Experts – Getting Started & Next Steps

Benefits of Hiring Landscape Designers and Contractors Planting flowers, shrubs, and trees and cleaning up the yard are best done during the spring and summer seasons. Waiting for the later summer will make these projects much more expensive and it will most likely consume a lot of your time. In this later time, it is … Continue reading “Experts – Getting Started & Next Steps”

Benefits of Hiring Landscape Designers and Contractors Planting flowers, shrubs, and trees and cleaning up the yard are best done during the spring and summer seasons. Waiting for the later summer will make these projects much more expensive and it will most likely consume a lot of your time. In this later time, it is not practical to be doing great projects but the best thing that a home owner can do is some simple landscaping. Planting is something that is not difficult to do. But this becomes a difficult task if you are planting something in a complex structure or if you want to create flower beds with mulch or stone and walkways with pavers. If we are simply talking about simple gardening activities, a lot of people will enjoy doing it, but it becomes a different story if there is a landscaping project that is aimed to transform your basic lawn to something more beautiful. If you are planning on a landscape project, you will note that the activities that need a great deal of time are designing, planning, and preparing stages. If all these three time consuming stages are taken care of, you the rest of the project can be done easily. After the preparation stages, come the actual physical work of transforming the lawn into a beautiful landscape.
The 5 Laws of Services And How Learn More
Because this take a lot of one’s time, it makes more sense to home owners to hire the services of a landscape contractor and designer. There are people who will simply purchase a piece of landscaping software but with this you will still need to pay for design fees. With landscaping software do not expect to get any savings but you can expect a higher landscaping cost.
The 5 Laws of Services And How Learn More
There are many things that a landscape software cannot do although perhaps it can allow you to choose plants to plant on certain locations, yet they are not able to determine if the location is ideal for that particular plant and they cant consider the future growth of roots and the other plants thriving near it. You can encounter problems if you follow software suggestions without considering the details of the place, like other plants nearby or water pipes nearby. With a landscape designer you can be sure that they have the experience and knowledge in planting the right kinds of plants at the right places, and this a software cannot match. You will be able to have your flower and rock garden fast if you hire the services of a professional landscape design and contractor. Landscaping work can be backbreaking and expensive, but hiring the services of a good landscaping contractor will spare you from this labor and will save you some extra costs especially when they start putting up the walkways, retaining walls, and water features of your landscape. If you wish to have your landscaping project done in the least amount of time, don’t do it yourself, but hire the services of the best landscaping contractor to do it for you. In the end, hiring the best contractor will not only save you time and effort, but you will end up having one of the best outdoors in the neighborhood.

Parallel Worlds

Is parallel universe theory a science fiction?

According to a mathematical discovery by Oxford scientists, there is a breakthrough which is described as one of the most important developments in the history of science.

This is very encouraging indeed, since parallel worlds belief is a very rich substance of ancient mythology and literature. And since I am an advocate of searching for the truth within the core of mythology which I believe is one of the major tools containing secret history of humanity and planet earth.

To get back to modern days, one of the pioneers of this theory was the famous US physicist Hugh Everett in 1950. He proposed that in many worlds universe whenever a physical possibility is explored the world splits off for each alternative outcome, each played in different universe, leading to alternative scenarios equal to the multiple universes splits.

The theory helps in making more sense in trying to answer to many mysteries surrounding Quantum Mechanics. But more interestingly it helps in making more sense of how a full record of our deeds may be archived by super beings for later use in our existential advancement. In other words, it explains the Day of Judgment where people are held accountable for their earthly deeds.

What may be understood from this is that if one commit to any act in our three dimensional world, this actual act would be archived in the plasmatic memory and stored for replay in another alternative dimension…

Currently there is a new research from Oxford gaining more grounds and offering a new mathematical answer deducing the main objections to such theory. This research reveals that Dr. Everett was on the right path to suggest the multiverse theory.

The basics of quantum mechanics are that particle positions can only be identified after observation, or else it remains in its superposition uncertain state spinning up and down changing position.

According to quantum mechanics, unobserved particles are described by “wave functions” representing a set of multiple “probable” states. When an observer makes a measurement, the particle then settles down into one of these multiple options, which is somewhat how the multiple universe theory can be explained.

The actual scientific research into multi universe stemmed from the arguments of time travel possibility and the manipulation of space time in order to solve its probabilistic hindering and outcome.

