1.1 The Background:
In the present age of information explosion, the growth rate of information and knowledge is faster than ever before and still accelerating. Information is a dynamic and unending resource that affects all disciplines of human life. Hence, it has been supporting education, research, and developments (Satyanarayana, 2002). Libraries have always been the source of information and knowledge and they have been fulfilling the information needs of the users for centuries in the traditional way. But the last two decades have brought revolutionary changes in the library services. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have had a profound impact on the way information is gathered, stored, organized, accessed, retrieved and consumed. The application of computers in information processing and communication has brought several products and services to the scene (Egberongbe, 2011). The technology revolution has literally shrunk the whole World in-to a global village.
Meanwhile, the information needs of users have also changed. In traditional libraries, users had to spend more time for searching a small piece of information and for that they had to rely on library staff. But in the present age of ICT, computers are being used for day to day housekeeping activities of the library. Therefore, libraries are trying to meet the information needs of modern users by making available a wide variety of EIRs for their users. EIRs play a dominant role in each and every field of modern society; hence they have been treated as a clutch of modern technologies, which cover CD-ROM, online and offline database, videotext/Teletext, motion pictures, e-mail, e-books, e-journals, etc.
The EIRs hold many advantages such as time and place convenience, timeliness, ability to search directly, link to further sources, ability to disseminate information. The use of EIRs for the academic purpose would improve academic efficiency and increase technological skills and reduce anxiety while conducting research and learning (Nyamboga C, et al. 2014). From the library’s point of view, electronic formats offer the convenience of storage, maintenance, and cost advantage.
1.1.1 Impact of Information Communication Technology (ICT) on Academic Libraries:
Information as the key resource in the 21st Century plays a major role in marking the difference between the developed and the developing countries/ societies in the World. The application(s) of modern Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools have driven an all-around change in information resources of the libraries all over the World. As far as academic libraries are concerned, the well-established library is very essential to support teaching, learning, and research. But at the present age of digital technology, academic libraries are struggling to keep their place as the main source of inquiry (Anunobi & Okoye, 2008). Meanwhile, the massive increasing growth rate of online information sources, as well as the utmost need for instant access to the latest information is very much important for anyone at present. The online resources are becoming more accessible. Hence, many academic libraries no longer restrict themselves to print resources and services, but they have extended their efforts to interdisciplinary concepts and ICT. Campbell (2006:17) observed that, “numerous creative and useful services have evolved within academic libraries in the digital age: providing quality learning spaces, creating metadata, offering virtual reference services, teaching information literacy, choosing resources and managing resource licenses, collecting and digitizing archival materials, and maintaining digital repositories”.
In the present context of the information revolution, information becomes obsolete soon and it no longer remains useful. Meanwhile, information needs of modern users have also changed. They cannot wait for a long to get their required information. The users are always expecting the authentic, accurate and pinpointed information in a single click. These developments have posed new challenges before libraries to improve their level of services by adopting modern ICT tools. As a result, many academic libraries in the world are using ICT tools to automate a wide range of administrative and technical processes and provide better services to their clientele. With the help of these ICT tools many advanced, different services have been introduced by the academic libraries. The ICT tools are being used in housekeeping operations like acquisition, cataloguing, circulation control, serials control, etc. of an academic library setup and they have tremendously changed the management of information resources or housekeeping operations of the library. Therefore, many terminologies related to the traditional library have also changed such as a library to library portal, card catalogue to Online Public Access (OPAC), print to electronic resources, etc.
1.1.2 Electronic Information Environment:
Libraries for centuries have been supporting teaching, learning, research and other academic activities of the universities and R & D Institutes. But with the emergence of the digital age, many countries and their university libraries started functioning on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) (Byamugisha, 2010). The ICT tools enabled products and services and the availability of online information resources have changed the way the services academic institutions and libraries now provide to their users. ICT is the integration of computer and communication technology which is used to select, acquire, process, store and disseminate the information. It has changed the traditional practices of library and information centers in the delivery of services to the end users (Ahmad & Fatima, 2009). With the adoption of ICT applications/tools in Indian universities, access and use of information are now done electronically by the users. Thus, ICT is supporting and helping libraries to overcome the barriers of time and space and it also reduces the time lag between the generation of the Information and its use (Walmiki & Ramakrishnegowda, 2009). As a result, there has been a shift from information environment to an electronic information environment in Indian universities.
The main feature of the electronic information environment is the pervasiveness in accessibility and utilization of electronic resources by the users. Library in digital environment basically is a computer-based system for acquiring, storing, organizing, searching and distributing digital materials for the user to access. In the digital environment, users wish to use Electronic Information Resources. Meanwhile, it is difficult to identify what information exists, in what format it is available and from where one can get the same (Varalakshimi, 2004).
But, with the computerized library services, CD-ROM/online databases, the Internet, Intranet/campus networks and digital libraries, there is relative ease of accessibility and utilization of information by the users. Thus, the emergence of electronic information environment has removed all the barriers of information access typically associated with distance and time, both within and outside the university environment.
Original Reference Article / Full Article:
- Manjunath, A. (2013). Use Pattern of Electronic Information Resources and Services in Libraries of Universities with Potential for Excellence UPE in South India a Study.