Monday, August 24, 2015

HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT LAGOS " EKO"

HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT LAGOS " EKO"

The Historical fact is that Oba Orhogbua, who reigned in Benin in the 16th Century (about 1550AD) waged a number of wars, one of which carried him as far as to the land now known as Dahomey, which he conquered and over which he installed a Military Administrator by the name of Isidahome after whom that territory was named "the land of Isidahome" which, over the centuries, became the modern "Dahomey."

It was during the Oba's expedition that he came to the island which the Portuguese subsequently named Lagos. As the journey was long and tedious, he decided to find a resting place.
The whole area was a swampy bush but after some exploration, he reached the sandy beach which he found very suitable, with its clear water and plenty of fish, the Oba with his men decided to build a camp there.

This was how Lagos came to acquire the name "Eko." This word is not a Yoruba word. The fact is that this island had no name, being only a fishing camp, before the Benins entered. In the Benin language, "Bu Eko" or "Bu ago" means "to build a camp" usually a resting place in the village. Thus, there is a sacred spot in Benin City today known as "Eko ohae" (Bachelor's Camp) where an Oba must spend a few days in the course of the ceremonial journey leading to his coronation. So again "Eko Oviawe" means "Oviawe's Camp." EKO therefore is not a Yoruba word; that what is now Lagos bears that name is due to its early occupation by the Benins.

The Benins never intended to make a permanent settlement on their newly discovered sandy beach. All that the Oba (Orhogbua) needed was a good camp (Eko) where he and his men could always break their long tedious coastal journey. But they stayed long enough to begin to bring up families. In fact the Oba is believed to have stayed there for about 12 years most of the time fighting and acquiring territories by conquest, before he returned to Benin.

After 12 years of successful campaigns, with headquarters at Eko, Oba Orhogbua returned to Benin. From Benin he appointed an Administrator by the name of Aisikpa to look after the Island. Aisikpa was a name (or title) specially chosen for the Administrator to commemorate the Oba's many years' sojourn at Eko and it is simply a contraction of the Benin phrase "Aisikpahienvbore" which means "people never desert their place" or "the place will not be deserted by us." That is how Aisikpa, whom the Yorubas now call Ashipa, came into Lagos histories.

Bajulaiye is an important Lagos title but it only reminds us of Obazuaye of Benin the chief who was sent to Eko with Aisikpa. Inabere Street in Lagos has its origin in Unuabehe in Benin City.When Aisikpa died, his remains were carried to Benin for interment, (he was the grandson of the Oba) and he was succeeded by Edo (or Ado as the Yorubas now call the name).

The early "settlers" (apparently Yorubas from the interior) never went beyond the mainland. They stopped at Ebute Metter or Ode-Iddo. The "settlers" stopped at Ebute Metta. "Ode-Iddo" or "Iddo" on the other hand is, like the name "Ado" which is a corruption of the Benin phrase "Ode-Edo" meaning the "road to Benin." It is simply a corruption by the itinerant fishermen of the Benin phrase they picked up from the Benin people who always pointed towards the mainland whenever they referred to the outward route.

There could be no denying the fact that it was Oba Orhogbua in the 16th Century who founded what is now Lagos Island; it is equally a historical fact that on his return to Benin after many years, he appointed one of his grandsons by name Aisikpa to look after the affairs of the place and it was this man who laid the foundation for the Administration of Lagos; finally Aisikpa on his death was succeeded by his son, Edo.
It should be noted that Oba Orhogbua during his conquest, had conquered one Chief Olague (now known as Amakpetu of Mahin) in Mahin, as well as Olofin in that campaign.

It is interesting to recall that when present Oba of Benin, as a Prince then, entered as a student in the then Higher College, Yaba, a prominent Benin man resident in Lagos went to visit the Prince and took him to a swampy water front where the Federal Palace Hotel is now and showed the Prince four iron rods pined to the ground. The man explained that they were the charm Oba Orhogbua fixed to prevent the swampy water extending to his camp "Eko." The man and the Prince recognized the iron rods as what Benin traditionalists call "OSUN N'IGIOGIO."

Historically, the rights of who own Lagos are clear: Lagos was a Benin town with a Benin Oba who paid tribute to the Oba of Benin –indeed, his chiefs were the descendants of noble Benin families. The Benin Empire ran Lagos for over 400 years before the colonial powers took over.

Yes, the dominant people in Lagos were Yoruba but they formed not the rulers of the town but the subjects of the Oba just like we find in the United Kingdom today where people are subjects of the Queen of England and not citizens.

In 1603, Andreas Joshua Ulsheimer, a German surgeon, aboard a Dutch merchant ship, visited Lagos. He later described it as a large frontier town surrounded by strong fence and inhabitant by "none but soldiers and four military commanders, who behave in a very stately manner." The Lagos visited by Ulsheimer and his trading colleagues nearly four centuries ago was in many ways highly developed. Each day its four commander came together as a court and each day two envoys were dispatched to take decisions back to their ruler in Benin. To do so, Ulsheimer wrote, was a common practice in all towns under the suzerainty of Benin. Food in the Lagos area was plentiful: handsome fish, good wildfowl", meat fruits, yams and a host of other foodstuffs. The town was by water and by land, and many traders who brought their wares by water and by land, and who conducted their transactions in cowries or trade goods, amongst which brass was highly prized. Ulsheimer was struck by the beautiful, colouful cloth, the ivory, and the elephant tails were traded in Lagos, and by the large amount of pepper that was available. Indeed, his party was rewarded with five lasts of pepper for successful helping the Benin-led army-which he possibly overstated as being ten thousand- to lay siege to dissident neighboring towns.

Ulsheimer's brief, but revealing; description is remarkable in many ways. It confirms Benin oral traditions of conquest and occupation of Lagos during the sixteenth century. Egharevba has described how Oba Orhogbua of Benin (c. 1550-1578) occupied the island of Lagos, established a military camp there from that base waged wars upon some of the people, described as rebels against his authority, in the immediate interior. Orhogbua, Benin traditions say left Lagos when he learnt of a coup against him at home. But he left behind in Lagos, a military camp under three generals,. His son and successor, Ehengbuda (c. 1578-1606) on his journey to Lagos, is said to have drowned in River Again, roughly mid-way between Benin and Lagos, when his boat capsized. Ulsheimer description reveals the situation in Lagos towards the end of Oba Ehengbuda reign.

Ulsheimer also gives us the first account, documenting the transformation of Lagos from fishing camp to a trading centre, and from an autonomous settlement to a Benin tributary. Lagos Lagoon was known to European traders by 1485, when it first appeared on maps, but the town of Lagos was not included. Nor was it mentioned by Portuguese and later Dutch merchants who were trading in the area with the Ijebu in cloth, slaves and ivory by1519. Oral evidence indicates that the Portuguese were sufficiently interested in the trade in this area to have established themselves in the Ijada quarter of Ijebu-Ode. But their written documents as those of other foreign traders are silent concerning a town of Lagos for most of the sixteenth century.

Nonetheless, Benin extended its military and trading pressure along a corridor from Benin City as far as West Allada by 1530. and it is possible that step by step it opened staging, provisioning, and rest camps along the route. Benin's armed forces were surprising large. A Dutch source of the seventeenth century indicates the King of Benin could mobilize from 20,000 to 10,000 men4 and move contingents of them through the waterways between Benin and Allada in war canoes built to hold from 50 to 100 armed soldiers each. It is quite likely that Benin recruited, by choice and by force, troops as it moved, for its armies were too large to have moved as a single body, in a single campaign, from one source. Lagos was probably one of many recruitment zones and camps. For it to have presented the well-governed and vital commercial picture that it did to Ulsheimer, however, means it did nor emerge overnight. The years between 1530 and 1603 no doubt is a period of development, stimulated by Benin's presence and by opportunity this gave nearby peoples to make contact with, even if indirectly, the growing and lucrative European trade.

