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Assessing information literacy competency of Arts faculty students at the University of Dhaka.


Digitized information, networked world and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have become necessities in order to stay abreast in the current globalized knowledge based society. Present society has been transformed by the rapid development and diffusion of information and ICT in to fields such as education, business health, agriculture and so on. That is why today's society is increasingly being called an 'information society' and we are witnessing an unprecedented increasing on the production of information all over the world. This enormous growth of information is also posing numerous challenges in our personal and professional life, because over abundance of information may lead to confusion in the information-seeker's mind while deciding which information is going to be useful or not (Bruce, 2004). The process of identifying and selecting information has become complex. It becomes more difficult for information seekers to carry out a successful quest for his desired information. It is thus important to explore various information policies and standard concerning information access and use. This realization has leaded to appear the term 'Information Literacy (IL)' which has very significant implication for today's knowledge based society. IL is also important in higher education as universities prepare people for professional carries and help to enter and adopt of all branches of knowledge. IL enables individuals to participate with greater understanding in community affairs (ANZIL, 2004). The 21st century has brought enormous in higher education throughout the world as a result of new information and technological developments. For students, IL competencies would facilitate independent and authentic learning rather than independence on the teacher to provide answers to questions or problems that they are faced with. But as a developing country in Bangladesh there is a little awareness about the concept of IL and its impact (Salam and Islam, 2009). This study tries to assess the perception of IL among the Arts faculty students at the University of Dhaka.

Background of the study

University of Dhaka was established in 1921 under the Dacca University Act 1920 of the Indian Legislative Council, it is modeled after British universities. Academic activities started on July 1, 1921 with 3 faculties, 12 teaching departments, 60 teachers, 847 students and 3 residential halls (Dhaka University Academic Calendar, 2012). Now the number of students and teachers has risen to about 35,589 and 1,830 respectively (Dhaka University Convocation Prospectus, 2014). There are thirteen faculties and Arts faculty which was established in 1921, one of the largest faculties of the university, consists of sixteen Departments. Four research journals, two in Bengali and two in English are published every year from the Faculty (Dhaka University Prospectus, 2012). The academic activities of these departments are conducted by the Faculty of Arts.

Objectives of the study

The exercise of information for research is a significant basis for academic progress. The prime aim of this study is to assess Information Literacy Competency (ILC) of the Arts faculty students at the University of Dhaka and to determine their strengths and weaknesses. The objectives are to:

* measure the IL competencies and examine the views of Arts faculty students at the University of Dhaka;

* determine the ICT based IL and explore the perceptions on IL of the Arts faculty students;

* find out the information seeking strategy and explore the readiness of the faculty to taken on an enhanced role in awareness of IL education of the students of Arts faculty; and

* identify the problems and developed a series of recommendations to enhance IL activities of the students of Arts faculty.

Review of relevant research

The independence of Bangladesh was declared on 26 March 1971 following the crackdown by the army on the night of 25 March 1971. Bangladesh emerged as an independent and sovereign country on 16 December 1971 following a 9-month War of Liberation. After the emergence of Bangladesh, Dhaka (previously spelt Dacca) is its capital. Literacy situation in Bangladesh period were held three censuses in 1974, 1981 and 1991. The 1974 census defined literacy as the ability to read and write in any language. This definition was in conformity with the UNESCO one accepted throughout the world. The definition of literacy used in the 1981 census covered only persons of age 5 years and above and included those who could write a letter in any language. The 1991 census also defined literacy as the ability to write a letter in any language but covered persons of age 7 years and above. The effect of change in definition of literate has been reflected in the literacy rates of different census years. Literacy rate among people of all ages rose from 17% in 1961 to 24.9% in census year 1991. For the 7 years and above age group, the literacy rate increased from 26.8% in 1974 to 32.4% in 1991. In all census periods, the literacy rates were higher among the males than among the females. The female literacy rate, however, rose significantly in the 1991 census. It was 16.4% in 1974 and 25.5% in 1991. Urban rural variation in literacy rate is also quite evident in all census periods. Literacy rates in urban areas are higher than in rural areas in all census periods (Shuva, 2004).

The independence of Bangladesh generated a new enthusiasm in both government and private level in efforts to expand literacy and remove illiteracy. The Bangladesh Constitution of 1972 provides the basis for a policy on universal primary education. The policy has three components establishing a uniform mass oriented and universal system of education extending free and compulsory education to all children and relating education to the needs of society and removing illiteracy. Keeping in view the constitutional directives, Bangladesh committed itself to implement the recommendations of the World Conference on Education for All (1990), The World Summit on Children (1990) and the Summit Declaration on Education for All (1993). Primary education was recognized as the foundation of preparing literate citizens of the country in all national documents, reports of the commissions and committees on education. But this stage of education got a momentum only after the enactment of the Compulsory Primary Education Law of 1990. Compulsory primary education under this Act was introduced in 1992 in 68 thanas, and all over the country in 1993. Measures such as satellite schools, community schools and Food for Education Program were taken up to increase enrolment and decrease dropout. The new primary curriculum based on terminal competencies was implemented in 1992. These steps resulted in some improvements in various efficiency indicators of primary education such as in gross enrolment ratio and the completion rate and raised the participation of girls in primary education. In addition to state intervention, from the second half of 1980's, the government allowed NGOs to experiment with a variety of delivery mechanisms to cater to the basic educational needs of the disadvantaged population.

