The course seeks to:

  • update students’ knowledge and understanding on the concept of “information” and its usage for academic work.
  • equip students with the requisite skills for navigating the complex information landscape
  • help students become critical thinkers
  • become lifelong learners

By the end of course the student will be able to:

  • Effectively access information from both print and electronic sources
  • Critically evaluate and use information ethically
  • Use information for decision making and problem solving
  • Solve health problems using the standards of information literacy:
  • Effectively access information from both print and electronic sources
  • Critically evaluate and use information ethically
  • Use information for decision making and problem solving
  • Solve health problems using the standards of information literacy
  • Information literacy is an educational concept designed to create literate communities
  • And the fundamental responsibility rests with librarians to provide access and also deliver timely information
  • Librarians provide user education (guidelines) to enable information users become:
  1. critical thinkersa
  2. problem solvers
  3. independent lifelong learners.
  • The new millennium has brought an urgent need to help students and communities understand the changes that technology has brought
  • And to critically evaluate information is a unique skill that librarians bring to a society suffering from information overload
  • This means that librarians :
  • serve as the bridge between information resources and the users
  • ensure that people have the resources and skills they need to live, learn, work and get govern in this democratic dispensation.
  • provide reliable facts to users.
  • provide the expertise and services that add meaning to those facts.
  • Information literacy is an educational concept designed to create literate communities
  • And the fundamental responsibility rests with librarians to provide access and also deliver timely information
  •  Librarians provide user education (guidelines) to enable information uasers become:
  • critical thinkers
  • problem solvers
  • independent lifelong learners. 
  • All of us are confronted with making a number of decisions on daily basis
  •  How successful we are able to do this depends on a combination of skills known as “information literacy.”
  • The new millennium has brought an urgent need to help students and communities understand the changes that technology has brought
  • And to critically evaluate information is a unique skill that librarians bring to a society suffering from information overload
  • This means that librarians :
  • serve as the bridge between information resources and the users
  • ensure that people have the resources and skills they need to live, learn, work and get govern in this democratic dispensation.
  • provide reliable facts to users.
  • provide the expertise and services that add meaning to those facts.
  • Information literacy means more than being able to read or use a computer
  • I.L means knowing how to find, evaluate, and use the best, most current information available to us


The American Library Association’s Presidential Committee on Information Literacy described a literate person as:

  • one who can “recognize when information is needed,
  • has the ability  to locate ,
  • evaluate , and
  • use it effectively”
  • and has “learned how to learn”.

Information literacy: “the body of knowledge, skills, competencies and understanding required by an individual to find information effectively and use it appropriately to meet the need that prompted its acquisition”  (Thomas, 2004) .

In sum, information literacy is:

  • the knowledge of when and why you need information,
  • where to find it, and
  • how to evaluate,
  • use and communicate it in an ethical manner.
  • The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) defines information literacy as:
  • the ability to find, retrieve, analyse, and use information.

From the definition you can see that information literacy has the following core features:

    1. Specific skills or abilities
    2. The ability to recognise a need for information
    3. The abilities to find the information needed
    4. The ability to evaluate information
    5. Awareness of the law (legal issues about use of information)
    6. The ability to use information
  • Communities enjoy a high quality of life because leaders make good decisions based on sound information.
  • Workers have the skills and competencies they need to work effectively in a complex information environment.
  • Students graduate with the skills and competencies they need to succeed in the world of work.
  • People of all ages and backgrounds have the resources and skills they need to fully participate in democracies.
  • Libraries of all types receive increased support as cultural and dynamic centres for information literacy and lifelong learning.
  • Librarians are recognized as information experts and key players in the education process who teach others how to navigate a rich and complex, evolving information/technology environment.

ACRL has defined five (5) Standards for Information Literacy

  • Standard 1: To know

 This is the ability to determine the nature and extent of information needed by asking these questions:

    • What do you want to know?
    • What kind of information do you need?
    • How much of it do you need?
  • Standard 2: To access

The ability to effectively and efficiently get information by asking these questions:

    • What is the best way to access this information?      
    • Which best terms to use for the search?
    • Which system will get me this information?
  • Standard 3: To evaluate

This is the ability to critically evaluate sources and incorporate it into your knowledge-base by asking these questions:

    • Is the source of information credible?
    • Can you give it another interpretation?
    • How does the new information change what I know?
  • Standard 4: To use

The ability to use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose by asking these questions:

    • What is the best way to present the information?
    • Will it convey the message I want?
    • Are these quotes supportive of my ideas?
  • Standard 5: Ethical/Legal

This is the ability to understand the economic, legal and social issues about the use and access to information by asking these questions:

    • Can I copy this information?
    • Are there university policies about gathering and use of information?
  • For your studies and research
    1. To be successful in your studies and research, you need info literacy
  • For everyday life
    1. You need info literacy to make decisions about your work, family, fun, health and spiritual life
  • For lifelong learning
    1. If you are info literate, you have the skills needed to become a lifelong learner.
  • Information literacy is very important because we are inundated with a lot of information in a variety of formats.
  • While some may be authoritative, current and reliable, others may be biased, out of date, false and misleading.
  • Information literacy skills are used for academic purposes in such areas as scholarly publications and group presentations.
  • The skills identified by scholars and educators as dimensions of critical thinking include the ability to:
    • set goals,
    • adjust strategies,
    • carry out tasks,
    • distinguish fact from opinion,
    • establish authority of sources,
    • assess accuracy and relevance,
    • detect bias and underlying assumptions.
  • When you are gathering information, whether it is from books, journals, the Internet, etc., you'll need to know whether it's good information.
  • There are many questions you should ask yourself as you decide whether a particular source is good for your research or not.
  • It is therefore the ability to evaluate information for its value or bias. It is also important to note that the means by which you search for information does not produce misleading or incomplete results.
  • These concern the authority, relevance, coverage, accuracy, currency, quality and context of the material.
  • As students, it is important to note that, the information acquired should be used in a responsible, culturally sensitive and ethical manner.
  1. This means that anytime you use somebody’s work you have to acknowledge the author.
  • Here, one must be mindful of the following concepts in the use of information:
  1. intellectual property,
  2. plagiarism,
  3. copyright,
  4. fair use,
  5. freedom of information,
  6. data protection among others.
  • Students have to be prepared to be accountable users and producers of information.
  • This therefore means that in writing assignments and project works, students must resort to the ethical use of information rather than the “cut and paste” procedures
  • Data is the raw material that has no context – meaningless
  • Information is defined as facts/data that are collected, recorded, processed and stored in a retrievable form
  • Knowledge refers to human inferences derived from processed information
  • Knowledge is a blend of human experience, analysis, deduction and assimilation
  • When you interpret and apply information to a specific situation it becomes knowledge
  • When you acquire the knowledge you become wise (solve complex problems, inventions, etc.)

There are two types of knowledge, these are:

    1. Explicit Knowledge
    2. Tacit  Knowledge

Explicit knowledge:

  • It is expressed in terms of numbers, words and drawings
  • Also called documented knowledge
    • Because it can be communicated, shared and transferred
  • Can also be disseminated in the form of print or electronic

Tacit Knowledge:

  • This refers to the type of knowledge acquired through personal experience which is not written down
  • It resides in people’s mind
  • Includes personal beliefs, perspectives and values
  • Not easily transferrable
  • Both types of knowledge are useful to society.

This section of the course is to introduce students to:

  • Defining some basic terminologies in the research process
  • Doing basic research in both the library and in their scholarly work.
  • Helping students to search for materials such as articles and journals in the library
  • What is research?
  • Writing an Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Approaches to research
  • Research Philosophy
  • Research Designs (quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods)
  • Research Methods ( data collection, analysis and interpretation)
What is research?
  • It is simply a process of arriving at dependable solutions to problems
  • It is a systematic investigation to increase knowledge and or understand a phenomenon
  • Summarily, research could be referred to as the Systematic application of the scientific method in the investigation of a problem or a phenomenon
    1. It is done through a planned and systematic collection of data, analysis and interpretation of the data
    2. Research is oriented towards the discovery of the relationships that exist among phenomena of the world in which we live.
Definition of an Abstract
    • An abstract in research is a brief description of how an entire study is conducted or undertaken
    • However, in the library system, it could be considered as a brief review of the literature, in one paragraph, that summarises major elements
    • It enables the reader to understand the basic features of an article

Issues considered by an Abstract

        • It starts with a problem leading to the need for the research/study
        • It also states the central purpose of the study
        • It gives information on the type of study, the population or subjects, sample size and what data will be collected to address the study purpose
        • It reviews key results of the study
        • Recommendations based on the findings of the study
        • And who will benefit from the study and why.
The Introduction
  • The introduction is the first passage in a journal article
  • It provides readers with the background information for the study
  • Its purpose is to establish a framework for the research
  • For readers to understand how the study is related to other research.
Statement of the Problem
  • The research problem becomes clear when the researcher asks:
  • What is the need for this study? Or
  • What problem influenced the need to undertake this study?
  • For example, Low enrolment of females into    certain
  • Look for a problem by identifying flaws, gaps or deficiencies in the literature.