Oral traditions, well-known to historians of Lagos, indicate that Benin found pre-existing settlement on Lagos and nearby Ido Islands. Ulsheimer also confirmed this. Some of the inhabitants in the Lagos interior lived in towns walled for defensive purpose and Ulsheimer's group armed with two cannons helped the local Benin army to conquer and completely destroy one of such towns described as dissident. But we know little of the size of these settlements or their inhabitant. Clearly, there were no large centralized polities or major trade centres in the immediate vicinity. Those that did exist, farther away, such as Ijebu-Ode, Benin and the Aja port towns, were well-known to Europeans and mentioned in their written description of the period. European records are silent on the time before 1603. Accordingly, we must turn to oral traditions and environmental evidence to reconstruct a picture of pre-Benin Lagos and of the era when Benin began to influence its development. Who in fact inhabited the area. What was their way of life?

Benin forces settled at a strategic place on the northwest tip of Lagos Island where they could easily mount a defensive garrison and still overlook the lagoon which narrows suddenly at this point between Lagos and Ido Island. Aderibigbe suggests that there was a protracted period during which Benin attempted to take Ido Island, apparently the most populated place in the Lagos area and essentially, the gateway to the mainland. Given its interests in towns, especially Isheri, Ota and other Ogun River settlements. The Ogun was an important waterway leading to inland trade. The large number of colonies established by Benin throughout the Ogun basin (west from Lagos to Badagry, and north from the coast to (latter-day) Ilaro Division boundaries, attests to its interest. Ido was surrounded by water and given the palisades Ulsheimer found around Lagos, it was quite likely that Ido was also fortified against Benin invaders. Whether Benin was initially unwilling or unable to take Ido is unclear. Certainly it did so later, for its refugees founded new settlement nearby, especially along the southern side of the lagoon in today's Eti-Osa. In contrast to Ido, Benin established a firm base across the lagoon on Lagos Island with little resistance. At the time, Lagos Island had one known settlement, founded by the legendary Aromire, "lover of water", as a fishing camp

Ido, so traditions indicate, was a centre of local activity. It was the seat of Olofin, a strong leader who appears to have dominated a group of villages that were thought to exist prior to Benin conquest and to be Awori Yoruba ancestry. In mythological language, Olofin was said to have had many "sons" amongst whom he divided the area's lands. These sons and the settlements they represented were the early settlers met by Benin forces. At the time, they probably represented a village group, allied for governmental, protective and perhaps economic reasons. Later as Lagos grew and its government expanded. Olofin's sons became known as Idejo, landowning chiefs. The number of chiefs in the Olofin alliance is usually remembered as a formulaic eight, ten, sixteen or thirty-two. Twelve of them are today recognized by government Aromire, Oloto, Ojora, Onitolo, Onitano, Onikoyi, Oniru, Oluwa, Onisiwo, Eleguishi, Ojomu and Lumegbon. The Olofin title disappeared while the Olumegbon is now the leader of the Idejo class and presides over its installation ceremonies.

According to the early historians of Lagos, the settlements represented by Idejo chiefs were not established simultaneously, but in stages. Traditions in Idejo families confirm that this was, indeed, the case and furthermore that not all Idejo families were of Awori descent. As indicated, the people of Ido did predate Benin conquest. Warfare had driven them from the mainland area of Ebute-Metta, "three wharfs" to Ido Island where they established two small settlements; Oto village, facing the mainland, and Ido, a fishing camp facing Lagos Island, which eventually disappeared or was absorbed into the larger village. These two settlement were governed together under a chief who became known as Oloto and whose family controlled a large stretch of land on the mainland behind Ido. The southwest part of Ido Island was settled by a group of migrants whose origins were traced to Aramoko in the Ekiti area. This group's first headman, Kueji, married an Ido woman, one Isikoko by name, and they settled at Ijo-Ara (Ijora) where Kueji took the Ojora titles, Aro and Odofin, eventually arose within the Ojora line. Whether or not this occurred before the Benin era is not clear.

There were other chiefs in the Ido group. The Elegushi of Ikate and Ojomu and Ajiran have traditions stating they fled Ido to escape Benin raids and settled in Eti-Osa area in the south shore of the lagoon east of Lagos Island. This being the case, their settlements and independent chieftaincies came after, not before, Benin. The Ojomu title, however, is not entirely explained by the refuges tradition, since until recently it was not included in the Idejo, but in the Akarigbere class of chiefs, that is inn the administrative line of Lagos chiefs that, for the most part, claim Benin origins. Another Ido chief, the Opeluwa, also became Lagos chiefs. Eventually, then the Lord group gave birth to four Idejo chiefs (Oloto, Ojora, Elegushi and Ojomu) and one Ogalade chief (Opeluwa). At least one (oloto) and possibly three chiefs (Oloto, Ojora, and Opeluwa) were in existence at Ido before the arrival of Benin.

The members of the Aromire settlement gave land to Benin conqueror on Lagos Island, and thus we can be sure that they, like the Oloto People, existed prior to conquest. Armoire again did not represent a single group. One section of the family settled at Tolo on the western tip of Lagos Island, and it became headed by the Onitolo, a descendant of the Aromire family. Another Idejo title holder, the Onitano, was said to be the grandson of Oshoboja's daughter. Still another Idejo chief, the Onikoyi, was brought into Lagos by Aromire family through marriage. The founder of Onikoyi family lived at Oke-Ipa on Ikoyi Island, named after his ancestral home which was believed to have been in Old Oyo. Adeyemi a leader of the Oke-Ipa settlement married Efunluyi, daughter of Meku armoire, who was believed to be the sixth title holder of the Aromire line. In honour of her deliverance of a son, called Muti, Chief Meku allocated to his daughter and son-in-law a plot of land near Iga Aromire "Aromire Court", on Lagos Island. The house built on that plot became Iga Onikoyi and Aromire's son-in-law the first holder of an Idejo title in Lagos, the Onikoyi title. All in all, four related Idejo chieftaincies came out of the Aromire line: armoire itself, Onitolo, Onitano, and Onikoyi.

The remaining four Idejo titles clearly came into existence after the invasion of Benin. To chart this process, let us return to Ulsheimer. If his account is correct, then it appears that the daily gathering of Lagos governors was one of military commanders from Benin, and not heads of local settlement. Gradually, however, additions were made to that body. The vehicle via which accretion took place eventually was called Ose Iga a ceremonious meeting of Lagos held at the palace every seventeen days. The Osega was attended by a body of chiefs whose agenda was devoted to proposing and debating community policy. Before discussions at each meeting, sacrifices were performed. After each meeting the assembled chiefs were fed and entertained by the Oba. Rights to sit on his highest decision making body of the community were extended to all recognized chiefs. Indeed, the culmination of investiture ceremonies took place in the Ose chamber of the palace. Until a chief was brought into Osega, he was effectively not a functioning part of the larger policy. It does appear, however, that leaders of surrounding village who saw themselves as clients of the Oba could attend the Osega. Village settlement in and around Lagos Island were of several types: those powerful enough to be represented by their chief on the Osega; those that were clients (and the nature of the tie differed markedly among settlements. Ranging from complete dominance and overlordship to a loose control or dependency); and those that retained autonomy, foregoing the political and protective links that representation at the Lagos Osega could offer them.

