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The Impact of Information

Technology on Library Anxiety: Qun G. Jiao and
The Role of Computer Attitudes Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie

Over the past two decades, computer-based technologies sites (such as EBSCOhost and Gale Group) makes the
have become dominant forces to shape and reshape the navigation through these bibliographic databases more
complex and challenging. Relevant sources must be iden-
products and services the academic library has to offer. tified and navigation protocols must be learned before
The application of library technologies has had a profound appropriate information and contents can be found.
impact on the way library resources are being used. Furthermore, having located a citation, students still have
Although many students continue to experience high lev- to search the library online catalog to find out if the jour-
nal or book is available in the library and, if not, know
els of libraryanxiety, it is likely that the new technologies how to make an interlibrary loan request either on paper
in the library have led to them experiencing otherforms or electronically.' Anxiety levels can be high and patience
of negativeaffective states that may be, in part, afunction levels can be low at varying times of conducting library
of their attitude towards computers. This study investi- research. 4
That students experience various levels of apprehen-
gates whether students' computer attitudes predict levels sion when using academic libraries is not a new phenom-
of library anxiety. enon. Indeed, the phenomenon is prevalent among

C s omputers and information technologies have
experienced considerable growth over the past
college students in the United States and many other
countries, and is widely known as library anxiety. Mellon
first coined the term in her study in which she noted that
75 percent to 85 percent of undergraduate students
J two decades. As such, familiarity with computers
is rapidly becoming a basic skill and a prerequisite for described their initial library experiences in terms of anx-
many tasks. Although not every college student is equally iety.5 According to Mellon, feelings of anxiety stem from
prepared for the rising demand of computer skills in the either the relative size of the library; a lack of knowledge
information age, computer literacy is increasingly becom- about the location of materials, equipment, and resources
ing a gatekeeper for students' academic success.' Gaps in of the library; how to initiate library research; or how to
computer literacy and skills can leave many students proceed with a library search.' Library anxiety is an
behind not only in their academic achievement but also in unpleasant feeling or emotional state with physiological
their future job-market success. and behavioral concomitants that come to the fore in
The unprecedented pace of technological change in library settings. Typically, library-anxious students expe-
the development of digital information networks and rience negative emotions, including ruminations, tension,
electronic services in recent years has helped to expand fear, and mental disorganization, which prevent them
the role of the academic library. Once only a storehouse of from using the library effectively.' A student who experi-
printed materials, it is now a technology-laden informa- ences library anxiety usually undergoes either emotional
tion network where students can conduct research in a or physical discomfort when faced with any library or
mixed print and digital-resource environment, experi- library-related task.' Library anxiety may arise from a
ence the use of advanced information technologies, and lack of self-confidence in conducting research, lack of
hone their computer skills. prior exposure to academic libraries, the inability to see
Yet, many students are struggling to cope with the the relevance of libraries to one's field of interest, and lack
changes brought on by the rapid advances of information of familiarity with library equipment and technologies.
technologies. Academic libraries of various sizes have Library anxiety is often accorded special attention
spent a large percentage of their material budget on elec- because of its debilitating effects on students' academic
tronic commercial content, and the trend will continue. 2 achievement. 9
These days, college students are faced with the choices of Although many students continue to experience high
ever-changing modes of electronic accessing tools, inter- levels of library anxiety, it is likely that the new technolo-
faces, and protocols along with the traditional print gies and electronic databases in libraries have led to stu-
resources in the library. The fact that the same journal dents experiencing other forms of negative affective
article may be available in multiple vendors' aggregator states. In particular, it is likely that library anxiety experi-
enced by students is, in part, a function of their attitudes
toward computers. Consistent with this assertion,
Mizrachi and Shoham and Mizrachi reported a statisti-
cally significant relationship between library anxiety and
Qun G. Jiao ( is Reference Librar- computer attitudes." They noted in their research that
ian and Associate Professor at Newman Library, Baruch College, home and work usage of computers, computer games,
City University of New York, and Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie (Tony word processors, computer spreadsheets, and the is Associate Professor at the College of Internet are all related to the dimensions of library anxi-
Education, University of South Florida, Tampa. ety found among Israeli students to varying degrees.