Bangladesh Education Commission Report (1974) shows the number of adult men and women an illiterate in the country at the time of independence was 35 million. The Report recommended adoption of non-formal and mass education programs for them. Accordingly, the First Five-Year Plan (1973-78) launched a massive functional literacy program through non-formal education and allocated Tk. 400 million for this subsector. The Second Five-Year Plan (1980-85) attached high priority to eradication of mass illiteracy. Side by side the Universal Primary Education Project, a Mass Education Program (MEP) was implemented in 1980 for people of the 11- 45 years age group. But the program was abandoned in 1982, when its achievement in terms of the number of people made literate was an estimated 700,000 against a target of 10 million. In the Third Five-Year Plan (1985-90) the program was revived with an allocation of Tk. 250 million and a modest target of making 2.4 million adults literate by June 1990. Information from the office of the Integrated Non-Formal Education (INFE) project (former MEP Office) show that only 27 upazilas were covered in this project out of a target of 71 upazilas. A total of 291,600 adults were made literate in five years. In the Fourth Five-Year Plan (1990-95) Tk. 235.70 million was allocated. During the Plan period MEP was continued as a spillover under the project and total of 367,660 adult illiterates of 11-45 years ago were made literate. In addition, another new project, Expansion of INFE Program, was initiated to institutionalize a comprehensive non-formal education system in the country. The program was implemented in 68 thanas of the country. Moreover, under the aegis of the district administration a program named Total Literacy Movement (TLM) was started in 1995 in Lalmonirhat and Bhola districts. It was later extended to 15 other districts. Preparatory work is now under way to extend TLM to 22 more districts. The fifth five-year plan (1997-2002) adopted an ambitious objective to achieve the goal of education for all (EFA) by the end of plan period 2002. The major objectives are to increase gross enrolment in primary schools to 110 percent (net 95%) with particular emphasis on enrolment of girls and on increasing completion rate of primary education to at least 75 percent by the year 2002. The fifth plan also set up some important objectives of mass education consistent with the overall objectives of achieving the goal of EFA and fulfilling the educational needs of 30 million adult illiterates. These objectives are to increase literacy rate of adults (15 years and above) to 80% by the year 2002, to empower learners with technical skills, entrepreneurial traits and leadership skills, to empower skills related to literacy, numeracy and communication, to reduce gender gap in literacy rates in both rural and urban areas and to develop continuing education program for neo-literates. (Khatun, 2004).

Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information (ACRL, 2000). According to a Literacy Assessment Survey (LAS) conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) in 2008, Bangladesh's adult literacy rate reached 48.8 percent in 2008, 7.3 percent up from that of 2005, as the literacy rate among females for the first time surpassed that among males. Out of the 48.8 percent literate population, 48.6 percent are male while 49.1 percent are female (Kabir, 2009).

Bangladesh is a developing country where every sort of problems exists as stated by Pejova (2002). In Bangladesh the term 'Information Literacy' is not a popular one. Peoples are confused about this term. Recently Information Science Today conducted a survey on the understanding of IL meaning among students, teachers, businessman and some other professionals. But the result is a very frustrating. Around 93% respondent do not know the actual meaning of IL where 5% give a vague answer and only 2% know about IL and give a satisfactory answer. These are the real situation prevailing in Bangladesh. In such situation comprehensive training program is necessary. First the term should be popularized. Then different seminars, symposium, conferences should be organized by different educational institutions. A continuous program should be developed by government and non-government organization. International cooperation is must in this regard. Information Science Today has taken a Five years (2005-2009) plan to popularize the term through posters, books, seminars, media writing etc. and provide comprehensive training on IL to mass people, so that they can utilize information to their own needs properly. To make this plan a successful one throughout the year Information Science Today will publish different leaflets, posters and host IL relevant materials on their website and also will conduct IL relevant training and seminars. No doubt these jobs are not easy at all. It needs support and cooperation from national and international body. Thus Information Science Today seeks support from national and international body. When comparing developed and developing countries regarding the promotion and implementation of IL, we see that developed countries have a plethora of IL curricula and syllabi, which is the opposite of the situation in developing countries (Pejova, 2002). As a developing country, in Bangladesh there is still largely a lack of professional and management level awareness on developing strategies for IL education and there is a severe lack of IL guidelines and standards in academic institutions. The concept is almost absent in higher academic institutions and many library professionals do not know the meaning of IL (Hoq, 2006). In 2009, the Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) for the first time arranged an International Workshop on IL under the patronage of IFLA. The objective of the workshop was introducing the concept of IL in Bangladesh and other SAARC countries, providing hands on training on IL, building the capacity of library professionals in the SAARC regions and making them competent to run IL program after the training. The target group was library professionals in Bangladesh and other SAARC countries, but the workshop was not limited to this region (IUB, 2009). Islam and Tsuji (2010) carried out a comprehensive work entitled "assessing information literacy competency of Information Science and Library Management graduate students of Dhaka University" in which they shown that the IL competency of Information Science and Library Management (ISLM) graduate students at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and to determine their strengths and weaknesses. They also found that students had limited skills in the area of IL, as it is not discussed extensively in their academic course curriculum. They urges the incorporation of an IL program in the course curriculum and more writing, discussion and other relevant issues that will make the students more information literate.