Importance of Introduction

  • It creates readers’ interest in the topic
  • It establishes the problem that motivates the study
  • It is placed within the larger context of scholarly literature
  • Its purpose is to reach out to a specific audience
Significance of the Study
  • It discusses the following:
  • What will the study add to the scholarly literature in the field? (audience/readers)
  • How will the study improve practice? (organisational members/professionals)
  • Why the study will improve policy/decision making? (policy makers)

 Purpose Statement

  • It is the section that establishes the intent of the entire study
  • It needs to be clear, specific and informative
  • It sets the objectives of the study
  • It is couched in a single sentence or many that readers can easily identify
  • Use words such as purpose, intent or objective to signal attention
  • Use action verbs such as understand, explore, develop, discover, examine, etc.
  • You can also mention the scope of participation (eg. women in Ho District)
The Use of Theory
  • A theory is a set of interrelated variables, definitions and assumptions that presents a systematic view of phenomena specifying relations among variables
  • A variable refers to an attribute (eg. age of a person)
  • Researchers test theories to provide explanation for answers to their questions
  • It can be formed into a hypothesis

Forms of Theory

  • The higher one’s rank, the greater one’s centrality
  • IF-THEN: If the frequency of interaction between two or more persons increases, the degree of their liking for one another will increase

Justify Your Theory

  • Mention the theory you planned to use
  • Collect data to test it
  • Reflect to confirm or disconfirm it
  • Any information on who has used the theory and its applicability
  • You can adapt the theory to variables
Review of the Literature/Literature Review
  • Review extensive literature on your topic
  • This literature should be related to your topic
  • Point out any gaps in the literature (areas not covered)
  • State clearly what gap(s) your study is coming to fill.
  • It shares with the reader the results of other studies that are closely related to the one being undertaken
The Selection of a Research Approach
  • There are three major approaches namely:
  • Quantitative Approach
  • Qualitative Approach
  • Mixed Methods Approach

Quantitative Approach

  • It is an approach for testing objective theories
  • By examining the relationship among variables
  • These variables are analysed using statistical procedures
  • Examples are survey and experimental research
  • Largely based on questions (questionnaire)
  • It is based on exploring and understanding the meaning individuals or groups ascribe to a social or human problem
  • Examples are Case study, Narrative research, Grounded theory and Ethnographies
  • Largely based on interviews

Mixed Methods Approach

  • It involves collecting both quantitative and qualitative data
  • The rationale is to provide a more complete understanding of the research problem
  • Examples are Convergent, Explanatory sequential and Exploratory sequential
  • Combines both questionnaire and interview
Philosophical Worldview
  • In planning a study, researchers need to think through the following:
  • Philosophical worldview assumptions that they bring to the study
  • The research design that is related to this worldview
  • The specific methods and procedures of research that translate the approach into practice


  • Positivist
  • Constructivist
  • Transformative
  • Pragmatic


  • Hold a deterministic view that causes determine effects or outcomes
  • They study problems that reflect the need to identify and assess the causes that influence outcomes (experiments)
  • It is also reductionist-reduce ideas into small, discrete set for testing
  • Based on careful observation and measurement of the objective reality
  • Laws and theories govern the world and these need to be tested/verified and refined so that we can understand the world
  • Often linked to quantitative approach


  • Often linked to qualitative approach
  • Believe that people seek understanding of the world in which they live and work
  • The people develop subjective meaning of their experiences
  • The meanings are therefore varied and multiple
  • The researcher here is interested in the complexity of views instead of narrowing down to a few categories or ideas
  • The goal of the research is to rely as much as possible on the participants’ views of the situation being studied.


  • Arose to challenge positivist philosophy
  • That the positivist assumptions imposed structural laws and theories that do not embrace everybody (discrimination, inequality, oppression, gay, lesbianism, bisexual, transsexual, persons with disabilities)
  • That these questions needed to be addressed
  • That the constructivist worldview did not go far enough
  • That research inquiry should be intertwined with politics and political agenda to confront oppression at all levels
  • Contains an action agenda for reform or change
  • Qualitative design using Open-ended interviews


  • Pragmatists are interested in what works
  • It is not confined to one system of philosophy
  • Individuals are free to choose the methods, techniques and procedures to suit their needs and purposes
  • They use all approaches to understand the problem
  • It is therefore linked to mixed methods approach (triangulation)
  • Involves the collection of data, analysis and interpretation proposed for the study
  • Population and sample size
  • Instrument/Questionnaire (closed versus open ended)/Interview/Observation, etc.
  • Type of analysis (percentages, frequencies, T-test, averages, etc.
  • Pilot study

Analysis and Interpretation of Data Collected

  • Analyse data collected
  • Put an interpret on the analysed data

Conclusion and Recommendations

  • Base recommendations on findings
  • Recap briefly


Try the following questions. A success in the above questions allows you to move to the next topics


It is the means by which a person/organization meets their information needs.

Information sources can be observations, people, speeches, documents, pictures, organizations.

Information sources can be in print, non-print and electronic media/format.

Information sources: types

Primary sources: Original materials on which other research studies are based and they report a discovery or share new information.

They present first-hand accounts and information relevant to an event and are presented in its original form, not interpreted or condensed or evaluated by other writers

Eg: eyewitness accounts, financial reports, government documents, archeological and biological evidence, court records, laboratory report etc

Secondary source of information is one that was created by someone who did not have firsthand experience or did not participate in the events or conditions being researched.

They describe, analyse, interpret, evaluate, comment on and discuss the evidence provided by primary sources.

Eg: Biographic works, commentaries, criticisms, dictionaries, histories, journal articles (depending on the discipline, these can be primary), etc.

Tertiary sources consist of information which is a distillation and collection of primary and secondary sources.

Generally, they are not considered to be acceptable material on which to base academic research and they are usually not credited to a particular author.

Eg: indexes, bibliographies, OPAC, dictionaries and encyclopedias, Wikipedia and similar user-contributed online 'encyclopedias‘ etc

Accessing information sources

The major places one can access information sources:  human sources, archives, libraries and Internet.

Human sources include communication with peers and colleagues to obtain credible information.

The benefit of it is that human sources are readily available. If the right person is contacted, quality
and up-to-date information will be obtained.

The benefit of it is that human sources are readily available. If the right person is contacted, quality
and up-to-date information will be obtained.

Archives are a good place to find primary sources, both unpublished materials and those that have been published.

  • Materials housed in the archives are unique, usually one of a kind items.
  • Archives store, preserve and make accessible records of enduring value that have not been produced in great quantities for the general public for research and understanding.
  • Archival materials are rare and irreplaceable and therefore they are not loaned out to users.
  • The Internet is a global system of networked computers that allow user-to-user communication and transfer of data files from one computer to another on the network.

The Internet is a global system of networked computers that allow user-to-user communication and transfer of data files from one computer to another on the network.

  • The World Wide Web (WWW) provides the technology needed to navigate the Internet.
  • The WWW is a path-way of accessing information over the Internet via Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or web address.

The Internet contains all kinds of information sources including:

  • Bibliographic information such as library catalogs
  • Multimedia- Audio, video and graphical sources of information
  • Reference sources such as Encyclopedia, Dictionaries, Handbooks, and others
  • Journals, Newspapers, Magazines and Databases
  • Subject related gateways
  • Reports /Grey literature
  • Movies and videos

A library is a collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing.

They provide access to resources such as full text journal and magazine articles, periodical indexes, and online encyclopedias in a wide variety of formats.

Types of libraries

School Library: These are libraries found within a school and they are often accessible to only students, staff, and parents.

Collections of school libraries may consist of printed works such as general reference books, and those that can be taken on loan.

The content of the library materials depends on the various educational levels.

Services Offered by school libraries may include reference and lending services.

Academic library, also known as a college or university library serves the curricular needs of students, faculty and staff of the parent institution.

The main function of the academic library is to support teaching, learning and research.

The services provided by an academic library may include: lending, reference, Inter-library Lending Service & Document Delivery, Electronic Support Service, Reprographic Service and User education.

Special Libraries are found in government institutions, industrial, research, commercial and business organizations to provide for the information needs of their staff.

The collections of special libraries include general reference materials, relevant books and periodicals both in print and non-print formats.

Services provided by these libraries may include: Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI), Abstracting Service, and indexing services

A public library is set up to provide service to all members of the community regardless of age, citizenship, occupation, economic status educational level etc.

Public libraries are funded by government and are sited in cities, towns or villages so that users can have easy access to their facilities.

Collections include popular reading materials for children and adults, basic reference sources, classics and resources specific to the local economy and culture.

Services provided by a public library may include:

  1. Reference Service
  2. Lending Service
  3. Reprographic Service
  4. Extension Library Service (to prisons and hospitals etc)
  5. Storytelling sessions for the infants etc
  6. Provision of community meeting rooms and study areas for quiet study for students and working professions,
  7. Support for Book Clubs to encourage appreciation of literature and reading in adults

National libraries are specifically established by the government of a country to serve as an outstanding repository of information for that country.

The main goal of a national library is to ensure the bibliographic control of all books and other materials published in that particular country and about that country.

National libraries offer general reference service, Inter-library Loan, and Document Delivery at national and international levels

Functions of a National library include:

  • Legal deposit
  • Compilation of the national bibliography;
  • Storage of numerous valuable works and rare books;
  • Practical training of library personnel;
  • Conducting research as a consultancy service for individuals and on the nation
  • Management of ISBN and ISSN system;
  • Cooperation with foreign libraries and international exchange of materials
Forms of libraries

All the types of libraries discussed could be grouped into three forms:

Traditional, Digital/electronic and hybrid libraries

Traditional libraries have most of their operations (activities) done manually and without the aid of computer technology.

In addition, almost all the library’s resources are in print format.

Advantages of Traditional Libraries

  • Stable collection
  • Free and universal access to the collection
  • Can be used without electricity
  • Documents can easily be photocopied.
  • No computer expertise is required on the part of the library staff.

Disadvantages of Traditional

  • Limited access points.
  • Centralised management
  • One way interaction.
  • Individual   objects not directly linked with each other.
  • Slow evolution.

A digital library has all information resources in digital form and access to such resources is through the use of digital technologies.

Advantages of digital libraries

  • Direct access and use of the information.
  • Quicker access to information.
  • Access to content in different and more appealing forms.
  • Digital library collections can be delivered on CD-ROM to users with inadequate network connectivity.

Advantages of digital libraries

  • Information can be accessed anywhere and at anytime.
  • Information is more easily shared with other digital libraries.

