EnglishICT and Information

ICT and Academic Libraries

Introduction:

Information is not only very essential as a resource for national development, it is also very essential for the success of libraries and information centers in India. The acquisition and application of ICT facilitates access to a wide range of information resources and databases irrespective of their geographical locations, distance impedance and time. Application of ICT in libraries has helped librarians and information specialists, and researchers to improve their information products and services through enhanced search outcomes in terms of specificities of documents retrieval, provision/dissemination and use of requisite information retrieved or generated. ICT has become an important field for all information professionals; this is because of perceived relevance, and practical applications to tasks in libraries and information centre’s (Aina, 2004). ICT therefore includes the technologies use for communication and information handling. Foremost among the ICT components that have offered these opportunities include; computers, Internet, telefacsimile C.D ROM and electronic based-devices whose users depend largely on telecommunication facilities or gadgets.

Importance of ICT in libraries:

The application of ICT has drastically transformed the way of collection, storage and retrieval of information in libraries. Particularly, the internet has completely transformed the traditional libraries into digital libraries. “Using the internet information may be accessed from anywhere of the universe. The arrival and proliferation of electronic resources and digital libraries have already influenced the way users use print resources and traditional libraries. It has also sparked a new wave of literature on the perception and preference of print and electronic resources” (Ziming Liu, 2006). Digital age has a tremendous change in the way of information is stored and accessed. “Many new terms viz., „digital libraries”, „libraries without walls”, „virtual libraries” are emerging to describe the libraries of present day age. A digital library is popularly viewed as an electronic version of library where storage is in digital form, allowing direct communication to obtain material and copyright it from a master version” (Burns, 1984).

As the world is growing technologically, library operations in various locations in the world are no longer how they use to be. Libraries in India since the beginning of the 21st century have started making efforts to metamorphose from being institutions driven by manual processes into modern ones where operations are in part or wholly dependent on ICT applications. The versatility of ICT driven library operations that would adequately and efficiently meet the information needs of patrons has been widely acknowledged in extant literature to the extent that most academic libraries in India are positively inclined towards computerizing their operations. Although none of the academic libraries in the country has completely been automated or computerized, many are at varied and deferring stages of adaptation in having their operations ICT driven or ICT dependent. Academic libraries are libraries that are attached to post secondary institutions and they are as varied and distinctive as the institutions they are established to serve providing information services to faculty members, students, researchers and other scholarly inclined persons. Academic libraries can be categorized into university libraries and non-university libraries (Aina, 2004). Universities libraries are the best developed type of academic libraries in India; they are better funded compared with other types of libraries, they provide the type of information services that could be found elsewhere in the world.

ICT and Academic libraries:

Academic libraries in India make use of ICT as tools to meet the information need of users who in this context are students and faculty staff. Academic libraries are established to support the objectives of their parent institutions which are to promote teaching, learning and research. Therefore, academic libraries are expected to serve the students, lecturers and other members of the academic community. To meet the information need of users, academic libraries provide various services such as user education (orientation/instruction services), inter-library loan/connection services, abstracting and indexing services, referral services and circulation services. Other services provided include library book loan, reference services, photocopying, online services, compilation of reading list and bibliographies, e-mail, internet connectivity, CD-Researching and publishing(Ifidon, 2006). ICT in libraries has changed the mode of information storage and retrieval, acquisition, cataloguing and classification, circulation of materials, serials control, management statistics and administrative activities such as budgeting. This achieved the provision of more efficient information services to the users and the overall improvement in the performance of the libraries and other related information institution (Chisenga,1999).Librarians, therefore, are encouraged to soil themselves with the challenges of grabbing this opportunity of learning the new skills to use the multimedia in information packaging, repackaging and delivery for optimal service delivery in the 21st century.