Presently in Bangladesh many works on IL is going on properly in both rural and urban areas. With digitization of scholarly publications and the growth in online delivery, fluency with information technology requires more than the learning of software and hardware associated with computer literacy. IL is an intellectual framework for recognizing the need for, understanding, finding, evaluating, and using information. These are activities which may be supported in part by fluency with information technology, in part by sound investigative methods, but most importantly through critical discernment and reasoning. IL initiates, sustains and extends lifelong learning through abilities that may use technologies but are ultimately independent of them (ANZIIL, 2004). IL program cannot be a successful one in Bangladesh without national and international cooperation and coordination. On the other hand without good IL program proper development of a country may be hampered. The best way to develop IL program in Bangladesh is to call developing country's organization that are willing to develop IL activities to come developed countries and get training on IL activities, with a view to give a guideline to launch IL program in Bangladesh.


This study was conducted by the Arts faculty students of University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The study employed descriptive research, using a questionnaire as instrument for eliciting information on IL among students. A total of 250 questionnaires were distributed randomly, of which 207 were returned and used for the analysis. Simple percentages were use. The response rate among the students of Arts faculty is shown below:
Table 1: Distribution of questionnaire and response rate
among the students of Arts faculty

                                   No. of
SL     Name of the               respondent
No.    department                 (n=250)

                               Male    Female

1      Bengali                  12        8
2      English                  15        6
3      History                  15       10
4      Islamic History          11        7
         and Culture
5      Philosophy               10        7
6      Information Science      16        9
         and Library
7      Arabic                    8        4
8      Islamic Studies           9        6
9      Sanskrit                  6        6
10     Pali and Buddhist         6        4
11     Persian Language          8        4
         and Literature
12     Urdu                      7        4
13     Linguistics              10        5
14     Theatre and               8        6
         Performance Studies
15     Music                     7        4
16     World Religions           8        4
         and Culture
Total                           156      94

SL     Name of the               received and
No.    department              analyzed (n=207)   Response
                               Male    Female       (%)

1      Bengali                   9        5        70.00
2      English                  14        5        90.47
3      History                  10        6        64.00
4      Islamic History          11        7        100.00
         and Culture
5      Philosophy                8        4        70.59
6      Information Science      16        8        96.00
         and Library
7      Arabic                    6        3        75.00
8      Islamic Studies           8        4        80.00
9      Sanskrit                  6        3        75.00
10     Pali and Buddhist         5        3        80.00
11     Persian Language          8        4        100.00
         and Literature
12     Urdu                      7        4        100.00
13     Linguistics              10        3        86.67
14     Theatre and               7        4        78.58
         Performance Studies
15     Music                     7        4        100.00
16     World Religions           6        2        66.67
         and Culture
Total                           138      69        83.31


The following were the results from the questionnaire survey conducted, giving the percentages and number of responses for the various answers pertaining to each question. Results were presented under various sections which covers related questions.

The above table shows that out of 207 students, 14 (6.76%) were from Bengali department, 19 (9.18%) were from English department, 16 (7.73%) were from History department, 18 (8.70%) were from Islamic History and Culture department, 12 (5.80%)were from Philosophy department, 24 (11.59%) were from Information Science and Library Management department, 9 (4.35%) were from Arabic department, 12 (5.80%) were from Islamic Studies, 9 (4.35%) were from Sanskrit department, 8 (3.86%) students were from Pali and Buddhist Studies department, 12 (5.80%) were from Persian Language and Literature department, 11 (5.31%) were from Urdu department, 13 (6.28%) were from Linguistics department, 11 (5.31%) were from Theater and Performance Studies department, 11 (5.31%) were from Music department and 8 (3.86%) were from World Religions and Culture department.

A total of 207 students took part in this study. Among them 138 (66.67%) were male and 69 (33.33%) were female. This suggests an imbalance between male and female students as information literacy competency of Arts faculty. The age distribution of students is shown in Table 3. The largest group of students (158, 76.33%) was comprised of those in the age group of 21-25 years. The smallest group of students (15, 7.25%) was aged between 26-30 years.

Table 4 indicates that 32 (15.46%) students were studying in their first year, 31 (14.98%) students were studying in second year, 37 (17.87%) students were studying in third year, 48 (23.19%) students were studying in fourth year and 55 (26.57%) students were studying at the Masters levels. Only 4 (1.93%) M Phil researchers responded to this survey.

