ICT and Information

Information & Communication Technology and Library

K.M. Patel (2018)

1.1 Introduction:

A library plays an important role in the academic institution providing access to world-class information resources and services and stimulates academic research in the country. Hence, the success of any educational institution depends upon its library, as library services are fundamental, which affect the whole educational system. National Knowledge Commission report mentions that libraries play a pivotal role in the dissemination of knowledge. They are an extremely important element of the foundation of a knowledge economy. Higher educational libraries are experiencing a massive change in the way they function (National Knowledge Commission Report, 2006-2009). University libraries being part of higher education are no exception. University libraries support learning, teaching, research and other educational functions appropriate to their parent institutions. The special collections cater to the needs, not only for teaching and learning but also for research, publication, conservation of ideas and knowledge. The new technologies especially electronic technologies have contributed to the radical changes in LIS and practice.Information and Communication Technology

The phrase ICT had been used by academic researchers since the 1950s, information and communication technology has induced traditional libraries to transform into digital libraries. The libraries have transformed from close-access libraries of earlier times to the present day hybrid, digital, and virtual libraries. Librarians have been changed from mere storekeepers who were concerned with the protection of books against theft, mutilation, and pilferage, to that of information officers, navigators, and cybrarians who encourages use in the vast ocean of reading or information material. They are busy satisfying their clients who want information anytime, any format and anywhere. University libraries provide quicker and user-oriented services with the use of ICT.

The library is an important component of any educational institution or college or university, which is the hub of the teaching, learning and research activities where students, researcher, and teachers can explore the vast resources of information. In the traditional libraries, users have to spend more time searching a small piece of information and for that have to depend mainly on the LIS professional or library staff. But in the age of information communication technology, Internet and computers are being used for day-to-day housekeeping activity of the library which saves the time of the end users, and LIS professional also and at the same time avoid duplication of work and make the library service smooth and effective.

The availability of the right information at the right time and in the right form is of utmost importance to users for their knowledge and developmental activities. Developments in information and communication technology-ICT have greatly changed the methods of information handling. ICT may be any combination of tools and procedures that facilitate the generation, acquisition, storage, organization, retrieval, searching, viewing, updating and transmission of information using electronic means. The tools used in ICT include computer programs, databases, communication networks, analysis and design methods, programming languages, artificial intelligence, knowledge bases, etc. ICT has long-standing influence in almost all areas of human activity. Over the past two decades, libraries have become increasingly aware of the revolutionary impact of developments in information and communication technology on their key functions. The application of ICT facilitates easy and instantaneous access to information. It provides opportunities for libraries and information centers to widen the scope of their resources and services and to increase their significance within the organization they serve. The increasing availability of information in machine-readable form allows much information needs to be satisfied with the decreased involvement of library and librarians.

The last few decades are the witnessed the increasing impact and use of Information Communication Technology for the functions & services of the library. Information Communication Technology has become an integral part of all the aspects of the library. A good and proper implementation of ICT’s in library results into better resource sharing and more effective services to the users. According to the Indian Library Association Glossary “ICT is the application of the computers & other technologies to the acquisition, organization, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information”. Libraries are expected to use ICT to provide information more quickly. The 4th law of library and information science “Save the time of reader/staff” has great relevance in the context of use of ICT. Considering the increased impact of ICT on libraries, UGC, AICTE, NAAC, and NBA also developed the norms for the use of ICT in the institute, college or university libraries. The researcher tried to find out how the state university libraries in Gujarat State implemented and use of ICT’s in their routine activities and services also.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have changed the library and information services globally. Digital media has revolutionized the information society and advances in ICT have dramatically changed the information provisions. The internet has provided universal access to information. Technological innovation has changed the rate of conversion of knowledge, information, and data into electronic or digital format. Development in the software has generated powerful knowledge management software which has transformed the way; knowledge is organized, stored, accessed and retrieved. The digital revolution driven by ICT’s innovation has transformed University libraries fundamentally. It has impacted on every sphere of University library activity. The University libraries traditional role of information custodian has been reduced to that of being one of many information providers.

1.2 Concept and Meaning of Information and Communication Technology (ICT):

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are often associated with the most sophisticated and expensive computer-based technologies. ICTs are basically information-handling tools- a varied set of goods, applications and services that are used to produce, store, process, distribute and exchange information. ICT-Information and Communication Technology is a varied collection technological gear and resources which are made use of to communicate. They make use of to generate, distribute, collect & administer information. According to Anyakoha (1991), information technology is “the use of manmade tools for the collection, generation, communication, recording, re-management and exploitation of information. It includes those applications and commodities, by which information is transferred, recorded, edited, stored, manipulated or disseminated”. ICT is a mean that has changed many aspects of the way we live. Hawkridge (1983) describes information technology as a revolution which has penetrated almost all fields of human activity, thus transforming economic and social life.

