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Library Review

Promoting innovation and application of internet of things in academic and

research information organizations
Elisha Ondieki Makori,
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Innovation and
Promoting innovation and application of
application of internet of things in internet of
academic and research
information organizations
Elisha Ondieki Makori Received 5 January 2017
Revised 11 April 2017
Department of Library and Information Science, Accepted 3 July 2017
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
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Purpose – The purpose of the study was to investigate factors promoting innovation and application of
internet of things in academic and research information organizations.
Design/methodology/approach – Quantitative research design involved survey of selected academic
and research information organizations in public and private chartered institutions. Information
professionals, digital content managers, information systems and technologists that normally consume big
data and technological resources were involved in the process of data collection using structured
questionnaire and content analysis. Information organizations and information practitioners were selected
from public and private academic and research institutions.
Findings – Innovation of internet of things has increasingly transformed and changed academic and
research information organizations as the source of knowledge in addition to expanding access to education,
data, information and communication anywhere anytime through hyperconnectivity and networking.
Internet of things technologies such as mobile of things, web of things, digital information systems and
personal devices are widely applied by digital natives in academic and research information organizations.
Mobilization platform and devices is the single biggest provider of data, information and knowledge in
academic and research organizations. Modern trends in education and knowledge practices in academic
institutions and information organizations depends upon internet of things, digital repositories, electronic
books and journals, social media interfaces, multimedia applications, information portal hubs and interactive
websites, although challenges regarding inadequate information communication technology infrastructure
and social computing facilities still persist.
Research limitations/implications – Information organizations in public and private chartered
academic and research institutions were adopted in the study. Respondents handling and supporting
information management, planning and decision-making provided the necessary data. Information
professionals, digital content managers, information systems and technologists are proactively involved in
data and information analytics.
Practical implications – Academic and research information organizations are powerhouses that
provide knowledge to support research, teaching and learning for sustainable development and the
betterment of humanity and society. Innovation of internet of things and associated technologies provides
practical aspects of attaining sustainable information development practices in the contemporary knowledge
society. Internet of things technologies, principles of economies of scale and investment and customer needs
entail that information organizations and practitioners should provide appropriate and smart systems and
Social implications – Modern academic and research information organizations have the social
corporate responsibility to offer technological innovations to heighten access to knowledge and
learning in academic and research institutions. Economically, innovation and application of
internet of things provide unlimited access to big data and information in organizations all the
time anywhere anytime. Library Review
Originality/value – Data management is a growing phenomenon that information practitioners need to © Emerald Publishing Limited
fully understand in the digital economies. Information professionals need to embrace and appreciate DOI 10.1108/LR-01-2017-0002
LR innovation and application of internet of things technologies whose role in sustainable development practices
is critical in academic and research organizations.
Keywords Kenya, Internet of things, Academic institutions, Data and information management,
Information organizations, Internet of everything
Paper type Research paper

Introduction and background information

Digital and media development has created a tremendous impact on information and business
organizations across the globe. In the global change movement, leading academic and research
institutions and information organizations have embraced innovative technological solutions to
support knowledge and learning needs. Notably, in the contemporary knowledge society,
academic and research information organizations have undergone transformation in the search
for relevance and quality delivery of services to the customers. Emergence of the technological
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platforms in transforming and broadening knowledge and learning in academic and research
organizations has helped to redefine the evolving role of information professionals. Practical
advanced use of technology has opened innovative practices for information professionals to
manage knowledge in organizations – especially internet of things (IoT) or internet of
everything (IoE). IoT refers to the use of intelligently connected devices and system to obtain
data gathered by embedded sensors and actuators in machines and other physical objects
(Groupe Speciale Mobile Association, 2014). IoT uses connecting media such as wireless sensor
network and physical objects to connect devices to each other and the internet, with minimal
direct human intervention to deliver services that meet the needs of a wide range of academic
libraries, adds the author. In a nutshell, IoT is the process of connecting things and objects at
homes, industries and work environment using intelligent technological systems (sensing,
networking, connectivity, digital and media applications and internet platform) for real-time
interaction and sharing of data, information and communication. IoT and related technologies
are transforming and changing information management and learning in academic and
information organizations, where smart systems and solutions are applied in homes, offices,
hospitals, transportation, enterprises and factories (Lueth, 2015). On the same note, the forces
driving the IoT and motivational benefits are increasingly numerous, as more and more
organizations, industries and technologists catch the bug (Borne, 2014).
Modern digital environment has created the IoT as a universal information and
knowledge portal or hub for strategic value and competitive advantage in academic and
research organizations. IoT and related information technologies are widely used for
sharing, free circulation and transaction, and on-demand-use of resources and capabilities in
different fields – industries, manufacturing plants and business organizations (Fei et al.,
2014). Intelligence and innovation of the internet has invented digital technology
applications perhaps than never before through social computing, social media,
telecommunications and mobile communications. The dynamic and multiplicity nature of
the IoT technologies reshaping the potential of academic institutions and information
organizations has created renewed knowledge and innovation through mobile-learning
(m-learning) for distance and e-learning programs (Ozuorcun and Tabak, 2012; El-Hussein
and Cronje, 2010), mobile computer devices such as smartphones, tablets and e-book readers
(Hashemi et al., 2011) and social media (Davis et al., 2012). Mobile computing technologies
are widely used in academic institutions and information organizations to heighten access to
knowledge and learning among students (Eden, 2012). Smartphones, tablets and e-book
readers connect the students with information, knowledge and learning in higher education
anywhere anytime, while social media platforms are applicable in political mobilization, Innovation and
information and communication, education and business aspects. application of
Modern information, knowledge and communication environment is increasingly
becoming intelligent through IoT technologies such as data mining, artificial intelligence,
internet of
geographical positioning and robotic systems. Information, knowledge and technology are things
the key drivers for socioeconomic growth and prosperity in the society that promotes
sustainable development practices and environment protection (Dzidonu, 2010). IoT
technologies have become increasingly important in knowledge organizations through
green information systems (cloud computing and green information technology [IT]).
Information professionals provide hybrid knowledge whose connection to the internet is
evident through enterprise information technologies and electronic resources (e-books, e-
journals and digital theses and dissertations), websites and Google scholar. In the digital
dispensation, information professionals have to identify potential application of IoT
technologies as opposed to the traditional use of radio frequency identification (RFID)
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(OCLC, 2014). Information organizations need to adapt the right technological solutions and
platforms for effective and efficient delivery of services to the customers. Evolution of the
IoT as a fundamental innovation for transforming and changing the nature of information
organizations in higher education and learning is indeed necessary in the contemporary
sustainable development environment, although the magnitude of practitioners in planning
and understanding the knowledge and educational needs in academic and research
institutions formed the core aspects of the study.