Table 5 indicates the current information need to consult. Only 11 (5.31%) selected the right answer Journals. The results on which source of information respondents used 40 (19.32%) preferred books as a source of information, 53 (25.60%) preferred periodical articles as a source of information, 21 (10.14%) preferred encyclopedia articles as a source of information, 12 (5.80%) preferred bibliographies as a source of information, 23 (11.11%) preferred e-resources as a source of information, 47 (22.7%) don't know. This general reference to the e-resources by a sizeable number of students indicates that they make little distinction between the different types of documents available on the Web (books, encyclopedias, reports, press releases, dictionaries, articles, etc.). It appears that many people consider the Internet to be a document type although, in fact, it is a means of disseminating information much the same as print. This 'all purpose' approach is hazardous, because the quality, reliability and currency of information on the Internet vary greatly.

Table 6 indicates that, the best answer is online database because the search tool that enables one to search for journal articles is the database. Only 30 (14.49%) of the respondents chose this option. It is possible to browse the journals in the library journal in the hope of finding one or more relevant articles, but this does not represent a particularly efficient search strategy. The library catalogue, does not index journal articles; this answer is incorrect but was selected by 66 (31.88%) of the students. The 'Other' category was selected by 17 (8.22%) of the respondents. The students mentioned search engines or Meta search engines such as Google, AltaVista, etc. However, search engines only provide access to free journal articles on the Internet. Moreover, they do not allow one to limit a search by document type (books, articles, advertising, personal sites, etc.), 34 (16.43%) chose journals, 32 (15.46%) chose web for finding search article and 28 (13.52%) don't know which tool prefer for finding research article. These results show that very few students entering university are familiar with online databases despite the fact that they will likely have to use them to find periodical articles to complete their assignments. To be successful in their research, students need not only to be familiar with databases, but also to understand the real limitations of Internet search engines for finding journal articles.

Table 7 indicates that, 139 (67.15%) students use search engine, 30 (24.49) brows website, 13 (6.28%) use subject portal and 25 (12.08%) take help other person who knows how to look for information in online.

Table 8 indicates that, while 38 (18.36%) of the respondents selected the correct answer, (b), and a large percentage 169 (81.64%) were unable to identify the citation associated with a journal article. We can assume that if a professor were to ask students to locate documents using a bibliography, almost two-thirds would have serious difficulties.

Table 9 indicates that, the percentage of respondents only 47 (22.71%), who chose option an encyclopedia. It indicates that only few of the students seem to recognize the usefulness of encyclopedias. Options journal and online database, chosen by 81 (39.03%) of the students, while not incorrect, do not represent the best answer: a journal article generally deals with a specific aspect of a topic and does not provide an overview; a database, is used to retrieve references to various types of documents, but does not include summaries and it is followed by 12 (5.80%) don't know. Book, selected by 67 (32.37%) of the respondents, may provide an introduction to a subject, but often contains much more detailed information than an encyclopedia and cannot be used as a quick reference.

Table 10 indicates that, the percentage of respondents 32 (15.46%) of the respondents recognized that 'library books' cannot be found using search engines. Although it is possible to find the library catalogue using a search engine such as Google, search engines do not enable one to directly access titles within the catalogue. Although search engines represent many students' first recourse to find information, the response rate for this question shows that they are aware that search engines have certain limitations. However, this question does not enable us to conclude that the students would have been able to identify the catalogue as the appropriate tool to use to find library books.

Table 11 indicates that, only 32 (15.46%) of the respondents gave the right answer, internet guide. 65 (31.40%) search by author, 54 (26.09%) search by article title. The catalogue does not index individual journal articles, and as a result, one cannot search by author or by article title. The only access point is the journal title, a large percentage of the respondents 23 (11.11%) believe that they can search indiscriminately by journal title, article title, or author. These results indicate that many students fail to distinguish between the library catalogue and databases.

Table 12 represents the example of using Boolean operators OR. The answers were made by using all the Boolean operators. It is observed from the figure that only 89 (43%) students have rightly measure the highlighted area OR which is the right query of using operator. It is apparent that most of the students made wrong query 47 (22.71%) + operator, 9 (4.35%) NOT operator, 30 (14.49%) AND operator and it is followed by the number of 32 (15.46%) don't know. However the ratio represents that most of the students 67% do not understand the query formulation through Boolean operator.

Table 13 indicates that, only 20 (9.66%) of the respondents are familiar with the bibliography as a tool for finding other documents. 45 (21.74%) indicate glossary, 95 (45.89%) indicate index and 19 (9.18%) indicate table of contents that is wrong. However, 28 (13.53%) does not know what a bibliography is. It should be noted however, that while this question rates students' understanding of the bibliography as a tool, it does not show to what extent they use it.

Table 14 indicates that, only 35 (16.91%) of the respondents chose the right answer by subject, that is they would search the subject field to look for documents about an author, 51 (24.64%) of the respondents chose by title, 35 (16.91%) of the respondents chose by publisher, 21 (10.14%) of the respondents do not have any concept to find the document. The answer search by author, selected by 65 (31.40%) of the students, will find texts written by Kabi Jasimuddin but not documents about him. This question was not particularly difficult, but did not have a high success rate. Students must know how information is structured and indexed in a search tool, be it a catalogue, database or search engine.

