The study explored the opportunities, the experience, developments and challenges of academic library automation, with a perspective from Anglophone West Africa, Ghana Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Liberia. Literature was triangulated with empirical data to ascertain whether the same elements were present for the resultant countries. Questionnaires were used for the empirical data whilst the Systematic Literature Review (SLR) method was adopted for the secondary data. Findings revealed that majority of the libraries were at different stages in the automation process. The challenges and opportunities discovered were not different from one country to the other.
Increased access to a wider range of formats, increased resource sharing resulting from Inter Library Loan (ILL), effective and efficient service, increased visibility, fast and convenient service, searchability and discoverability were identified as some of the opportunities.
Development such as the application of open source software, discovery as a search tool, cloud computing, consortia, data security, gamification, Resource Description Access (RDA) and application of mobile devices were gradually exploited by Anglophone West African academic libraries.
Some of the challenges that were discovered include; poor internet connectivity, inadequate technical expertise to manage automated systems, lack of computers, poor cooperation, erratic power supply, inadequate project management skills amongst other.
Recommendations identified to manage the challenges were increased bandwidth to improve internet connectivity, provision of adequate power supply, availability of systems librarians, increased collaboration and consortia, application of project management skills, and capacity of librarians in the areas of advanced Information Communication Technology (ICT) applications.
Mini Dissertation (MIT)--University of Pretoria, 2015.