The whole idea of the existence of other dimensions is regarded to be the core of belief to heaven and hell concept to many religions and ancient cultures, and that is why it is very crucial to further research this theory to find a common ground between mythology, theology and modern science.

What may be learnt from ancient texts; some of it which is regarded divine to hundreds of millions of earth inhabitants.

The two sunsets and risings and more is a proof of parallel worlds with similar sun, and there is an indication in the Quran that there is more than one world, though interpretation varied whether the word Alamin stood for two as in alamayn or plural worlds as in alamin.

Then there is another verse that mentions the creation of seven skies by Allah and from earth similar to that, in Surat al Talak (65), verse;12: “God is He Who created seven Firmaments and of the earth a similar number”.

This is a very precise reference indicating the existence of six more Earth like planets, and by saying Earth like this presumably includes the inclusion of similar nature and life form.

Having said that, I need to hint to the obvious which is, if there are so many Earth like planets, how come none of them is observed during all of the efforts exerted by man ever since his creation to observe and study the stars. And since there is a reference for more than one sunrise and more than one sunset, that in itself would and without the benefit of a doubt lead us to conclude that those six remaining Earth like planets are coexisting within parallel worlds to our world.

Then there is another very interesting verse in Surat Al-Ana’am, No. 6, verse 133: “Thy Lord is Self-Sufficient, full of Mercy: if it were His Will, He could destroy you, and in your place appoint whom He will as your successors, even as He raised you up from the posterity of other people”.

This is another clear indication referring to a mixture of races which leads me to believe that what was mentioned in the book Enoch, the Emerald Tablets and other ancient references did refer to a hybrid race made out of Earthly Homo sapience and some other alien race that shares with us similarity in biophysical characteristics.

It is worth mentioning another reference in the Quran relating to Satan attempts to share with mankind children and other earthly wealth within our dimension as well. It says: (Surat Al-Isra’a, No.17, verse 64: “And arouse those whom thou canst among them, with thy (seductive) voice; make assaults on them with thy cavalry and thy infantry; mutually share with them wealth and children; and make promises to them.” But Satan promises them nothing but deceit).

Nevertheless, the belief of more than one world is shared by almost all known and recognized major religions regardless of race or creed, in addition to its being equally common by ancient mythology and legend.

After all, most of our kind believe in heaven and hell and the day of judgment, and most of us believe in good and evil, demons and angels, spirits and souls, the after death or afterlife, and the underworld, these and many other terms are used by us since ancient times only to describe in one way or the other the basics of a shared belief of other worlds, other dimensions and extra terrestrial beings. The pharaohs of Egypt preserved a very rich ancient culture of the afterlife, the book of the Dead, is but one of several to enrich it…

Going back to Quran, there is a reference for the God of the two sunrises and sunsets, (rabul mashriqain wa rabul maghribain in surat al Rahman), there is also another verse that refers to more than two sunrises and sunsets, it refers to a pluralistic perception of that, it says “Rabul Mashariq wa rabul magharib” in Surat Al-Safat, Surat Al-A’araf and in Surat Al-Ma’arij…

Surat Al-Rahman, No.55, verse 17: “(He is) Lord of the two Easts and Lord of the two Wests”.

Surat Al-Safat, No. 37, Verse 5: ‘Lord of the heavens and of the earth and all between them, and Lord of every point at the rising of the sun!”.

Surat Al-Maarij, No. 70, Verse 40: “Now I do call to witness the Lord of all points in the East and the West that We can certainly”.

Surat Al-A’araf, No. 7, verse 137: “And We made a people, considered weak (and of no account), inheritors of lands in both East and West– lands whereon We sent down Our blessings…”.

What makes it so intriguing in here is that Allah was addressing both the Jinn and mankind at the same time, as if he was hinting to the nature of which they coexist and interact together having a common fate and destiny created for servitude…

In the same Surat and while still addressing Jinn and mankind, HE, Allah indicates of the possibility for both kinds Jinn and man to exit from the gravitational force fields of the skies and earth with appropriate science. (Surat Al-Rahman, No. 55, verse 33: “O ye assembly of Jinns and men! If it be ye can pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, pass ye! not without authority shall ye be able to pass!”.