Table 15 indicates that, the respondents could circle more than one answer for this question. The only valid choices were (a) and (d), as the books and journals available in the library are indeed indexed in the catalogue. Just 54 (26.09%) and 59 (28.50%) of the respondents selected only these two options. Among the other respondents, some demonstrated a partial knowledge of what a catalogue contains: 23 (11.11%) selected (b), 'All the titles of the books available on the market'. The fact that, 32 (15.14%) circled (e) 'None of the above' and 19 (9.18%) circled (f), 'Don't know', is also noteworthy.

Table 16 indicates that, 80 (38.64%) of the respondents selected the three answers that characterize the scholarly journal: (b), (c) and (d). In selecting only one or two of the three valid criteria (b, c, d), alone or with an invalid answer, (a) or (e), most of the students demonstrated a partial understanding of the characteristics of the scholarly journal. 95 (45.89%) chose (f), don't know. In a context where the importance of critically assessing information is emphasized, it is important that students be familiar with this characteristic of the scholarly journal and that they be made aware that most other types of documents do not share it.

Table 17 compares the levels of understanding of the information literacy concept among Arts Faculty students in the University of Dhaka. At the onset, it is observed that 75 (36.23%) students do not know the actual meaning of information literacy. On the other hand only 22 (10.63%) Students have clear concept on information literacy and it is followed by 65 (31.40) who have heard, read but do not understand about information literacy. It is also revealed that 45 (21.74%) students have vague concept which means they know about information literacy but the concept is wrong. In conclusion it is showed that majority of the students 78% do not have the concept of information literacy as only 22% have the clear concept.

Table 18 indicates that, on the question of understanding the term 'information literacy' which had various options for answers, information literacy is the ability to find and use information and the keystone of Lifelong learning by 11 (5.31%) of the respondents and also as Information literacy is the understanding and set of skills necessary to carry out the functions of effective information access, evaluation and application is an essential component of any general education program by 32 (15.46%) of the respondents. Other responses were as follows: Information literacy is the ability to recognize the extent and nature of information need, then to locate, evaluate and effectively use the needed information 36 (17.39%), answer a, b and c correct by 33 (15.94%) and majority of the students 95 (45.89%) do not know about of information literacy. Respondents were also given an option to state any other understanding of the term which was not among the predefined responses. Out of this, information literacy is said to be an activity for the development of skills and know-how, not the skills themselves or activities.

Table 19 indicates that, most of the respondents described an information literate person as someone who critically analyses information--able to identify, retrieve 25 (12.08%). Again, they indicated that information literate person knows all the Information Retrieval Technology 24 (11.59%). However, 25 (12.08%) of the respondents indicated that information literate person always deals with information and evolves. Answer all of the above correct by 38 (18.36%) and majority of the students 95 (45.49%) do not have the concept of information literate person.

Table 20 indicates that, almost all of the respondents agreed that information literacy education and training courses should be included in graduate programs 188 (90.82%), others were not in agreement 9 (4.35%). Various reasons were given their answers as to whether information literacy education and training courses should be included in graduate programs or not. This represented 10 (4.83%) of the responses.

Table 21 indicates that, 48 (23.19%) recommend that the department should immediately start information literacy program, 55 (26.57) recommend that department need to start user education training program, 31 (14.98%) recommend that department need more trained and skilled library personnel in seminar library, 31 (14.98%) recommend that department information literacy guidelines for the student and 16 (7.73%) they have no comments about improving information literacy situation in their department.

Discussion, recommendations and conclusion

The research aimed at examining graduate students' views about information literacy in an effort to have a better understanding of how graduate students relate information literacy to their academic work or research and also to find out which sources of information graduate students prefer and additional sources they consulted for information for their academic work or research. Following the analysis of data collected through a questionnaire survey, the following discussions were made in a view of relating the findings to other studies or available information the researcher came across during the review of literature. In general, the information literacy competency of Arts faculty student is not in a good position. As we said that at present information literacy course curriculum is not available in the Arts faculty syllabus that is why it is apparent that most of the students are not competent and needs to develop their competency. In the context of what has been learnt in the department, it has become clear from the syllabus that there is a need to add more and more information literacy courses in their syllabus. Many of the students expressed their opinion that the present syllabus does not cover all of information literacy. During the study it is showed that the subjects that have the biggest effect in increasing the students' information literacy capability are: information sources and services, bibliographic services, information organization, thesaurus, bibliographic instruction, information retrieval technique, internet studies are covered by their existing syllabus. It is appeared that knowledge needed for increasing information literacy capability such as how to access to information, when information is needed and using advance level search formulations are not discussed in the present syllabus.

