EnglishGeneralICT and InformationLibrary Science

Automated Library System

An automated library system usually consists of a number of functional modules, such as acquisitions, circulation, cataloguing, series and an OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue). An “integrated” library system is an automated system, as described above, in which all of the functional modules share a common bibliographic database. The National Library of Medicine used the term “integrated” in referring to a system in which all automated library functions are processed against a single, master bibliographic file.Automated Library
In a system, which is not integrated, there might be a bibliographic record in the catalogue for a book and if that book were to be checked out, there would be another bibliographic for it in a circulation file. In an integrated system, there would be one bibliographic record for a book, probably created when the book was ordered, then expended when it was catalogued. If that book were to be checked out, the patron record for the borrower would be attached to the bibliographic record, but there would not be a duplicate bibliographic record for the book in a circulation file. There are some systems which have duplicate bibliographic records but which are considered to be integrated because changes to bibliographic records are automatically propagated. For example, a change made to a bibliographic record
in the acquisitions file would automatically be made to the duplicate bibliographic record in the catalogue. In this quasi-integrated systems, some type of linking mechanism facilities movement between the modules and their duplicate files.
There are several different ways the integration of a system can be accomplished. A library can:
  • Buy an integrated system, including a number of functional modules, from a single vendor;
  • Purchase a variety of modules from a variety of vendors and interconnect them; or
  • Implement any number of purchased modules, from either one or multiple vendors, and then connect them to sources of information outside in the library.

 

Selection of Automated Library Software:

If a library wants to make a beginning; CDS/ISIS, KOHA or SOUL 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 and KOHA is a open source software and nobody can give the proper attention for maintenance. SOUL is good package but its need more feature such as ISO 2709 format, web interface and compatibility of digital and security system. So librarians should keep in mind the following criteria to select the right software for library 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.
  • How many times the software has been revised since the time of it 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 improve 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 interface.
  • Whether it can be interfaced with the email system of the campus network.
  • Whether it has taken care to 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.
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Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

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