ICT and Information

Information Technology and Library

The application of information technology in library and Information centers has developed in the western countries since the 1940’s. In the 1960’s the use of information technology has been started in the developing countries and that too is in different stages. The rapid development of Information and communication technology has made a special impact on the method of information acquisition, Processing, Storing & dissemination of information. The invention of the Internet has brought a major change in the scenario of library and information services. Due to this impact of information technology, it has created challenges and opportunities for the information professional around the world.Information Technology

The impact of Information Technology is very huge for the library and information work. University libraries have undergone rapid transformation upon the introduction of new technologies from the old conventional method which is shown in the form of table 1.

Advantages: There are many advantages of Information Technology. Some important points are cited below:

• Easy to collect different library resources

• Collaboration & creation of Library network

• Avoids time-consuming effort done by the librarian

• Increases the range of services offered

• Less time consuming

• Efficiency can be increased

• Easy & speedy access to information

• Improves the quality of library service

• Increases in the knowledge & experience

• Integration within the organization

• Improvement in the status of libraries

• Improvement in the communication facilities

• Remote access by users

• 24x 7 service can be offered

• Access to unlimited information from different sources

• More up to date information

• The flexibility of Information to the users

• Workload reduce of library staff

• Combining data from different sources

Kumar (2003) has rightly identified the issues in regards to IT used in the libraries. He has underlined the different information activities by some conventional methods and adoption of new technology.

Sl. No Information activity Conventional method New Technology
1. Generate, originate Writing, Typing Word processing, Text editing, Character recognition, voice recognition.
2. Preserve, store Manuscript, Paper print media Electronic publishing, magnetic storage, Videotext, Tele-text, Computer disk, Rom
3. Process Classification, Cataloguing, Indexing Electronic data processing, Artificial intelligence, Expert system
4. Retrieval Catalogues, Indexes Database management system ,Information retrieval off-line, On-line.
5. Disseminate/ communicate List, Bibliographies, Abstracts, Hard copies Electronic mail, Electronic document delivery, Computer conferencing, Telefacsimile, View data
6. Destroy Physical weeding Magnetic eraser, Optical erasers, Reuse the medium

Table1: Developments in Information activities (Kumar, 2003) 

Disadvantages:

Though this can be ignored, a few points can be raised as disadvantages factors on the use of IT in the libraries. They are:

• Lack of trained LIS professional to handle IT devices;

• Establishment cost;

• Other recurring expenditure;

• Lack of infrastructure and above all;

• Rapid growth and development of IT devices and their implementation in the automated environment.


Information Technology Based Library Services:

Information technology has changed the function of the library. University libraries are using the information technology to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their day to day library work and services.

Acquisition, cataloguing, circulation or binding are the works connected with library services. These activities cover the administrative services, technical services, reader services, and special services. Administrative services include the budget preparing and administrating; selecting, supervising and training staff; library development planning; policies and procedures creating and supervising. The function of acquisition, cataloguing, classification and circulation works fall in technical services. Readers’ services include the reference & Information services and documentation services. These types of services can be managed with the help of integrated library automation software. The influence of information technology can be seen in the following readers’ services.

a. Selective Dissemination and Information (SDI) Services:

Various methodology is used to address the recent development on the internet especially the web information overload. The information retrieval has become synonymous with browsing which can be stated as the inability to search the required bit of information. The ranking is used as the most important feature of every search engine which emphasizes only on its weak point, high retrieval ratio, and low precision ratio. The web environment provides facilities where the end user can subscribe to the SDI services which have the same SDI features found in the online commercial vendor system. In the intelligent agents which address the personal information needs of the ends users, it can transform the nature of web browsing and make it personally productive and effective environment for both data-based producers and end users.

b. Online Searching:

The typical area of information professional work covers online searching. It includes all level of searching from information broker, who gives services at a fee to that of professional employed in a private company who is paid for online searching and is highly specialized in the subject.