Disadvantages of Digital Libraries

  • Difficulty of knowing and locating everything that is available and differentiating valuable from useless information.
  • Job loss for traditional publishers.
  • Library patrons should have the technical know-how before he or she can access information in such a library.

Hybrid library has its information resources in both print and non-print formats.

It also means that some of its operations or services (such as acquisitions, cataloguing and circulation) are performed with the aid of computer technology.

Thus, users of a hybrid library have access to physical collections as well as digital collections (electronic resources) like full text on-line journals, e-books, audio books and full text databases on CD - ROM etc

Sub 5

How to Access the libraries

A library catalogue is a list of materials in a library arranged according to a recognised order and containing specific items of bibliographical information for the purpose of identification and location of the material catalogued.

  • Eg: Card catalogue, Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC)
  • UHAS’ OPAC can be accessed through

Access point is a code, term, or the like through which an entry in an information system (eg. a bibliographic record) may be found.

  • Essentially, access points are doorways or windows that can be used to trace a material in a catalogue or database.
  • They may include call number, author, title, or subject (subject headings) etc.

Class number is a code assigned to the various subject areas. Eg. WY100 represents materials relating to nursing.

  • The call mark is a number, letter, symbol, or combination of these, indicating the specific location of a work in a library, especially the combination of the classification symbol and the designation for the author.
  • It is the number that is usually put on the spine of the books on the shelves (eg. QV4.R14)

Classification schemes help in the generation of call marks. Eg are the National library of Medicine Classification Scheme, the Library of Congress Classification Scheme.

Author is the person(s) or corporate body responsible for the intellectual content of the item.

  • It is the person or body that is responsible for creating the item.
  • It is the person or body that is responsible for creating the item.
  • This means that editors, corporations, government agencies, or meetings can also be considered authors. Some items have more than one author.
  • If you know any author of the item you need, you would use that as your access point.
  • In the UHAS catalogue, users are required to enter the last name of the author first, then a comma (,) before the rest of the names. Eg. Fred Binka becomes, Binka, Fred

The title is the identifying name of the intellectual work (book, play, journal, article, video, audio recording, ).

  • When you are searching by title, do not include insignificant words or definite and indefinite articles such as "the", "an", "a", at the beginning of the title.
  • Always separate the main title from the subtitle with a colon “:”

The subject or subject heading is a word or phrase that describes the intellectual content of the item.

  • Some items will be about more than one subject or more than one aspect of a subject.
  • This some means that records often have more than one subject heading.
  • If you want an item about someone, something, or somewhere you would search by subject.
  • Librarians select the subjects using a tool called Subject Headings.
  • The Subject Headings are hierarchical list of controlled vocabularies to describe a material.
  • Examples of Subject Headings Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), Sears List of Subject Headings.
  • UHAS library uses both the LCSH and MeSH 
Accessing the OPAC of the UHAS Library


Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Allied Health, Social Sciences (African literature), Nutrition, Biomedical Sciences, and all other disciplines taught in the University.


Slide 87 diagram

Users can search using any of the displayed search fields (Access points). You can also select your library (UHAS Main Library) from the system of libraries


Using the keyword “MEDICINE”

Types of searches


This is where you use a single search field or access point to search for a material

Eg. Searching for a material with either the title or author field


Here several search fields or access points could be combined to retrieve a material

Eg. Searching for a material with the author, title, date of publication etc.

Advanced search

  • This interface allows patrons to combine one or more access points through the use of Boolean Operators (“AND”, “NOT” , “OR”) to expand or  limit their search results in order to achieve relevancy, specificity and precision.
Advanced search
Types of Information Sources in the Library
  1. Reference Sources/Materials are authoritative works that provide specific answers or information and are used to find information about topics, locate facts, and answer questions.
  • Eg: Atlases, dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauri, directories, almanacs, manuals, biographies, and handbooks etc. Each type is available either in print, on CD-ROMs and the Internet.
  • Reference information sources can be general or subject specific. For example, The Encyclopedia
    Britannica is general while The Encyclopedia of Stem-Cell Research, The Encyclopedia of Pain,
    and The Gale encyclopedia of Medicine are subject encyclopedias.



  1. Periodicals/serials are publications such as journals, newspapers, or magazines published on a regular basis (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, yearly, etc).
  • Common examples of periodicals include popular magazines (or general interest magazines), professional and trade magazines, scholarly journals, newsletters, and newspapers.
  1. Popular magazines are periodicals of non-specialist nature with articles are usually
  • written by staff writers, and chosen by the editor of the publication.
  • Magazine articles are usually shorter, written in non-technical language, and designed for the general population.
  • Articles in popular magazines are reviewed by one or two members of staff of the organization where they are published.
  1. Trade Magazines present information about a profession or a particular trade.
  • They are written for members of a specific business, industry or organization and usually cover industry trends, new products or techniques, and organizational news.
  • Scholarly Journals are written by experts or specialists in a particular field/discipline and geared towards other scholars.
  • The purpose of scholarly publications is to report research or advance knowledge.
  • The writing style is more complex and the language may be technical.
  • These articles go through peer review process.


  1. A monograph is a scholarly piece of writing in form of an essay or book on a specific, often limited subject.
  • It is a nonserial publication complete in one volume (book) or a finite number of volumes. Thus it differs from a serial publication such as a magazine, journal, or newspaper
  • To locate monographs in a library collection requires using the library catalog and most libraries now have Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC)


4.Abstracts and indexes provide citations to papers dealing with specific topics in a field of knowledge.

  • Indexes provide the essential bibliographic information needed to identify an article or other publications and usually include information about the author of the work, the source journal or other publication, volume, issue, and pagination
  1. 5. Drug information sources cover the fields of pharmacology, pharmacy and toxicology.
  • There are as many drug information sources as there are various specialties.

Some eg. are:

  1. Greenwood Village, CO: Thomson MICROMEDEX. Accessible
    online at
  2. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic
    Research Faculty, Accessible online at:


  1. Databases are systematically organized collections of information covering different subject matters or specialising in one given subject or topic.
  • A digital database is a computer program that organises, describes, and indexes information.
  • It allows the user to search for specific types of information, depending upon the selected search parameters (access points).
  • An academic database can either be:
  • Bibliographic databases or Full-text databases

What is a system?

Any set of interacting elements functioning specifically and collectively to deliver a common result. The IPO Model:


Every system is named after the result it accomplishes.
Information system - a set of units that interact to produce information.

Information System Elements

  1. People
  2. Procedure
  3. Hardware
  4. Software
  5. Data
  6. Communication/Connectivity
Information Processing Cycle
Difference between data and information is very faint

The above diagram shows that the line of difference between data and information is very faint.

Once information is distributed/shared, it becomes input/data for further analysis and new derivatives can result.

It illustrates a need to communicate information to aid decision making and furtherance of knowledge.

The need to communicate results or transmit information from one unit of processing to another necessitated computer networking.

Notice how the elements of the information system are represented in the information processing cycle. People (end users) are central to the cycle, from data input to communication of results human users are involved. It is also intriguing to notice that taking out people, the rest 5 elements constitute the computer system which is a subsystem of the information system and also that at each stage of the processing cycle, hardware and software (computers) are involved.

Computer Networks

Network – a communications system connecting more than one computer and other electronic gadgets for resource sharing, data exchange or electronic communication.

Nodes:  Computers on a network

  • Hosts
  • Clients
  • Peers

Computer Networks
Computer network or just Network is a communications system that connects more than one computer for resource sharing, data exchange or electronic communication. Computers can be interconnected using copper wire, infrared, communication satellites, fibre optics, and microwaves, among others. Computers on a network are referred to as nodes or workstations. Computers that allocate resources are called Servers or Hosts, those that request resources are Clients. However computers can be interlinked without any of the nodes acting as a server. This type of arrangement is described as a peer-to-peer network. The Client/Server model is
fundamental to most computer networks. One server can take on several clients.

Network Types

  • Personal Area Network (PAN)
  • Local Area Network (LAN)
  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
  • Wide Area Network (WAN)

Types of Networks
Computer networks are often categorized by their geographical scope.

Personal Area Network (PAN): A computer network used for communication among computer devices, including telephones and personal digital assistants, in proximity to an individual's body. A PAN may typically operate within a few meters such as a room.

Local Area Network (LAN): Connects computers and other devices to communicate and share resources within a restricted space often a few metres apart, such as an office building or home. LANs are privately owned.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN): A large computer network that covers a large campus or township, ranging from a few blocks of buildings to an entire city. A MAN connects LANs.

Wide Area Network (WAN): Is a much larger network spanning a whole region, country, continent or the whole world, interconnecting several LANs and MANs. The Internet is the largest and most popular WAN.

Purpose of Networks
Resource sharing
Data Exchange


Internetwork:  A collection of interconnected computer networks. It is often shortened as internet.

The Internet is the worldwide system of interconnected computer networks; the global network of networks.

Internetworking describes the art and science of linking together several computer networks using communication devices such as routers, bridges or gateways, to form larger networks to facilitate communication among people and computers located on separate networks. A collection of interconnected computer networks is called an internetwork or internet. The Internet is the worldwide system of interconnected computer networks; the global network of networks.

Characteristics of the Internet

  • No centralized control
  • Lack of strong authentication
  • Borderless
  • Interconnects personal computers
  • Ubiquitous
  • Facilitates instantaneous multimedia interactive communication
  • Anonymity
  • Dynamic
  • Republication
  • Ease of Accessibility

    Characteristics of the Internet
    Neutrality – The Internet treats equally all the information that flows across it without discrimination on the basis of source, destination or type of content.
    2. Open Architecture – Any network at all can be joined to the Internet using TCP/IP.
    3. Public Access – Anyone with a device capable of connecting to the Internet can do so with no restriction whatsoever once they have the means to connect. No one owns the Internet.
    4. Global network – It is available world-wide.

