Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Knowledge of copyright issues and strategies used in solving copyright queries among academic librarians in Kenya
by Olaka, Musa Wakhungu, Ph.D., University of Missouri - Columbia, 2010, 219; 3488933
Abstract (Summary)

Value that people place on information has resulted in information being commodified. Despite being viewed as a product of human creative endeavor, information is also considered as a kind of property, an intellectual property, one that can be owned, exchanged, and traded like any other commodity.

Just like other legally-protected commodities, intellectual property and copyright in particular has become highly regulated through laws, treaties, and contracts. How well intellectual property rights regulations are serving society is debatable. As purveyors of information, librarians are among those who are expected to be responsible for enforcing intellectual property rights regulations in their libraries. In spite of stronger copyright mechanisms such as enactment of stricter laws, use of technology protective measures, use of licenses, better administration, and enforcement that have been put in place in Kenya over the years, copyright infringement has persisted. In addition, there are numerous ongoing copyright issues requiring urgent attention, and the library community looks to the librarian for guidance on such issues. How well librarians are prepared to evaluate and enforce intellectual property rights is little understood, especially in developing countries such as Kenya where copyright infringement seems to be rampant. It thus becomes important to be able to know whether librarians and especially those in developing countries such as Kenya are aware of copyright provisions.

This study thus seeks to find out whether different cadres of academic librarians based on academic qualifications and duration of service differ in knowledge about copyright issues and whether they also differ in type of strategies they employ in solving queries related to copyright.

Data was collected from 167 academic librarians (16 Certificate, 74 Diploma, 30 Bachelors, 42 Masters and 5 PhD holders) using a survey questionnaire. Afterwards, 32 participants (3 Certificate, 10 Diploma, 8 Bachelors, 8 Masters and 3 PhD holders) were conveniently sampled to participate in the think aloud protocol and the interviews/critical incident technique which were used to help in triangulation of the constructs being measured (awareness/knowledge and strategies that librarians employ when presented with copyright queries).

Academic Librarians were found to only be moderately knowledgeable about copyright issues. Significant differences were found in tested knowledge of copyright issues among librarian cadres although the difference was not huge as evidenced by a medium effect size. However, no statistical significant difference was found in any of the 4 factors used in assessing self reported knowledge about copyright issues among the various academic librarian cadres based on their education level. There was also no statistical significant difference is both tested knowledge and in 3 of the 4 factors used in assessing self reported knowledge in relation to the duration that a librarian has worked in libraries. However, self reported knowledge of theoretical principles of copyright was found to be significant in relation to duration librarians had worked in the library. Only two of the 4 factors measuring self rated knowledge were statistically significant in relation to the department a librarian works in.

Ignorance and misinterpretation of what is contained in the Kenyan Copyright law was evident, and so was the existence of learned helplessness among the lower cadre academic librarians when it comes to trying to tackle copyright infringement. Trying to educate users was employed by users a lot although many users never took in the advice. PhD and Masters Degree holders had a higher tendency to deny users from photocopying documents as opposed to the other cadres.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Adkins, Denice
Commitee:
School: University of Missouri - Columbia
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 73/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: African Studies, Legal Studies, Information science
Keywords: Copyright, Developing nations, Kenya, Librarians, Library science
Publication Number: 3488933
ISBN: 9781267057778
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