Many advocate of integrating IL program with the academic curriculum of educational systems in Arts faculty at the University of Dhaka. The problems facing to extend IL programs considering experiences need to carefully look into the following problems and constraints:

* Lack of awareness: In Arts faculty at the University of Dhaka, there is no section for improvement where awareness and understanding of IL is concerned. Respondents' exposure and training in IL is generally low regardless of Arts faculty students. Besides these lacks of proper training facilities and trained lack of competence development programs for Arts faculty students are staying behind in IL education readiness.

* Lack of concept: There have a lack of the importance of IL in library and information services, in absence the concept and indifferences IL programs.

* Absence of IL course curriculum in syllabus: There is an acute scarcity of IL courses in the curriculum of the Arts faculty as well as the whole university curricula for the students except the Department of Information Science and Library Management.

* Inadequate ICT facilities in the Arts faculty: In case of adequate ICT facilities, the students of Arts faculty are not getting sophisticated ICT facilities. There are not adequate computer labs and other ICT facilities for each department in the Arts faculty.

* Absence of IL in education policy: In the education policy of the university as well as the education system in Bangladesh, there is an absence of IL in education policy.

* Lack of initiative by the authority: There have a lack of taking initiative by the University authority as well as the Arts faculty to improve IL of the Arts faculty students.

* Insufficient budget: Lack of sufficient budget is the main problem for improving the IL of Arts faculty students.

In term of human resources, the IL program is threatened by the poverty, low level of development, low literacy rates, high cost of education and books, inadequate infrastructures and poor reading habits were also perceived as threats to IL programs implementation in Arts faculty at the University of Dhaka.

In the light of the experiences gained from the mentioned issues, the following recommendations are made for increasing IL competency of Arts faculty student at the University of Dhaka. This study has given a detailed account of IL and provides a good understanding of what needs to be done at present in this regard. Despite of the obvious challenges faced Arts faculty students; there are also important opportunities for improving on what we can do now. There can also be no doubt that if the Arts faculty authority slowly but surely takes the immediate steps, they will be able to create self-sufficient and information literate students who can make meaning full contributions to the society. The orientation programs will be compulsory for all Arts faculty students and are usually held at the beginning of every academic year or semester. Throughout the year, all departments of Arts faculty will organize other programs with the aim of familiarizing the students with the various tools available within the libraries or others way. Special programs may be organized for the Arts faculty students who are embarking on research projects or academic exercises with the aim of preparing them for the research. The following recommendations can be made to improve IL activities in Arts faculty:

* Building awareness program: A massive awareness raising campaign should be initiated in the departments of Arts faculty about IL and its significance. More work to do and more steps needs to take immediate to spread the concept among the Arts faculty students. Arts faculty authority can arrange various promotional activities like workshops, seminars and group discussions for adopting the concept themselves.

* Library personnel: Existing library personnel and more library staff need to become involved in training courses, so that ultimately more students can be trained. As it reveals that Arts faculty has severe shortage of library facilities, authority should give more attention on this issue.

* Policy formulation: A clear-cut IL program plan needs to be put in place so that all stakeholders are aware of the importance of IL. First and foremost, the development of IL policies whether for state or institution should come about with some form of government involvement? Arts faculty authority can include IL courses in their curriculum.

* Collaboration: Librarians (seminar, university and others) involved in training must collaborate with the faculty and students on regular basis. There should be increased collaboration and cooperation among government agencies, academic institutions and corporate organizations to bring together their intellectual and entrepreneurial expertise and experience. It needs to ensure that IL is ultimately integrated into the curricula of all academic programs in Arts faculty. This is the only way to achieve the objective of creating as many information literate individuals as possible.

* Information retrieval techniques: As many students do not know the using of Boolean operator, naturally they will not be able to make query using adjacency operator, truncation and others. Authority needs to arrange more training for adaptation with printed information retrieval tools and electronic Information Retrieval tools.

* Digital literacy: Arts faculty authority should immediately allocated internet facilities for the students. The availability of online training material across all subject areas and disciplines should be ensured as soon as possible. Authority of Arts faculty should start digital IL program to educate the faculty members. However, it needs to give more emphasis on ICT literacy as it is the demand of current digital and knowledge-based society.

* Building a committee: A National Committee on IL should be formed which will be responsible for designing, coordinating and evaluating this nation-wide program. The committee will have representatives from teachers, librarians and information professionals, educationists, civil society members and education administrators. The ministries of Education, Information and Cultural Affairs would be engaged in the implementation of the program.

* Monitoring progress: Students should be given assignments to check whether they are achieving and developing IL skills. They should be instructed and guided to attain IL skills in a logical manner and master these skills to complement their academic progress.

* Extensive training on ICT literacy: ICT training modules should be integrated with the IL programs so that students can effectively utilize computing and telecommunications techniques for better fulfilling their information needs.

* Training program: Intensive and extensive training program should be organized for students teachers and information professionals; they should be introduced to modern techniques and technologies of information production, processing and distribution, so that they can become proper guides for the students in acquiring IL skills.

