The use of cataloguing tools and resources by cataloguers in the University of Malawi libraries and the Malawi National Library service in providing access to information.
Nampeya, Chrissie Ennie.
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This study investigated the us e of cataloguing tools and resour ces in the University of Malawi (UNIMA) Libraries and the Malawi National Library Service (MNLS) in providing access to information. Cataloguing tools and resources are mainly used by cataloguers to process library materials fo r easy location and access to the collection. The cataloguer’s goal is to meet user needs and make available materials and services for the purpose of supporting the learning, te aching and research needs of the UNIMA Libraries and the MNLS. Cataloguing practice in most of the acad emic and public libraries in developing countries has lagged behind due to financial constraints. Poor budget allocations and economic problems have forced many libraries to operate inefficiently without preparing cataloguers for the work with effective training. The UNIMA Libraries and the MNLS have also been affected by this economic problem. In order to find out how catal oguing tools and resources are being used by cataloguers in UNIMA Libraries and the MNLS in providing access to information, a study sample consisting of fifty cataloguers and directors (Librarians) of libraries was chosen. The cataloguers and directors of libra ries were surveyed by means of a self administered questionnaire a nd an interview schedule to investigate availability and use of cataloguing tools and re sources and the effectiveness of the services to provide for the information needs of the users. Other information requested from the respondents related to the probl ems encountered with the tool s and training offered to the cataloguers. A to tal of thirty-fiv e cataloguers and directors of libraries responded yielding a 70 % response rate. The results were analysed using SPSS. The results were shown in the form of tables and figures. The study revealed that the majority of cataloguers in the UNIMA Libraries and the MNLS used the cataloguing t ools and resources but relati vely infrequently. Results also revealed that the cata loguers encountered various pr oblems with the tools which most of them attributed to a lack of training to adequately prepare them for cataloguing requirements. In addition, the majority of libraries had cataloguing iv backlogs which were attribut ed to various factors such as a lack of professionally trained staff in cataloguing and a lack of cataloguing tools and resources. Recommendations and sugges tions to improve the catal oguing practice in general were made by both the researcher and re spondents with regard to the findings and the literature reviewed.