The ICT is made of computer and communication technology. The computer technology is the tool for storing and processing information in digital form while communication technology helps us to transfer and disseminate digital information. Additionally ICT means a variety of technological applications in the process and communication of information. The word ICT is a combination of two words information, communication & technology. Information means knowledge and technology means the use of computer & communication. The term ICT can be defined as “the integration of computing, networking and information processing technologies and their applications”.

Information Communications Technologies (ICT) – technologies that enable society to create, collect, consolidate, communicate, manage and process information in multimedia and various digital formats for different purposes i.e. computing and telecommunications technologies like the personal computer, CD-ROM, cable TV, cellular phones and the Internet.

1.3 Definition of Information and Communication Technology-ICT:

Today, the definition of information and Communication Technology (ICT) is much broader, encompassing nearly every type of business. From manufacturers, retailers, banks, and publishers to research firms, medical institutions, law enforcement agencies, government companies and library everywhere rely on Information and Communication Technology workers to run their daily businesses.

According to the Encyclopedia of Computer Science, “Information Communication Technology (ICT) is an imprecise term frequently applied to broad areas of activities and technologies associated with the use of computers and communications”.

According to Mahaptra and Ramesh, ICT, as “Information Communication Technology is the result of the technological convergence of existing single isolated technologies viz, computer technology, communication technology, information processing, publishing technology etc.”

According to UNESCO, “ICT is a scientific, technological and engineering discipline and management techniques used in handling information and application and association with social, economic and cultural matters”.

According to the European Commission, the importance of ICT’s lies less in the technology itself than in its ability to create greater access to information and communication in underserved populations. Many countries around the world have established organizations for the promotion of ICT’s because it is feared that unless less technologically advanced areas have a chance to catch up, the increasing technological advances in developed nations will only serve to exacerbate the already-existing economic gap between technological “have” and “have not” areas. Internationally, the United Nations actively promotes ICT for Development (ICT4D) as a means of bridging the digital divide.

Ayodele (2002) defined ICT as electronic-based technology generally used to retrieve store, process and package information as well as provide access to knowledge.

Aluko (2004) also described ICT as enabling technologies (both hardware and software) necessary for the delivery of voice/audio, data (high speed and low speed) video, fax and internet services from point A to point B (or possibly to multiply B C etc) using wired and wireless media protocol (IP) and non IP networks.

Nwachukwu (2004) information and communication technologies (ICTs) is the application of computers and other technologies to the acquisition, organization, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of information. However, in this context, information and communication technology is the use of electronic devices such as computers, telephones, internet, and satellite system, to store, retrieve and disseminate information in the form of data, text image and others.

1.4 Why Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Required for Libraries?

After the Second World War, a huge amount of information in the form of books and other printed material has been produced, which has resulted in an exponential growth of information. There is now information pollution instead of information explosion. The libraries have found it very difficult to acquire, arrange and disseminate the information in traditional ways. So libraries are compelled to plan, organize and communicate the huge information according to the needs of users with the help of information and communication technology (ICT) the information is no longer confined to books and document in the custody of individual or educational institutions, now it has embraced audio-visual, digital, multimedia with color motion and three dimensions features etc. Application of modern technology viz computer and communication are bringing all these to the doorstep of the people. There are various electronics/digital/computer-based information which is available for the libraries like online and offline resources e-journals, e-books, e-databases, compact disk (CDs/DVDs), and the Internet and due to this development in current scenario application of information and communication technology (ICT) seems must for libraries. Creation of databases is the foremost step in the application of ICT in libraries. For creation of the databases, library has to suitable software package, keeping in mind the day to day activities of libraries viz, acquisition, cataloguing, circulation, serials control, OPAC, administration, indexing, abstracting, e-book, e-journals, e-databases, current activities services (CAS) and selective dissemination of information (SDI) etc. to cope up with the current technological development and fulfilling the thirst of the users.

The various factors which have contributed the application/use of information and communication technology (ICT) in libraries are:

• Rapid growth in the information output and its usage has made it impossible to store and organize information using conventional methods. Now a day’s most of the information or documents are available in machine-readable format, therefore, the application of information and communication technology (ICT) is necessary.

• It is no longer possible for any library to collect all the published information or documents. So with the help of information and communication technology (ICT), resource sharing can be done easily.

• By using modern information and communication technology (ICT) in the libraries, the efficiency of the staff can be increased and better-advanced services may be provided to the to the user’s

• Implementation of barcodes and RFID based services; libraries can satisfy maximum no of users in the very short span of time.