The number of chiefs with rights to attend the Osega grew slowly and fluctuated. Olumegbon, leader of the Idejo class was said to have been brought into Lagos and given a title by Ado, one of the early Bini rulers. The first Olumegbon came from Aja, east of Lagos toward the Lekki Lagoon. The reasons for his inclusion among the chiefs who attend the Osega may never be known to us. It is possible that the Benin warriors found him and his people located at a vital position on their east-west trade corridor and therefore wished to control that position themselves by alleviating its headman to a chieftaincy title in Lagos rather than subjugating him. It is also possible that he was originally a part of the Ido alliance and brought in as its senior representatives. In any case, Olumegbon was allocated a plot for an Iga in the Iduntafa area of Lagos and thus within the portion of land originally allocated by Aromire to the Benin rulers.

The last three Idejos chiefs. Oluwa-Onisiwo and Oniru were brought into Osega at the time of Akinsemoyin in thee mid to latter part of the eighteenth century. Oluwa came to the Lagos area from Iwa, near Badagry, and settled on lands in the Apapa Ajegunle area. Onisiwo ancestors came from the Porto Novo area and settled to the south of Oluwa in the Tarwa/Tomaro area. The forebears of Oniru established a settlement at Iru village, close to today’s Federal Palace Hotel on Victoria Island, overlooking the beach of the Atlantic Ocean. Although not confirmed by the family, it is widely believed that, given their settlement on the seafront, the Oniru people descended from ocean-going fishermen who migrated eastward from as far west as today's Ghana. The Oniru family strengthened its ties to the Idejo landowners by marrying into the Aromire family early on. All three chiefs, in fact, were said to have strengthened their ties to Lagos by marrying daughters of Akinsemoyin, but this is still a matter of debate. All in all, we can be sure that there were two pre-Benin settlements-Aromire and Oloto at Io-and possibly the immigrating Ojora group. Water rights were important to these groups and they give us a relative chronology of settlement. Fishing was the mainstay of the early local economy and therefore control of lagoon fishing rights was the most valuable fixed asset in the region. It is significant that three chiefs-Aromire, Oloto, and Ijora-settled at wharfs and controlled the fishing waters surrounding them. Their control stretched from Lagos Island, east to five Cowries Creek, across the lagoon as far as Akoka, and thence west to Apapa. With one exception, fishing rights in the water surrounding Lagos, first settlement were vested in these three groups. The exception was Itolo Wharf, controlled by the Onitolo, an offshoot of the Aromire family, who was allocated by this location and offshore fishing rights after the first Aromire title holder had been recognized. Other Idejo families who controlled fishing rights in Lagos area waters were located at increasingly distant locations suggesting their increasingly late arrivals. Oluwa in the waters off Apapa, Onisiwo in the creeks and lagoons surrounding the islands and the a pits of land south of Apapa, and Oniru near the small wharf at the mouth of Five Cowries Creek.

Re turning to the Osega, it appear that incorporation into it was the result of Lagos’ expansion. As the city expanded and as its commercial importance waxed. Its sphere of influence in surrounding settlement grew and peoples" interest grew in joining it. There were consideration to be made on both sides. Lagos did not want to give power or title, to a settlement or its leader unless it was profitable. Similarly, a leader did not wish to join another polity, and thus relinquish some autonomy, unless he gained economically, militarily or in status. A weak settlement could be conquered or placed in a client position under an overload in Lagos rather than incorporated into a elite circles of Osega. A strong settlement needed to be recognized in a grand manner and this was the function of Osega, In as much as incorporation into the Osega occurred at different times, and settlements of Idejo chiefs were established at different times, their origins also represented different elements.

Lagos traditions are strong in ascribing Awori origins its Idejo chiefs. But as we have seen, the homeland of Idejo chiefs were not necessarily Awori. Some of the Idejo titles and settlement, moreover, were created internally, or by resettlement. Yet today most Idejo chieftaincy families have incorporated certain Awori cultural elements into their own traditions. This is process that could occur after, not necessarily before their arrival in the Lagos area. Marriage played an important role in the incorporation process. Onitu family members have traditions, although they are debated that their relationship to the Olofin group was established through marriage rather than descent. The armoire family, too, was expanded through marriage, as in the case of the Onikoyi and an Ojora leader married an Ido woman. The examples are numerous. The point is that the assumption of Awori identity was as much an acculturative process through marital alliance or association by proximity as it was a genetic one. After all, the Benin conquerors were eventually absorbed into Lagos identity, although their positions of origin were not obscured. Ideologies of common origin are common to people who ally together in order to strengthened their position, whether they are Benin overlords wishing to solidify their status as an aristocratic ruling class or Idejo chiefs wishing to assets their rights to participate in the governing bodies of that aristocratic class by virtues of their collective status as controllers of land and fishing rights.

The claims of common origin through Olofin of Iddo and prior to that through Ogunfuminire, of Isheri and of common Awori calculating identity are, in the parlance of historians who specialize in evaluating oral traditions, historical clich's. In them, a number of separate, individual traditions are shortened, streamlined, and altered in order to conform to one another. This is a collective process that facilitates the transmission of information. More importantly, it legitimates the position that a group of people may wish to assert. For Idejo chiefs, the claim to first settler status was simplified when they were able to cite a single, socially validated tradition of common origin. An analogous process can be seen in the Ife legend. Here Awori and other Yoruba speaking peoples legitimate what they have in common and their accompanying feelings of solidarity, through a single, streamlined historical cliché stating that they all originated from one point, Ife, through one common ancestor, Oduduwa. While historical clichés have a social function to perform as they promote unity and collective identity, they tend to erase the distinctive features various groups of people may have and to obliterate their unique histories origin, migratory patterns, and the like. In the case of Lagos, the rich and varied backgrounds of Idejo chiefs tended to be obscured by the overarching legend of Olofin and the ascribed identity of Awori.

Still, the Awori undoubtedly enjoyed a domegraphic advantage in the Lagos area at a critical stage in the formative years of Lagos. If it were not so this identity would have played a strong role in local traditions. Awori are marked by one particular feature: the distinctiveness of their speech, which has been described as a recognizably separate dialect of Yoruba. In many other respects there were and still are differences amongst Awori peoples.

Early European administrators divided Awori into four groupings: southern, Eastern, Central and Western. Of Southern (coastal) and Eastern (next to Lagos) Awori, the internal differences were too marked and actual origins too diverse to characterize them as a whole. Of the Central and Western groups (including Ilaro and Ilogbo), however, more could be said. Both groups shared similar social and cultural, especially ritual, customs and both shared strong traditions of having moved south in slow, step-wise migrations to escape war and slave raids. Places of origin were scattered, but Egbado, Ketu and Oyo figured prominently among them. Two groups were further linked by traditions of cross-migrations, e.g. some Ota elements were said to have originated in Old Ilogbo, i.e. Western Awori territory, although traditions of the Olofin group placed them primarily in the Central group

There were similarities between Ijora, Oto and Aromire family rituals and Central Awori rituals. The Efe-Gelede masquerade (Efe falling on the eve of a Gelede outing) was common to the Ilaro (Egbado Awori) region and to Oto and Ijora. The capping ceremonies for Chief Oloto, in fact specifically include the Efe-Gelede rites. Elegbara festivals were common amongst Central and Western Awori and the Ido chieftaincy groups. Two families, Oto and Ijora and at once time, Aromire, maintained Elegbara arenas for performances of annual festivals. The Central and Western Awori were united in their skills and occupations of which three stood out. Two ancestors were hunters: Ogunfunminire, "the god of iron has given me luckâ€, and Olofin. Others were farmers-the soil of the area were rich and raising yams and vegetables was significant. More interesting, perhaps because it was less common, was iron-making. The Ota region was one of the early and rich smelting centre of Yoruba land, and several sites were prominent. Ilobi near today’s Ilaro (but settled long before it) was first settled by Ketu people who were searching for iron ore deposits in and area where water supplies were sufficient for operating the thirsty smelters. Ilobi designated one of its chiefs to run its smelting operations. Ajilete, too, was a richly endowed iron town. Its Oba was Ajilete Iyawo Ogun. :Ajilete the consort of iron†Even Benin colonist established iron smelters in the area in order to equip their forces.