ICT has impacted on every sphere of academic library activity especially in the form of the library collection development strategies, library building and consortia. ICT presents an opportunity to provide value-added information services and access to a wide variety of digital based information resources to their clients. Furthermore, academic libraries are also using modern ICTs to automate their core functions, implement efficient and effective library cooperation and resource sharing networks, implement management information systems, develop institutional repositories of digital local contents, and digital libraries: and initiate ICT based capacity building programs for library users.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has brought unprecedented changes and transformation to academic library and information services, conventional LIS such as OPAC, users services, reference services, bibliographic services, current awareness services, Document delivery, interlibrary loan, Audio visual services and customer relations can be provided more efficiently and effectively using ICT, as they offer convenient time, place, cost effectiveness, faster and most-up-to-date dissemination and end users involvement in the library and information services process. The impact of ICT characterized on information services by changes in format, contents and method of production and contents and method of production and delivery of information products. Emergence of internet as the largest repository of information and knowledge, changed role of library and information science professionals from intermediary to facilitator, new tools for dissemination of information and shift from physical to virtual services environment and extinction of some conventional information services and emergence of new and innovational web based.

History of ICT:

ICT is an acronym that stands for Information and Communications Technology. ICT is the integration of information processing, computing and communication technologies. ICT is changing the way we learn, work and live in society and are often spoken of in a particular context, such as in education, health care, or libraries. A good way to think about ICT is to consider all the uses of digital technology that already exist to help individuals, businesses and organizations use information. ICT covers any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form and is concerned with these products. Importantly, it is also concerned with the way these different uses can work with each other. For example, personal computers, digital television, email, robots.

A look at what we use at home, in the office, in school, or at any business or social function finds many devices equipped with computer chips. They include access cards, mobile phones, point of sales scanner, medical instruments, TV remote controls, microwaves ovens, DVD players, digital cameras, PDAs, etc.

IT defines as Information Technology, consists of study, design, advance development, accomplishment, support or administration of computer foundation information system, mostly software application and computer hardware. Information technology works with the use of electronic computers and computer software to renovate, defend, development, and broadcast and other information. Information technology has overstuffed to cover many features of computing and technology, and this word is more familiar than ever before. Information technology subject can be quite large, encompassing many fields. IT professionals perform different types of responsibilities that range from installing applications to designing complex computer networks.

IT professional’s responsibilities are data management, networking, database, software design, computer hardware, management and administration of whole system. IT (Information Technology) is combined word of computer and communications or “InfoTech”. Information Technology illustrates any technology which helps to manufacture, manipulate, accumulate, communicate or broadcast information. Recently it has become popular to broaden the term to explicitly include the field of electronic communication so that people tend to use the abbreviation ICT (Information and Communications Technology).

The term “information technology” evolved in the 1970s. Its basic concept, however, can be traced to the World War II alliance of the military and industry in the development of electronics, computers, and information theory. After the 1940s, the military remained the major source of research and development funding for the expansion of automation to replace manpower with machine power. Since the 1950s, four generations of computers have evolved. Each generation reflected a change to hardware of decreased size but increased capabilities to control computer operations. The first generation used vacuum tubes, the second used transistors, the third used integrated circuits, and the fourth used integrated circuits on a single computer chip. Advances in artificial intelligence that will minimize the need for complex programming characterize the fifth generation of computers, still in the experimental stage.

The first commercial computer was the UNIVAC I, developed by John Eckert and John W. Mauchly in 1951. It was used by the Census Bureau to predict the outcome of the 1952 presidential election. For the next twenty-five years, mainframe computers were used in large corporations to do calculations and manipulate large amounts of information stored in databases. Supercomputers were used in science and engineering, for designing aircraft and nuclear reactors, and for predicting worldwide weather patterns.

Minicomputers came on to the scene in the early 1980s in small businesses, manufacturing plants, and factories.

In 1975, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed microcomputers. In 1976, Tandy Corporation’s first Radio Shack microcomputer followed; the Apple microcomputer was introduced in 1977. The market for microcomputers increased dramatically when IBM introduced the first personal computer in the fall of 1981. Because of dramatic improvements in computer components and manufacturing, personal computers today do more than the largest computers of the mid-1960s at about a thousandth of the cost.

Computers today are divided into four categories by size, cost, and processing ability. They are supercomputer, mainframe, minicomputer, and microcomputer, more commonly known as a personal computer. Personal computer categories include desktop, network, laptop, and handheld.