Context of the study

Principle contribution of the study was to determine the extent to which information
practitioners understand and manage knowledge and technological needs in academic and
research organizations in the modern digital economies. Academic and research information
organizations in public and private chartered institutions need to provide fundamental
structures and resources to support research, teaching, learning and community services.
Total of ten academic and research information organizations in public and private
institutions with necessary technological infrastructure and professional experts were
surveyed. Public higher education and learning institutions that are usually funded by the
government had six academic and research information organizations, while four were from
the private ones. Information professionals, digital content managers, information systems
and technologists manage and provide information services. Digital content managers,
computing experts and clients form the single biggest segment that normally consume data
and technological resources. Information professionals equally provide central roles in
strategic planning and decision-making that is critical in investment and utilization of

Statement of the problem

Emerging digital economies and innovative solutions have made the IoT fundamentally
essential for societal development that enhances social, economical, political and cultural
inclusion. IoT platform provides ubiquitous and pervasive technologies with massive
opportunities to data and information resources. Notably, development of IoT has invented
smart technologies that are not only fundamental but also very powerful business tools and
devices integrated and deployed in information organizations for mining and collaborating
big data and information resources essential in planning and decision-making. IoT connects
billions of objects, monitors, sensors, RFID and mobile devices with a projected estimation
of 50-100 billion internet-enabled devices in 2020 (OECD, 2012; European Union, 2010),
LR although the biggest technology challenge is the integration of everything including big
data, cloud, M2M and the network fabric (Borne, 2014). In information organizations, the
application and use of mobile devices whether smartphones, tables and earphones are a
common occurrence and feature among the clients. Hyperconnectivity through networking
and associated technologies to enable access anywhere anytime is increasingly growing in
organizations. In the modern digital environment, academic and research information
organizations depend upon technological solutions such as cloud computing, mobile devices
to provide effective and efficiency services to the customers. With numerous technological
innovations being produced, information organizations are at crossroads on the right and
appropriate systems to use. Return on investment and effective utilization of finances are
critical aspects in planning and decision-making process since IoT technological innovation
and application need massive resources which most information organizations lack. With
hard economic situations facing academic and research information organizations, IoT
needs to support and enhance the goals and objectives of academic institutions for posterity
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and betterment of humanity and society. Market for IoT ushers unlimited opportunities that
are exponentially growing and fundamental in the modern digital economies.

Purpose and objectives of the study

Purpose of the study was to investigate factors promoting innovation and application of IoT
in academic and research information organizations. Specific objectives were to:
 examine the potential application of IoT in transformation of academic and research
information organizations;
 explore the range of IoT technologies applied to heighten access to knowledge and
learning in academic and research information organizations;
 determine the technologies used to influence the application of IoT in academic and
research information organizations; and
 investigate practical strategies for enhancing effective management of IoT in
academic and research information organizations.
Research questions

RQ1. How has the potential application of IoT transformed and changed academic and
research information organizations?
RQ2. What range of IoT technologies is applied to heighten access to knowledge and
learning in academic and research information organizations?
RQ3. Which technologies are used to influence the application of IoT in academic and
research information organizations?
RQ4. What practical strategies are used to enhance effective management of IoT in
academic and research information organizations?

Literature review
Digital transformation and internet of things
Digital information and communication landscape is characterized with innovative IoT
technological systems, mobile of things, web of things (WoT) and hyperconnectivity. IoT
has transformed and changed information organizations from the traditional pre-computing
systems to the modern knowledge and communication portals. British entrepreneur Kevin
Ashton coined the term “internet of things” in 1999 to describe the connection of the physical Innovation and
world and objects to the internet through sensors (Internet Society, 2015; Gubbi et al., 2013). application of
IoT is the process where network connectivity and computing capability are applied to
objects, sensors and everyday items not normally considered computers, allowing the
internet of
devices to generate, exchange and consume data with minimal human intervention (Internet things
society, 2015) or the environment where every aspect of social and economic life including
individuals, machinery, natural resources, production lines, logistics networks and
consumption habits are linked through sensors and software to the internet platform,
regularly feeding real-time data to relevant recipients such as businesses, homes, health-care
providers, vehicles and supermarkets (Rifkin, 2014). The relationship involves people–
people, people–things and things–things (Morgan, 2014). WoT is the integration of physical
objects and virtual things into the World Wide Web (WWW) through multiple platforms of
social computing and telecommunication systems. IoT provides information and knowledge
organizations with digital connections, collaborations, communications, discussions and
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online transactions from cell phones, headphones, wearable devices and virtually all things.
Innovation turns knowledge organizations into smart portals where customers can interact
with various things and get virtually all kinds of information using devices with
communication capabilities. Emerging digital integration and technological innovations
provide the necessary platform for transforming the vision and reality of the knowledge
society to achieve sustainable research and learning in academic and information
organizations. In the digital economies, the IoT has transformed information organizations
with innovative technological solutions that manage knowledge in academic institutions
through systems such as data and information analytics and enterprise information