It is four scales. a phe. Meyer.12 The dents with the skills necessary to thrive and to lead in a importance of beliefs and attitudes towards computers rapidly changing technological environment in the and technologies is widely acknowledged. All ers may accompany feelings of anxiety. Ages of the par- Until recently.' 9 This instrument consists of the following library searches from the comfort of their homes. In order to participate in the study. the present study investigated the rela. . developed by Loyd and technological advancement has had a profound impact Gressard. . Meyer. and behav. there place.92). For the present study. and Lichtenstein Instruments and Procedure defined library anxiety as "an uncomfortable feeling or emotional disposition. and Kordinak found levels of in the rapidly changing library and information environ- computer anxiety to be related to levels of library anxiety ment. including participants were solicited in either a statistics or a meas- worries about being embarrassed. The individuals.' 3 Students' twenty-first century. no study has Kordinak by examining the degree to which computer examined this relationship among graduate students. Because many library users spend a significant por. Loyd and Gressard reported are relevant for the changing library and information con. All participants were administered two scales. computer tion of their time using computer-based technologies to confidence. . which has cognitive."8 It was expected that find- other student population. Onwuegbuzie. Participants were ninety-four African American graduate McInerney. students enrolled in the College of Education at a histori- tive perceptions about computers among student teach. SD = 8. In par. physiological. ."' 6 At the same time.85.86. Students now are able to conduct sophisticated computers. Israeli undergraduate students. coefficient alpha reliability coefficients of . and Jerabek. it is natural to ask. . affective. respec- conduct information searches.86). computer liking. . The CAS. while at the same time elevating levels of library anxiety. and text."5 majority of the participants were female. McInerney.76 (95 percent CI = .83). Negative computer attitudes may inhibit students' interests in learning to use the library resources Participants and thereby weaken their academic performance levels. and tionship between computer attitudes and library anxiety * computer usefulness. the score reliabilities were as extent does library anxiety stem from students' prior atti. erature on computer attitudes has been generated. Jiao. . However. a attitudes predict levels of library anxiety among graduate population that uses the academic library more than any students in the United States. and total scales. to what tively. standing of the construct of library anxiety. students were is often a negative relationship between prior experience required to sign an informed-consent document that was with computers and computer anxiety experienced by given during the first class session of the semester. ment. . THE IMPACT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ON LIBRARY ANXIETY I JIAO AND ONWUEGBUZIE 139 . unprecedented Anxiety Scale (LAS). puters.91.75.75).95 for scores pertaining to computer anxiety. follows: tudes and experiences with computers and library tech- nologies? However. this link has not been * computer confidence. with the exception of the studies * computer anxiety. computer attitudes arguably impact their willingness to engage in computer-related activities in colleges and uni- versities where effectively using library electronic resources represents an increasingly important part of col. research in this area has become critical in higher educa- ticular.S. the Computer Attitude Scale (CAS) and the Library ioral ramifications. cally Black college and university in the eastern U. 4 Further. . which can be used separately: (1) anxiety or clear that the construct of library anxiety needs to be fear of computers.79.40. ings from this study would help to increase the under- Over the past fifteen years. .91. and Sinclair observed that nega. examined. experienced in a library setting. Mizrachi. .68." These studies focused exclu. namely. looking foolish. the current inquiry replicated the works of for both men and women. I Method lege education. (3) liking or enjoying working with computers. (Mean = 30.89 (95 percent CI = . (2) confidence in the ability to use com- expanded in the new library and information environ.81 (95 percent CI = . a large body of research lit. Shoham and Mizrachi. many researchers have studied the relationship tion where educators are responsible for graduating stu- between computer attitudes and computer use. ticipants ranged from twenty-two to sixty-two years preted in the context of the library setting-that is. and urement course at the time that the investigation took even damaging the computer equipment. Indeed.84 (95 percent confidence interval conducted by Mizrachi and Shoham and Mizrachi on CI = .88).Similarly. Jerabek. and sively on undergraduate students. library anxiety has only been inter."' Thus. nomenon that occurs while students are undertaking library tasks. As such. * computer liking. incorporating into its definition other variables that and (4) computer usefulness. contains forty Likert-type items that assess on the products and services offered by academic individuals' attitudes toward computers and the use of libraries.