Types of ICT based Resources in Libraries:

a. Electronic Books and Texts: The emergence of e-books came into existence inl 970s with Project Gutenberg. Later in the 1980s and 1990s book vendors renowned the potentials of providing e -books in CD-ROM form. Reading e-books devices like Rocket e-book were developed in the first part of the millennium. The idea of e-books is not new, these can be read online or offline as different devices like PDAs and pocket-PCs. A good number of e-books are available on interne free of cost such as Bartlebay.com, Books-On-Line.com, free online books (Sharma et al, 2010). E-books are all about mobility and information flow. Digital format e-book content escapes the regular book pages, because, quite simply, the content is no longer bound to the physical book. The contents of the E-book are a digital object that contains the electronic representation of the book, most commonly thought of as trash novel electronic analog. The Library provides access to a variety of electronic books, as well as the other printed works (such as essays, poems, or historical documents). Some of these electronic books and texts are part of large, searchable databases. Most of our main collections for electronic books and texts can be located through the Library’s Electronic Resources page. However, many more individual titles may be located using the Library Catalog.

b. Electronic Journals: E-journals are either fee based or open source. Some e-journals are moderately open access. Open access journals are scholarly journals that are available to the reader through the Internet without fiscal or any other barrier. OA can be distributed in two ways: Green and Gold. Green open access refers to the self-archiving, in which case an author inserts a copy of the scientific production in one or more open access repositories Gold open access, on the other hand, publishes article in a journal to open access that allows free access articles it contains. Stevan Hamad, editor in Chief of Psycoloquy was one that promoted the magazine to access open for the first time. There are a number of drivers to open access. University libraries cannot stock all the titles appropriate to the needs of the research team within the institution because the vast majority of peer reviewed scientific journals. The serials crisis also promotes open access. And the majority of scholarly research is available to anyone with access to the Internet (Meera and Ummer, 2010). The Library has an E-Journals Database to help you find online versions of our journals. The Library also links to electronic versions of journals through Find It!.

c. Library Catalogs: Most libraries now provide access to their catalogs from their web sites. Many others provide information about their holdings into larger databases such as World Cat or the RLG Union Catalog. The Library provides links to these catalogs under the “Catalogs” section on its web site.

d. Reference Sources: Many dictionaries, almanacs, encyclopedias, and other reference sources are now available online in full-text. You can locate these resources through the Library’s Database Finder, the Library Catalog, or through many of the Library’s Research Guides by Subject.

e. Statistical Sources: The Library has access to a variety of subscription databases which provide economic data or statistics. You can locate these resources through the Library’s Database Finder, the Library Catalog, or through many of the Library’s Research Guides by Subject. Be aware that there are many statistical sources available in print which cannot be found online.

f. Sound Recordings: There are only a few Library databases which provide access to sound recordings. If you are looking for music online, start at the Music Subject Guide for the resources which are available to the University of Chicago Community.

g. Image Databases (Art, Maps, Medical, etc.): Some databases include graphics or images, such as photos, paintings or maps. You can use the Database Finder page to locate these. The Art Subject Guide also provides extensive information about locating images.

h. ETDs: Graduate theses and dissertations long time for these years of its scientific work, education, research and writing has been regarded as the foundation. The research is led by experts in the field and often highly competitive scholarship is funded by grants. Secondary sources of information, such as theses and dissertations in humanities, where the most are particularly useful for researchers. But the vast majority of these works in college and university libraries languish in obscurity. Basic research via the World Wide Web free and open access publication of these documents is the best way to uncover. Although it is not a new idea, the concept of electronic theses and dissertations worldwide increases in college and university campuses, faculty, administrators, graduate students, and librarians realize the value of making information more accessible. Databases of Bibliographic records of Ph.D submitted to various bibliographic records are hosted by INFLIBNET.

An ETD is an electronic document that describes the scholarly works or research of a researcher. ETD provides a technological advanced medium for conveying ideas with less expensive, small space, easy handling, high durability and never collect dust. Some databases of ETD are etd@IISE, Shodhganga@INFLIBNET CENTRE, Ethisis.helsinki.fi/English.htm (Pusapati, 2011).

i. Blogs or Weblog: The term Weblogs or blog was coined by john Barger in 1997. A blog is website where entries of commentary in journal style are displayed in reverse chronological order. Anyone can express their opinions on internet through blog. Certain blogs activate mainly as news filters, collecting several online sources and adding short comments and internet links. Other blogs concentrate on presenting original material. Numerous blogging programs are either free or inexpensive to use.