Data and information analytics

Digital transformation is driven with data and information resources that are captured,
mined and utilized to support decisions. This has led to rapid production of big data and
information explosion, making access to accurate and relevant resources increasingly
difficult. Data and information have become critical resources that provide necessary
metrics to make decisions in organizations. IoE consists of four key elements that are
integrated for planning and decision-making – data, things, people and process (Bradley
et al., 2013). IoT plays a significant role, as it offers the network of physical devices and objects
connected to the internet for decision-making (Dawson et al., 2013). Analytics is the scientific
process of transforming data into information for the purpose of planning and decision-
making, while collection management is the activity of assessing, planning and supervising the
growth and preservation of information collections and services (ODLIS, 2016).
Data visualization supports assessment through information insights that are used to
promote products and services, enhance effectiveness and efficiency and foster customer
relationships. Collection management is driven by transformed data that support decision-
making, promote marketing, budgeting, webometrics (citations of publications) and usage of
information resources. In information organizations, patterns of download holdings and
query resolutions that have major implications for discovery, selection, acquisition and
management of collections are mined to improve services (Dempsey et al., 2014). Collections
are changing in a network environment with data- and information-driven activities
including research and learning behaviors, the authors add. This promotes patron-driven
acquisition (demand-driven acquisitions) purchasing model where the patrons select e-books
from the online public access catalog (OPAC) for possible purchase. Patron-driven
acquisition model ensures purchasing of some e-books that are being used and collecting
LR some statistics on the desires of the patrons (Richard, 2012). Information professionals use
data visualizations to recognize trends, spot patterns and identify exceptions (Murphy,
Powerful new tools for visualizing and distributing data, measurement standards for
performance and potential for creating a robust canon of metrics are available for
information professionals (Zucca, 2013). Libraries have been doing data visualization for a
while using tools such as JavaScript, Excel, PHP and Google Charts (Murphy, 2013).
Information intelligent dashboards are business visualization tools with the ability to pull
real-time data from multiple sources. Dashboards allow librarians and management to
monitor key information operations from a single, convenient page, with an emphasis on
long-term trends rather than day-to-day fluctuations in use (Morton-Owens and Hanson,
2012). Tableau is the data visualization and analysis software that provides metrics on how
to manage and support operations, functions and services in information organizations. The
software (tableau) is increasingly used in libraries to better manage and present the large
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quantities of data collected to support decision-making (Murphy, 2013). Academic libraries,

regardless of Carnegie designation, share a common mission to support the teaching and
learning enterprise, and the fulfillment of that mission amid today’s pressures is
increasingly linked to intelligence about resource consumption, service quality and the
library’s impact on research and student learning (Zucca, 2013).

Enterprise information management systems

In the competitive digital economy, organizations are increasingly embracing enterprise
information management systems to provide access to online information and knowledge
services anywhere anytime through cloud, internet, hosted or web-based applications (Makori
and Osebe, 2016). IoT systems such as social media, cloud and mobile computing applications
produce big data that need to be mined and processed into information to support decision.
Enterprise information management is the automation of information processes, functions and
services to provide accurate and relevant information for decision-making, analysis and
communication. The technological systems help information professionals to provide seamless
automation services that enhance efficiency in management of information processes and
functions – acquisitions, cataloging, circulation control, serials, research and reference support,
OPAC and patron. Enterprise information management strategy provides strategies and
technologies for access and utilization of digital collections of books, journals and local content;
application of mobile devises such as iPads and personal digital assistants (PDAs); analytics
(data aggregation and mining) for discovery, selection, acquisition and management of
collections (Dempsey et al., 2014, pp. 11-12) as well as webometrics ranking. This practice
influences product advancements and integration with e-procurement, e-payment, mobile
billing and e-commerce applications in information organizations. As an enterprise approach to
systematic decision support, the University of Pennsylvania libraries (Penn libraries) uses the
MetriDoc to provide the IT infrastructure that facilitates the collection and transportation of
data for planning and decision-making (Zucca, 2013).

Information intelligence systems

Intelligent information systems integrate artificial technologies, social computing, database
methodologies and customer relationship management (CRM) to support business decisions
in organizations. In information organizations, artificial intelligent systems provide the
information applied in decision-making and maintaining sustainable competitive
environment. Decision makers will have to look beyond transactional reporting systems to
systems that provide intelligent information. Artificial intelligent systems have potential to
change the way resources are utilized resulting in more efficient, smart and friendly systems Innovation and
(Kulkarni and Prachi, 2015). application of
Information organizations use intelligent systems and robots for delivery of services,
detection of theft and burglary, authorizing access and use of resources, payment of fines,
internet of
information retrieval and indexing. To support decision-making and planning activities in things
the organization, analytical intelligent systems and tools monitor and control information
operations and functions through data mining, assessment studies, customer relations
management. This provides the convergence for data mining, information analysis and
communication. Robotic systems use artificial intelligence and learning experiences to work
and perform functions and operations in information organizations such as providing
services to the clients, shelving and carrying of books and security. Once automated, unlike
a computer or machine that performs a given task, typically, a robot not only performs the
task given to it, but it is also able to use artificial intelligence and learn from its experiences
while performing given tasks (Lakshmi et al., 2014). Competitive environment has also made
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information organizations to embrace the business focus of CRM so as to promote delivery

of products and services. Application of CRM in libraries will add value to information
services (Piyawan et al., 2011).

Innovation and application of internet of things

IoT technological trends in academic and research information organizations largely
harbors around aspects of data and information management, automation practices and
knowledge management although the innovation provides practical application and
potential benefits as exemplified through Pujar and Satyanarayana (2015).

Data and information driven

Data, content, information and knowledge are powerful and essential assets used for
planning and decision-making in organizations. IoT environment produces massive data
and information that need to be captured, processed and managed for better decisions in
information organizations. Big data and information explosion or obesity possible through
business process, analysis, monitoring and modeling are critical in managing and
supporting functions and operation across organizations. Data, content and information
analytics are important applications for automation process and knowledge management.
IoT makes use of powerful and hardest tools of data analytics and visualization, content
analysis and intelligence, dashboard applications to support academic and research
information organizations in needs assessment, collection management and automation
process. Data management is about finding, mining and making sense and use of the right
information at the right place in the right time using the right and smart devices –
smartphones, tablets, mobile apps, laptops and wireless.