The facilities that are provided the department should be more extensive. Information searching facilities such as computer labs can be used optimally by repairing the internet network and release students from any charge of the service. Obviously this would have a big impact on their ability to gain experience of searching and learning of ICT knowledge.

IL has gained importance as we become more immersed in the information age. Whenever it comes from, the internet, the library or any other source, the most important thing is the ability to understand and evaluate information. This study showed that IL concept is almost absence in Arts faculty and students are facing considerable challenges in the area of IL and skills. Some recommendation was proposed for the incorporation of IL and skills into the Arts faculty curriculum. It is however, not the sole responsibility of the tertiary institutions to foster this area of knowledge and expertise. All the faculties of Dhaka University should incorporate essential IL courses in the curriculum.


ACRL (2000), "Information Literacy Standards for Higher Education", Chicago, IL: American Library Association (ALA), available at (accessed 16th January 2014).

ANZIL (2004), Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: principles, standards and practice. Adelaide, Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy, available at: (accessed 12th February 2014).

Bruce, C. S. (2004), "Information literacy as a catalyst for educational change. A background paper", Proceedings Lifelong Learning: Whose responsibility and what is your contribution?, The 3rd International Lifelong Learning Conference, pp. 8-19, available at (accessed 23rd March 2014).

Dhaka University Academic Calendar (2012), Dhaka University Academic Calendar, University of Dhaka.

Dhaka University Convocation Prospectus (2014), Dhaka University Convocation Prospectus, University of Dhaka.

Dhaka University Prospectus (2012), Dhaka University prospectus, University of Dhaka.

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Independent University, Bangladesh (2009), International Workshop on Information Literacy, Independent University of Bangladesh, Dhaka 22-24 June.

Islam, M. A. and Tsuji, K. (2010), "Assessing information literacy competency of Information Science and Library Management graduate students of Dhaka University" IFLA Journal, vol. 36 No.4, pp. 300-16.

Kabir, F. M. H. (2009), "Literacy rate rises to 49 pc", The Financial Express, Vol. 16, pp 8.

Khatun, S. (2004), "Literacy in Banglapedia", National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka.

Pejova, Z (2002), "Information Literacy: An Issue which Requests Urgent Action in Developing Countries and Countries in Transition" The Czech Republic, The U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, and the National Forum on Information Literacy, for use at the Information Literacy Meeting of Experts, Prague.

Salam, M. A. and Islam, M. A. (2009), "Information Literacy: Perceptions and Skills of Graduates of the Institute of Education and Research", Teacher's World, Vol. 33-34, pp. 8798.

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Md. Maidul Islam


Department of Information Science and Library Management

Faculty of Arts, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh

Md. Anisur Rahman

Senior Cataloguer

Dhaka University Library, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh
Table 2: Students of Arts faculty

Department                        Frequency    Percent

Bengali                               14         6.76
English                               19         9.18
History                               16         7.73
Islamic History and Culture           18         8.70
Philosophy                            12         5.80
Information Science and               24        11.59
  Library Management
Arabic                                9          4.35
Islamic Studies                       12         5.80
Sanskrit                              9          4.35
Pali and Buddhist Studies             8          3.86
Persian Language and Literature       12         5.80
Urdu                                  11         5.31
Linguistics                           13         6.28
Theater and Performance Studies       11         5.31
Music                                 11         5.31
World Religions and Culture           8          3.86

Total                                207         100

Table 3: Age groups by gender of the students

Age            Male    Female   Total   Percentage

15-20 years     25       9       34       16.42
21-25 years     93       55      158      76.33
26-30 years     10       5       15        7.25

Total           138      69      207       100

Table 4: Academic year of the students

Year          Male    Female    Total    Percentage

First year     22       10        32       15.46
Second year    22        9        31       14.98
Third year     26       11        37       17.87
Fourth year    31       17        48       23.19
Masters        34       21        55       26.57
M Phil          3        1        4         1.93

Total          138      69       207        100

Table 5: Current information need to consult

Current information
need to consult          Frequency   Percent

Books                       40        19.32
Periodical articles         53        25.60
Encyclopedia articles       21        10.14
Bibliographies              12        5.80
Journals                    11        5.31
E-resources                 23        11.11
Don't know                  47        22.71

Total                       207        100

Table 6: Tools for finding research article

Tools for finding
research article          Frequency    Percent

Library catalogue             66        31.88
Online database               30        14.49
Journals                      34        16.43
Web                           32        15.46
Others (please specify)       17         8.22
Don't know                    28        13.52

Total                        207         100

Table 7: Looking for information in online

Looking for information in online   Frequency   Percent

Using search engine                    139       67.15
Browsing website                       30        14.49
Using subject portal                   13        6.28
Take help who knows                    25        12.08