Awori also were familiar with river and creek fishing, as were many inland peoples. An early canoe building center (but of unknown date) was said to have existed north of Isheri in the Iro-Iori area at the point where navigability of the Ogun River ceases. The legendary ancestors of the Olofin group navigated the Ogun River and arrived at their Lagos Lagoon destination in Canoes. Water deities and rituals were familiar parts of their cultural heritage and many have been transported to the new settlements. The Awori, however, did not introduce Olokun, the great sea deity, for it came from a coastal village. The source of Ota, a lagoon deity, is shrouded in mystery although Ota rituals seems to center within the Ido group of families. The deity is believed to emit fire during periods of the full moon, and to act as a guide to voyages at night. Like Olokun it is prohibited for security, peace and a bountiful fish harvest. Sharks also are ritually symbolic in the Lagos area and their snouts have been placed on many shrines, especially the Oju Egun in each chieftaincy Iga. The ritual worship of sharks extends to Eshire where, known by another name, an ox is sacrificed to an Ogun River deity each November, shortly after sharks that spawn upstream arrive.

Whether or not Awori migrants moved voluntarily into the lagoon area is unknown. Sea, salt and smoked/dried fish were valuable inland trade items and they, alone, could have drawn prospective trader south. There are strong indications, however, that the people now know as Awori represent a long and uneven movement of people of Ketu, Egbado, Oyo and no doubt other origins who were forced south by warfare and slave raids, and that was occurring as early as the fourteenth to fifteenth centuries, prior to and perhaps extending into the same period that saw Benin march west. That these peoples and Benin met and interacted in the wedge of territory to the east and north of the Lagos lagoon is clear. Town founding traditions in nearby areas go back to either stock and sometimes both. Early British travelers called this area the territory of Ado i.e. the territory of Edo (Benin). The mixture of Edo and Yoruba language was such that in the early twentieth century administrators labeled the language of this area not as Awori but as Bini-Awori.

The lagoon, we submit, was a frontier for both Benin and Awori peoples. Given their land-oriented skills, the environment initially was not hospitable for either people. Coastal lands from the Benin River to Badagry were sandy and unfit for large scale agriculture, although palm products were abundant and yams could be cultivated in some near-coastal soils. Swamps penetrated well into the hinterland and was filled with thick stands of mangrove and high brush. Water transport was necessary to movement, and it brought people into contact with relative ease. It was not swift, however, and it required a keen knowledge of the waterways.

The two significant economic undertakings in the area, as indicated, were fishing and salt making, either from mangrove tree roots or sea water. Salt was an important items of exchange as there is no evidence of brine deposit in the whole of Yorubaland. Indeed, Benin traditions hold that the march west was triggered by a quest for salt; but neither they nor Awori were skilled in salt-making. Neither were they skilled in lagoon fishing and in operating the complex systems of water rights that had developed for large bodies of water. The lagoon area did not have sufficiently centralized policies for permanent market centre to thrive. There were no strong governmental umbrellas that protected large-scale movements of people for trade or do fishing, which made both endeavors risky and dangerous. Lagoon dwellers, like frontiersmen everywhere, were required to develop independent military prowess and to learn to move in water with care and stealth. Stories of pirates, raids and kidnapping along the coastal waterways, even after Lagos became a powerful city-state indicate that this was indeed frontier territory. The skills for operating inn this environment, we believe, were not likely to have been well-developed among the land-oriented Awori who themselves had no large centralized polities. Like fishing skills, water rights systems and knowledge of the terrain were acquired by Awori settlers from fishing people whose camps and small settlements no doubt preceded them in the area.

In 1934, a British administrator recorded an interview with the Oloro and Erelu Odibo of Lagos, in which the two chiefs suggested that the Olofin people were given land in Ido by two inhabitants of Lagos Island: Olopon and Omuse. The two then returned to their villages and left the newcomers to themselves. For these chiefs then, Olopon and Omuse represented, however symbolically a pre-existing population. The tradition is too vague to be reliably traced, but it does indicate that human habitation existed in the areas from very early period and that succeeding populations have been layered on one another for centuries and perhaps millennia.

Who were these early inhabitants of the lagoon area? Traditions of lagoon people and parts of the Nigeria Delta indicate that fishing in lagoon, creeks and seaside was to a large extending a migratory occupation. Fish species move and seasons fluctuate. Hence fishing camps were often established at various points and fishermen were known to move to them and away from their home bases for long periods. As in farming, the concept of near and distant fishing grounds was practices among lagoon fishermen. The near, or home grounds were needed for quick fishing. The distant ground entitled setting up camps where curing and smoking could take place.

Given their need for mobility, it was likely that the early lagoon fishing groups intermixed in customs and social institutions. From the Benin River to Allada, little settlements came into contact with one another and undoubtedly influenced the customs of one another.

The Ilaje peoples of Mahin (Okitipupa) were known to have moved some 200 miles west, and thus well beyond Lagos Island, in their immigrations. They probably did not collaborate fully with Benin in its westward march and this would explain why Oba Orhogbua (c1550-1578) on his return journey from Lagos attacked Mahin and executed its ruler as a traitor. The earliest period of their movements is yet unknown but it is not unrealistic to suggest that they were acquainted with the coastal waterways by the fifteen century. Furthermore an analysis of the traditions of some of the Ijo groups in the Western Delta fringe suggest that the Egbema had visited the vicinity of Lagos (Ukuroma or Iko (Eko, Lagos) in early times. The traditions of Olodiama Ijo agree with those of Benin that the same Oba Orhogbua (c1550-1578) after defeating the Ileja, stopped at Ikoro, a major town of the Olodiama Ijo on his return from Lagos to Benin. Although, how and where the Benin obtained their boats is not yet known it is safe to suggest that the Ijo and perhaps the Ilaje supplied the boats. The Aja speaking peoples of today's Republic of Benin, known colloquially in the Lagos area as Egun, migrated eastward in large number early in the eighteenth century, but a small, earlier infiltration Allada and Lagos Island from earliest times. During the latter part of the fifteenth century, the Ijebu appear to have begun moving south into the lagoon area, and it was Kita fishermen of Ghana who moved hundreds of mile eastward in their fishing migrants who were credited with teaching Ijebu migrants in the Eti-Osa area hoe to fish.

Once again, intermarriage was undoubtedly a prime vehicle for transmitting one people way of life to another. Today's inhabitants of Epe, Mahin, Ijebu and Ikale all represent fairly recent intermixing of formerly separate population groups. The process is similar at the level of language, including Yoruba, Edo, Urhobo and Ijo. The Awori-Benin linguistic blend of Lagos is another example. The point is that we should not look to a single proto-population,, but to a proto-culture sharing area where there flourished peoples with high developed water-oriented skills (fishing, slat-making canoe-making and individual prowess) and a well developed sense of territorial rights and obligations with respect to waterways.