Self service
RFID used in conjunction with other applications makes loanable materials internet-enabled
“things”. RFID tags allow the object to wirelessly communicate certain types of information,
allowing libraries to provide information about the materials to those with the proper
handheld device/application. Entrance and exit of library and information organization with
RFID sensors issue warning signals that activate the security alarm platform if the tagged
documents and materials leave the premises without authority of the system.
LR Access and utilization
Information organizations provide virtual cards to the clients with mobile applications so as
to gain access and utilize the available products and services. This helps the clients to
access, identify, locate and use the required information resources. It also provides further
information about the resources by connecting to the site like Amazon so that the client has
detailed information to make an informed decision about the resource before borrowing.
Patrons with wearable devices could wear the “library cards” to the library whereby
scanning at the self-service stations gives the opportunity to access and use the computers
and related resources.

Collection development and management

Cloud and mobile computing improve the services of efficiency and visibility of collection
development and management. Virtual representation of information materials with RFID
tags and readers enhances collection development and management practices. Smartphones
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with IoT informs clients on the total amount on overdue materials and also provides the pay
fine online without having to physically visit the library circulation desk. IoT also helps in
better stock management (stock verification), as it makes it easy to locate misplaced
information materials. Using pressure pad sensors in the aisle under the floor is another
innovative technology that helps in collection development in addition to improving signage
that might be required and automatic turn on/off of light bulbs for energy saving making a
smart library.

Reference services
Virtualizations of information resources help reference librarians to rank the preferred
materials as well as determine the best approaches to promote and market the underutilized
ones. Data visualization provides information on utilization of materials that, in turn, aids in
planning and decision-making.

Information literacy
Information literacy skills and competencies are offered to clients on how to ensure proper
utilization of knowledge resources and services for research, learning, critical thinking and
problem-solving. IoT helps information organizations and professionals to provide self-
guided virtual tour. Libraries and information centers with virtual beacons like wireless
devices provide clients with smartphones with the opportunity to play video or audio
explaining more about the section and how one can get maximum benefit out of it. In
addition, it provides enriched experience of special collections like manuscripts by offering
digital format on the smartphones as physical access to such resources is restricted.

Location and instant alert services

With IoT, it is possible for the clients to get instant and update alerts on information
products and services. IoT uses real-time data based on the history of the client to inform
and suggest or recommend favorable information products and services, for instance, new
arrivals, materials reserved and location where resources are shelved. With IoT-enabled
smartphones, the clients get instant notification or alerts on the available information
materials and their exact location. This practice enhances the security and control of
information materials and other physical assets in the organization. With magic mirror
technology senses, clients are also informed of interesting titles available on the topics and
status of the holdings plus getting recommendations on other similar materials and
mentions of related events. This also informs on the status and availability of reading and Innovation and
discussion rooms, printers, scanners and computers by displaying the peak and non-peak application of
hours of usage on the library website or clients can check it using the library mobile app.
The attendance management system with RFID assists to alert the students at the entrance
internet of
of the classroom on daily basis. If a student fails to return or renew the material, the things
attendance module will not register the entry and is alerted by voice message.

Appliance management
IoT helps information organizations, staff members and clients to enhance better
management and control of the available appliances resulting to saving the resources and
energy costs (Frenzel, 2012). A client walking into the library using a cubicle or reading table
with IoT-enabled mobile phones would be able to control the lighting, air conditioning and
Wi-Fi. Personal devices such as smartphones and laptops can be used to communicate the
status of information organizations, classrooms and computer laboratories. IoT as the
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emerging technology provides new effective and efficient services in academic and research
information organizations. This, in turn, has made library buildings “smart organizations”
where clients interact with various things and get virtually all kinds of information and
communication capabilities and opportunities using IoT devices.

Marketing automation
Mobile customer engagement, geolocation and Apple’s iBeacon are all creating a network of
knowledge about locations, intentions, preferences and buying patterns. IoT technologies
have created smart and quick methods for libraries to market information products and
services within and beyond the geolocation and boundaries of the clients. Of course, this
degree of location-based knowledge needs to strike the right balance between user privacy
and the timely delivery of useful products and services (Borne, 2014).

Internet of things technologies

Enterprise resource planning systems
Digital information environment provides intelligent technologies for data mining, artificial
intelligence, geographical positioning system and IoE. Information and knowledge
organizations have no choice but to provide not only quality services to the clients but also
to remain relevant while maintaining the competitive advantage in the marketplace of
information and knowledge. The application and introduction of enterprise resource
planning (ERP) systems have become a central issue for management and operation of
organizations to increase efficiency, effectiveness and better utilization of resources (Molnár
et al., 2013). ERP systems enhance productivity and working quality by offering integration,
standardization and simplification of multiple business transactions (Dimitrios et al., 2011).
Koha has gained momentum across the world as the best ERP system for automating and
integrating information management practices due to the development of the internet that
fundamentally makes free and open-source software programs easily available (Makori and
Osebe, 2016) and whose return on investment is pocket friendly.

Cloud of things: cloud computing and RFID

In the modern digital and innovation landscape, information and knowledge enterprises are
rapidly adopting and deploying highly advanced information and communication
technology strategies such as cloud computing and social computing. Cloud computing is a
kind of computing application service just like email, office software and ERP that uses
LR ubiquitous resources to be shared with the business employees or trading partners (Chinyao
et al., 2011). As the integrated and distributed social IT model, cloud computing uses highly
advanced networks of hardware and software systems to provide and deliver services to the
client through the internet. With cloud computing, mobile computing interface provides
access to big data and information resources in organizations needed for planning and
decision-making. Service providers offer various types of cloud computing such as public,
private, community or hybrid. Cloud computing or internet-based social computing in
information and knowledge organizations promotes resource sharing, insecurity and
control, return on investment, scalability and space crunch (Romero, 2012).
In information organizations, cloud computing integrates and uses RFID for automation
processes to manage big data and information resources provided from the tagged
materials. RFID technology uses radio waves to monitor and control provision of
information resources and services. Identification and tracking technologies applied in IoT
include RFID systems, barcoding, intelligent solutions and sensing. Typically, RFID
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manages collection development, inventory control and assets where data and information
are mined, harvested and analyzed to provide seamless services in organizations. Data from
sensors are acquired and integrated for analysis, decision-making and storage (Li et al.,
2015). Rapid development of social media applications has increased cloud computing
together with RFID systems where clients are able to access information services using
mobile devices enabled with IoT.