Total                                  207        100

Table 8: Citation refers to a journal article

Citations refers to a journal article           Frequency   Percent

a. Miller, A.W. (1997). Clinical disorders         30        14.49
  and stressful life events. Madision, CT,
  International University Press.
b. Anderson, K.H. (1999). "Ethical dilemmas        38        18.36
  and radioactive waste: A survey of the
  issue." Environmental Ethiccs,2(3):37-42
c. Hartley, J. T. & D.A. Walsh. (2000).            20        9.66
  "Contemporary issues and new directions
  in adult development of learning and
  memory", in L.W. Poon (ed.), Aging in the
  1980s: Psychological issues, Washington,
  D. C., American Psychological Association,
  pp. 239252.
d. Maccoby, E. E. & J. Martin. (1983).             13        6.28
  "Socialization in the context of the
  family: Parent-child interaction", in P.
  H. Mussen (ed.), Child psychology:
  Socialization, personality, and social
  development. New York, Wiley, vol. 4,
  pp. 1-101.
e. Don't know                                      106       51.21

Total                                              207        100

Table 9: Consult to know a subject

Consult to know a subject   Frequency   Percent

Journal                        42        20.29
An encyclopedia                47        22.71
Online database                39        18.84
Book                           67        32.37
Don't know                     12        5.80

Total                          207        100

Table 10: Literature do not find using a search engine

Literature do not find using          Frequency    Percent
a search engine

The books available in the library        32        15.46
Biographical information about            31        14.98
famous people
Merchandise catalogues                    42        20.29
Information about companies               31        14.98
Don't know                                71        34.30

Total                                    207         100

Table 11: Searching an article in the library
through catalogue

Searching an article in the       Frequency    Percent
library through catalogue

Internet Guide                        32        15.46
Mark Kenney                           65        31.40
The Microsoft document Console        54        26.09
Answers all are correct               23        11.11
Don't know                            33        15.94

Total                                207         100

Table 12: Boolean operators for searching more document

Boolean operators for     Frequency    Percent
searching more document

And                           30        14.49
+                             47        22.71
Not                           9          4.35
Or                            89          43
Don't know                    32        15.46

Total                        207         100

Table 13: Necessary tools need to consult for finding
other document

Tools need to consult for   Frequency    Percent
finding other document

The glossary                    45        21.74
The index                       95        45.89
The bibliography                20         9.66
The table of contents           19         9.18
Don't know                      28        13.53

Total                          207         100

Table 14: Search terms for finding document

Search terms for
finding document    Frequency    Percent

By title                51        24.64
By publisher            35        16.91
By subject              35        16.91
By author               65        31.40
Don't know              21        10.14

Total                  207         100

Table 15: Items found in the library catalogue

Items found in the library catalogue        Frequency    Percent

a. All the titles of the books available        54        26.09
  in the library
b. All the titles of the books available        23        11.11
  on the market
c. All the titles of articles found in          59        28.50
  the journals available in the Library
d. All the titles of journals available         20         9.66
  in the library
e. None of the above                            32        15.46
f. Don't know                                   19         9.18

Total                                          207         100

Table 16: Best describe articles published
in a scholary journal

Best describe articles                       Frequency   Percent
published in a scholarly journal

a. The information is written for the            8        3.86
b. It includes a list of references             21        10.14
c. The research method used is described        24        11.59
d. It has been evaluated by an editorial        35        16.91
board before publication
e. None of the above                            24        11.59
f. Don't know                                   95        45.89

Total                                           207        100

Table 17: Concept about information literacy

Concept about information literacy        Frequency    Percent

Do not know the actual meaning of IL          75        36.23
Have heard, read but do not understand        65        31.40
Have vague concept                            45        21.74
Have clear concept                            22        10.63

Total                                        207         100

Table 18: Knowledge about information literacy

Knowledge about information literacy           Frequency   Percent

Information literacy is the ability to find       11        5.31
and use information and the keystone of
Lifelong learning.
Information literacy is the understanding         32        15.46
and set of skills necessary to carry out
the functions of effective information
access, evaluation and application is an
essential component of any general
education program.
Information literacy is the ability to            36        17.39
recognize the extent and nature of
information need, then to locate, evaluate,
and effectively use the needed information.
Answers all are correct                           33        15.94
Don't know                                        95        45.89

Total                                             207        100

Table 19: Opinion about information literate persons

Opinion about information
literate persons                          Frequency    Percent

An information literate person is able        25        12.08
  to identify, retrieve
He knows all the Information Retrieval        24        11.59
He always deals with information and          25        12.08
All of the above                              38        18.36
Don't know                                    95        45.89

Total                                        207         100

Table 20: IL education and training Courses included in
graduate program

IL education and training courses   Frequency   Percent
included in graduate program

Yes                                    188       90.82
No                                      9        4.35
No comments                            10        4.83

Total                                  207        100

Table 21: Recommendations for improving information literacy

Recommendations for improving
information literacy                       Frequency    Percent

The department should immediately start        48        23.19
information literacy program
Need to start user education training          55        26.57
Need more trained and skilled library          31        14.98
personnel in seminar library
Need information literacy guidelines           31        14.98
for the student
All of the above                               26        12.56
No comments                                    16         7.73

Total                                         207         100
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Author:Islam, Maidul; Rahman, Anisur
Publication:Library Philosophy and Practice
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9BANG
Date:May 1, 2014
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