It is with these suggestions that we wish to conclude. For here lies a key to visualizing the Lagos Lagoon area from earliest times to the present. The migrant fisher folk who frequented the lagoon and camped on the shores of Lagos and Ido Island before Ulshiemer's 1603 visit no doubt stemmed from many source spreading their way of life in the course of movements. After them, the Awori, and then the Benin peoples, added new layers to the populations and firmly embedded certain aspects of their home cultures into those of the emerging city-state of Lagos. These influence were neither a beginning nor an end. The hallmark of Lagos was and still is its ability to absorb many peoples languages and many cultural influences. It has done so since time immemorial, and it is a process to which there is no predictable end.

IFLA Statement on Privacy in the Library Environment

IFLA Statement on Privacy in the Library Environment.....

The rapid advancement of technology has resulted in  increasing privacy implications for library  and information services, their users, and  society. Commercial Internet services, including those used to deliver library and information services, collect extensive data on users and their behaviour. They may also sell data
about their users to third parties who then act on the data to deliver, monitor or withhold services. Using identification and location technology, governments and third parties can analyse a library user’communication and activities for surveillance purposes or to control access to spaces, devices and services.

Excessive data collection and use threatens individual users’ privacy and has other social and legal consequences. When Internet users are aware of large-scale data collection and surveillance, they may self censor heir behavior due to the fear of unexpected consequences. Excessive data collection can then have a chilling effect on society, narrowing an individual’s right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression as
a result of this perceived threat. Limiting freedom of speech and expression has the potential to compromise
democracy and civil engagement.

http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/hq/news/documents/ifla-statement-on-privacy-in-the-library-environment.pdf

IFLA WLIC 2015 CAPE TOWN DECLARATION...


We, the Ministers and country representatives from Angola, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote D’Ivoire, Lesotho, Guinea, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan and Swaziland met to discuss the status of libraries and implementation of access to information agenda on 14 August 2015 in Cape Town, Republic of South Africa.

The IFLA President, AfLIA President and national librarians were also present;
Deliberated on the status of libraries in the continent and the progress required to meet the global  sustainable development goals;......

http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/wlic/2015/documents/cape-town-declaration-of-ministers.pdf

Guidelines for parliamentary research services

Guidelines for parliamentary research services..

The IFLA Section on Library and Research Services for Parliaments operates at the intersection of two international communities: one of libraries, which finds its global voice in the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and the other of parliaments, represented at the highest level by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

While different in their membership and governance, both organizations believe that cooperation and the sharing of experiences are strong enablers for progress, and that knowledge is vital for development. They both promote, in their own environments, access to reliable and high-quality information as one of the essential elements of democratic societies.

http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/services-for-parliaments/publications/guidelines-for-parliamentary-research-services-en.pdf

IFLA School Library Guidelines, 2nd edition...

IFLA School Library Guidelines, 2nd edition...

This is the new edition of the School Library Guidelines, approved by the IFLA Professional Committee in June 2015.

IFLA School Library Guidelines, 2nd edition. These guidelines constitute the second edition of the IFLA ‘School Library Guidelines’.

The first edition of the school library guidelines was developed in 2002 by the School Libraries Section, then called the School Libraries and Resource Centers Section. These guidelines have been developed to assist school library professionals and educational decision-makers in their efforts to ensure that all students and teachers have access to effective school library programs and services, delivered by qualified school library personnel.

http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/school-libraries-resource-centers/publications/ifla-school-library-guidelines.pdf

Monday, August 10, 2015

THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORS

THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORS by Susan E. Metros and Catherine Yang


Mentoring is a professional activity, a trusted relationship, a meaningful commitment. The origins of mentoring can be traced back to ancient Greece as a technique to impart to young men important social, spiritual, and personal values. Mentoring as we know it today is loosely modeled on the historical craftsman/apprentice relationship, where young people learned a trade by shadowing the master artisan. In the mid-70s, corporate America redefined mentoring as a career development strategy. The concept of mentoring faculty and administrators is relatively new to higher education and rare in information technology circles, where staff professional development often takes the form of technical manuals and certifications. It is precisely this type of support organization, however, that needs a strong foundation of mentoring to build and retain a healthy workforce that can react quickly to change and can develop, adapt, and regenerate itself over time.

Mentoring relationships range from loosely defined, informal collegial associations in which a mentee learns by observation and example to structured, formal agreements between expert and novice co-mentors where each develops professionally through the two-way transfer of experience and perspective. Whether the relationship is deemed formal or informal, the goal of mentoring is to provide career advice as well as both professional and personal enrichment. For this chapter, we define a mentoring relationship as helping and supporting people to "manage their own learning in order to maximize their professional potential, develop their skills, improve their performance, and become the person they want to be."

http://www.educause.edu/research-publications/books/cultivating-careers-professional-development-campus-it/chapter-5-importance-mentors

GCF Learnfree.org

GCF LearnFree.org

For more than a decade, the GCFLearnFree.org program has helped millions around the world learn the essential skills they need to live and work in the 21st century. From Microsoft Office and email to reading, math, and more, GCFLearnFree.org offers 125 tutorials, including more than 1,100 lessons, videos, and interactives, completely free.

http://www.gcflearnfree.org/

Friday, August 7, 2015

ROLE OF THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF NIGERIA IN DEVELOPING A NATIONAL UNION CATALOGUE IN NIGERIA

ROLE OF THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF NIGERIA IN DEVELOPING A NATIONAL UNION CATALOGUE IN NIGERIA  by  O. Gloria Matthews 



INTRODUCTION

Since the Ancient Library of Alexandria was constructed in the 3rd century BC until recent years, libraries have enjoyed a fairly static environment. Supporting the information lifecycle or, the range of activities surrounding how information is created, disseminated, collected, organized, catalogued, described, and preserved – has always been at the core of librarians’ work.

Effective information access within a library, and,  to an even greater extent, inter-library resource sharing both presuppose that library patrons have the ability to effectively identify and locate materials of interest. With the growth of resource sharing as an explicit strategic response to the inability to fund sufficiently comprehensive local collections, access across multiple collections is becoming increasingly critical. Specifically, the ability to locate and identify materials in this context implies that patrons must be able to search the holdings of multiple libraries and to navigate among such holdings. Key technology to support these requirements is National Union Catalogue.

Union catalogues were an early and highly-successful method by which libraries took advantage of new technologies to provide value-added services for both users and librarians. Traditional union catalogues are library catalogues that contain information about holdings from different places, all presented through a single interface. For users, national union catalogues facilitate access to information by allowing users to search holdings for multiple libraries at once; browse through keywords or subject headings in larger, aggregated masses of holdings; and, at many libraries, see which library has a particular item as a first step in submitting an interlibrary loan request. Within a single institution, union catalogues connect holdings from multiple libraries. Special libraries and local consortia often establish union catalogues as a service to local patrons.

Compilation of a National Union Catalogue is one of the major tasks which is performed by the National library of any country. This fact is emphasized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).   One of the statutory responsibilities of a National library is to build a National Union Catalogue. It has a responsibility not only to libraries within the country but also to the wider public - users at home and abroad.

Union catalogues are the result of a shared set of values common among libraries: interoperability among systems, interoperability of data through MARC records, and cooperation among participating libraries. They also require a shared goal of facilitating access to information for our users and doing what we can to create a seamless environment in which users can access information regardless of its physical location.