Mobile of things
In the high-tech digital dispensation, rapid demands in the information market has
encouraged the need for mobile innovation in enhancing access and utilization of resources
in knowledge organizations. Mobile and smartphone applications create huge amounts of
data and information that need to be correlated, analyzed and integrated for decision-
making. IoT innovation has transformed the modern information and media landscape into
the global knowledge economy where mobile devices including laptops, net books, notebook
computers, cell phones, audio players (MP3 players and cameras) and other items are widely
used in library and information centers. Notably, many academic libraries provide loan
programs for laptops, cameras, video cameras, MP3, audio players, headphones and
internet-capable devices (iPod touch). Mobile ubiquitous technology provide powerful and
indispensable tools for study, productivity and task management that have been integrated
and used just like with car keys and wallet (Johnson et al., 2010). Virtual academic education
and learning, access to quality information and sharing of knowledge are possible through
innovative mobile-learning that uses PDAs, iPods, mobile phones, smartphones and tablets
(Ozuorcun and Tabak, 2012), electronic and web resources (Wordofa, 2014 and Lwoga,
Studies highlight that, in a knowledge community, many academic library young
generation users frequently visit internet and have some kind of active presence on social
network sites, and prefer new technologies for information and intellectual exchange
because of their convenience and speed (Srinivasa and Brahmaiah, 2016). Libraries are
utilizing interactive social media tools for information services such as blogs, Facebook,
WhatsApp and Twitter. Libraries and information services use mobile technology on the
cloud environment to support the information needs of users. This is because mobile devices
are running increasingly complex software and applications, allowing advanced user
interactivity, interaction with cloud services and able to run rich multimedia content. The
use of sophisticated mobile technologies such as Bluetooth, smartphone software
applications, Wi-Fi and global positioning systems are all making mobiles for multipurpose
use “expanding the capabilities of teaching and learning, providing access to rich Innovation and
multimedia resources and student centered applications” which enables libraries and application of
knowledge agencies to provide scale information resources in real time (Vollmer, 2010).
Having the right devices at the right place in the right time is indeed critical and
internet of
fundamental for information professionals, clients and organizations. things

Information discovery and insight

IoT provides powerful intelligent tools for mining and harvesting data and information and
distributing the resources in organizations through sensors, actuators, knowledge portal,
automation and enterprise systems, CRM, digital repositories and electronic resources. The
range of smart IoT devices found in institutions of learning includes e-books and tablets;
sensors in hallways, entrances, classrooms, offices and institutions’ vehicles; all manner of
fitness bands and wearables; headsets; video sensors; robots; lights and many more. Data
from these devices can be used for tracking, for instance, campus shuttles, student
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attendance, supplies and understand students’ learning patterns (Asseo et al., 2016). IoT-
enabled applications provide the platform for collecting and gathering data sets of
information across the departments, organizations and partners for strategic planning and
decision-making. Technologies for searching and discovering information and knowledge
resources in organizations are useful in saving the time and energy of the stakeholders. With
the development of the IoT, discovery services and tools facilitate real-time search and
access to multiple information sources simultaneously from a single platform for efficient
utilization and retrieval. In academic and research information organizations, knowledge
discovery and searching services facilitate access to electronic resources such as e-journals,
open-access journals, e-books and digital repositories.

Web of things
Emerging digital innovation in web and media development with hyperconnectivity
technologies to provide multiple platforms for mobile devices, laptops and even wearable
displays has dominated information and knowledge landscape across the globe (Dawson
et al., 2013). With rapid hyperconnectivity information, organizations have the opportunity
to provide real-time and instant access to knowledge and learning. WoT as the new
ubiquitous computing of technological platforms has increased big data and information
explosion coupled with the challenges of processing, storage and managing that face
organizations. The development of new technological internet and web architectures has led
to the need for organizations to provide rental storage space through cloud of things. WoT
integrates social computing, hyperconnectivity technologies and internet platform to
provide communication with WWW that leverages data, things, people and process for
planning and decision-making.
In the competitive business environment, information organizations are adopting
technologies that offer the prospects of value adding and enriching of academic products
and services through web ranking, e-marketing and e-branding strategies including online,
web, internet or cloud-based solutions (Shukla et al., 2012). Digital content system has
impacted on university education and training by providing platforms for scholarly
dissemination and visibility of information resources. Web and digital repositories have
become the core resources for publishing quality academic and research papers and articles
that reflect remarkable openness and excellence rankings globally for local content that
were initially underutilized and untraceable. Digital institutional repositories provide the
platform for open access and dissemination of scholarly research output in academic
institutions (Bhardwaj, 2014; Boufarss, 2010). This allows sharing and exchange of
LR information and knowledge through search engines and open-access aggregators and
databases, provides value-added services to the content (Knoth and Zdrahal, 2012) and
enables users to discover resources using web-based tools as opposed to traditional ones
(Falciani-White, 2012).

Hyperconnectivity, social media and communication

Social media are used in a variety of communication methods through broadcast messages,
response to enquiries and online conversation with the clients. In the current business world,
marketers and businesses are rushing to online social media sites because that is where
customers, suppliers, prospective employees and other stakeholders are to be found (Rupak
et al., 2014). Social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, blogs and LinkedIn) have
demonstrated excellent opportunities that promote delivery of information resources and
services while fostering innovative and excellent communication opportunities. Similarly,
social media tools available via the IoT provide effective tools and services to share and
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disseminate information by interactively collaborating with each other in digital

communities through blogs, social networking and video sharing sites (Farid, 2013). The
fundamental mandate of information work is to share content and knowledge for societal
and individual development and growth. IoT also offers communication technologies for
hyperconnectivity and networking purposes through electronic devices, mobiles,
information facilities and wireless sensors (Wi-Fi and wireless mesh networks).
In business and information establishments, the focus to quality services through
connectivity to the power of social media and increased consumer demand for digital and
mobile computing devices makes IoT a necessary requirement in organizations.
Hyperconnectivity and networking technologies have made remote access possible for huge
databases of big libraries in developed countries to be used for the purpose of adopting,
adapting and sharing of bibliographic data and information (Adeleke and Olorunsola, 2010).
The magnitude and multiplicity nature of information organizations have undergone
fundamental changes with diverse implications to the institutions and the customers. This
connects students with information and knowledge using digital systems and solutions such
as e-learning, e-information and m-learning practices anywhere anytime. IoT is about 6A
connectivity – anything, anytime, anyone, any place, any service and any network
(Vermesan et al., 2011). Digital information and knowledge require dedicated and powerful
technologies that provide unlimited opportunities through devices that depend upon
connectivity and communication whenever wherever. Quality information infrastructure
support is necessary in supporting IoT technologies and hyperconnectivity.