    Further Characteristics of the Internet
  • No centralized control
  • Lack of strong authentication
  • Borderless
  • Interconnects personal computers
  • Ubiquitous
  • Facilitates instantaneous multimedia interactive communication
  • Anonymity
  • Dynamic
  • Republication
  • Ease of Accessibility

Internet Applications/Services

  • World Wide Web
  • Telnet
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
  • Electronic Mail (E-mail)
  • Instant messaging (IM)
  • Blogging
  • Social Network Sites
  • Multimedia Streaming
  • VoIP

Internet Features/Applications/Services

World Wide Web: The most widely used service on the Internet; comprises electronic documents called Web pages that are developed using the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Web pages contain multimedia elements (text, graphics, audio, video, etc.) that may have built-in connections (hyperlinks) to other Web pages or parts of the same page. A hyperlink may be detected by hovering the mouse pointer over any element of information on a Web page. The mouse pointer changes from a normal select pointer
link pointer (hand with a poked-out finger).(arrow-head) into aHyperlinks facilitate non-linear information access and retrieval. A group of related Web pages form a Web site. Browsers are needed to access and view Web pages. A browser is a software or program that connects a user’s PC to the Web. Examples include Internet Explorer, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape, Torch, etc.

Telnet: Remote login. Telnet applications allow users to log on and to operate remote computers as regular/present users. It is a user command and an underlying TCP-IP protocol for accessing remote computers. Through Telnet, an administrator or another user can access someone else's computer remotely. HTTP and FTP protocols allow users to request specific files from remote computers, but not to actually be logged on as users of those computers. With Telnet, one can log on as a regular user with whatever privileges you may have been granted to the specific application and data on that computer.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP): Rules regulating data upload and download. FTP specifies the format of data files exchanged over a network.

Electronic Mail (E-mail): By far the most popular Internet application since ARPANET. It is a service that allows persons as far apart as either end of the globe to send and receive messages almost like regular post, but electronically and therefore faster.

Instant messaging (IM): An Internet service that allows users to communicate in real-time. IM applications, often called messengers or instant messengers, notify users when one or more contacts are online and then allow them to exchange messages or files (including text, voice and video) or join a private chat room with them. To use IM you install software from an instant
messaging service. Skype and Facebook Messenger are among very popular IMs.

Blogging: Blog, short for Weblog is a web-based publication holding articles that are periodically updated. Blogs are maintained principally by individuals to share opinion and record a timeline of activities they are involved in. Institutions also use blogs to communicate to their stakeholders about specific subjects periodically.

Social Network Sites
Web-based services that allow individuals to:
1. construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system,
2. articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and
3. view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.

The requirement for an individual to articulate and make visible their social networks enables individuals to meet strangers through latent contacts, however, most social network sites provide privacy policies to enable an individual regulate who can access their profile. LinkedInMySpace, Facebook and Twitter are popular social network sites.

Multimedia Streaming
and Downloading are the two main ways to deliver multimedia content online. Streaming means playing multimedia (video or audio) directly online as soon as your client PC receives data, without making a local copy. Downloading, on the other hand is when media files are first copied to the local machine and then played back even when you are offline.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a form of communication that allows you to make phone calls over a broadband internet connection instead of typical analogue telephone lines. Basic VoIP access usually allows you to call others who are also receiving calls over the internet. Interconnected VoIP services also allow you to make and receive calls to and from traditional Landline, and mobile numbers Education, Governance, Business, Banking and nearly any human endeavour can be mediated by computers and communication networks. This unlimited transactional capacity of the Internet has yielded such concepts as e-Learning, virtual classrooms, virtual libraries, e-Governance, eBanking, among others.

Connecting to the Internet

  • Internet Service Provider (ISP) / Internet Access Provider (IAP)
  • Wireless Service Provider

Connecting to the Internet

Internet Service Provider
Internet Service Provider (ISP) / Internet Access Provider (IAP) and Wireless Service Provider (WSP) are business organizations, usually telecommunications companies that own Internet infrastructure and provide individuals and organizations access for a fee. These correspond to the two main technologies deployed in digital communication (wired and wireless).

ISPs typically provide Dial Up and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connections to consumers while WSPs provide wireless Internet access with wireless modems to consumers. The type of Internet connection subscribed to is also called Internet Account.

network card

Internet Account Types
ISPs provide Internet access using two broad technologies namely Narrowband and Broadband.
Narrowband, short for narrow bandwidth, describes technologies that delivery low data rates and hence limited Internet speed. The most popular example is the Dial up connection.

Dial up
This connection uses the regular analogue telephone line known as the twisted pair, with a PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) modem. A modem (a modulator/demodulator) is a device that converts digital data generated by a computer into analogue data so it can be transmitted over a telephone line (modulation) and again converts analogue data transmitted over a telephone line into digital data that can be read by a computer (demodulation).

A major drawback on dial up connection is that once the line is dialled up for Internet use, no voice calls can be sent or received through that line. Connection quality is also hampered most times. An Internet connection is established when a user clicks on the telephone access icon and the computer dials the phone number provided by the ISP.

Broad bandwidth (Broadband) technologies are capable of high data rates and use multiple channels to deliver multimedia content over the Internet. They provide an “always on” connection to the Internet. Examples are as below:

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
DSL also uses the POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) like the Dial up. Unlike the dial up, however, DSL is broadband and provides an “always on” connection and there is no need to dial a telephone number to establish a connection with the ISP. It also does not obstruct telephony.

Different forms of DSL connection exist, common among them, ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line). This type of connection is so named as it does not support equal data rates for upstream (upload) and downstream (download) traffic. Download speeds are higher than upload speeds.

Two major forms of cable transmission are the Coaxial and Optic fibre. With the use of cable modems, users can have broadband connection to the Internet over cable television ines (coaxial). Cable Internet is capable of higher data rates than the twisted pair.

Fibre optic provides the highest speed of data transmission and works on the properties of light. The optic fibre consist of high quality glass or plastic as thin as human hair. At one end it emits light rays while on the other end the beams of light are detected and converted into electrical data, thus data in optic fibre is transmitted as light. 


Wireless Internet Access

  • Wireless technologies provide “always on” connections to the Internet using radio frequencies that are transmitted through the air. Through the use of a wireless modem a user can connect to the Internet as long as they are within network coverage area.
  • Wi-Fi is a popular WLAN. Wi-Fi is often deployed in populated areas such as airports, hotels, and other public areas known as hotspots, which are in high demand for on-the-move wireless Internet access.

Wireless Internet Access
Wireless technologies provide “always on” connections to the Internet using radio frequencies that are transmitted through the air. There are no physical or visible connecting lines between a user’s device and the network site. Through the use of a wireless modem a user can connect to the Internet as long as they are within network coverage area.

Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) is a popular wireless Internet connectivity designed to extend the coverage of Local Area Networks by providing Internet access wirelessly. It is therefore a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN). Wi-Fi is often deployed in populated areas such as airports, hotels, and other public areas which are in high demand for wireless Internet access,
known as hotspots. All a user needs is their Wi-Fi adapter turned on, and a security key (in the case of proprietary hotspots) and they can access the Internet on their mobile devices. Hotspots provide avenues to travellers to access Internet applications on the move.
Wireless Internet has helped to overcome the access drawbacks on wired technologies. Remote dwellers as well as hard to reach urban populations can be connected using wireless technologies.

Going Online

How Web Pages are Organized
The commonest way to logon to the Internet is via the World Wide Web. The Web is presented as pages that interface the Net user and the Net resources. A group of interrelated Web pages is called a Website. Browsers are applications that connect a user to the Internet via the WWW. Common ones are Firefox, Internet Explorer, Torch, Opera, Safari, Chrome, etc.

Major Features of a Webpage


Common Webpage Features

  • Home page
  • Address bar
  • Navigation bar
  • Search bar
  • Tabs
  • Hyperlinks
  • Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

Home page: Also known as the index page or landing page, is front page or the first and main Webpage of a Website that contains links to other pages/sections of the Website.
Address bar: The narrow space located in the header of a Webpage that displays the URL of the current Webpage and also accepts URL input to navigate the user to another Webpage.
Navigation bar: A set of links to the main sections of a website. It can be located on the top or at the sides of the homepage.
Search bar: Also known as the search field or query box, is the narrow text field where users enter their queries or search statements for submission to the Website’s search engine. The search bar is capable of a single line of input and is usually followed by a tab labeled Search, or in lieu, the picture of a magnifying glass which could also be located inside the search bar at the right-end.
Tabs: Exclusive bars identifying various Webpages in a multitasked window. They serve to demarcate multiple open Webpages in a single browser window. The New Tab link can be used to open a blank page for URL input.
Hyperlinks: Strings of text that refer to other parts of a Webpage or to an entirely new Webpage that deals with the concept represented by the link in greater depth. The texts that contain hyperlinks are called hypertext. They usually appear in blue colour and when the mouse pointer hovers over it, it changes into a “hand” and the text shows an underscore.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL): The Web address of an online resource (i.e. Website or document). URLs are typed into the address bar of a Web browser; for example:


Parts of a URL

Part of URL

Parts of a URL
There are 3 basic parts of a URL. These are the Protocol, the Host Name and the Resource Identifier.

Protocol: Rules for data communication between a client and a server. The most popular protocol is http (hypertext transfer protocol). Its variant https (hypertext transfer protocol secure) is used by sites requiring sensitive user information such as passwords and credit card information. The https indicates that data transferred by the server to the client machine is encrypted. It is the first part of the URL that comes before the double slash (//). Less familiar protocols include:
                       ftp         – File Transfer Protocol;
                       pop       – Post Office Protocol;
                       smtp     – Simple Mail Transfer Protocol; and
                       imap     – Internet Message Access Protocol.