j. On-line Conference Proceedings: Learned societies have felt the need to share knowledge and ideas created at one place by others working in different places. For this purpose, conferences, meetings, symposia, workshops etc. are conducted. The outcome of these conferences is provided in the form of proceedings in digital form i.e. CD – ROM. These are posted on the conference organizers” websites for the access of all professionals in the world (Satyanarayana, 2007).

k. Databases: In the 1970s the first databases were made online. These were bibliographic, references and abstracts of articles in the academic and professional literature. Since, there is remarkable growth in scope of online databases. Online and CD-ROM databases cover a vast range of different types of information. The largest number of databases exists in the business sector, followed by science, technology, law, health and life sciences. A huge category fall into one or more of the categories like: bibliographic databases, full-text databases, a directory databases, numeric databases and multimedia databases (Feather and Sturges, 2003).

 

ICT based Services in Libraries:

According to Mishra and misra defined various ICT based services. Here below that are…

1. Bar-coding technology: A barcode reader (or barcode scanner) is an electronic device for reading printed barcodes. Using barcode equipment’s for circulation and stock verification is becoming more common, efficient and time saver.

2. Bulletin board service: A Bulletin Board System, or BBS, is a computer system running software that allows users to connect and log in to the system using a terminal. Once logged in, a user can perform functions such as uploading and downloading software and data, reading news and bulletins, and exchanging messages with other users, either through electronic mail or in public message boards.

3. CAS & SDI Services: A selection of current-awareness services in the form of Table of contents’ (TOC) alerts, List of new arrivals of journals and Books, Press Clippings, Research Digest, including Abstracting and Indexing Service have been started by the library. Selective Dissemination of Information refers to tools and resources used to keep a user informed of new resources on specified topics.

4. Chat services: Online chat may refer to any kind of communication over the Internet, which offers an instantaneous transmission of text-based messages from sender to receiver. In Libraries, it can be used for online reference service and real time consul ting service. Online chat may address as well point-to-point communications as well as multicast communications from one sender to many receivers.

5. Computer technology: The dramatic development in the information transmission process in every field of human endeavor has been made by the widespread use of computer technology. Computer can be referred to as the backbone, nucleus or hub of ICT application. In virtually all ICT applications, the computer is interfaced with other devices in order to function effectively.

6. Database services: A database is an organized collection of data for one or more purposes, usually in digital form. Libraries provide access to a variety of bibliographical databases and full-text resources that are typically organized to model relevant aspects of reality, in a way that supports processes requiring the information.

7. Document scanning services: Scanner is important equipment in modernization of library. It is useful for scanning text, image and content pages of books and providing great help for establishing digital and virtual library.

8. Electronic books: The elements that are considered as importing for the use of E-books in an academic library are the Content, Software and Hardware Standards, Protocols, Digital Rights Management, Access, Archiving, privacy, market, pricing and features. Electronic books (e-Books) are one way to enhance the digital library with global 24-hours-a-day and 7- days-a-week access to authoritative information, and they enable users to quickly retrieve and access specific research material easily, quickly, and effectively.

9. Electronic document delivery services: At present, a document delivery service typically involves a combination of paper, digital and electronic media; document delivery is a “hybrid” medium. Libraries are implementing ICT based interlibrary lending system using electronic networks to deliver copies of journal articles and other documents in digital format [mainly in Portable Document Format (PDF)] to library users’ desktops.

10. Electronic journals: Electronic journal may be defined broadly as any journal, magazine, newsletter or type of electronic serial publication which is available over the internet and can be accessed using different technologies such as World Wide Web, Gopher, ftp, telnet, e-mail or listserv. Many publishers who offer subscriptions to print journals, sometimes also offer subscription to the electronic version of the journal free of charge. Some of the publishers who are providing e-journals include Emerald Elsevier, Kluwer, Springer, High wire, John Wiley, etc.

11. Electronic mail (E-mail): This medium can also be used to send and receive mails. This is commonly and widely used with the internet facilities. E-mail is very useful for sending messages to and from remote areas with enhanced network. Further, it is also useful in various aspects of library environment. Thus, it may be stated that e-mail may play a significant role in information dissemination services.