Note: the terms field was plural, the skies were plural, but the Earth was singular, that leaves me with no doubts that the other Earth like planets are coexisting within other dimensions parallel to ours sharing with us the same Sun and nature, the Sun at such worlds might reflect different rays and colors. Light rays could be purple or ultra violet, for there is a historical reference I once read in a book recording strange incidents one of which took place in a Spanish farm several hundred years ago, it stated that while the farmers and field workers of a specific landlord were working the fields they suddenly found a boy and a girl emerging to them out of the void, they looked like human but with some strange features, they spoke an unknown and unrecognized language or dialect, they could not eat any of our food, though the boy died while the girl managed to live on beans for several months, enough to learn few words from the educated daughter of the landlord and tell her story claiming to have come from another world of purple to ultra violet sun and that she and her brother were actually fleeing from a bad person who was chasing them, they entered into a cave and suddenly went into a portal bringing them to our world…

Just as important is the saying of Jesus; Psalm 23:4 “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil…”.

It is analytically clear that Jesus refers in here to another dimension that exists between death and life, the valley of the shadow of death. It is very crucial in here to pay extra attention to the word Valley, a valley exists between two mountains bordering it. Could that be an indication to another dimensional world bordered by life and death as other parallel dimensions!

And the Sun rises on a new Dawn.

There is one sun in our solar system, yet there are many dimensions and parallel worlds and there is you and me pursuing the truth.

I promise to keep you informed if you promise to keep interacting with me…


Adam El Masri

Challenges Facing The Library At West Africa Theological Seminary, Affiliate Of University Of Nigeri


The library has become “a place entrusted with the acquisition, organization, preservation, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information in whatever format it might appear” (Olanlokun and Salisu 1993, ix). West Africa Theological Seminary Library is at the crossroad. The traditional library practices and modern technological advances must be developed and embraced if it is to be relevant in this information age. It is a very high price which must be paid otherwise the library will eventually become like the legendary character who slept for twenty years at Gasgill Mountain in Gulliver’s Travels and eventually woke up to find the world completely changed.


The history of the above seminary could be realistically traced to the historic visitation by two American missionaries (Rev. Dr. and Rev. Mrs. Gary Maxey) who led a group of Nigerian and expatriate Christians to Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria in April 1989. (The Maxeys had initially worked creditably in religious education in Port Harcourt for seven years). The establishment of the seminary in 1989 was a practical demonstration of the need to actively participate in the training of pastors, evangelists, missionaries and teachers not only in Nigeria but also in other parts of the continent and the west. Presently, the seminary is the largest non-denominational evangelical holiness seminary in Nigeria that has attracted students from a broad spectrum of Nigerian Christian denominations, (and) ethnic groups. During a recently completed semester, WATS has students from thirty of Nigeria’s states, from over forty language groups, from (several) other African countries, and from well over eighty different church groups (West Africa Theological Seminary Prospectus 2004, 5).

The name of the seminary was changed from Wesley International Theological Seminary to West Africa Theological Seminary on 1 June 2001, the same year it relocated to 35/37 MM International Airport Road, Lagos, Nigeria. The institution is affiliated to the University of Nsukka, Nigeria and presently offers several programs of study including : Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Theology, Diploma in Theology, Certificate in Computer Studies, Diploma in Computer Studies, M.A. in Biblical Studies, Master of Divinity, M.A. in Christian Leadership and M.A. in Intercultural Studies. The seminary started publishing the West Africa Theological Seminary Journal in 2002.

One of the immediate plans of the seminary is to automate its library collection. A crucial aspect is to identify software that will be able to meet the needs of the seminary. In selecting software, the seminary must think in terms of networking and bear in mind that automation programmes normally require annual support fees.


It is a truism that “the library is the nerve center of educational institutions” (Olanlokun and Salisu 1993, vii) and West Africa Theological Seminary Library is no exception. This library uses the second edition of the Anglo American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) and the twentieth edition of Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC 20). The card catalog is divided, “a file of authors and titles kept in a single alphabetical order and a file of subject cards in alphabetical order” (Newhall 1970, 38) and the filing system is letter by letter, a system in which “entries are filed without considering the spaces between words” (Nwosu 2000, 61). There is a book catalog, which contains the projects (undergraduate and graduate) submitted by students of the seminary and some members of staff who studied in other institutions.