DEFINITION OF NATIONAL UNION CATALOGUES

National Union Catalogues present an entire country’s holding.  International Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science define National Union Catalogue as follows “A generic term for a catalogue which aggregates records of the holdings of libraries in a particular country, so as to provide a particularly comprehensive national bibliographic tool, and to list locations of copies of publications held by the contributing libraries, to facilitate access and interlending. A union catalogue is, to put it simply, an assemblage of catalogue records from two or more libraries that is primarily intended to facilitate inter-library lending and other forms of resource sharing. Its fundamental idea is the obvious truth that a library user can only take advantage of the resources of other libraries if he or she knows what those resources are. The basic concept of union catalogues as the foundation of resource sharing is as relevant today as it ever was and, because of advances in cataloguing technology and the standardization of cataloguing data provides us with a more powerful and current tool than we have ever had.

THE FUNCTIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF A UNION CATALOGUE  

National Union Catalogues provide a coherent view of the holdings of multiple libraries or library collections. They go beyond the normal functions of a single-collection catalogue, not only bringing together works by the same author or about the same subject in response to user queries, but also by bring multiple instances of the same work (perhaps described differently by different institutions) together for the user searching the database. They often offer uniform (or unifying) name and subject authorities as a means of furthering the basic catalogue objectives of bringing together works of common authorship or subject; this can compensate for variations in cataloging practice among the participant collections.

Union catalogs provide users with the ability to perform consistent searching of records from multiple institutions, in the sense that these records are indexed consistently (for example, there is uniformity in the choice of fields from the records used to construct the various search indices, and also uniformity in the way in which search keys such as keywords or personal names are extracted from these fields and normalized for indexing). In contrast to distributed search approaches, a union catalog almost trivially ensures consistent query interpretation -- for example, the application of personal name algorithms and the treatment of case and punctuation in search terms in the user query.
Finally, a union catalogue is presented to its users as a high-quality, managed information access system. This means that the system should meet standards for reasonably rapid and predictable response time, high availability and reliability, good communication about outages, and the user should expect its behavior to be highly repeatable from session to session.

CENTRALIZED IMPLEMENTATIONS OF UNION CATALOGS

Online Union Catalogue has been around since the 1970s. They take three major forms which reflect evolutionary paths of development and to some extent the business and organizational models that currently support them.
 
Commercial services: i.e. OCLC, where one pays to search (either transactionally or by subscription) and where the databases were at first a byproduct of very large scale shared cataloging activities. These are the largest of the "union" catalogs but they really represent multi-purpose national or international resources rather than the union catalog of a specific organized community of libraries (though with appropriate search restrictions they can fill that function.
Pure union catalogues, such as the University of California’s MELVYL system, which were developed specifically as public access union catalogues.  These systems are only now starting to integrate with external integrated systems belonging to contributors via distributed computing technology in order to provide patrons with information such as real-time circulation status.  These systems typically have at best limited links for forwarding requests to external interlibrary loan systems. In these systems consolidation is designed specifically to address the needs of users to see multiple cataloging of the same work brought together.
Union catalogue  that are part of an integrated library system shared by a group of libraries. Here there is very close integration between the catalogue and other information about materials contained in the integrated system, such as circulation and serials receiving data. Typically these systems offer sophisticated direct borrowing or interlibrary loan among the libraries sharing the system. Because of the need to maintain individual site records for cataloging purposes, the emphasis on consolidation is lower than in pure union catalogs.  Examples include the Florida State Center for Library Automation and, to an extent, Ohio link. Many large multi-branch public libraries also use systems of this type.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF NUC IN NATIONAL LIBRARY OF NIGERIA

National Union Catalogue is a resource sharing service coordinated by the National Library of Nigeria for Nigeria Libraries and their users.

NUC is a national sharing tool containing data of the holding of participating Libraries and a programme for meeting the objectives of Universal Availability of Publication (UAP). The programme was initiated in 1963 with five major libraries (Ahmadu Bello University Library, University of Nigeria Library, University of Lagos Library, University of Ife library and National Library of Nigeria) in Nigeria participating in the scheme and holdings of both monographs and serials were sent to the National Library of Nigeria to be published as a National Union Catalogue (NUC). Contributions from the participating libraries were in the form of card catalogues.

Since the inception of the programme, a total of one hundred and two (102) libraries have participated in the scheme. In 1992, a total of ninety seven (97) libraries were regularly contributing catalogues cards to the scheme and the total number of cards in the Union Catalogue was estimated at about two million. 2006 witnessed a drastic drop of contributory libraries to only six (Yaba College of Technology, West Africa Examination Council, Hezekaih Oluwasanmi Library, Lagos State University and National Library of Nigeria).

It is worthy of note to state that an attempt had earlier been made to computerize NUC in 2003.A consulting firm, Kraun Nigeria Limited based in Jos, coordinated by Dr. Nat Adeyemi was contracted to create a databank for NUC monographs and NULOS using CDS/ISIS Software. This project failed for lack of trained personnel, logistics and requisite infrastructure to cope with the work.

Recently, there has been a shift of focus in NUC operation to ONUC. This could be termed as a shift from analog to digital. Library operations the world over are ICT driven and ONUC operations cannot be an exception. It is from this perspective that ICT was introduced into the operations of NUC in 2008.

THE IMMINENT ROLE OF NATIONAL LIBRARY OF NIGERIA IN ONUC

VISION AND MISSION OF ONUC

Vision: To establish a giant Data Bank for all library holdings in Nigeria for an efficient resource sharing programme.

Mission: To enhance maximum utilization of library collections in Nigeria libraries.

PURPOSE OF ONUC

The main purpose of ONUC remain more or less as before: To offer one collected source for end users and librarians to support:

Resource discovery - searching for a specific document, for literature by a certain author, or for information about a certain topic. In some cases this process is an end in itself, for instance when producing bibliographies.

Item localization - finding the holding library or even detailed shelving information for an item, usually for the purpose of accessing the document itself.

Ordering - request the loan of an item or the copy of an article. This is not necessarily a part of the union catalogue itself, but such services often are offered, together with logistics for deciding which library should receive the request and communication facilities between the libraries: ILL (Interlibrary Lending).

Cataloguing support - services for librarians to perform shared cataloguing, by accessing and copying the records themselves, or by using the catalogue as a source for authorizing names, subject headings etc.

ONLINE NATIONAL UNION CATALOGUE 

Online National Union Catalogue (Monograph)

The Online National Union Catalogue (ONUC) is an Online National Bibliographic Control and National Resource Sharing Tool containing data of the holdings of participating libraries and a programme for meeting the objectives of Universal Availability of Publications (UAP). This is in fulfillment of one of our (National Library of Nigeria) statutory functions as contained in the enabling Act No 29 of 1970 section 2 (2a)“Maintenance of the National union Catalogue (NUC) monographs and National Union List of Serials (NULOS) and also to develop and maintain a local Area Network of Machine Readable Records and databank of National Bibliographic Control Service to be made available for effective resource sharing and free flow of information”.

Resource sharing, linkages and networking are emerging issues and trends that have become critical in today’s Information Management. Online National Union Catalogue would not only encourage resource sharing among libraries, but also enhance Bibliographic Control Services, towards Universal Availability of Publications (UAP) of Information Resources.

The ONUC involves participating libraries sending their collections to the National Library of Nigeria ONUC database after fulfilling the online data format requirement for addition to the ONUC records.