12. Electronic resources: The e-Resources on magnetic & optical media have a vast impact on the collections of university libraries. The commonly available electronic resources are accessed electronically through traditional Medias like CDROMs, or through Internet as electronic journal, online database databases, e-book, or in the form of OPACs, blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc.

13. Fax (facsimile transmission/ Tele fax): It is used in some academic libraries for document delivery and other scholarly communications. It is a method of converting an image into electronic signals that can be transmitted over a communication link and converted back into an image at the receiving end.

14. Indexing and abstracting services: An indexing and abstracting service is a service that provides shortening or summarizing of documents and assigning of descriptors for referencing documents.

15. Institutional repositories: An institutional repository is an online archive for collecting, preserving, and disseminating digital copies of the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution. For a university, this includes materials such as journal articles, both before (preprints) and after (post prints) undergoing peer review, as well as digital versions of theses and dissertations.

16. Internet: As a source of serious subjects of the universe of knowledge, has become information super highway and opened the floodgates for scholarly communication. Internet is truncated version of internetworking, which refers to interconnecting two or more computer networks. Internet is described as a worldwide network of computer and people. It is an important tool for global on line services. The emergence of Internet offers very high bandwidth, which will widen the scope for information processing and dissemination as never before. Internet connects universities, colleges, schools and other educational institutions for information sharing and exchange. Access to information through Internet has changed the total scenario of librarianship.

17. Library management software package: Software consists of the step-by-step instructions that tell the computer what to do. In a University Library, the most common computer software used are library automation software, database management software, antivirus software and application software. Many software packages for various applications in the field of library & information services and management are CDS/ISIS, SOUL, LIBSYS, KOHA etc. used for automation purposes. LIBRARY RETRIEVAL SYSTEMS: This involves using Compact Disc Read Only Memory (CDROM) technological mechanism of acquisition of specialized CD-ROM databases in various courses such as sciences, law, technology, agriculture, social sciences, medicine, humanities etc. They are available commercially.

18. Library website: A library website provides a library with a website to offer its services and to tell its story to its community. In most of the library website online catalogue is included. A library web page or Universal Resource Locator (URL) facilitates single window access to various web enabled library services.

19. Micrographic & reprographic technology: These technologies are still widely used technology in libraries globally. Most of the research libraries have reprographic machine and provide photocopies of any document on demand. Microform is a generic term for all information carriers which use microfilm or similar optical media (including study) for the high-density recording and storage of optically encoded information in the form of micro images of printed document, bit patterns or holograms.

20. Networked electronic information resources: Networked electronic information resources are new vision of information of the future. These are the mainstay and life blood of present day information centers. Libraries are providing their users with access to networked information resources, i.e. databases, electronic scholarly journals, encyclopedias, public government information, etc., provided by various publishers or suppliers.

21. Networking technology: The important function of network is to interconnect computers and other communication devices so that data can be transferred from one location to another instantly. Networks allow many users materials held by a library or group of libraries. It is a computerized library catalog available to the public. Most OPACs are accessible over the Internet to users all over the world.

22. Online readers’ advisory services: Libraries are implementing Web based versions of readers’ advisory services and reference services. It helps to find the right information/reading material for the right person at the right time and provide the best information that matches their needs, interests, and reading level.

23. Open source software (OSS): Open Source Software or the OSS is freely available computer software, which allows altering the source code and customizing the software to anyone & for any purpose. In the last few years we have seen the development of a number of ILS products in the open source world such as Integrated Library Systems (ILSs) like Koha; Digital library software, like Greenstone; Digital Repository Software, like DSpace; Content Management Software, like Moodle, etc.

24. Printing technology: A printer is a device that converts computer output in to printed images. There are a number of different kinds of printers used in library such as Dot Matrix Printers, Laser printer, Inkjet, Bubble-Jet etc.

25. RFID Technology: RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is the latest technology being used in modern libraries to prevent theft the library materials. Radio frequency identification is a term used for technologies utilizing radio waves for identifying individual items automatically. It is a fastest, easiest, most efficient way to track, locate & manage library materials and being used in the libraries for automatic check-in and check-out circulation process and also in stock management. It is an emerging, more effective, convenient, and cost efficient technology in library automation and security. RFID is used very similar to bar codes. Developments in RFID technology continue to yield larger memory capacities, wider reading ranges, and faster processing.

