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Information Use and Mobile Devices: A Study Amongst Library Users of Selected Medical Faculties in Sri Lanka


T. Ramanan ,

Eastern University, LK
About T.
Former Senior Assistant Librarian
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S. Santharooban

Eastern University, LK
About S.
Senior Assistant Librarian, Faculty of Health-Care Sciences
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A preliminary study was carried out as an initiative to probe into the possibilities of incorporating mobile apps and social networks in medical library services. Major objective was to find out the trend and preference of medical faculty students in using mobile devices for accessing information. The cross-sectional survey design was used with mixed method. Self-administered questionnaire was distributed among students of eight medical faculties in Sri Lanka and 120 filled questionnaires were received from six medical faculties. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and factor analysis. The use of a mobile device was analyzed through factor analysis. Cronbach’s alpha of the particular statements is 0.864 which indicate the adequate internal consistency of the statements and Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy (KMO) and Bartlett test value is 0.788 which indicate that the data is suitable for factor analysis. The factor analysis resulted in four-factor model, which explain 66.43% of variance in the data. The four factors are ‘educational use’, ‘entertainment use’, ‘basic communicational use’ and ‘free call use’. Since the factor - educational use explain highest percentage (39%) of variance in the data, it indicates that there is a potential to use mobile device for educational purposes. The results also have revealed that majority of the students (85.2%) retrieved medical information through web resources using mobile devices. They also collect information using personal communication especially from friends and lecturers (41.5%). Among the information sources which they use through the mobile devices, Google is at the first place (82.3%) and Wikipedia (80%) is in second place. Only 67.2% of them use the mobile device to read e-books. In the purpose of using mobile devices for educational purpose, highest usage was observed for retrieval of images (81.8%), information on drugs (76.6%) and clinical guidelines (72.3%). Slow Internet connectivity (77.9%), poor network or signal coverage (76.6%), and lack of Wi-Fi facilities in faculty settings (55.9%) are the major barriers to using of mobile devices. Despite the students are positive about mobile devices, they consider more about the authenticity of online information and lack of knowledge and awareness on access to medical information. Moreover, they were mostly inclined to Google and Wikipedia but were unaware of other online resources to access medical information. Therefore, adopting mobile devices in health/medical information literacy programmes and curricula are recommended with further research.
How to Cite: Ramanan, T. and Santharooban, S., 2019. Information Use and Mobile Devices: A Study Amongst Library Users of Selected Medical Faculties in Sri Lanka. Journal of the University Librarians Association of Sri Lanka, 22(1), pp.23–35. DOI:
Published on 30 Apr 2019.
Peer Reviewed


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