in the light of the above that this study investigates the information behavior of
Muslim clerics (Ulama) in relation to - What types of information sources they
prefer?, and To what purposes do they use the information?, with particular
reference to Borno State in Nigeria.

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