Host Name: The host name or server name identifies the remote server on which the requested resource is located or stored. It comes between the double slash (//) and the first single slash (/). Contained within the Host name is the Domain Name which identifies the organization or individual who owns the resource. The domain name may have subsidiaries indicating the hierarchy of the creating institution but always end in a three-letter or two-letter extension that shows what type of institution created the resource. This ending three-letter / two-letter extension is known as the Top Level Domain (TLD). Common Top Level Domains include:
                       .com      – commercial
– non-profit organizations
– a network
– an educational institution
– military (US military)
– government (US government) agency
– an international treaty-based organization such as WHO.

If the TLD is two-letter, it often identifies the geographical location (country) of the server. Examples include .uk (United Kingdom), .gh (Ghana), .ca (Canada), .za (South Africa), etc. Resource Identifier: The resource identifier or path shows the file name and any other directories or subdirectories in which the specific file or resource is located. Each category or subcategory of the resource identifier is separated by a forward slash (/). The last resource identifier (after the last slash) is the name of the specific file requested. The file name usually ends with a three-letter or four-letter extension that shows the file type. Some examples are:
                       .htm or .html               – for a standard Web page
or .gif or .tiff or .png        – for common graphic files
– portable document format
– PowerPoint presentation
                       .doc                   – Word document


Common TLDs

.com               - commercial

.org                - non-profit organizations

.net                - a network

.edu               - an educational institution

.mil                - US military

.gov                - US government agency

.int                 - an international treaty-based organization

Country codes e.g.      .uk, .gh, .de, .ca, .za

Types of Webpages

  • Advocacy
  • Business and Marketing
  • News
  • Informational
  • Personal
  • Entertainment
  • Types of Webpages

Advocacy webpages seek to influence opinion. They often solicit donations to sponsor a charity course or ask for support for a candidate in a competition in terms of votes. They are usually not-for-profit non-governmental organizations. Their URL often has .org domain.

Business and Marketing
These are online business platforms. They are set up to promote certain products and/or services and often give a catalogue of their products/services accompanied by specifications and price quotes. Their URL definitely ends in .com. Examples of business webpages are:,, and

A news webpage delivers journalistic services. It provides first-hand information current happenings and also features articles on specific areas of interest such as health, entertainment and sports. Their URL mostly ends in .com. Examples include, and

Informational webpages provide factual information. This includes reports of research findings, statistical and demographic information, a directory of names and business, and library catalogues. Their URLs have .edu or .gov domains. For example:,, etc.

A personal webpage is created by an individual for his/her own personal need. The URL usually has a tilde (~) which mostly comes after the first forward slash (/) after the domain to introduce the user name of that individual. The rest of the path leads to the location of the resource on the personal computer of that individual.

Entertainment webpages provide leisure activities including music, video, games, etc. give users pleasure.


Online Search Tools

  • Hierarchical subject indexes that reference several Web sites.
  • Organized and maintained by human indexers.

E.g. Open Directory Project   (

An index is a list of words or phrases ('headings') and associated pointers ('locators') to where useful material relating to that heading can be found in a document or collection of documents.

E.g. Back of the book index; Everything Search (desktop app).



Several tools for locating online information resources exist.

  1. Subject directories

Subject directories are hierarchical subject indexes that reference several Web sites. They are organized and maintained by human indexers. Web sites referenced in a subject directory depend on the human indexers and their selection policy. Subject directories are good if a searcher has no specific topic in mind. It is a good place to begin your research as it helps you to
browse from general subjects through subcategories until you narrow down to a specific topic.

Some subject directories function as homepages. These are called portals. The WHO-managed

UN Research4Life programme Health Inter Network Access to Research Initiative (HINARI) is a portal.

Selective Directories

Selective directories index only Websites that are adjudged best in their subject category.

  1. Individual Search Engines.

Examples include Yahoo, Google, Bing, Ask and Gigablast.

  1. Metasearch engines

Examples are MetaCrawler, and Dogpile.

Search Engines

These are computer programs known as spiders or Webbots that crawl the Web for new webpages periodically and add (index) keywords and phrases from those pages into a large database which is then made accessible to information seekers.

Types of Search Engines
There are two types of search engines, Individual and Meta search engines. Individual Search Engines compile their own searchable databases on the Web. When you use an individual search engine therefore, you are searching only that search engines database of
indexed Web sites and Web resources. Examples include Yahoo, Google, Bing and Ask. Meta Search engines do not compile a database of their own. Instead, they search the databases of multiple sets of individual search engines simultaneously. Examples are Dogpile and MetaCrawler.

Some Health-oriented Search Engines

Entrez (  

Alternatively ( 

Omni Medical Search (  

GoPubMed (

WebMD (

Nextbio (



Databases are electronic filing systems that arrange documents in a well-structured manner to aid easy access and retrieval.

A database organizes information into fields (columns), records (rows), and files (tables).   A field is a single piece of information; a record is one complete set of fields; and a file is a collection of records.


Databases are electronic filing systems that arranges documents in a well-structured manner to aid easy access and retrieval. A database organizes information into fields (columns), records (rows), and files (tables). A field is a single piece of information; a record is one complete set of fields; and a file is a collection of records.

Database Types

Bibliographic Databases

  • MEDLINE/PubMed
  • Illinois Bibliographic Information Service (IBIS) a collection of databases including Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, Social Sciences Index, PsychINFO, ERIC, Art Index, Current Contents, etc. IBIS is only accessible to affiliates of institutional subscribers.
  • Library Online Public Access Catalogues (OPAC).

Types of Databases

Bibliographic databases provide information about print and electronic journal articles or
articles in periodicals. The types of information found in bibliographic databases generally
include title, author, abstract, and very often, links to full-text content. Examples are

  • MEDLINE (PubMed provides free access to MEDLINE),
  • Illinois Bibliographic Information Service (IBIS) a collection of databases including Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, Social Sciences Index, PsychINFO, ERIC, Art Index, Current Contents, etc. IBIS is only accessible to affiliates of institutional subscribers.
  • Library catalogues – Online Public Access Catalogues (OPACs).

Full-text Databases

  • HealthSTAR (Health Services, Technology, Administration, and Research) covers clinical topics with emphases on the evaluation of patient outcomes and the effectiveness of procedures. It includes Journal of Clinical Investigation, Lancet, etc.
  • Core Biomedical Collection (CBC)

There are also Numerical and Hybrid databases

Full-text databases hold content of information resources described by bibliographic databases
and are often linked to them. They are mostly fee-based. Examples are

  • HealthSTAR (Health Services, Technology, Administration, and Research) which covers clinical topics with emphases on the evaluation of patient outcomes and the effectiveness of procedures. It includes Journal of Clinical Investigation, Lancet, New
    England Journal of Medicine, Pediatrics Science, etc. is produced jointly by NLM's National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR) ( and the American Hospital Association (AHA) (
  • .Core Biomedical Collection (CBC), Emerald, Project Muse, ProQuest, and JSTORE are full-text databases.
  • There are also Numeric and Hybrid


  • IDEAL - contains all 175 Academic Press journals. Abstracts and tables of contents are presented in HTML while full-text articles are delivered in Adobe Acrobat format.
  • Wiley Online Library
  • My iLibrary by ProQuest

 Online Libraries

These provide electronic access to library collections made available online. Electronic books, journals and other forms of information resources can be accessed exactly as in the print library. In the online library environment, All ethical and legal restrictions remain in force. The digital availability of information resources does not mean they are open access. There are usually restrictions on the number of pages of a book that can be downloaded in tandem with fair use, however the entire content can be browsed, searched or read and notes made by the user.


Various agencies, governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental have developed searchable online archives of health related publications.  Examples are:


Digital Archives/Institutional Repositories

Governments, academic and research institutions, and not-for-profit organizations are adopting institutional repositories as publishing mechanisms to provide open access to their knowledge base. Most academic institutions now have institutional repositories for showcasing their research output and other cultural heritage. The WHO publishes a lot of books, reports and conference proceedings which are made available for free through their Institutional Repository for Information Sharing (IRIS). The US Government’s online national archives ( is also a good example.


There is an appreciable volume of health literature available at e-journal sites that are open access.

Free Medical Journals ( hosts over 1,500 open access full-text journals in medicine. Others include BioMed Central, PubMed Central, Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ), Highwire Press, etc.

BioMed central, for example publishes online peer-reviewed journals and contains over 200 open access e-journals which include general titles such as, BMC Biology and BMC Medicine.

Free online journals in Medicine & Health

There is an appreciable volume of health literature available at e-journal sites that are open access. Free Medical Journals ( hosts over 1,500 open access fulltext journals in medicine. Others include BioMed Central, PubMed Central, Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ), Bioline International, ScieLO and Highwire Press which are also listed in the FREE COLLECTIONS area of HINARI once you are logged in with institutional subscription. BioMed central, for example is a publisher in science, technology and medicine, and publishes online peer-reviewed journals. It contains over 200 open access e-journals which include general titles such as, BMC Biology and BMC Medicine.


A Gateway is a node or network that serves as an entrance to another network; gateways organize information in a structured way often in subject categories.  E.g. WHO A-Z Health Topics list ( and the UN Research4Life programme portals (HINARI, AGORA, OARE, ARDI and GOALI) are also gateways to publisher websites.  

Further examples of Health Information Gateways

MedLinePlus (

  • authoritative information from NLM, NIH, and other government agencies and health-related organizations.
  • extensive information about drugs, an illustrated medical encyclopedia, interactive patient tutorials, and the latest health news.

Medscape (

A portal for medical information from WebMD. Categories available include alternative medicine, diseases, health & fitness, human body, mental health, journals, organizations, etc. 

