Project Topics

ADOPTION OF CLOUD COMPUTING TECHNOLOGY FOR LIBRARY SERVICES IN THE NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA LIBRARY

Abstract

The study investigated the adoption of cloud computing technology for library services in NOUN Library. Issues related to the existing computer network available in NOUN library such as LAN, WAN, the rationale for the adoption of cloud computing in NOUN library, information services provided in NOUN library such as building digital library, searching library data, building community power were also enumerated. In addition, the implications in terms of cost, staff and maintenance of cloud computing in NOUN library were investigated. Objectives of this study include among others identifying how NOUN library provides its information services and access to its students who are spread across the nation. Four research questions were raised, among which are: the existing computer network available in NOUN library and the rationales for the adoption of cloud computing in NOUN library. Qualitative research method was adopted; Focus group method, NOUN University Librarian and four IT staff were used as sample size of the study. Guided interview constituted the instrument for data collection, while descriptive method was used to analyze the data collected. The finding revealed that LAN, WAN, CAN, Internet and Network were the existing computer networks in NOUN library; another finding of the study shows that NOUN library use cloud computing to provide library and information services to its students who are spread across the country where access to information must not be location specific. The major implication faced by the adoption of cloud computing in terms of cost, staff and maintenance were: budgetary issues which lead to inadequate training of staff and recruiting the right staff to do the job among others. Based on the forgoing, the major way to overcome budgetary issues in the adoption of cloud computing is for NOUN library to solicit for grants from financial institutions like banks, NGOs, and other foundation, more so, since cloud services are usage based or pay as you go pricing, NOUN Library should adjust the usage and cost of its IT services in an efficient way. NOUN library can experience cost reduction and flexibility of cost management.

Background to the Study

There is a great deal of debate about what cloud computing is, or is not. Hayes (2008) defined “cloud computing as a kind of computing which is highly scalable and use virtualized resources that can be shared by the users. Users do not need any background knowledge of the services before using it. Moreover, a user on the internet can communicate with many servers at the same time and these servers exchange information with one another. Basically, data and adoption in the cloud are available through the internet; it can also be accessed from everywhere and from any device with internet connectivity.

Stroh et al, (2009) defined “cloud computing as “the computing software and services that can be accessed via the internet rather than residing on a desktop or internal server.” Gartner (2012) defined cloud computing as “a style of computing in which massively scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service to external customers using internet technologies. “In various presentations Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) broke this into four different types of cloud computing, namely: Infrastructure, Platform, Applications and Services. Infrastructure is buying Space/ times on external servers, Examples are Amazons, A3, and Bungee. Platform on the other hand, is an existing software platform in which one can build its own application on, such as Facebook. While Application is a software application accessed with a Web browser, examples are Google Docs, Salesforce.com, whereas, Service is a ready to use services accessed with a Web browser such as ADP. Mell and Gance (2011) defined each of the three services models thus: Software as a Service (SaaS) which allows users to use the provider’s applications on a cloud through a web browser, while Platform as a Service (PaaS) allows users to deploy their own applications on the provider’s cloud infrastructure under the provider’s environment. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) allows users to control and manage computing resources. Cloud computing can transform the way information systems are built and services delivered. This provides library with an opportunity to extend its impact to its users anywhere anytime. Anyone connected to the internet is probably using some type of cloud computing on a regular basis. Whether they are using Google’s Gmail, Organizing photos on Flickr or searching the Web with Bing they are engaged in cloud environment. As Geoffrey (2013) pointed out, the interesting thing about cloud computing is that it did not start as a technology for the business enterprise, but was driven by the public with services like Facebook and Flickr.