An investigation on disaster preparedness and mitigation for computer based information systems in selected University libraries in Kenya
Njoroge, Rose Wambui
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This study was carried out at a time when the introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in higher institutions of learning had become a key issue for service delivery. The introduction of e-learning and hence the need to provide access to information for learning, teaching and research had necessitated academic libraries to incorporate Information Technology (IT) to facilitate efficient and effective operations of the library. IT has seen the introduction of computerbased information systems (CBIS) in the libraries. The study aimed to investigate the status of disaster preparedness and mitigation for CBIS in libraries. To achieve this, it sought to find out threats affecting CBIS, established disaster preparedness and mitigation measures, find out personnel involved in disaster preparedness and mitigation, assess policies and programmes on issues addressed on disaster preparedness and mitigation and finally the challenges faced by university libraries which may CBIS. The study was carried out in selected academic libraries in Kenya. These included two public and two chartered private universities within Nairobi County and its neighbouring counties (Kiambu, Machakos and Kajiado). The study respondents included university librarians, deputy university librarians, ICT directors, information systems librarians, ICT technicians working in the libraries and circulation librarians. A total of 26 participants were expected to participate in the study. However, only 19 were eventually interviewed. Relevant data was collected from the respondents using several methods which included observation, interviews, document reviews and audio-visual aids. The collected data was coded, analyzed, interpreted and presented using qualitative methods. This entailed coming up with themes, coding the themes and writing narratives for the findings and drawing conclusions. Data was presented using tables, graphs, charts and plates. The findings revealed that libraries had taken several measures to protect their CBIS. The researcher noted that only basic measures had been incorporated and the personnel in charge of CBIS had varied levels of training which influenced the methods used to secure CBIS. Top management of the institutions studied were not fully aware of the dangers CBIS were exposed to and relied heavily on the advice given to them by ICT personnel. Three of the institutions studied had not developed policies and programmes pertaining to disaster management for CBIS. There were a myriad of challenges experienced in a bid to mitigate and prepare for disaster that could affect CBIS such as vandalism, lack of cooperation by various departments, lack of funding, inadequate qualified staff to deal with CBIS, among many others. The study came up with several recommendations on education and training, disaster management policy development, training programmes and plans development, establishment of data recovery centres for CBIS, cooperation and partnership with other stakeholders, provision of adequate funding for CBIS infrastructure among many others. Further research was recommended on CBIS business continuity planning in universities in Kenya.