0 and +1. but the remaining three roots were not statisti- For any significant canonical coefficient. indicate the degree to which each variable is related to the A high score on any subscale represents high levels of canonical composite for the variable set. knowledge of the library. .0001).66) for comfort with the library. found that it has typically been in the adequate to sive.79) for mechanical barriers.8 per- cients were then interpreted.63).1. the five dimensions of library anxiety were treated computer attitudes.0 inclu- literature. This relationship was assessed via a as the dependent multivariate set of variables. cent (Rc12) to the shared variance. after applying the Bonferroni adjustment. with a medium effect size. 2" 140 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND LIBRARIES I DECEMBER 2004 . barriers with staff."' For the current investigation. .25 Thus. and . Jiao. riers and knowledge of the library) were medium. Specifically. . the association between computer useful- liking. and so forth. Jiao and Onwuegbuzie. computer liking was statistically significantly Analysis related to affective barriers.92) for barriers with computer attitude. and Bostick conduded linearly with the canonical variate. It can be seen percent CI = . nificant. structure coefficients represent the 2.89 (95 percent CI = . The canonical analysis four dimensions of computer attitudes formed the inde. the remaining three dataset is equal to the number of variables in the smaller canonical roots were not statistically significant. but also these estimates are remarkably consistent across samples with different cul- tures.62 (95 and the computer-attitude subscale scores. structure coefficients 5. and large relationships. A canonical correlation analysis was conducted to iden. and which the variable belongs. contains forty-three applied to each variable in a given set in order to obtain 5-point Likert-format items that assess levels of library the composite variate used in the canonical correlation anxiety experienced by college students. This first canonical root also was ized canonical-function coefficients and structure coeffi. and the canonical correlation analysis. . the standard. Of particular interest were the twenty staff. that "not only does the [LAS] produce scores that yield extremely reliable estimates.2" In addition to these three puter-attitude dimensions (computer anxiety. . medium. Using Cohen's criteria of . ages. Because the library-anxiety set removal of subsequent canonical roots did not lead to contained five dimensions and the computer-attitude set statistical significance. the first two relationships (involving affective bar- with staff.53 correlations between the library-anxiety subscale scores (95 percent CI = .37. the multivariate relationship between library anxiety and gation. structure anxiety in that area. knowledge of the library. and . developed by Bostick.85. cally significant. years of study. 2 0 It also contains analysis. respec- tify a combination of library anxiety dimensions (barriers tively. and knowledge of the library. standardized canonical-function coeffi- the following five subscales: cients are equivalent to factor-pattern coefficients in fac- tor analysis or to beta coefficients in a regression 1. contributing 40. nationalities.73) for knowledge of the library. educational majors. practically significant (Rcd = . ness and knowledge of the library also was statistically Canonical correlation analysis is used to examine the rela. when the functions (factors) that can be produced for a given first canonical root was removed. Together. Onwuegbuzie. computer relationships. of the two variable sets. analysis. . Indeed.3. fort with the library) was large. Table 1 presents the intercorrelations among the five bined sample that had a classical theory alpha reliability dimensions of library anxiety and the four dimensions of coefficient of .' The square of the structure coefficient yields the high range for the subscale and total-scale scores. 24 Conversely. As such.58. significant. Standardized canonical. and comfort with the library. these relationships were statistically significant. tionship between two sets of variables whereby each set The correlation matrix in table 1 was used to examine contains more than one variable. affective barriers. gender composi. which represents a function coefficients are computed weights that are large effect size.5 for small. correlations between a given variable and the scores on 3. .84 (95 percent CI = . Also. and mechanical barriers) that the third relationship (between computer liking and com- might be simultaneously related to a combination of com.88) for affective barriers. affective barriers. the canonical composite (latent variable) in the set to 4. the subscales generated scores for the com. and computer usefulness). computer confidence. mechanical barriers.?3 In the present investi. revealed that the four canonical correlations combined pendent multivariate profile.70 (95 that. comfort with the library. The LAS. I Results tion. four of percent CI = . these results suggested contained four variables. In fact. The number of canonical were statistically significant (p < .48. four canonical functions were that only the first canonical function was statistically sig- generated.2" Based on proportion of variance that the original variable shares their analysis. . comfort with the library. in their exami. coefficients are essentially bivariate correlation coeffi- nation of the score reliability reported on LAS in the extant cients that range in value between -1.79.