• Due to information, a literature search using manual methods is a difficult, tedious and time-consuming job whereas computerized storage and retrieval of information make it faster and efficient.

• Now in libraries, it is very difficult to provide, interlibrary loan, translation, anticipatory services, including preparation and annotated lists, abstract, bulletin board, news summaries, employment alert, and other information retrieval services manually. Whereas with the help of information and communication technology (ICT) above mentioned library services can be provided in very less time.

1.5 Why Information and Communication Technology (ICR) Required for Libraries Services:

It is established fact that information and communication technology (ICT) has brought the revolution in the field of library and information science, as we have already mentioned that all library house-keeping activities like acquisition, procurement, processing, organization and dissemination of information services are based on computer, communication, reprographic and digital technologies, which has facilitated the following ICT based library services being provided to the users more effectively vizards.

  • Reference Service • Bibliographic Service
  • Referral Service
  • New Arrivals alert service
  • Online reservation service
  • Online Public Access Catalogue- OPAC
  • Current Awareness Service (CAS)
  • Document Delivery Service (DDS)
  • Selective Dissemination of information (SDI)
  • Barcode / RFID Based Service
  • E-Employment Alert Service
  • E-Book Service
  • E-Journals & Magazine Service
  • E-Databases Service
  • E-Newspapers Service
  • E-Project/Report/Thesis Service
  • User Orientation Program
  • In-House Personal Training
  • Resources Sharing and other services.

Such facilities, being extended to the academicians, researchers and library users to find their required information without any barriers, are possible only because of information and communication technology (ICT) use in library and information centers or libraries.

1.6 Academic Libraries and Information Communication Technology-ICT:

Academic libraries are those libraries established, owned and funded by universities which they are part. Thus, they are often referred to as university libraries. Academic libraries also involve colleges and polytechnics libraries as an integral part of the institutions, which they serve. They design their collections and services to meet the instructional programme of the institutions. For years, academic libraries have been acquiring, processing, circulating and preserving information materials in all media, although emphasis has been on paper-based materials such as books and journals. Introduction of information and communication technology in libraries has improved and changed the face of information acquisition, processing, dissemination, and storage. Information is being acquired both in paper and electronic formats and libraries are able to convert some of their old collections to machine-readable format. Information and communication technology has also facilitated networking, creation and accessing of the remote electronic database, putting at the disposal of libraries and library users a wide network is slowly transforming libraries from book-centered to information-centered institutions. Information and communication technology (ICT) provided an opportunity to implement electronic networks and achieve the provision of access to remote computerized information services products much easier than before. Libraries are taking advantage of the facilities available on the Internet and integrating them into their daily operations.

Libraries which were considered only as the storehouses of knowledge have got a new outlook in the modern Information Communication Technology (ICT) era. The activities which were carried out manually in libraries with so much pain and strain are being carried out smoothly with the help of ICT with greater effectiveness. Library organization, administration, and other technical processing have become easier and more quantum of work can be done in a relaxed mood. ICT, which is the basis for the management by objectives, generates more results at a given time.

1.7 Impact of Information and Communication Technology on Library Environment:

Rapid advances in ICT have brought revolutionary changes in the concepts, organization, functioning and management of libraries. The impact of these changes is affecting all the aspects of library operations, information resources and services, staff skills requirement and users expectations. Some of the notable impacts on libraries, staff, and users are:

  1. Impact on Library Collection: Library collection goes beyond the print materials and includes the CDs/DVDs, audio & video cassettes, e-books e-journals and e-databases. The traditional paper as a medium of storage is getting replaced with electronic media. In India, many national and international origin library management software (i.e., Ventura, LibSys, E-Granthalaya, Library Manager, SOUL etc. commercial software and Koha, NewGenLib etc. Open Source Software) are available for library automation. In India, UGC-INFONET, DELNET, and INDEST etc. consortiums are in action. Internet technology provides a wide scope for communication and information search across the globe.
  2. Impact on Library Staff: Information and communication technology has changed the duties, responsibility, and functions of the library professionals. The changing environment forces the librarian to become ICT skilled, dynamic, ready to accept the changes and challenges and outfit the requirements of library users, because, without change, management library could not be survived.
  3. Impact on Library Users: Library users can remote access the worldwide information through their desktops without any time and distance limitations (24 x 7 x 365 days). Current users need to possess basic technical skills to access the information in electronic media. In the age of technology, users have multiple sources of information such as the Internet, commercial and non-commercial information service providers. As a result, the library is not the only source of information provided for users.

Reference Article:

  • K.m, P. (2018). Use of ict resources and services at state university libraries in Gujarat a study. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle.net/10603/247168

Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

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