Friday, December 3, 2010

about library 2.o

what is library 2.0:

Library 2.0 is a new way of providing library service through new Internet technologies, with emphasis on “user-centered” change and interaction. Like Web 2.0, a full-featured Library 2.0 OPAC gets better the more that users are involved in the process of interacting with the catalog and sharing content.
Browser + Web 2.0 Applications + Connectivity = Full-featured OPAC

Friday, September 3, 2010

Open Access and the Library's Missing Mission

Dorothea Salo has an interesting post at the Book of Trogool. She wonders about the mission of academic libraries, and about one paradox in particular: Can libraries support the open access movement by reallocating funds from paying for content to providing support for open access publications, or does that somehow go against the library's mission to support its local clientele?

I should back up a moment and define some terms. Most academics are now familiar with the Open Access movement, an effort to make scholarship free to all rather than intellectual property owned by publishers and only available to those who can pay for it or are affiliated with institutions that will purchase it on their behalf. Many libraries have supported open access by providing the technical infrastructure and human support for archiving materials ininstitutional repositories. These local archives make various kinds of digital publications created by the institution's faculty, staff, and students available to the world. Salo, author of a famous article about why institutional repositories fail to thrive (with the memorable title, "Innkeeper at the Roach Motel"), has challenged libraries to be more strategic about repositories, rather than operate on the "build it, and they will come" philosophy. We know from experience that doesn't work.

She is frustrated when she hears librarians say that if they had to cancel a journal to put funds into open access, they would be betraying their clientele, because the library's mission is to serve their community, not the world. The political reality is probably more of a hurdle. Canceling a journal to support a new initiative will cost a library significant social capital, even if the journal is rarely consulted. But many journals are now bundled into "big deals," so canceling a single journal isn't even an option. It's all or nothing, even if most of the journals in the big bundle are of no interest to anyone at a given institution.

These Big Deals are a huge headache. True story: we recently faced a $12,000 increase in cost for one journal database when its publisher decided in the middle of an academic year to discontinue a Not So Big Deal. We had to go with the Giant Economy Size Deal that cost close to $40 K or cancel our subscription entirely. We asked what it would cost to subscribe to just the handful of journals we really needed. They came back with a quote of $90 thousand. I am not making this up. Since we really needed those journals, we ended up with the Giant Economy Size Deal, even though we really couldn't afford it.

The fact is, in the Big Deal era we aren't really using our resources to build a collection around what our local community needs. We're accommodating those expressed needs by subscribing to journals we don't want or we're buying one article at a time for users, with the library getting nothing out of the transaction but the bill. The most recent Ithaka survey of faculty confirms that libraries are increasingly being seen as the purchaser of information, but not a communal resource or a cultural institution. We are in danger of becoming no more than a purchasing office for disposable goods.

Salo questions the short-term wisdom of building an institutional repository, then starving it of staff and adding to it only things that are easy to acquire but which won't help solve the financial crisis caused by escalating journal prices. As she puts it, "we can keep feeding the same broken system in hopes it will become less broken. ... Or we can place some longer-term bets, with the explicit understanding that some of them will turn up losers." Her conclusion: "I’d rather place the longer-term bets, myself."

I agree. It's hard to take any access away from our students and faculty. But hey, they're used to it. At my college, we've had to sit down with the departments three times in the last ten years to decide which journals to cut. That's what happens when your budget doesn't keep up with increasing prices and you've already cut all the fat.

The fact is, we're no longer in control of our mission. We can't tailor our collections to the specific needs of our clientele; publishers won't let us. Rather than wait for the whole thing to come crashing down around us, we need to take a good look at where we're putting our resources. Right now a huge percentage of our library budgets go to renting temporary access to walled gardens planted by publishers who decide what grows there. This is not sustainable. It's not a responsible use of resources. We need to work with those who create knowledge to find a model that serves all of our needs and not just locally, but globally.

I'm looking at you, faculty. Are you ready to help us figure this out?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Requirement for library automation:

1. HARDWARE FOR STAND ALONE SYSTEM Pentium with 128mb RAM 20GB HD ; 1.44mb FDD 833 mhz; CD Drive Color Monitor, Multimedia
PRINTER 132 Column line printer
BACKUP SYSTEM Cartridge backup of 1GB
2. HARDWARE/OPERATING SYSTEM/SHAREWARE FOR NETWORKING Server (Pentium) Same as item no. 1 1.4 ghz; 256mb RAM; (IBM) 40 GB HD; CD-ROM Drive Hub (8 PORTS) UNIX ,NOVELL or NT (for 128 users) Ethernet CARD UPS (30 Minutes) Cabling Cat 5 (Rate per mt) Fiber Optic (Rate per mt) *Telephone *Subscription to VSNL E-mail + Internet (500 hours) Modem 52 kpbs 32 kpbs 28 kpbs
LANBIT FISC CDm Server OR Snap Server
Note. The prices indicated were taken at the time of publication of this paper.
150000=00 3000=00 100000=00 50000=00 2000=00 35000=00 50=00 500=00 3000=00 15000=00 7000=00 6000=00 4000=00