Virtual and remote services and help desks

In the IoT environment, information organizations have the virtual power to solve client
queries through smart technological systems such as online help desk, remote services and
robotic systems. Mobile devices and smartphone technologies are used to monitor, control
and promote information services to the clients through video, social media connections,
online discussions and digital content. As more devices become connected, campus leaders
will be able to extract much more value from the continuous stream of data and information,
helping them move from a transactional relationship with students, faculty, administrators
and providers to an iterative process in which minor decisions can be made on an ongoing
basis (Asseo et al., 2016). With the IoT, virtual reference information services are offered
through platforms of email, instant messaging and chat discussions anywhere anytime in
any connection. Chatbot is a 24-h virtual reference service that responds to the clients
without the intervention of human resource wherein the customers ask question in web-
based environment and robot answers the question both in voice and text. This enables Innovation and
hyperconnectivity and networking with information professionals and clients across the application of
globe. PocketLab and Lab4U are IoT sensor solutions, researchers use through smartphones
that provide powerful, but low-cost, science lab instruments capable of measuring
internet of
acceleration, force, angular velocity, pressure, magnetic field, temperature and altitude. things
When combined with robotics and controllers, the sensors enable students to run, monitor
and directly participate in science experiments online (Nilsson, 2016).

Penetration of internet of things in information organizations

Penetration of IoT technologies in academic and research information organizations is a
potential challenge due to significant investment involved in terms of money, manpower
and time (Pujar and Satyanarayana, 2015) and variety of data collection and reporting
methods needed and used (Jones, 2015). Protecting intelligent information technologies and
systems in the IoT from multiple threats of data leakage and external networks is a taunting
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task (Li et al., 2015). Data and information security and privacy are two most challenging
factors in IoT that affect personal functions, business processes and procedures,
information, transport and communication (Li et al., 2015). Risks and perils connected with
privacy, loss of data, entrusting too much control to technology and technical devices and
legal problems affect IoT (Yang et al., 2011).
Information security requirements and measures worth noting are confidentiality, access
control, encapsulation, encryption, signature and authentication (Sicari et al., 2014) and
virtual private network (extranet used by members of a group) (Weber, 2010). Information
privacy is one of the most sensitive themes for IoT and legal protection mechanism design
should be put into consideration (Li et al., 2015). Rapid growth of IoT outstrips economic and
social demands, leading to the need for relevant communication and information regulations
and policy especially for data protection privacy and intellectual property rights to help curb
challenges (OECD, 2012). In the digital economies and societies, opinion formers,
technologists and policymakers need to appreciate the policy and social challenges
intertwining the usage of IoT. If the right policies, practices and business models are
established and adopted, IoT is expected to fuel major economic, social and service
innovations in present and future years (Löffler and Tschiesner, 2013).

Research methodology
Research design and sample and sampling techniques
Quantitative research design applying structured questionnaire was purely the main
method for collection of data and information from the participants. Academic and research
information organizations in public and private chartered institutions were adopted in the
research. In addition, the study used content and information analysis from electronic
journals, empirical studies and websites. Information from websites, weblogs, webometrics
ranking and social media interfaces from the academic and research information
organizations were equally used. Research questions addressed various aspects and
elements of the objectives of the study as outlined in the questionnaire under various themes
and subthemes – IoT and transformation in information organizations, range of IoT
technologies, technologies influencing application of IoT and strategies for effective
management of IoT. Sample size for the research included 100 respondents – information
professionals, systems librarians and technologists purposely selected from academic and
research information organizations. Notably, all the respondents who participated in the
research returned the questionnaires. From technological developments and perspectives,
the selected respondents were involved in duties and responsibilities of information and
LR communication technology, data and information management, digital content
management, internet and electronic information and web and media development. Data
were analyzed and the information presented in percentages, tables and figures.

Discussion of findings
First objective was to examine the potential application of IoT in transformation of academic
and research information organizations. The objective highlighted a number of issues and
concerns such as factors that promote the development of the IoT, potential capabilities and
opportunities of the IoT and significance of the innovation in the modern knowledge and digital
economy. Factors responsible for the development of the IoT in the contemporary knowledge
economy and society were expressed as indicated in Figure 1. Question with multiple answer
options that sought to determine the potential capabilities and opportunities of the IoT in
academic and research information organizations established only two aspects of the answer –
excellent or good ranking. Responses ranked “excellent” with 95 per cent and above are
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fountain of knowledge (97 per cent), unlimited accessibility (96 per cent) and online information
(95 per cent), while the rest are rated “good” as indicated in Table I. The study also sought to
determine the significance of the IoT in promoting academic and research information
organizations based on positive and negative perceptions as follows:
(1) Positive perceptions:
 capability for information and knowledge;
 reinvents information organizations;
 provides digital and internet information;
 fosters innovation and creativity;
 data and information for planning and decision-making;
 supports research, teaching and learning;
 promotes information marketing and branding;
 promotes non-academic functions – finance, medical;
 enhances green information technology practices;
 enables green information movement;
 expands education, information and communication space; and
 promotes green physical infrastructure.