the Staff factor refers to stu- library made similarly large contributions. Library Computer Comfort assesses the fidence served as suppressor variables because the perceived trustworthiness of library computer facilities standardized coefficients associated with these variables and the quality of directions for using them. Knowledge dimensions making the most noteworthy contributions.3. with the library. the inclusion of computer anxiety and between the dimensions of library anxiety and computer computer confidence in the canonical correlation model attitudes ranged from . and hours of operation.3" No statistically significant racial differences THE IMPACT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ON LIBRARY ANXIETY I JIAO AND ONWUEGBUZIE 141 . 3. Library-Anxiety Scale. Jiao and Onwuegbuzie com- five dimensions of library anxiety: barriers with staff. with effect sizes ranging from moderate to usefulness were related simultaneously to the following large. who found a sta- coefficients revealed that affective barriers. ity negatively affects students' satisfaction and comfort cients indicated that computer anxiety and computer con. affective bar- riers.47 strengthened the multivariate relationship between (knowledge). and knowledge of the According to its authors.3 percent. 64. pared African American and Caucasian American students affective barriers. explaining dents' attitudes towards librarians and library staff and 67. The square of the structure 6.82 percent of the common American graduate students enrolled at a doctoral-grant- variance. affective barri- library-anxiety subscale scores and computer-attitudes ers. Specifically. controlling for educational of the library. knowledge with respect to library anxiety. who found levels of com- puter anxiety to be related to levels of library anxiety for both men and women. 72. background by selecting both racial groups from the same ety and computer confidence served as suppressor vari. The current results also replicate those of library anxiety and computer attitudes.3 percent. Policies and Hours concerns students' attitudes toward cients were relatively small. respectively. with affective bar. and mechanical barriers. and computer confi. comfort with the library. Physical Comfort sions of library anxiety made important contributions to 5.8 percent of the variance. Using a cutoff As such.2 percent. library anxiety and computer attitudes among African tionship between computer attitudes and library anxi. Library were large. 3 Nevertheless. it should not be assumed that ety among African American graduate students. 9 With regard to the computer-attitude set. computer liking and computer usefulness Language factor relates the extent to which using English- made important contributions. The Knowledge factor per- of the variance. Specifically. Resources. 72. The anxiety associated with barriers with staff. and 60. comfort with tistically significant relationship between computer atti- the library. anxiety. Though the present study examined the association between The purpose of this study was to investigate the rela. Staff dence made noteworthy contributions. Physical Comfort evaluates how much the physical facil- Comparing the standardized and structure coeffi. tion coefficients and structure coefficients. institution. With regard to the computer. and 7. ables. computer anxiety. with the latter two 2. and knowledge of the library made important tudes and the following seven dimensions of the Hebrew contributions to the library-anxiety set. regulations. Data pertaining to the first canonical root are pre. the multivariate link between these two Onwuegbuzie. computer attitudes predict levels of library sented in table 2. computer liking and computer ing institution. comfort with the library.8 percent their perceived accessibility. Language The structure coefficients revealed that all five dimen. this relationship would hold for other racial groups. Jerabek. 