ICT and Information

Barriers of Library Automation

Following could be the few possible barriers of Library automation:
  1. Fear of adverse impact on employment: 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 cataloguing with some updating 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. Therefor, there will be no adverse impact on employment.
  2. Apprehension that the technology could be too expensive: That 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 point in view INFLIBNET developed a PC based software titled ‘SOUL’ is available at a very normal price in INDIA. Based this ‘CDS/ISIS, and ‘KOHA’ MARC based open software are available.
  3. The library staff have to undergo extensive training: The in-house training for handling the software is usually provided by the vendor who supplied the software. However, training for CDS/ISIS is available at NISCALL, INFLIBNET and DRTC. The training of library staff also depends on the level of automation. If one decides to go only for cataloguing a minimum training for 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.
  4. Lack of support from the management, may be owing to budget constraints: The 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.
  5. Fifth reason could be retrospective conversion of data: 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.

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Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

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