In 2003 the library benefited from a subscription paid by Asbury Theological Seminary to use the ATLA (American Theological Library Association) Database on CD Rom. This is a comprehensive tool designed to support religious education and faculty research. The library serves students, academic and administrative staff of the seminary and external users (academic staff and students from other theological institutions).

Other relevant information include:


A. During term: Mondays to Saturdays: 9:00 a.m. ? 10:30 p.m.

B. Holiday: Mondays to Fridays: 9:00 a.m. ? 9:00 p.m.

NO OF BOOKS: 36,500

NO OF journal titles: 98



THE BOOK CATALOG: Projects (both card and book catalog)



With the exclusion of the presenter, WATS library is presently manned by seventeen members of staff, nine of whom are student workers. These student workers mostly work in the evenings, manning the security and circulation desks (although no external borrowing is done during this period). In addition, they clean they library.


1. Training and recruiting professional librarians

Nine out of the seventeen members of staff are student workers who use this opportunity to raise a significant portion of their fees and, in some cases, some extra funds to maintain themselves as they pursue their theological studies. The presenter is unaware of any who has expressed interest in the library profession. Services rendered cannot be classed as professional. Unfortunately, only two of the regular members of staff have completed some form of library training at the senior supporting level. The implication is that the library is seriously in need of professional librarians otherwise it would continue to run sub-standard services. An irksome dimension is that in most cases, junior members of staff who are in the majority “are allowed to do professional duties in the absence of the right cadre who should do them” (Nwosu 2000, 103).

The card catalog for instance will be used to demonstrate the effect the paucity or lack of professional librarians is having on the library collection.

The most common form of library catalog in West Africa is the card catalog and “there is need for (one) to know the design of the system to be able to use it effectively” (Nwosu 2000, 57). A challenge for the library is to maintain a consistent filing rule. Although WATS library operates the system known as the “letter-by-letter” or “all-through” method, there are evidences of the other method, that is the “word-by-word” or “nothing before something”. The former is the common approach to alphabetization, where B must always come before C. In the latter, the space between words is taken into account since the focus is on each word. When it gets to the turn of the word in the alphabetic sequence, all its associates are considered along.

Marrying the two methods of filing or alphabetization may cost one the information that is needed.
Another problem is misapplication of the filing rules. The American Library Association Code (Rule 6) stipulates that “abbreviated words should be filed as if they were spelled out in full, with one exception, that is, the abbreviation Mrs. St. is therefore filed as if it were spelled Saint, and Mc… as Mac” (Harrison and Beenham 1985, 82). The above rule is unfortunately misapplied in WATS library. If the rule is not taken into consideration, the word scan will be filed before St. when it should be the other way round. In the same manner, the Dr. (doctor) will also be filed before down and not the other way round.

A third issue in filing (Rule 5) states that initials should be filed before words. (However, acronyms are treated as words, for example UNICEF, UNESCO, ECOWAS etc.) There are instances in the WATS catalog that this rule is not taken into consideration. A word like Aaron erroneously comes before A.G.M and A.L.A.

It is frightening that there is no clear room for upward mobility of library staff. In the absence of a professional scheme of service or promotion guidelines, members of staff have worked in one position since they received their appointment letters.

2. Computerizing the library

Some libraries in Nigeria have automated their services. Examples include the Institute of Tropical Agriculture Library at Ibadan and the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Library, Oshodi, Lagos. Others, including WATS Library, are on the verge of putting their automation plan into action.
Automation can benefit the Acquisition, Cataloging and Serial Departments in the following ways :
Acquisition : Automation can help in fund control as well as in generation and dissemination of reports. List of items, including the accession list can also be printed.

3. Acquisition

Acquisition is generally defined as “the process of obtaining books and other documents for a library, documentation center or archive” (Prytherch 1986, 61). Incontrovertibly, it is “one of the most important functions of any library system” (Ali 1989, 66). Some means of acquisition of library materials include purchase, donation, exchange, Legal Deposit Legislation and membership of professional organizations. In most libraries in West Africa, it is observed that
acquisition rates are grossly inadequate to support both teaching and research even if judged by minimal standards accepted in developed countries. Attempts to alleviate the situation with various forms of aid though intrinsically meritorious offer little hope for long term improvement (Allen 1993, 232).