4. variables that assist in the prediction of dependent vari. caution should be exercised in generaliz- I Discussion ing the current findings to all graduate students. The correlations variables. and Bostick found that African American constructs was examined. Library Computer Comfort the first canonical variate. The attitude set. whereas the corresponding structure coeffi.34 In a follow-up study. American graduate students. These variables explained language searches and materials yield discomfort. the standardized canonical-function of Mizrachi and Shoham and Mizrachi. 1. tains to how students rate their own library expertise. Computer anxi.3 ' Thus. and Kordinak. the present findings are consistent with those correlation of 0. which provides both standardized func. Finally. Jiao.0 percent and 16. computer liking. 3 2 coefficient indicated that barriers with staff. 0 Suppressor variables are library rules. Resources refers to the perceived availability of the ables due to their correlation with other independent desired material in the library collection. Thus. a modified version of LAS devel- riers and comfort with the library making similarly large oped by the authors for their Israeli sample: contributions. and comfort with the library than did Caucasian subscale scores shared 40. Library Policies and Hours. Meyer. A canonical correlation students attending a research-intensive institution analysis revealed a strong multivariate relationship reported statistically significantly lower levels of library between library anxiety and computer attitudes.11 (physical comfort) to . respectively.

37 Thus. Jiao puter attitudes.02 -.41* 16.85* 72.21 -. the causal direction of the relationship found found that the consistency with which the African in the current study should be investigated. Computer Confidence .80* 64.56 . it appears that the construct of investigate whether the relationship between library anxi. the African American sample reported lower among Caucasian American graduate students.2 Computer-Attitude Subscale Computer Anxiety -0. More and Onwuegbuzie's results.77 .18 .27 -.12 .49 . Table 2. suggest that racial differences tudes might play a role in the library context.8 *Loadings with the effect sizes larger than .3 Comfort with the Library . as well as scores than did the Caucasian American sample.17 . Computer Usefulness *Indicates a statistically significant relationship after the Bonferroni adjustment.64 . Barriers with Staff .48 .56 .37 -.13 1. Comfort with the Library .16 4.8 Mechanical Barriers -.7 Computer Liking -1.19 -. Mechanical Barriers -.05 . were found in library anxiety for any of the five dimen. alongside those of Jiao.Table 1. In fact.2 Affective Barriers . ety and computer attitudes found in the present study sions of LAS. 6 Thus.46 7.46 -.02 .23 3.20 -.39* .25* -.8 Computer Confidence 0.36 8. However. That is. Affective Barriers . across all five library-anxiety among African American graduate students also exists measures.43 9. using the test of trend by Onwuegbuzie and Levin.78* 60.11 -.39 -. future research should Notwithstanding. Knowledge of the Library .44 -. and Bostick.37 5.98* -. American graduate students had lower levels of library future studies should investigate whether library anxiety anxiety than did the Caucasian American students was places a person more at risk for experiencing poor com- both statistically and practically significant.05 -.55 -. library anxiety can be expanded to include the construct 142 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND LIBRARIES I DECEMBER 2004 . Computer Liking .13 -.13 -.31 * -.82* 67.09 2. or whether the converse is true.67 . Canonical Solution for Third Function-Relationship between Library-Anxiety Subscales and Computer-Attitude Subscales Theme Standardization Coefficient Structure Coefficient Structure2 (%) Library-Anxiety Subscale Barriers with Staff .31* .22 4. they Further.63 .04 6.85* 72. in library anxiety prevail. Intercorrelations among the Library-Anxiety Subscales and Computer-Attitude Subscales Subscale 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1.39* 15.3 Knowledge of the Library .01 -. research also is needed to determine how computer atti- Onwuegbuzie.40 -.52 . Computer Anxiety . among other racial groups.0 Computer Usefulness -0.3.40* .

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