Global Health Library (

A WHO initiative, aims to strengthen, promote and develop worldwide networks on the collection, organization, dissemination and universal access to reliable health sciences information.

AddictionSearch (

  • Source of comprehensive drug addiction treatment, drug and alcohol rehabs, and substance abuse treatment research.

Catalogues are databases of bibliographic records standardized into fields which allow users to search by subject, title, author, ISBN, call number, etc. to find information about the book or periodical they are looking for. The holdings data tell the circulation status of the item (i.e., Borrowed) and the library call number.

A union catalogue links to the holdings of a consortium of libraries. UHASCat, the University of Health and Allied Sciences’ OPAC can be browsed as a collection on the University of Ghana’s library system UGCat at

Searching Online Academic Databases

Basic or Simple Search: a single keyword or key phrase representing a concept is used to retrieve documents from a database or indexing system. This is usually a broad or unfiltered search used when the information seeker knows the exact result(s) being sought for.

Advanced or Systematic Search: involves a combination of multiple key phrases targeted at various fields of a database usually using Boolean logic and other search strategies. Advanced search is used to narrow results to fewer most relevant ones.

Pearl Growing or Snowballing: also known as “following a thread”, involves reading from a general informative literature to learn about your topic and following the references from your current source to other scholarly sources that address your topic more specifically. Some observable trends may include bibliographic coupling and co-citation of sources that increase your confidence in the materials consulted.

Orientating yourself and Focusing your Topic

You can start your literature search by collecting background information in order to:

  • get an overview on the topic,
  • direct yourself to the most important issues and controversies;
  • gain an understanding of how the topic area relates to other topics; and
  • introduce yourself to the vocabulary or jargon relating to the topic.

An encyclopaedia would be a good place to start. Newspapers and professional journals are useful for familiarising yourself with current developments and opinions. Both books and review articles provide an introduction and overview of various aspects of the topic. They contain more comprehensive information than scientific research papers.

 After reading some background information, you can begin to narrow your focus. One way to do this is to turn your research focus into a question. The 4W+H questions are a great way to start.

Example 4w+H Questions to Focus the Topic: “Religious and social influences on health-seeking behaviour”

For the above example topic, drag each list of examples (right) to the appropriate question (middle) in the 4W+H figure below.

Developing a Search Strategy

Developing a search strategy. HINARI Basic Course: Module 2. Internet searching and website evaluation. Retrieved on 06 June 2018 from


Example (Steps 1-4)

  1. Ask: What health problems are associated with water pollution?
  2. Need: scholarly primary research
  3. Main Concepts: health, water, pollution
  4. Select terms:
  • Broader terms: ‘health’, environmental degradation’, ‘agricultural management’,
  • Synonyms:
    health, illness, disease, etc.

            water, rivers, lakes, sea, domestic water, etc.

            pollution, ‘oil spills’, chemical, biological, toxicity, etc

  • Alternative spellings: none
  • Plurals: river(s), lake(s), disease(s)
  • Capitals: g. name of a specific lake, disease, region


Step 1: Ask
Question Development Strategies

There are useful mnemonics to guide question formulation. These mnemonic are not rigid and not every element must be present in every question. The mnemonic of choice is also dependent upon the type of study being conducted (refer to slide note).

PICO  -  Population, Intervention, Comparator/Control and Outcome

PICo   -  Population, Intervention/phenomena of Interest and Context

CoCoPop  -  Condition, Context and Population

PIRDPopulation, Index test, Reference test and Diagnosis of interest

PEO    -  Population, Exposure of interest and Outcome or response

PCC    -  Population, Concept and Context

For effectiveness studies, use:  PICO -  Population, Intervention, Comparator/Control and Outcome

For qualitative studies, use:   PICoPopulation, Intervention/phenomena of Interest and Context

Types of Sources

Information retrieval process

Select a Source (Step 5)

Tertiary Sources



Easy access

Lag Time

Ease of use



Incomplete information

Relatively inexpensive

Incorrect interpretation


Secondary Sources



Rapid access to the primary literature

Lag time

Generally high standard journals

Command language varies

Ability to perform complex searches

Proficient search skills are needed

Routine updates on selected topics (alerts)

Can be expensive


Primary Sources



Original data

Large volume data

Unbiased information

Time consuming


Search Construction

Construct a Search Query Using Appropriate Commands and Best Practices

When searching, enter one term/phrase at a time; keep terms in separate concept sets; combine search terms with OR first; then with AND.

Concept sets are alternative keywords that can be connected using the OR operator. Enclose concepts sets in brackets when building a systematic (advanced) search query in which more that one of the Boolean operators are used.


The Boolean Search Operators

  • 3 main operators: AND, OR, NOT (always UPPERCASE)
  • Are used in online information retrieval systems that use search engines.
  • Inserted in a search box. AND and NOT are processed before OR.
  • Connect search terms and locate records containing matching terms.
  • Are processed in a left- to right sequence.
  • AND operator narrows results to records only records in which the combined search terms occur.
  • NOT operator is used to exclude records that contain search terms placed after the operator thus narrowing results to just the term to the left.
  • OR operator acts as the union of all search terms it is used to combine. It cause the search engine to retrieve records that contain any or all of the search terms and thus broadens the search results.

Example Boolean Search

Topic:  Malaria prevention in Ghana

Database: PubMed (

malaria AND prevention                                                      =                19,861

malaria AND control                                                            =                29,510

malaria AND prevention OR control                                  =          3,621,878

malaria AND (prevention OR control)                               =                30,565

malaria AND prevention AND control                               =                18,810

malaria AND prevention NOT control                               =                  1,052

malaria AND ghana                                                              =                  1,282

malaria AND prevention AND ghana                                 =                     332

malaria AND control AND ghana                                       =                     562

malaria AND prevention AND control AND ghana         =                     308

malaria AND (prevention OR control) AND Ghana      =            586

malaria AND prevention NOT control AND ghana       =              24


Whenever the OR operator is used in conjunction with other operators, the ORed search terms which constitute a concept set must be enclosed in brackets to indicate to the search engine that it must be processed separately before its results are combined with other operators for the ultimate result. This is done automatically for the NOT operator by most search engines.

Boolean Search Results


  1. The shaded regions represent the search engine’s response to the Boolean logic used in the search statement. The size of the shaded region, though to a large extent is reflective of the number of hits or quantity of results retrieved, is not necessarily meant to illustrate the quantum of results retrieved but to demonstrate the search engine’s inclusion and exclusion criteria based on the Boolean parameters.
  2. Search engines use the Boolean logic whether or not the searcher puts them there.
  3. Search engines vary in default Boolean operator. A searcher must therefore know whether a search engine of choice uses OR or AND by default before doing a natural language search.
  4. Also note how increase use of the AND operator narrows results increasingly. An abuse of the AND operator can lead to zero results retrieved.
  5. The OR operator should only be used to combine synonyms or terms that are used interchangeably in the scholarly literature.


Other Search Functions in Search Engines

Exact Phrase Search: use inverted commas (double-quotation marks) to restrict search results to records that contain the exact quoted phrase. E.g. “malaria prevention”

Truncation (* or $) suffixed to the root of any word form will find various words emanating from that root. E.g.

elect* will yield results containing elect, elected, election, electric, electricity, electrician, etc.

Wild cards (?) can be placed anywhere within a word to retrieve records in which alternate spellings of the word are used. E.g.

            lab?r will retrieve records containing labour or labor.

Search (concept) sets

            ("immigra*" OR "citizenship") AND econom*

The  search engine would first search for: "immigra*" OR "citizenship" and the results of these ORed terms would then be ANDed with econom*


Precision & Recall

Measuring the relevancy of retrieved records to a search query.

Precision also known as Positive Predictive Value (PPV) refers to the number of records retrieved that are relevant to the search query. In other words, it is the fraction of all retrieved records [True Positives (TP) + False Positives (FP)] that are relevant [True Positives (TP)].

The Relevancy ranking in most search engines, however, is boosted when the search terms appear in the title of the records or are capitalized.

Recall also known as sensitivity refers to the ability of an information retrieval system to find all the records in a database that are relevant to a search query, and it is expressed as a fraction of relevant records retrieved [True Positives (TP)] compared to all existing relevant records [True Positives (TP) + False Negatives (FN)].


Koehrsen, W. (2018). Beyond Accuracy: Precision and Recall. Retrieved June 8, 2018, from

Wikipedia. (2018). Precision and Recall. Retrieved June 8, 2018, from

Precision & Recall Infographic



Journal databases spanning MEDLINE, HINARI, BioMed Central, EBSCOhost, Health Source, Royal College of Physicians, Wiley Online Library, Biology Image Library, American Journal of Science, Cochrane Medical Library, CINAHL, ScienceDirect, etc.

Coverage:  Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Allied Health, etc.


                        CatalogueèOff CampusèLogin:

                        User Name:      ask your librarian for

                        Password:         username and password



HINARI (Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative)

Capacity:  Over 7,000 journals

Coverage:  Biomedical and Health literature


Subscription: User name:    ask your librarian for

                                    Password:      username and password

HINARI, as it is commonly abbreviated stands for Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative. It was set up by the World Health Organization and major publishers to enable developing countries to access collections of biomedical and health literature. There are over 7000 journal titles available to health institutions in 109 countries. HINARI is part of Research4Life, the collective name for four programs - HINARI (focusing on health), AGORA (focusing on agriculture), OARE (focusing on environment), and ARDI (focusing on applied science and technology). Together, Research4Life provides developing countries with free or low cost access to academic and professional peer-reviewed content online.

The HINARI program, and the other programs, have recently been reviewed and the publishers involved have committed to continuing with it until at least 2015.



Coverage:  Health and general wellbeing.


PubMed (Public MEDLINE)

Capacity:        23,000,000 citations.

Coverage:       Biomedical literature, life science journals                and online books.