Donated materials extensively stock West Africa Theological Seminary Library. Since beggars are not choosers, there is a significant proportion of dated publications. There are many reading materials which are not even relevant to the general curriculum of the seminary. Weeding ‘unwanted’ stock is a big problem to the library since there are no suitable replacements.
An often-overlooked means of acquisition is membership of professional associations. If the library continues to distance itself from the professional register of library institutions, it will not be aware of current trends in the professional which will negatively reflect on the type and quality of services rendered.

4. Internet connectivity

The WATS administration released a letter on 2nd January 2005 announcing a significant reduction (about 75%) of the internet service provided on campus. This was attributed to the reduction in the bandwidth which made it impossible to support all the former work stations. A technological blow was dealt on the library cyber café since it fell prey to this decision. Students were advised to use the cyber café on the ground floor. The seminary administration must support the library in its embryonic stage to judiciously embrace the new technology. On the other hand, the theological librarians have a very crucial role “to ensure that the resulting use of computers and telecommunication and any other appropriate technology contributes in cost effective ways to the needs of scholarship and research since (they) have the expertise in acquiring materials in a variety of formats and make them accessible for a variety of purposes” (Simpson 1984, 38).

5. Online resources

An online resource that was used at West Africa Theological Seminary (and which is highly recommended for other theological libraries in Africa) is the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) Religion Index, useful for accessing articles, reviews, essays, dissertations and monographs. The use of databases, which overlap subject fields, that is, interdisciplinary database searching, is an often over-looked aspect of online searching.Users of West Africa Theological Seminary Library do not have access to an incredible amount of online resources because it is not subscribing to use these materials. An example of a very important online resource is the Online Computer Library Centre (OCLC). This center, a bibliographic utility based in Dublin, Ohio is a global electronic information co-operative serving about 39,517 libraries in seventy-six countries. It runs an Online Union Catalog. There are approximately twenty eight million cataloguing records and the database (using MARC tapes and other online input data for users) provides reference services and interlibrary loan, qualifying it probably as the world’s most comprehensive database of bibliographic information that produces the First Search System through which a library can subscribe to thousands of academic and professional titles from about seventy publishers available electronically.

6. Functional photocopier

Although the library has a photocopier, the machine is frequently out of order. This second hand machine needs to be replaced to enable the library to realistically benefit from its services. The seminary administration even took a decision recently to hand over photocopying services to a student who is presently running a better business.

7. Audio visual collection

Audio visuals are non-paper based information carriers. They have been introduced into the library through advances in technology. They are called audio-visuals because they require auditory and visual appreciation. One of their chief advantages is storing a large amount of information in a small space. Audio visuals include audio tapes, microforms, filmstrips, charts, slides, video tapes, television etc. Some of these appeal only to the sense of hearing (audios), some only to the sight (visuals) and others to both the auditory and visual senses (audio visuals). Although WATS library has received quite a few audio visual materials, there is need to purchase the necessary supporting equipments to make the audio visual collection a reality.

The seminary has been receiving several research tools in the form of CD ROMS for a considerable period. The library is yet to make these available to users by installing them in a functional computer.

8. Bindery

It is true that “once any item is selected for the collection, the library promises to preserve it” (Goodrum and Dalrymple 1985, 65). The absence of a bindery collection within the library is adversely affecting the physical condition of books. It must be borne in mind that since a significant portion of library materials are donated, many are received in a very poor physical condition.

The bindery could also be very instrumental in binding back issues of newspapers and journals to facilitate a relatively easier storage, retrieval and dissemination of information.

9. User instruction

A major weakness of library practice is the failure to instruct users in the use of the library to the best advantage. From experience, “surveys have shown that public use of such tools as catalogues are minimal, largely because they have never been shown how they operate” (Jackaman 1989, 3). Many students in WATS go through the seminary without a reasonable grasp of basic library principles. This means that the one hour orientation conducted at the start of every semester is insufficient.

10. Serial collection

Various journals subscribed to by the library are selected, ordered and received, processed and shelved by this collection. It is constantly checked to determine if there are any missing issues already due but have not been received in order to make such claims. This section also stocks newspaper. The relevance of such an invaluable collection in the library cannot be overemphasized. It is unfortunate that WATS library is not subscribing to journals and this explains why there are many distinct gaps in periodical literature. The library is at the mercy of donors who normally send journals at random.

Newspapers are directly purchased by the WATS administration and these are subsequently sent to the library in most cases not on the day of purchase. This defeats the purpose of newspapers since they come late to the library. Providing recent information must be the primary concern for the library or information worker. Consequently, “currency should therefore be a requirement and not an option” (Wilson 1993, 636).