The Online National Union Catalogue should:
be based on cross-sectoral resources;
OPAC records exist;
primarily be a vehicle which supports research;
be free at the point of use;
not require authentication for resource discovery or known-item searching;
require authentication for value-added services such as inter-library loans;
be hospitable to technological developments;
be a coherent, managed, extensible, robust resource sized to cope with demand;
return reliable search results;
provide quick responses to all users, and
include bibliographic records of appropriate quality.

In short, if the catalogue is going to bear the name ‘National’, or aspire to this over a period of time, it must, from the start, be worthy of that name.

Online National Union List of Serials (NULOS)

The Online National Union List of Serials (ONULOS) programme is an offshoot of the Online National Union Catalogue (ONUC) which contains both monographs and serials publications.  The analog programme, National Union List of Serials (NULOS) was initiated in 1963 with five major libraries (Ahmadu Bello University Library, University of Nigeria Library, University of Lagos Library, University of Ife library and National Library of Nigeria) in Nigeria participating in the scheme and their holdings of both monographs and serials were sent to National Library of Nigeria for the project.  In 1968, the decision to extract serials from the stock and generate a Union List of Serials as a separate tool was made and its first edition was published in 1977 in hard copy, containing over 50, 000 entries.

The main objective of the scheme is to compile and publish the National Union List of Serials (NULOS) holdings held by all the participating libraries.


THE ONLINE NATIONAL UNION CATALOGUE (ONUC) PROJECT

However, with renewed vigor and focused leadership, the ONUC project has taken off fully. The following are the activities undertaken by the National Library of Nigeria in the realization of its mandate:

Compilation of a comprehensive list of proposed ONUC Partners.
Final drafting, proofreading and production of Invitation Letters and Baseline Survey/Questionnaire to our proposed Partners.
Distribution/Administration of Invitation Letters and Baseline Survey/Questionnaire at NLA Cataloguing and Classification and Indexing Section Workshop/Seminar at Benin City, Edo State in October 2012. A total of thirty five (35) letters were distributed at the Conference.
Posting of One hundred and thirty three (133) Invitation Letters and Baseline Survey/Questionnaire to other proposed partners across the country in December 2012.
Receipt and documentation of completed Baseline Survey Questionnaire.

For the Online National Union Catalogue (ONUC) to be successful, it was evident that a survey was needed to determine the following;

1. The technical capability of prospective institutions in terms of ICT infrastructure and Library organization.
2. The financial capability of the Library to handle such a project. This is to ensure that there will be an institutional financial backing for prospective Libraries to partner with.
3. The human resource capability available within the Library and the institution in general that will kick start and sustain the ONUC project.
4. The level of interest of these institutions in partnering with the National Library of Nigeria in the On-Line National Union Catalogue (ONUC) project.

A committee was setup to design a survey that will be comprehensive enough to address every issue that is needed to kick-start the ONUC project. A draft copy was submitted after which another committee was setup to review the draft questionnaire. Most of the review committee members were actually part of the draft questionnaire committee with the addition of few more staff.

The final draft copy of the questionnaire was eventually ratified and approved for printing in September 2012 along with an invitation letter to institutions to partner in the ONUC programme.

NLN ONUC ACTIVITIES TIMELINE
Phase 1: Conversion of NUC from Analog to Digital (ONUC)

Phase 2: Mailing list updating - Regular updating of Mailing List of
Libraries nationwide is done to ensure that no Library is left out of the ONUC project.

Phase 3: Administration of survey questionnaire to Proposed ONUC Stakeholders/Partners

Phase 4: Collation of returned questionnaire

Phase 5: Evaluation and analysis of returned questionnaires


Phase 6: Stakeholders forum/meeting - Planned Meeting and brain storming with stakeholders to form the first ONUC partners.

Phase 7: Establishing network with other libraries in Nigeria for the realization of the ultimate goal of OPAC establishment and resource sharing.


Phase 8:Development Maintenance and sustenance of On-line National Union Catalogue

Phase 9: Launching and Hosting of Online National Union catalogue (ONUC).

PROSPECTIVE PARTNERS

A paradigm shift from Analog – Digital has obviously influenced the expansive partnership. The prospective partners include a spectrum of information institutions, libraries and individuals. These are academic, public, special, school and research library/information resource centers, etc.

RESPONDENTS TO ONUC BASELINE QUESTIONNAIRE
S/N INSTITUTION TYPE OF LIBRARY REMARK
1. University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State Academic Indicated participation
2. Crawford University, Igbesa, Ogun State Academic Indicated Participation
3. St. Pauls University College, Awka, Anambra State Academic Indicated Participation
4. OlabisiOnabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State. Academic Indicated Participation
5. Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State Academic Indicated Participation
6. University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross River State. Academic Indicated Participation
7. Benue State University, Makurdi, Benue State. Academic Indicated Participation
8. Redeemer’s University, Ogun State. Academic Indicated Participation
9. AdekunleAjasin University, AkungbaAkoko, Ondo State. Academic Indicated Participation
10. University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Borno State. Academic Indicated Participation
11. Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, Benue State, Academic Indicated Participation
12 UsmanDanfodio University, Sokoto State Academic Indicated Participation
13 University of Benue, John Harris Library, Benue State Academic Indicated Participation
14 Benue State University, Benue State Academic Indicated Participation
15 MichealImodu National Institute for Labour Studies Academic Indicated Participation
16 Rivers State University of Science & Technology, Rivers State Academic Indicated Participation
17 Paul University, Awka Academic Indicated Participation
18 Federal university of Technology, Owerri, Imo State Academic Indicated Participation
19 Kaduna Polytechnic Academic Indicated Participation
20 OlabisiOnabanjo University Academic Indicated Participation
*All respondents above are from the academic institutions

It is expected that returned questionnaire will be evaluated and analyzed to form a basis for a stakeholders forum to brain storm on the objectives, scope, facilitators and other logistics for implementation.

CASE STUDY OF UNION CATALOGUE –NEPAL

Background

The Union Catalogue existed in a book form
Published by Nepal National Library
Eight (8) major Nepal libraries participated

Paradigm Shift
Book form to virtual union catalogue (2011)
Its aim was to have an impact in the library community
Exploration of 239,50 series in partner libraries (3)
Application of a Free Open source software – KOHA
Configuration of KOHA
Test of partner libraries’ records in MARC format

Partners and Key Roles
Three Nepal Libraries participated
Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya (MPP): IT Team in-charge of development of VUC
Martin Chautari (MC): Sent sample MARC records and their z39.50 server information
Social Science Baha (SSB): layout and IT admin
Outcomes
Functional prototype of VUC
Library users can locate library resources in multiple catalogues
Search in bibliographic attributes
Download of bibliographic records in MARC format

Challenges
Define the correct algorithm two query and merge records
Inconsistency in their cataloguer standard – diversity in cataloguing standards across libraries
Benefits and Impact
Librarians and researchers can benefit from NUC
Cataloguers in MARC format can be downloaded
Deployment of NUC in platforms such as LINUX and windows)
Has a simple web-based interface
Note: Participating Libraries are using KOHA ILS and have their MARC records online with KOHA OPAC


UNION CATALOGUES OF THE FUTURE FOR THE NATIONAL LIBRARIES (OF HIGHEST STANDING)

The Emerging Virtual Union Catalogue - Prospects
One possible alternative to the central database union catalogue is a Virtual Union Catalogue. Such a catalogue would not be maintained in a single location but would be created in real time by searching affiliate library’s catalogue through the Z39.50 protocol. This would eliminate the redundancy of record storage as well as the expense of loading and maintaining access to the central catalogue. A distributed catalogue makes obvious sense in our current environment where every library has its own database and retrieval interface. The wide-spread use of Z39.50 and its implementation in nearly all modern library systems means that there should not be major technological barriers to a distributed solution.