Content:         Abstracts, links to full-text  from PubMed                 Central and publisher websites.


Alternatively – or

Subscription: Free

Cochrane Library


  • Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (Cochrane


  • Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE)
  • Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL)
  • Cochrane Methodology Register (Methodology Register)
  • Health Technology Assessment Database (HTA)
  • NHS Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED)



FREE E-Book Sites

  5. Ver.)

Ethical Use of Online Information

The online availability of information does not preclude intellectual property rights or copyright. It is important to explore the copyright or licence status of a piece of information to inform use in order to avoid copyright infringements or plagiarism. The Creative Commons organization offer 4 types of open licence that provide 6 combinations all of which are based attribution (i.e. crediting the owner of the original work even when used in other varied forms.)

Standard 3: Evaluation of information resources

“Is this story true ?”, “I am skeptic about the information provided in that report”, “The results reported in that study are interesting but I need to cross check”.

People judge the information they receive based on the degree of trust they give to that information and how they are going to behave with that information.

Information is a crucial component of any decision making process.

In the medical field, decisions based on wrong information can lead to life threatening and fatal consequences.

It is therefore important to evaluate the information needed for the purpose of decision making.

Some information are already evaluated. Eg. Electronic databases acquired by libraries, books in libraries, but you are the sole evaluator of information on the Internet

The amount of available documents is huge. We need the ones that give the most comprehensive understanding about a subject or topic. Researchers and Scientists are Under Pressure: They need to publish scientific documents in order to be promoted in their career. Thus, not all published documents are credible. Some pieces of information are false, erroneous, incomplete or misleading: Scientific literature is usually peer reviewed in order to reduce errors The lack of guidelines, lack of monitoring, mobility of information and potential bias are some of the justifications to evaluate web resources. In addition, the Internet does not have an editorial board which controls and validates its content. It is an uncontrolled landscape that can be looked at like a jungle where anyone can create, edit and delete content about any topic and publish that content easily. Thus, it is not regulated for reliability, authority, or accuracy.

Information sourced from the Internet should be examined by checking the source if it could be relied upon.

This can be done by examining the website’s URL. The web extension of the site may inform users of the reliability of the information.

Clue: Look for header or footer showing affiliation, look at the URL.

.com – A commercial site.  Purpose to sell product or service. May have  some biases that you must be aware of.

.biz – A business that could be trying to sell a product or service. May have built-in bias.

.edu – A school, university, museum, or educational site.  Normally reliable.

.gov – A U.S. government site.  Normally reliable.

.int – An international institution. Normally reliable.

.mil – A U.S. military site. Normally reliable.

.museum – A museum.  Often reliable

.name – An individual Internet user. Not reliable and may have bias

.net – A network service provider, Internet administrative site.

.org – An organization, often non-profit.  These sites can provide  accurate information, but usually have bias.


This is perhaps the major criterion used in evaluating information.

When we look for information with some type of critical value, we want to know the basis of the authority with which the author speaks.

Here are some possible factors to consider:

Who is the author?

What is his/her credentials?

Is the author qualified? Or is he an expert?

Who is the sponsor of the page? Is the sponsor of the page reputable? How reputable?

Is there a link to information about the author or the sponsor?

If you find an author you do not recognize, check his credentials, expertise on the topic and educational background by reading the biographical information including the author's position, institutional affiliation and address (telephone number and email in order to request further information on his or her work and professional background).


This refers to the timeliness of the information.

In printed documents, the date of publication is the first indicator of currency.

On the Internet, one can check the document date which includes the publication date or the "last updated" date or date of copyright.

Some clues: Ask some questions:

Is the page dated?

When was the last update?

Has the information been revised or updated?

Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?

Websites: are the links functional?

If there is a reference list, does it include up-to-date sources?


Information for research or academic purpose must be complete and objective with relevant supported facts, and not subjective.

When evaluating information found on the Internet, it is important to examine who is providing the "information" you are viewing, and what might be their point of views or biases.

Clue for accuracy: ask some questions:

Is information reliable and error-free? Is there an editor or someone who verifies/checks the information? Where does the information come from?
Is the information supported by evidence?

Has the information been reviewed or refereed?

Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?

Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?


It is important to remember that sources of information comprising the Library's print and electronic collections have already been evaluated for inclusion among the Library’s resources.

However, this does not necessarily mean that these sources are relevant to your research. Relevance refers to how well the information meets your research needs.

To determine information’s relevance, consider answering the question “how closely does this information relate to my research question?”

Eg. I want information on “treatments for juvenile diabetes”

Now I get excellent article (well written by specialist, current information, plenty of supporting facts, included in medical journal) on causes of juvenile diabetes

Despite the fact the article is obviously reliable, for your paper it is not "good" source. Why not?

Article is not about your research topic. You are writing on ‘treatments’ not ‘causes.’


With respect to print sources, the publishing body or publisher also helps to evaluate any kind of document that one may be reading.

This generally means that the author's manuscript has undergone screening in order to verify that it meets the standards or aims of the organization that serves as publisher. This may include peer review.

Similarly, on the Internet the trustworthy source or credibility of the institution or organization hosting the information provides an authoritative source that supplies some good evidence that allows one to trust the information.

However, one must ask the following questions to assess the role and authority of the hosting institution or server (computer) where the document is stored:

Does the website clearly identify the organization responsible for publishing the information found on it?

Is there a link at the top or bottom of the page linking back to the information about the website’s publisher or sponsor?

Note: You can often find such information from an "About Us" or "Frequently Asked Questions" link.

What is Ethics?
  • Ethics is a branch of philosophy that deals with human conduct and character.
  • It is the study of morality and how to distinguish right from wrong
  • Ethics generally is about human conduct as it ought to be, rather than as it actually is.
  • Ethics asks questions such as ‘Is the action I took fair?’ and ‘what should be the right thing to do?’
  • Ethics is about establishing standards or norms for conduct and how one ought to live
  • One central question of modern ethics is about whether human actions are to be judged right or wrong solely according to their consequences


  • In the next slide, we will find out about the ethics of information use and intellectual honesty. We will also learn about:
    1. Plagiarism
    2. intellectual property right
    3. Copyright
    4. Creative commons Attribution
    5. Patent
One commits plagiarism:
  • when you present or use someone else’s published or unpublished ideas or intellectual products as if they were your own new or original ideas, without acknowledging or citing the source of your information.
  • It is the practice of taking someone else’s work, idea, invention, etc. and passing it off as one’s own.
  • It is the representation of the work of another, or one’s own work without acknowledgment of such work.

Plagiarism can be described as:

  • an academic fraud
  • an intellectual theft which transgresses the fundamental values of scholarship
  • an act that can prevents learning, dissemination of new  knowledge and a threat to the integrity of the scientific record.
  • It is literary theft and puts one’s academic integrity into disrepute.

Persons who plagiarise include:

  • Students and academics
  • Journalists
  • Authors
  • Professionals
  • Businesses and many others

NB: Committing plagiarism can destroy your academic reputation

Forms of plagiarism

It includes:

  • careless paraphrasing
  • The copying of identical text
  • providing incomplete references that mislead the reader into believing that the ideas expressed belong to the author of the text.
  • Self-plagiarism, which portrays previous work as new, is also considered a form of plagiarism.

Examples of plagiarism

  • Copying a text from the Internet, from a book or an article, without citing the source and handing it in as your own
  • Rewriting a text in your own words without stating your source
  • Paying for an essay and presenting it as your own
  • Handing in another student’s work under your own name
  • Copying statistics, maps, tables or charts without stating their sources
  • State someone else's artistic work as your own

As a student you are expected to:

    • create original work.
    • fulfill the requirements of the courses you take.
    • cite the sources you use to support your arguments.
    • acknowledge the fact that you have used the words and ideas of another person
    • demonstrates respect for the contributions of other authors and confers value to your own original work
    • do fair evaluation of your scholarly work to reflect your efforts and aptitude.

The Plagiarism Spectrum

  1. Intentional Plagiarism
  2. Unintentional Plagiarism

Intentional Plagiarism

In an academic setting, it is important to distinguish between intentional and unintentional plagiarism

    1. Intentional plagiarism: may warrant disciplinary actions
    2. Students who knowingly plagiarise break ethical codes of conduct.
  • This is known as academic misconduct and may face disciplinary actions including:
      1. failing grades,
      2. expulsion and
      3. even degree loss.
      4. Inadvertent plagiarism (not intentional) can create an avenue to foster greater student  understanding and learning.
How can one plagiarised?
  • Intentional plagiarism is marked by very clear-cut actions such as:
    1. Purchasing papers or hiring the services of ghost writers and claiming authorship
    2. Claiming authorship of work that is not yours
    3. Purposefully copying significant portions of another’s work without proper attribution.
Why do Students Plagiarise?
  • Changing or intentionally providing incomplete citation or source of information.
  • Intentional plagiarism is driven by clusters of motivation:
  • Fear of failure/Lack of confidence/Pressure to succeed
  • Laziness/Focus on other priorities
  • Procrastination/Time pressures
  • Lack of understanding/Lack of ability
  • Lack of interest/Lack of engagement with course/subject

Unintentional Plagiarism

  • Plagiarism occurs as a result of not fully understanding how academic conventions work
  • And also not knowing how to conduct appropriate and effective research
  • Know how to properly incorporate the ideas and words of other authors into your written work.