11. Heat in the library

The present heat in the library is detrimental to the books since humidity is a threat to their survival. If not sprayed periodically, fungi easily develop within the pages and damage the writing. Many researchers are unable to stay for a considerable period simply because of the discomfort caused by a very hot environment.

12. Internet searching

When the library cyber café was functioning, user statistics of users indicated that ninety percent of those who used the Internet did so to send mails and chat with friends. The remaining ten percent use it to conduct research and perform other functions. The insignificant percentage that uses it for research purposes heavily rely on Google. A student and a library staff opined that they adopt the ‘google only’ approach because they are not aware of any other cite.
It is observed that “most users locate (information) through subscription-free search engines such as Google” (Harding 2004). This over-reliance is a serious limitation. The effectiveness of Google is assessed thus:

A recent search on Google of ‘Ancient Near East’ resulted in over 150,000 results. While many of these are probably excellent sites, many more are probably not. The ETANA site, interestingly, does not appear in the first one hundred listings. Thus, the researcher who would benefit from access to ETANA but who does not know of its existence will likely not stumble across it using Google (Limpitlaw 2003, p.5).

It is rather unfortunate that even lecturers are incredibly proliferating reliance upon one web site (Google). The issue is that “if faculty researchers themselves are relying almost exclusively upon Google, however, how many of them are likely to encourage students to expand their searches beyond Google, to at least explore the resources and materials their libraries maintain?” (Norlin 2004, 56). The library staff must be very instrumental in directing users to many other relevant sites and free online libraries, for instance Africa Digital Library in South Africa. Continuing education for the library staff must be encouraged to enable them to be abreast of technological changes. It is opined that “a successful training program is also dependent on the commitment that top management shows for the training process” (Martey 2002, 14). An incontrovertible reality is that “librarians need to know how to access and filter what is on the web” (Rosenberg 1997, 15). Among several suggestions to shake the evident frost off the African church in its theological mission, Tienou (1990) proffers the improvement of theological libraries, and (by implication), the theological librarians who intersperse between the information and the user. The training of library staff and information professionals is very crucial in coping with the astronomically fast development that is evident in the information age. It is rather unfortunate that the theological librarians have not generally accompanied the introduction of Internet service at West Africa Theological Seminary Library with a thorough training on its use.

Indubitably, unless … librarians receive this staff training, there is a danger that the potential of this technology for sourcing and repackaging for information transfer will remain insufficiently exploited and that it will not become integrated with more traditional print-based library services” (Asamoah 2003, 17).

13. Funding

It is incontrovertible that “every good collection is an expression of adequate and sound financial backing, and no collection development can achieve this objective if it is financially handicapped” (Alemna 1994, 47). In their commentary on the challenge in the field of librarianship, it is observed that “library funding will probably be the issue which consumes the energy of library managers to the end of this century (and the next)” (Moore and Shander 1993, 19). WATS library must be realistically budgeted for if it is to continue to be the academic nerve center of the seminary.


Like Ato Yawson in Ama Ata Aidoo’s The Dilemma of a Ghost, the question is, shall WATS library go to Cape Coast (representing the traditional) or Elmina (representing the modern’)? In the field of librarianship, a realistic response lies “in preserving traditional services and embracing the technological advances” (Harding 2002, 9).

The following are proffered for consideration to assist WATS library to face the inescapable challenges:

1. Professionally trained staff

The library profession is in crises. It is observed that “the need to find and retain quality leadership for libraries is a core issue for the future” (Hisle 2002, 211). Library staff at WATS must be professionally trained. Acquisition of relevant library qualifications cannot be overemphasized. Relevant training must include use of software applications. The modern theological librarian is standing on a crossroad and must maintain a very useful balance between traditional and modern research techniques to be relevant in this information age. Substandard services will continue to be provided if staff are employed just because they are Christians with little emphasis on professional training. Theological librarians need the kind of training conducted by ACTEA (Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa) East Africa Library Staff Training Institute in Daystar University in Kenya in July 2004. Untrained librarians need courses in cataloguing and classification, management of the library and answering reference questions. Furthermore, they must receive training in searching the internet, using Boolean operators to consult full-text journals, accessing reference materials on CD Roms, using MARC, and compiling lists of important websites and reference CDs.