26. Smart card for member identification: A Smart Card is a polyvinyl plastic card (like a regular credit card) with an embedded chip on which data is stored. Smart cards can provide identification, authentication, data storage and application processing. Smart card readers are used to read smart cards. It can store multi applications and can be used for services like electronic purse/ debit card/ credit card/ health/ insurance/ loyalty etc.

27. Storage technology: Optical disc storage technology is the most recent computer technology to enter the library community. CD ROM developed in 1985 has ability to represent various media such as text, graphics and animation, video clips and sound files into a digital environment. Digital video disk or digital versatile disk (DVD) is the next generation of CD. The main feature of DVD is the compression technology and storing data on multi-layer sides, stores 17 GB data is currently the only credible true multimedia format.

28. Tele Text services: Tele text is a television information retrieval service developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s. It offers a range of text-based information, typically including national, international and sporting news, weather and TV schedules. Tele text information is broadcast in the vertical blanking interval between image frames in a broadcast television signal.

29. Teleconferencing: Teleconferencing is a generic term that denotes the combined use of telecommunications and electronic technologies as an alternative to in-person meetings.

30. Video conferencing: Video conferencing is a method of holding conferences by transmitting and data communication networks, so that participants can both see and hear each other. It is convenient and less expensive for conducting a conference between two or more participants situated at different remote locations.

31. Videotext services: Videotext is a newer technology, but as in the on-line information retrieval, the information is stored in computer files and accessed through a telecommunication link. Videotext is any system that provides interactive content and displays it on a visual device, typically using modems to send data in both directions.

32. Voice mail: Also known as voice mail, voice message or voice bank is a computer based system that allows users and subscribers to exchange personal voice messages. Voice mail acts like a telephone machine that digitizes the incomings voice message and store for retrieval later. It is an alternative system of e-mail.

33. Web technology: The World Wide Web was developed in 1989 by Tim Berner Lee and by 1995 web has expanded to global proportions. The World Wide Web (WWW) is a client server based, distributed hypertext, and multimedia information system on the Internet.

 

Significance of ICT based resources and services in Libraries:

Now-a-days, collection of library is not confined to physical boundaries that require the user to visit the library. Printed collections have become more expensive and not easily accessible to the users due to lack of time. The technological encroachments have led to tremendous changes in the process of information. In IT era, no library can encounter the requirements of users with printed sources of information. Today people use the information as a primary source of information. The internet can be used for efficient retrieval and meeting information needs. ICT based resources are now considered as being of great importance to all types of libraries and they are reducing a large share of library budgets. They are used in abundance. These resources have solved the problem of space.

Academic libraries play significant role in supporting research in all subjects. Ahmad and Fatima stated that availability of online resources have changed the way the services academic libraries now provide to their users. It has changed the traditional practices of libraries in delivery of information to the users. Now users can have access to a variety of information and scholarly journals online.

Information resources available in libraries are limited, but those available through the web are enormous. Today the library’s e-resources include e-journals, e-books, e-reference works, scholarly database, e-conference proceedings, e-thesis/dissertations etc. Among these e-journals as well as aggregated e-journal databases from the major chunk of digital collections in libraries and they are growing at a phenomenal rate. “E journals are the electronic equivalents of their print counterparts and they possess numerous additional features. E-journals are often referred to interchangeably as electronic serials, online journals and electronic periodicals.” (Sreekumar, 2010). No single library can afford to procure all journals of a single discipline. Scientific and scholarly journals are being published in many media: CD-ROM, floppy disk, internet. CD-ROM and internet are used for dissemination of e-journal. CD-ROM can be handled just like the conventional form. Many journals are available free of cost over internet. Publishers are using internet as medium to publish. Many e -journal publishers are publishing e- journals and providing it to users through their websites, e.g., Elsevier, American Chemical Society, H.W. Wilson, Academic Press, Springer, Oxford University Press and others. Many of open access journals are online, free of cost, and free from copyrights and restrictions.


References:

  • Stephen, G (2017) Utilization of ICT based resources and services in engineering college libraries case study of Sivagangai and Ramanathapuram Districts.
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Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

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