Unintentional Plagiarism

Plagiarism that happens in this context represents a lack of student understanding, and these include:

  • Not knowing when and how to quote information,
  • Not knowing when and how to paraphrase effectively
  • No proper acknowledgement of sources
  • Not understanding how to gather, organise and take notes effectively
  • Unaware of specific academic conventions that apply at the institution.
  • Not understanding the assignment
  • Doing collaborative work and not understanding what it means

Consequences of Plagiarism

  • The consequences/penalties for violating cases of plagiarism range from disciplinary sanctions such as probation, suspension, and dismissal to educational interventions such as attending a workshop or writing a paper.
  • Any work that is the product of plagiarism is generally assigned a grade of zero by the instructor.
  • When caught plagiarizing, not only will you be removed from your course and institution, but you may never be able to study for a degree again.
  • Students who cheat become professionals who cheat
  • Students who cheat enter the workforce unprepared and unable to contribute positively to economic and academic growth


  • Students today are faced with increasing pressure and a consequent temptation to plagiarize ever more because of the Internet.
  • Plagiarism is on the increase, so you should not fall into the trap
Strategies for Success

To avoid plagiarism accidentally:

  • Keep accurate notes when doing research
  • Educate yourself on plagiarism policy
  • Master the procedure for citing sources; and
  • Learn to paraphrase without borrowing the language or structure used in an original source.
  • Use quotation marks when quoting
  • Citation - It lets you acknowledge the ideas or words of others if you use them in your work and helps avoid plagiarism.
  • Referencing also demonstrates that you have read relevant background literature and you can provide authority for statements you make in your assignments
  1. APA - American Psychological Association 
  2. MLA - Modern Language Association 
  3. Chicago / Turabian Style 
  4. Harvard (formerly known as AGPS)
  5. AAA - American Anthropological Association
  6. ACS - American Chemical Society
  7. 7. AMA - American Medical Association
  8. APSA - American Political Science Association
  9. ASA - American Sociological Association

    American Antiquity
    CSE (CBE) - Council of Biology Editors (now called the Council of Science Editors)
    IEEE Documentation style (computer sciences)

A work by One or Two Authors:

  • Name both authors in the signal phrase or in the parentheses each time you cite the work.
  • Use the word “and” between the authors’ names within the text and use the ampersand (&) in the parentheses.

            For Eg 1: Research conducted by Alemna and Banji
            (2005) showed…… or (Alemna & Banji, 2005).

Eg 2: Researchers have pointed out that the lack of trained staff is a common barrier to providing adequate health education (Fisher, 1999) and services (Welst & Christodulu, 2000).

A work by Three to Five Authors

  • List all the authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses the first time you cite the source.

            For example, (Alemna, Badu, Kissiedu, Adjei &
           Akusah, 2006 ).


  • In subsequent citations, only the first author’s name followed by “et al.” in the signal phrase or in parentheses.

            For example, ( Alemna et al. , 2006)

Six or More Authors:

  • Use the first author’s name followed by et al. in the signal phrase or in parentheses.

            For example, Bannerman et al. (2001)
      argued……or ( Bannerman et al. , 2001)

APA Reference List:


  • The following rules for handling works by a single author or multiple authors apply to all APA style references in your reference list, regardless of the type of work (book, article, electronic resources, etc.)

 APA Reference List:

Books (Basic format)

  • Author(s)
  • Year of Publication
  • Title of work: Capital letter to begin
  • Location
  • Publisher
  • Page Number

Articles in Periodical

  • Author(s)
  • Year in brackets
  • Title of article
  • Title of periodical,
  • Volume number (issue number)
  • Pages


  • APA –

American Psychological Association 5th edition

Book with Single Author


  • Last name first, followed by initials.



  1. Wells, C. (2010). Practice education for allied health
    London: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
  2. Gardener, H. (1993). Frames of mind: The theory of
    multiple intelligence.
    New York: Basic Books.


Book with two Authors

  • List by their last names first followed by initials
  • Use the ampersand (&) instead of ‘and.’


  1. Nayak, A. K & Rao, V. K. (2004). Introduction to educational
    . New Delhi: A.P.H. Publishing Corporation
  2. Cargill, O. & Charvat, W. (1996). The publication of academic writing. New York: Modern Languages Association.

Three to Six Authors

  • List by last name first followed by initials,
  • Separate names with commas,
  • The last author’s name is preceded by ampersand.


Duhig, A. M., Phares, V. & Birkeland, R. W. (2002). 
     Involvement of fathers in therapy: A survey of
     clinicians. Professional      Psychology: Research and
, 33 (4), 389-         395.

More than Six Authors

  • List the first six in the first instance
  • Add “et al.” which means ‘and others” in subsequent cases

Citation from Journals

Journal Article (in print)

  • Horowitz, L.M., Post, D.L., French, R.S., & Siegel, E.Y.
    (1981). The prototype as a construct. Journal of
         Psychology, 90,

    Journal Articles from Online Databases
  • Blakeslee, D.J. (1981). The origin and spread of the
    calumet ceremony. American Antiquity, 46 (4),
          759-768. Retrieved October 3, 2005, from JSTOR

Organisation/Institution as Author

  • University of Minnesota (2014) Social Minneapolis: University of         Minnesota Press.

Reference List: Books (Basic Format)

  • Author (s)
  • (Year of publication)
  • Title of work : Capital letter to begin subtitle.
  • Location:
  • Page number.

Edited Works

  • Duncan, G. J. , & Brooks-Gunn, J. (Eds.). (1997). Consequences of growing up poor. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
  • Gurman, A.S. (1981). Family therapy. In M.N. Blum (Ed.), Handbook of family therapy (pp. 742-775). New York : Springer.

Edited Book with Author or Authors

  • Plath, S. (2000). The unabridged journals (K. V. Kukil, Ed.). New       York: Anchor.


Edition Other Than the First

  • Helfer, M. E. , Keme, R. S. & Drugan, R. D. (1997).The battered child (5th ).Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 Sub 2

Reference List: Articles in Periodicals

  • Author(s)
  • Year in brackets.
  • Title of article.
  • Title of Periodical,
  • Volume number (issue number),

For Example

  • Harlow, H. F. (1983). Fundamentals for preparing journal articles. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 55, pp. 893-896.


  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. (2001). Glacial habitat restoration areas. Retrieved from:     d/wildlife/hunt/hra.htm
  • Hayes, H. (2012). The role of libraries in the knowledge economy. A paper presented at the 27th UKSG Conference, Manchester, March 2004, 17 (3).
  • Retrieved from     http://uksg.     
  • The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) defines copyright as a legal term that describes the rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works.
  • According to Harrod (1981), copyright refers to a procedure whereby the originator of a piece of intellectual property such as a book, article or piece of music receives due recompense for inventiveness or imagination expended.
  • Copyright is the branch of law that holds the legal provisions on the rights of writers, artists and other creative persons to determine how their literary or artistic works may be used.
  • For a creation to be regarded as a piece of work, it must have attained the high standard required of a work, meaning that it should display originality as a result of the originators personal making.
  • It is a legal term/concept that gives the creator of original work “exclusive rights” to control the use of his/her work for a limited time. These rights are:
  • the right to make copies of the work,
  • the right to be credited for the work,
  • the right to determine who may adapt the work to     other derivative forms, such as translations,     performance, financial benefit from the work, and    other related rights.
  • Authors may transfer by contract those rights to publishers, or users, to authorize them to make copies, translations, performances, recordings, etc.
  • However, authors do not have monopoly to control all uses of their works: the law foresees some “legal exceptions” to the benefit of the public
  • For knowledge improvement and academic purposes.
Main Issues in a Copyright Law
  • Gives monopoly to authors and creators in order to stimulate intellectual and artistic creativity.
  • Authors and creators may transfer their monopolistic rights to publishers for marketing purposes.
  • Users/Publics have rights in the form of “fair use” (academic purposes and knowledge improvement).
Three Copyright Acts of Ghana (Copyright Act 85 of 1961)
  • PNDC Law 110
  • Copyright Act 690 of 2005

Under section 2 of the Bill, the following are stated:
 1) The rights of the author are protected during the life of the author and seventy years after the death of the author.

2) Where a work is co-authored, the rights of the authors referred to are protected during the life of the last surviving author and seventy years after the death of that author.

Section 21 of the Copyright Law in Ghana.
  1. A library and archive with activities that are not for gain may, without the authorization of the author of copyright, make a single copy of the work by reprographic reproduction.
  2. A reprographic reproduction under subsection (1) may be made when the work reproduced is a published article, other short work or short extract of a work and where the purpose of the reproduction is to satisfy the request of an individual. 
  3. The library or archive shall under subsection (1) ascertain that the copy is to be used solely for the purpose of study, scholarship or private research.
  4. The act of reproduction under subsection (1) a copy is made in order to preserve or replace a copy which has been lost, destroyed or rendered unusable in the permanent collection of similar library or archive if it is impossible to obtain the copy under reasonable conditions. 
  • Where a library or, archive requires more than a single copy of a work by reprographic reproduction,
  • The permission for this shall be obtained from the author, or the owner of copyright or from an appropriate collective administration society authorized by the publisher.


  • To establish a framework for determining, detecting and preventing plagiarism.
  • To guide faculty and students to respect, observe and maintain high academic
  • To apply disciplinary sanctions on culprits to be determined by Disciplinary Committee.


  • The presentation of another person’s work, ideas, words, opinions, discoveries,   software, music, etc. as one’s own.
  • The republication of one’s own work.
  • The production of work without proper attribution.


  • Proper assessment is required:


  • Mixing citation styles
  • Lack of quotation marks
  • Lack of proper Referencing of cited sources.


  • The University has to assume institutional responsibility to ensure quality assurance.
  • Hence the need for a policy to regulate behaviour of its community members.
  • Educate them.
  • Acquire appropriate software for the purpose.
  • Equip Library/ICT to deploy software.


  • Need for faculty and students to acquire excellent writing skills.
  • Know what constitutes         
  • Know the accepted citation and         referencing styles.


  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Students


  • Disciplinary Committee shall determine sanctions
  • Disciplinary sanctions shall be apply to culprits.
  • Extent of plagiarism shall determine the gravity of sanctions