Seminary, library, training, recruiting, librarians,

2. Scheme of service

In order not to make a continued mockery of the library profession, it is recommended that the professional guidelines for the appointment and promotion of library staff at all levels be drafted and implemented. The seminary administration could compare the scheme of service of several institutions in Nigeria and the sub-region as a guide to reasonably maintain the standard.

Positions which should be taken into consideration within the various categories include:

a. Junior staff

i. Messenger/cleaner

ii. Library attendant III

iii. Library attendant II

iv. Library attendant I

v. Library assistant I

vi. Library assistant II

vii. Library assistant III

b. Senior supporting staff

i. Trainee Librarian/Senior Library Assistant II / Admin. Assistant II

ii. Senior Library Assistant I / Admin.

c. Senior staff

i. Library Officer

ii. Librarian II

iii. Librarian I

iv. Senior Librarian

v. Deputy Librarian

vi. Head Librarian

The criteria for scoring senior library staff should be taken into consideration. Some of these areas include :

Academic and professional qualifications

Professional/working experience

Professional activities

Research and publications

Administrative experience

3. Revamping of internet services in the library

The library cyber café must be resurrected if the library is to be relevant in this technological age. The library staff should receive training that will enable them to creditably handle databases in their library.

4. User instruction

The library should be more proactive in user education strategies. More current awareness or selective dissemination of information should be done to attract students and staff. A course on the use of the library could be introduced as a compulsory subject for all categories of students. It is evident even in West Africa Theological Seminary that “librarians can no longer assume the same level of interest in and support for the library from a faculty that increasingly rely upon their own search strategies and abilities in an electronic world they can access from their offices” (Norlin 2004, 56). Theological librarians need to be carefully attuned to the concerns of the students and faculty. If librarians at WATS discharge professionalism in identifying the problem of the researcher, searching for specific pieces of information efficiently and expeditiously and transmits the result of the search by any convenient means to both faculty and student users (telephone, email, personal call, short letter to mention a few), the interest in the library as information intermediary would gradually be revamped.

The library of West Africa Theological Seminary should spend several weeks offering “faculty only” and “students only” training sessions on the use of American Theological Library Association database (after paying the current subscription). An incontrovertible fact is that “unless theological librarians consciously view the faculty (and students) as the primary target for (their) activities, (they) would become irrelevant to…students, faculty, administrators and institutions” (Norlin 2004, 55).

5. The role of the seminary administration

Management at WATS must recognize that the library is not an optional extra and that the impending doctoral programme in the seminary will only become a reality when the library attains a particular professional standard. Seminary authorities must support its progress by developing existing collections (for instance, subscribing to scholarly journals for the serials collection) and by assisting in the setting up of a vibrant Digital Library Collection which should be manned by a professional librarian. Providing server upgrades and disk storage space must be seriously considered. There should be regular in-service training to assist library staff gain relevant skills in information technology.

The issue of funding cannot be overemphasized. The WATS Library can only be relevant in this information age if the seminary administration would recognize “the centrality of its academic nerve centre (the library) and ensure the sustainability of the library programmes and services” (Harding 2002, 9). Introduction of user charges, more fund raising activities in the library (such as book sales), increase in the support from donor agencies could yield an increase in income needed to purchase and maintain necessary equipment.

When the library is adequately funded, it will be in a position to subscribe to relevant journal titles, purchase standard theological texts, build a vibrant audio visual collection, provide air conditioning facilities to control the heat, replace the photocopier and provide other necessary services as and when necessary.

Professionally trained staff, scheme of service, revamping of internet services in the Computerize, cataloging, acquisition, internet, user instruction, audio visual, serial, bindery, funding, scheme of service,

6. Membership of professional organizations

WATS library should enroll as an institutional member of professional library associations such as Nigeria Theological Library Association, Christian Librarians’ Association for Africa, American Theological Library Association and Christian Librarians’ Fellowship. (The presenter is a member of all but the former). It was through the American Theological Library Association that the author was informed that the twenty second edition of the Dewey Decimal Library (DDC) classification has been published. (WATS is using the twentieth edition). The DDC numbers include all headings newly mapped to the 200 Religion Schedule, as well as others considered to be of interest to theological libraries.