Figure 1.
Factors responsible
for development of
internet of things
Respondents number and %
Innovation and
Potential capabilities and opportunities Excellent Good Fair Poor Total application of
internet of
Fountain of knowledge 97 (97) 3 (3) – – 100 (100)
Online information 95 (95) 5 (5) – – 100 (100) things
Information automation 80 (80) 20 (20) – – 100 (100)
Information portal 88 (88) 12 (12) – – 100 (100)
Education and research 90 (90) 20 (20) – – 100 (100)
Data and information analytics 20 (20) 80 (80) – – 100 (100)
E-learning support 17 (17) 83 (83) – – 100 (100)
Unlimited accessibility 96 (96) 4 (4) – – 100 (100)
Communication platform 91 (91) 9 (9) – – 100 (100) Table I.
Online discussion 90 (90) 10 (10) – – 100 (100) Potential capabilities
Political, economic and social information 21 (21) 79 (79) – – 100 (100) and opportunities of
General information 20 (20) 80 (80) – – 100 (100) internet of things
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(2) Negative perceptions:

 needs massive financial resources;
 information security and control;
 hacking and virus issues; and
 information infrastructure.

Notable positive perceptions of significance include capability for information and

knowledge, reinvents information organizations, provides digital and internet information,
fosters innovation and creativity, data and information for planning and decision-making
and supports research, teaching and learning, while negative ones are needs massive
financial resources, concerns of information security and control, hacking and virus issues
and information infrastructure.
Findings confirm that IoT has indeed transformed and changed the contemporary
information and communication environment in academic and research organizations where
access to data, information and knowledge is through application of personal systems
(mobile devices) and digital information systems (Wordofa, 2014; Lwoga, 2014; Eden, 2012;
Ozuorcun and Tabak, 2012). Potential capabilities of the IoT are best exemplified through
innovative education and information practices such as e-learning, mobile learning and
online information. Quality of services in academic and research information organizations
is a fundamental aspect of technological systems and solutions in the modern digital
environment. In the contemporary sustainable development practice, academic and research
organizations have to provide robust technological solutions so as to attain the educational
and informational needs of the customers.
Second objective was to explore the range of IoT technologies applied to heighten access
to knowledge and learning in academic and research information organizations. Asked to
mention the range of IoT technologies applied in academic and research information
organizations, majority of the respondents selected either strongly important or very
important. Full 97 per cent of respondents selected digital or electronic information, with 70
per cent turning to digital information systems in the strongly important category, while
data analytics and dashboard, multimedia applications and enterprise information systems
are fundamentally highlighted as very important technologies as shown in Table II.
Participants also indicated leading IoT technologies used to heighten access to knowledge
LR Respondents number and %
Internet of things technologies SI VI IM SI NI DK

Data analytics and dashboard 80 (80) – – – –

Mobile platform 90 (90) – – – – –
Cloud computing 90 (90) – – – – –
E-learning 80 (80) – – – – –
RFID 95 (95) – – – – –
Digital or electronic information 97 (97) – – – – –
Social media 96 (96) – – – – –
Hyperconnectivity 89 (89) – – – – –
Social computing 75 (75) – – – – –
Wearable or bring your own device 90 (90) – – – – –
Web of things 88 (88) – – – – –
Enterprise information systems – 60 (60) – – – –
Multimedia applications – 70 (70) – – – –
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Digital information systems 70 (70) – – – – –

Table II.
Range of internet of Notes: SI = strongly important; VI = very important; IM = mportant; SI = somewhat important; NI = not
things technologies important; DK = don’t know

and learning in academic and research information organizations with WoT on top as
shown in Figure 2.
Research results correlate with the literature studies to indicate massive application and
use of IoT technologies in academic and research organizations in enterprise information
management systems (Makori and Osebe, 2016; Dempsey et al., 2014), data and information
analytics (Bradley et al., 2013; Dawson et al., 2013) and information intelligence systems
(Lakshmi et al., 2014), cloud of things (Romero, 2012) and mobile of things (Johnson et al.,
2010). In addition, there is evidence of wide spread use of technological systems and
solutions in academic and research information organizations including RFID and
automation of information (Pujar and Satyanarayana, 2015). With massive explosion of big
data, there is tremendous use of analytics, visualization and dashboard in providing
information necessary to support planning and decision-making in organizations through
personal devices such as smartphones and laptops (Wordofa, 2014; Lwoga, 2014; Hashemi
et al., 2011; Eden, 2012).

Figure 2.
Leading internet of
things technologies
Third objective was to determine the technologies influencing the application of IoT in Innovation and
academic and research information organizations. Question with multiple responses was application of
used to select the appropriate and relevant technologies influencing the application of IoT in
information organizations. Admittedly, internet, web, hyperconnectivity and networking
internet of
and cloud computing are the biggest influencers behind the application of IoT in academic things
and research information organizations as explained in Figure 3. Numerous technological
innovations have been connected and associated with the rapid growth and use of IoT as
exemplified through development of the internet platform (Internet Society, 2015; Rifkin,
2014; Groupe Speciale Mobile Association, 2014), WoT (Dawson et al., 2013), digital
information (Davis et al., 2012; Eden, 2012; Ozuorcun and Tabak, 2012), hyperconnectivity
and connectivity (Vermesan et al., 2011), automation of information (Molnár et al., 2013;
Makori and Osebe, 2016), mobile smart applications (Johnson et al., 2010), cloud computing
(Li et al., 2015) and social media (Rupak et al., 2014). Contemporary information and
knowledge environment in academic organizations is full of digital and technological
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gadgets. The single biggest influencer and promoter of innovative technological systems
and solutions in the modern digital economy is the IoT. IoT technologies promote access and
use of data, information and knowledge anywhere anytime provided one is connected and
Fourth objective was to investigate practical strategies for enhancing effective
management of IoT in academic and research information organizations. Participants were
requested to highlight practical strategies including fundamental and priority institutional
requirements to enhance sustainable IoT in academic and research information
organizations. Academic and research organizations need to invest heavily in technological
systems and solutions if quality services to the customers is to be attained in the sustainable
information environment. Strategies for managing IoT that academic and research
organizations have to offer are as shown in Figure 4. Reportedly, the respondents suggested
particular fundamental and priority things that academic and research information
organizations need to offer in the IoT environment including technology investment (28 per
cent), leadership and management (27 per cent), digital information systems (24 per cent)
and green movement (21 per cent) in Figure 5. Findings relate to studies conducted in
stressing the need for organizations to put in place strategies and robust leadership
programs and practices for promoting IoT and associated technologies to facilitate data and

Figure 3.
application of internet
of things
LR information management for planning and decision-making (Jones, 2015; Li et al., 2015;
Pujar and Satyanarayana, 2015; Löffer and Tschiesner, 2013; Zucca, 2013). Information
organizations must adopt leadership programs based on demonstrated potentials and
interests, transformation and change and return on investment for customers to have
quality and value-added services.