Introduction: Library automation which started in late 70s in few special libraries has now reached most of the university libraries. It is yet to take off in college libraries in India owing to various problems. This paper tries to identify the barriers, analyze the convenient steps in automating the library and the technology available.
Why library automation: Even though this question seems to be very fundamental it is essential to emphasize this aspect as the library automation is yet to take off in majority of the Indian libraries. Secondly, while justifying need for library automation more than cost-effectiveness the benefits derived by the library users become the major consideration. Since library does not happen to be an economic entity such benefits need to be looked at in a different perspective. To appreciate the advantages it becomes necessary to highlight the different levels of library automation. For convenience it can be visualized at four levels:
Library cataloging system
House keeping operations and networking
Development of CD-ROM library / products
E-mail system and internet The library catalogue or index to the collection forms the base for most of the library activities such as acquisition, reference, bibliographic service, inter-library loan etc. The users of library card catalogue will appreciate how fast is the retrieval, search and printing in automated environment. If the same system is available in network environment, users can have simultaneous access to the same database. From the library staff point of view the cumbersome job of printing the cards and their subsequent filing gets eliminated. Also, it conserves space and saves stationary.
The second level automation will be to use a software which can handle all the house keeping operations of the library such as acquisition, circulation and serial control thus creating a network within the library or becoming part of the existing network of the institution. Networking of computers within an organization helps the users to browse the cataloguing system from any of the workstation/ terminal.
A very handy technology available for library is the CD-ROM products which can be considered at the third level. The development of CD-ROM collection not only conserves space but also provides multi-user access in network environment. There are many self-tutorial CD-ROMS available with multi-media effect. Libraries facing high incidence of mutilation of materials will benefit from such electronic products. Also people doing empirical research can download data and directly take it to other software platform for analysis and making graphical presentation.
Other technology which libraries can make use of is the e-mail system. This not only reduces the recurring expenditure but also be effective and fast. Sending reminders for non-receipt of journals by e-mail has proved to be very cost-effective. In addition to this, sharing of resources among libraries become easy. Few public domain e-mail software are available and there will be no additional expenditure incurred.
Another technology which has revolutionized the information world is the development of internet. Subscribers of internet, in addition to getting access to various public domain databases and services, will also get free e-mail and fax facility. Some publishers have started giving content pages of journals and libraries having subscription to such journals can also have full text of the articles. Many academic and research institutes have given free access to their working papers.
Barriers of library automation: Following could be the few possible barriers of library automation:
i . Fear of adverse impact on employment ii . Apprehension that the technology could be too expensive iii . The library staff have to undergo extensive training. iv. Lack of support from the management, may be owing to budget constraints v. Fifth reason could be retrospective conversion of data.
Let us examine each of the points. If we analyze the various jobs such as book acquisition, technical processing, circulation and reference service one can conclude that human interference is necessary at each and every step. The only area where substantial manpower can be saved is the cataloguing. The data entered at the time of ordering can be used for cataloging with some updation would eliminate multiple card preparation and subsequent filing. The manpower thus saved can be utilized in retrospective conversion and later on for analytical cataloguing or introducing new services. Therefore, there will be no adverse impact on employment.
There is an apprehension that the technology, both hardware and software would be expensive and unaffordable. The cost of hardware and software depends on the level of automation. From the user point of view cataloguing system is most important and also forms the base for other library activities. Keeping these two points in view UNESCO developed a PC based software titled 'CDS/ISIS' and is available at a very nominal price to all the libraries in developing countries. For details librarians may contact ATIRA/NISSAT.
This software which works on a simple IBM compatible PC/XT is also available on UNIX and NOVELL platform. Recently the WINDOWS version has also been released. This software can export data in ISO 2709 format and therefore at later stage if one decides to go in for some other software, data transfer poses no problem. INFLIBNET has developed a public domain library software titled 'ILMS' which is available on DOS AND UNIX platform. With the recent government policy the PCs and other accessories have become affordable. The cost of different hardware has been listed in the annexure I.
The in-house training for handling the software is usually provided by the developers and one can choose the software which can suit their budget. However, training for CDS/ISIS is available at INSDOC, INFLIBNET and DRTC. For further information on training programmes one can contact NISSAT. The training of library staff also depends on the level of automation. If one decides to go only for cataloguing a minimum training of one or two weeks duration will enable the librarians to develop a database and maintain it. With this basic training one can easily transfer the same data on a server/main machine in a network environment. The job becomes easy as most of the institutions have systems department with computer professionals maintaining the network.
Fourthly lack of support from the management, may be owing to budget constraints, will be one of the barriers. Here the role of librarians becomes crucial in convincing the management that the users of libraries will also be the major beneficiaries of automation. Also, the skill and initiative play a major role in convincing the management.
The fifth reason could be retrospective conversion of data. As mentioned earlier the manpower saved could be utilized for retrospective conversion and later on for analytical cataloguing. However, most of the libraries have taken time bound project for this purpose.
Selection of library software: As mentioned earlier, if a library wants to make a beginning; CDS/ISIS is best suited as it involves minimum investment on both hardware and software. Once a database with bibliographic details is developed, the same data can be used for circulation activities. Here the selection of software becomes crucial because CDS/ISIS can efficiently handle only the cataloguing system. Following criteria might help the librarians to select the right software for other housekeeping operations:
Who are the developers, whether an institution, or reputed company or few individuals. The preference is for institution and second preference is for the reputed company. One has to be skeptical about the software developed by individuals as there will be no continuity
How many times the software has been revised since the time of its first launch.
How many parameters are available for each module. More the parameters better will be the flexibility and needs no or minimum customization.
Whether the software has facility to import bibliographic data available in ISO2709 format and similarly export of data in this format
Training and guidance after installation
Whether available on major operating systems.
Whether it is web interfaceble
Whether it can be interfaced with the e-mail system of the campus network.
Whether it has taken care of Y2K compliant
How many installations it has got in the country, since when and major clients.
Whether it can offer OPAC and different rights to different logins Conclusion: This paper attempts to give some idea for beginners in library automation. Even though wide range of technology/products are available, it is necessary for librarians to keep a watch on the developments and to choose appropriate technology depending on the needs. Also, it is very important for librarians to interact with computer professionals as the library automation at all levels needs good co-ordination among both these professionals.