1.1 Background of the Study
The Nnamdi Azikiwe University Alumni Association has been in existence for a number of years but has not been able to become a viable entity. The association’s goal is to provide a professional network for the graduates of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University. The Alumni association is independent of the school in funding and administrative support. The Association administration is run through the efforts of volunteers and part-time hires.
The inability of the association to become a viable entity can be attributed to a few major factors. First, the fluctuations in the work force effort and the lack of consistent commitment to the association have caused inefficient and misguided efforts. The second major factor affecting the viability of the Alumni Association is the lack of an accurate and homogeneous database of the school’s alumni. Alumni records over the history of the school have been maintained in a variety of non-automated methods. Once a student graduates the records are archived, thus making access to these records difficult and time consuming.
This research work is focused on developing a computerized web based database management system to handle the data requirements of the association. The basic requirements for the system include the storing of alumni data for quick and efficient retrieval, which would also provide mechanisms for the updating of the stored data in an automated manner.
Increasing demand for accuracy, efficiency and effectiveness coupled with user friendliness has become the major strive of most organizations public or private. This fundamental requirement presents the notion that automated systems are not only indispensable part of every organization but is also a way of achieving accuracy, efficiency and stated effectiveness within the body.
Zuboff (1988) defines the process of automation as a service to perform tasks with great speed and accuracy.
An Automated Web based Database Management System is a way of bringing many methods of reporting and control into one working environment. Nnamdi Azikiwe University Alumni Association has variety of methods in the control, management and reporting thereby necessitating automation of the system.
Grammatikou et al., 2003 had found that databases and information retrieval technology had changed the ways organizations were producing reports by providing on spot and timely access from various locations.
The World Wide Web (WWW) became one of the most important media for sharing information resources. Programs, tracking of information, information monitoring, and various other types of resources could be accessed through the www (Bing et al., 2001). Research results, new findings, and other information could also be put on the web from anywhere at any time by the right people. Therefore, since www had provided a good infrastructure, Reports could be accessed centrally by management of alumni department using an integrated Management Information System through the Internet.
Harpreet (2002) mentioned that the use of WWW or computer system could enhance organizations and improve on their communication and therefore effectiveness in service delivery. Likewise, organizations and institutions today are being forced by the internet to move toward “teleworking”. Therefore, there was need for web-based computer system that could provide easy access of information online and also provide accessibility to information from anywhere, anytime. This necessitated management to have access to the database. This was done by registering them into the system and then giving the privilege to them once logged-in. This was provided at the login time and other unauthorized users denied access.
(Saucer et al., 1997) mentioned that systems could not be designed as stand-alone components since they had to communicate, interact, access the same data and share information with their organizational environment. Therefore, WWW should have come in to integrate part of an existing information system by providing well-defined interfaces to standard application systems such as database systems and computer networks.
An automated web based database management system is important for management of university alumni as well as for the staff and productivity. Unfortunately, the system seemed to be far-fetched, especially when it was done manually using many different methods of data manipulation. But with automation, only the administrator will have to be responsible for the manipulation of data using highly advanced and user friendly user interfaces. This of course will result in speed and accuracy in data handling Zuboff (1988).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Overtime, traditional approaches have been employed in the management of alumni information, and this approach is not flexible, efficient and productive. Keeping track of all students who passed through the university since its inception is obviously an uphill task as files containing information and details of these students may have been lost, damaged or even forgotten about. At times reports disappear as they are hard copies and tracing them becomes a problem.
The few computers in use are all stand-alone which has created a lot of loopholes in the system because there is no tracking and/or monitoring of the system for the information available in the department and there are no security measures in place.
Such complex scenarios were often not easy to satisfy manually because the process of managing data will be stressful due to numerous file handling, slow because of non-automation, inflexible due to disparity in information supplied and most likely repetition of records; thus the need for computer software, and a web based automated system as well as a centralized database.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of the study is:
To develop a viable web-based alumni database management system that will serve as a central data repository for all alumni information for Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. The system will perform the following objectives:
- To keep alumni information organized under administrative control no matter how disparate, fast changing or intricate it may seem.
- To incorporate automation in the storage and retrieval of alumni information
- To provide ease of access through the use of well-designed, user friendly interfaces and the World Wide Web.
- To incorporate security measures in data manipulation within the system.
1.4 Significance of the Study
A web-based alumni database management system for Nnamdi Azikiwe University will:
- Save time and cost.
- Automate the mechanism for search and retrieval of information.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is limited to designing a web-based alumni database system for Nnamdi Azikiwe University alumni, which will serve as a central repository for all information of her graduates.
1.6 Limitations of the Study
In the course of our study, some limitations were encountered. The limitations encountered include:
- Epileptic power supply and poor internet facilities
- Limited access to the staff handling alumni bio-data.
1.7 Definition of Terms
- Data: facts or information, especially when examined and used to find out other things or to make a decision.
- Data item: smallest named unit of data that has meaning in the real
- Record: group of related data items treated as a unit by an application program
- File: collection of records of a single type (examples: president, election)
- Database: an organized set of data that is stored in a computer and can be looked at and used in different ways
- Database management system (DBMS): a generalized software system for organizing and managing a large amount of data.
- Database administrator (DBA): person or group responsible for the effective use of database technology in an organization or enterprise.
- Object: is anything exhibiting a property and/or behavior of interest within the scope of the system under investigation.
- Messages: represent the interactions between objects in a system.
- Methods: are operations that are carried out on a message as it moves between objects.