Below is an illustration:

Subject heading Call number

All Souls’ Day in art 704.9493943

Islamic modernism 297.09

Nymphs (Greek deities) in art 704.9489221

Open-air preaching 206.1, 251

Social capital (Sociology) ? Religious aspects 201.7

Venus (Roman deity ) in art 704.9489221

(Osmanski 2003, 2-1)

7. Computerization


It is indubitable that the role of the library as information intermediary would never change. However, the means to fulfill this invaluable role keeps changing and the library must adapt to maintain its relevance. WATS library is a unit of a self-supporting institution with several challenges. Traditional library practices must be fully developed and the best of modern technology must be embraced. This high price must be paid as the library journeys to ‘Cape Coast’. The seminary librarians have a major challenge to move from being mere keepers of the book to guides through a universe of knowledge, thereby playing an invaluable role as information intermediary (Kargbo 2002). Since the mission of the library to facilitate the free flow of information endures even in the midst of technological changes, the librarians in all types of libraries, including WATS, “must find a very useful balance between the conventional/traditional library functions and the methods of the new challenges in order to maintain their leadership role in (the) information age” (Harding 2002, 10). Librarians in West Africa Theological Seminary could only be relevant in this age if they gear up to possess the necessary skills to enable users to creditably use materials for reading, study and consultation in whatever format they might appear. This cannot be realized without the invaluable support of the seminary administration. With this realization, “the students will be taught the art of electronic information retrieval, which they can use to write their project work and thesis” (Asamoah 2003, 17).


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It’s Crucial That University Record Keeping is Efficient

Schools and universities deal with thousands of students and millions of files. It is crucial that university record keeping is efficient because there are always times when student records need to be accessed. Most information is kept electronically, but still there are always paper files to deal with. Whether it be in the university administrative office or the professors, a document management software system is helpful.

If any of this information was to become lost or misplaced, that could cause a range of problems, some of which might affect the future of students needing essential information from their records.

Archaic systems really can’t cope with today’s modern education system. Universities offer such a wide variety of subjects that it’s impossible to keep up with them. If you have to locate a particular file in a storeroom full of dusty old files, it could take forever.

It is vital that all schools, colleges and universities have an efficient document management system in place that is user-friendly and enables every file to be easily located. Qualifications are vital for certain jobs and information may need to be verified by potential employers before hiring someone.

Some students study at more than one university over the course of their life. Teachers may need to confirm information about the student such as grades, diplomas and degrees or other pertinent details with staff at a previous university staff. A modern, computer-based filing system will speed up this process enormously.

Records retention guideline policies must be followed. Proper record keeping practices ensure that all university records, whether they’re digital or paper based, are easy to locate, retrieve, and are credible. To achieve this, files must be maintained by the best possible document management system. These practices also apply to inactive records that must be retained for legal purposes.

Some records must be kept or archived for legal or financial reasons, for future administrative needs or because of historical significance. Retention periods for other records may be determined by university policies.

An efficient document management software is more crucial in today’s modern computer age, because a lot of the work students do is on a computer. Instead of having to turn every assignment into a paper-based document for grading, CDs, DVDs and other formats are now mediums that are permissible for assessment. Such documents can also be stored in this same format, which reduces the volume of paper wastage and the amount of room needed for such storage.

At the end of each year, files can be sorted, stored, archived or destroyed as required. The document management software that is used can track throughout the life-cycle of the files.

Because the management of any filing system is complex, universities generally have staff that are responsible for ensuring all filing is carried out correctly.

It would be a huge job when first converting to a more efficient document management system because details about all files would have to be entered into the computer and a standardized labeling system implemented to reduce duplication which can easily occur due to many teachers dealing with the same students.

Generally departments are responsible for their own filing and everything must be coordinated so it’s done the same way for the whole university, even if there is more than one campus.

Email is a necessary part of university life. A large proportion of a university’s operational communication is carried out via email. It’s widely used for: contact with students, advice of meeting arrangements, instructions, negotiations, authorizations, development of policies, employment matters, university announcements and circulation of reports and committee minutes.

Since most of these emails are deemed to be official records, it is necessary to ensure they are effectively and efficiently managed.

Email transmissions may also be requested as evidence in legal proceedings or criminal investigations. It’s vital that emails be filed properly and be easy to locate if urgently needed.

It is crucial that university record keeping is efficient, because it helps meet legal and financial obligations, and saves time and money when filing, and especially, when in need of locating files.