Virtual Union Catalogue (VUC) is a decentralized, electronically accessible catalogue containing holdings information of different libraries, which makes it seem like a centralized catalogue for the end-users. Using the ability to search several database with a single search, a virtual union reduces the overheads of maintaining a centralized union catalogue. A virtual union catalogue is a real time searching of geographically dispersed libraries' catalogues through the Z39.50 protocol, by which we can eliminate the redundancy of record storage as well as the huge expense of maintaining a centralized catalogue. Z39.50 allows libraries that have separate client and server installations to make their collections searchable through a single interface using Z39.50 protocol, which defines a client/server based service and protocol for Information Retrieval. It is a relatively simple, low-cost way to establish a multi-library catalogue, does not disrupt the existing environment and it can be implemented for a group of libraries even if they are using different brands of library automation systems.

Some library consortia have chosen to implement a Virtual Union Catalogue through broadcast searching of the catalogues in their consortium. This is generally a less expensive solution than the creation of an actual union catalogue database that must receive and store records from each of the library systems. In most cases it is not possible to do an evaluation of the effectiveness of these two solutions, and therefore a cost-benefit analysis is not available to library administrators who are attempting to make a decision about what type of union catalog best serves their users.

Requirements/Modalities

Database Consistency and Search Accuracy

If you are considering the creation of a virtual union catalog, to study the retrieval capabilities of the library systems that will be included. If you are using Z39.50 to broadcast searches to these systems, you may be able to customize the searches that are sent to each library system to help ensure that the results that you retrieve from the systems are comparable. This also means that changes to the local systems could affect the union catalogue search, so change information must be shared among the library systems.

System Availability

When you create a union catalogue, you are dependent on the system availability of each of the systems in the union catalogue. It is ideal to have agreement between the systems that they will be available certain days and hours. This catalogue solution creates a great interdependency between the libraries that are participating. If a library is taking down its system for maintenance, it may be necessary to inform other libraries in the system that it will not be available.


Capacity Planning for Library Systems and Networking

The development of a virtual union catalog design has important implications for local system search capacity and network load. Each search is broadcast to all of the local library catalogs, with the potential that each catalog will then process as many searches as the cumulative total that the libraries previously handled individually. Network capacity planning would be required to accommodate the increased bidirectional traffic between the libraries.

Sorting, Merging and Duplicate Removal

Searches issued against the union catalogue retrieve a set of records that have been merged to eliminate duplicate bibliographic records, and sorted prior to input into the database. Broadcast searches return a set of records without merging or sorting. Although Version 3.0 of the Z39.50
protocol includes a sort function, few systems currently support this feature. Even with that sort in place, the union catalogue interface would have to merge the retrieved sets as well as remove duplicate bibliographic information while maintaining individual holdings data. Because searches across our libraries often retrieve large result sets, sorting and merging is expected to be technologically challenging.

CONCLUSION

As a principle, the National Union Catalogue as mandated is open to all Nigerian libraries and Information Institutions in Nigeria, regardless of the library system been used. The criteria highlighted earlier should be considered when creating a union catalogue. Each library consortium must decide its goals for a union catalogue and weigh this against its budget and technical capabilities. The important thing is to understand the system capabilities and to plan your services around what your system can actually deliver.

National Library of Nigeria has developed a framework for the emergence of Online National Union Catalogue. A pilot project will commence with a few libraries who comply with the criteria as stated earlier. Afterwards, updating will be done periodically to improve features, and as many information institutions/ Resource Centers as possible will be requested to join in this project, which will provide an opportunity to test the performance and features of the VUC by searching a very large catalogue of nationwide.

We plan to improve this project by performing the following enhancements once the ONUC is available to the public:
A feature to enable users' comment/review of library resources: Users can also use their existing Facebook account instead of creating a new account. In this way, VUC will become more interactive and useful.
Tagging is another useful feature that can be enabled for the effective categorization of library items.
Another exciting feature that can be done in VUC is to display book covers of library items.
Adding a feature to the VUC so that users can share the library resources with their friends in social networking websites.

Realization of ONUC is essential for increasing the efficiency of Nigerian libraries cataloguing activities, and, will consequently lead to a significant improvement in services offered to users. It is also a necessary requirement for joining International Library networks. The ONUC will provide access to the rich collections of Nigerian libraries for the International Community.





References

Abby, Clobridge. Libraries in Transition: From Books Collections and Union Catalogues to Open Access and Digital Repositories. Retrieved from http://pro.inflow.cz/libraries-transition-book-collections-union-catalogues-open access-digital-repositories

Andrew, Lass and Richard E. Quandt. Union Catalogs in a Changing Library World: An Introduction. Retrieved from http://winntbg.bg.agh.edu.pl/skrypty2/0099/lass.pdf

Andrew, Lass. Union Catalogs at the Crossroad. Retrieved from http://winntbg.bg.agh.edu.pl/skrypty2/0099/lass.pdf

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science.Ed. by Allen Kent and Harold Lancstor. Vol. 31.New  York: Marcel Dekker, 1981

Lynch, Clifford A.Building the Infrastructure of Resource Sharing: Michael Gorman. Union catalogues: their role in library networking and their

Michael Gorman. Union Catalogues: Their Role in Library Networking and their Continued Relevance in a Digital Age. Retrieved from http://www.nlj.gov.jm/NLJ/files/u1/ing_for_National_Development_-_MichaelGorman.pdf

Ole, Husby. Real and Virtual Union Catalogues. Retrieved from http://klement.nkp.cz/Caslin/caslin99/a2.htm

Peter, Stubley. Feasibility Study for a National Union Catalogue. Retrieved from http://www.rluk.ac.uk/node/128 Retrieved from http://klement.nkp.cz/Caslin/caslin99/a3.htm

Thomas, Sarah E.The Catalog as Portal to the Internet. Retrieved from Union Catalogs, Distributed Search, and Cross-Database Linkage.

Ranaweera, R.A.A.S.  Effectiveness of National Union Catalogue in Sharing the Bibliographic Information in Sri Lanka. Retrieved from http://eprints.rclis.org/12021/1/Achala_Ranaweera_NAALIS.pdf

APPENDIX 1

EXTRACT OF THE TECHNICAL SECTION OF THE SURVEY

1a. Is your Library automated? [     ] Yes    [     ] No

1b. If Yes in 1a, please,list the name(s) of the software.
________________________________________
________________________________________
________________________________________

1c. If No in 1a, are you in the process of automating?[     ] Yes    [     ] No

1d. If Yes in 1c, indicate the stage of implementation. _______________________________________

  ______________________________________________________________________________

2.  Which of the following functions/activities are automated in your library? (Select all that apply)
[     ] Acquisitions [     ] Cataloguing
[     ] Circulation Control [     ] Serials Control
[     ] Inter-library Loans [     ] Library Catalogue (Online Public Access Catalogue) [     ] Others (please specify):

____________________________________

____________________________________

3.   What Classification Scheme does your Library use?  ___________________________________

      ____________________________________________________________________________

4. Does your cataloguing conform with AACR II Standard?    [     ] YES    [     ] NO  

5. Is your System / Software MARC Compliant?   [     ] YES       [     ] NO

6. Is your System / Software Z39.5 Compliant?     [     ] YES       [     ] NO

7. How many library records have been automated to date? ____________________