 IoT has significantly transformed and changed the nature of data, information and
knowledge management in academic and research organizations with innovative
technological systems and solutions that have expanded education, learning and
competition. Power of IoE has proved to be favorable in academic and research
information organizations, and therefore, technology may no longer be regarded as
a factor hindering access to knowledge.
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 Modern and emerging aspects of IoT environment responsible for sustainable

knowledge, research and learning must be supported and promoted in academic and
information organizations. Return on investment and massive application of
resources are fundamental elements in development and utilization of IoT
technologies in organizations. Massive data and information resources are
produced, and therefore, powerful business tools and insights for harvesting and

Figure 4.
Strategies for
managing internet of

Figure 5.
Fundamental and
priority institutional
mining relevant information for strategic planning and decision-making purposes Innovation and
are necessary. application of
 Fundamental aspects that need attention in organizations to foster innovation of internet of
IoT include hyperconnectivity and information infrastructure. Academic and things
research information organizations need to provide adequate financial resources so
as to support and maintain connectivity whenever and wherever – at all times.
 Academic and research information organizations have economic challenges that
can be supplemented through deployment of appropriate IoT technologies.
Customers can make use of own devices and mobile smart applications in academic
and research information organizations where it is not practically possible to
provide enough social computing and technological needs.
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 Academic and research information organizations should champion the deployment
of IoT technologies to achieve sustainable research and learning goals and
practices. IoT brings together four elements of strategic planning and decision-
making – data and information; people; technology; and processes.
 Collaboration and partnership initiatives can help to bring academic institutions
and information organizations together so as to promote innovation and creativity.
Equally, through research and development, academic and research information
organizations can engage in technological and digital initiatives to expand
education, information, knowledge and communication.
 Technological development and information infrastructure in academic and
research information organizations must be supported through robust management
practices and massive utilization of resources. Comprehensive, security and control
practices must also be put in place to ensure protection of data and information
 Organizations and stakeholders need to recognize the power and insights of IoT
that has provided the platforms to access content anywhere anytime in any
technological device. Massive transformation and emerging trends in the digital and
internet environments are fundamental sustainable development practices that
enhance information change and innovation in organizations.

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Further reading
Kawatra, P.S. (2013), The Text Book of Information Science, PH Publishing House, New Delhi.
Appendix. Questionniare for respondents Innovation and
1. Name of informaon management instuon …………………………………….……………………………………….. internet of
1. Public University
2. Private University

2. Profession/occupaon …………………………………….………………………………..............................................

3. Informaon profession
4. Technology and compung


3. Select the factors responsible for the development of the internet of things in the contemporary
knowledge economy and society.

Development of Internet of Things Mulple Response Opons

Internet development
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Technological innovaon
Digital transformaon
Compung revoluon
Mobile revoluon
Quality services
Customer needs
Research and development

4. Rank the potenal capabilies and opportunies of the internet of things in academic and research
informaon organizaons. Mulple response answer, where 4=Excellent, 3=Good, 2=Fair, 1=Poor

Potenal Capabilies and Opportunies 4 3 2 1

Fountain of knowledge
Online informaon
Informaon automaon
Informaon portal
Educaon and research
Data and informaon analycs
E-learning support
Unlimited accessible
Communicaon plaorm
Online discussion
Polical, economic and social informaon
General informaon

5. State the significance of the internet of things in promong academic and research informaon
organizaons. Tick the appropriate opon.

Significance Internet of Things Posive Negave

Capability for informaon and knowledge
Reinvents informaon organizaons
Provides digital and internet informaon
Fosters innovaon and creavity
Data and informaon for planning and decision making
Supports research, teaching and learning
Promotes informaon markeng and branding
Promotes non academic funcons – finance, medical
Enhances green informaon technology pracces
Enables green informaon movement
Expands educaon, informaon and communicaon space
Needs massive financial resources
Informaon security and control
Hacking and virus issues
Informaon infrastructure
Supports green physical infrastructure
6. Menon the range of internet of things technologies applied in academic and research informaon
organizaons. On a scale of 1-6, pick the appropriate opon where 6=Strongly Important, 5=Very
Important, 4=Important, 3=Somewhat Important, 2=Not Important, 1=Don’t Know.

Internet of Things Technologies 6 5 4 3 2 1

Data analycs and dashboard
Mobile plaorm
Cloud compung
Digital or electronic informaon
Social media
Social compung
Wearable or bring your own device
Web of things
Enterprise informaon systems
Mulmedia applicaons
Digital informaon systems
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7. Indicate the leading internet of things technologies used to heighten access to knowledge and
learning in academic and research informaon organizaons from queson 6.


8. Select the technologies influencing and managing the applicaon of internet of things in academic
and research informaon organizaons.

Technologies Influencing Pick All Applicable Opons

Digital informaon
Social compung
Hyperconnecvity and networking
Automaon of informaon
Mobile smart applicaons
Cloud compung
Social media


9. Indicate the praccal strategies useful in enhancing effecve management of internet of things in
academic and research informaon organizaons.

Strategies for Managing Internet of Things Tick All That Apply

Provide adequate funding resources
Develop informaon infrastructure
Collaboraon and partnership
Policy formulaons
Modern buildings

10. Menon the fundamental and priority instuonal requirements that academic and research
informaon organizaons need to offer so as to achieve sustainable internet of things and
development goals.

Strategies for Managing Internet of Things Pick The Right Opons

Technology investment
Digital iniaves
Green informaon movement
Leadership and management

Corresponding author
Elisha Ondieki Makori can be contacted at:

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