The navigator who is to search the internet via Gopher, Archie and the web-can be said as an online searching because it is done in the real mode (i.e. via Transmission control protocol/ internet protocol and client-server architecture). Internet could also be regarded as the fastest development online infrastructure consisting of a wide variety of navigator and search services. These developments are very critical in predicting current and future trends of the online searching environment. The documents which are needed for learning activities can be browsed online and there is no need to subscribe to the costly printed journals. The materials which are downloaded can be stored on computers. Many times it happens that the actual data does not resemble the downloaded data due to which the ratio between recall and relevance does not match and for error-free search strategy multi-skill is required.

c. Web-based Indexes and Databases:

The CD-ROM becomes widely available in the late 1980’s was determined as a medium of highest storage and longevity. Due to its advantages, all the library resources were made available through CD-ROM as it has decreased the cost. The libraries nowadays are witnessing another migration to web-based bibliographic databases from bibliographic databases on CD-ROM. The web-based interface provides fast access to users by using hyperlink and other facilities in the web document from the full-text publisher websites. The CD-ROM version of the bibliographic databases has been migrated to the web-based version and due to which the resources are open for remote users.

d. OPAC to Web OPAC:

The integrated library management software, nowadays, uses web-based interface and has replaced the telnet connection by using the websites instead of telnet links. The webs OPAC are hyperlinked to other records in the database like an author is a hyperlink to all the records to the database for that author. The library websites are turning themselves into a more logical gateway for the catalogue and other web-based library resources. The acceptability of web-based interfaces is much known to the users with its graphical and navigational interfaces.

e. Digital Reference Service:

The key areas of the digital library include reference service and imparting training to the library users. Now the librarians use the digital reference format instead of waiting for the reference desk. The reference librarian also delivers reference services that require deep intellectual understanding which can be delivered through electronically mediated reference services which are available through libraries for other information centers.

The digital reference service provides internet base question and answer services which can be called as ask-an-expert or ask a librarian service which connects individual to specialize person of that particular subject, who are also known as volunteers or mentors, time information specialist and are affiliated to various libraries virtual reference desk.

f. Electronic Document Delivery:

Electronic document delivery does not need the sender and receiver of information to be available at the same time. It can give varieties of option such as creating, editing, storing, retrieving, transmitting and receiving the stored information when needed. This can be helpful to the people who are working on a large project which is spread over the ·geographical area and wants to communicate with each other. The preparation and delivery cost are comparatively less for the electronic transfer of information compared to the traditional services such as telex, letter or courier. If some materials are not available in a particular system then it can be acquired from other system and can be transmitted to the required users. Videotape, video desk, magnetic tape, CD-ROM etc can be used effectively in an electronic document delivery system for instant and convenient access to the electronic documents. This mechanism is faster compared to the online ordering of document where due to communication shortcoming, it may take several days before they require documents received by the users. The transmission of information can be achieved by several means which includes telefax and facsimile transmission which uses a telecommunication link to transmit both textual and geographical materials.

ADONIS( Advanced document over network information services) is an example of electronic document delivery system and is a consortium of major European publishers including Blackwell, Springer-Verlag, Pergamon, Elsevier, Academic and Wiley in association with many governmental agencies and British library documentation supply center. This consortium has a database of about five thousand important journals which are supplemented by back files provided by the publishers. The feature of electronic document delivery system includes dissemination of content, list of periodicals, books monograph etc; supply of full text of document requires; online documents ordering; automatic document delivery as per specific documents, such as documents on standing order of regular basis and selective dissemination of information through profile matching.

g. Electronic Clipping Services:

On lines of SDI, the clipping services provide professional news both in real time and with a periodic update by many database vendors. The users can register the profiles on major databases to monitor and provide customized services to the customers which include current events company and industry news. The example of clipping services includes passport of data time Alert service of Dialog (Knight- Ridder), CLIP of DOW Jones/Retrieval, News Flash of News net, Eclipse of Nexis, etc. The worldwide known foreign news alert service that is the world news connection is an online use provider developed by NITS (National technical information service) of US Department of Commerce uses open sources information from government, private industry, and academician. The customizable news services like custom clips, Forcast, Internet News Alert, News Hound, Heads UP, etc provide only that news which is important and filter the noise to rescue the user from information overloading.

h. Internet Bases Services:

The users’ application of internet covers some subject fields like business, commerce, culture, education, research, science & technology, recreation etc. The areas of the internet are unlimited and endless. It provides access to both commercial and noncommercial sources which include full-text databases, table of content books and newsletters, electronic and online journals, the library catalogue, e-mail directories etc.

The Internet can be used as a means for accessing varieties of information which includes free software internet news, paper electronic shopping merchandise clip ware etc. Wealth of information for the University libraries is provided by the internet. It includes acquisition, reference services, price verification, clarification regarding price exchange rates can be done by the internet.

The internet has raised the concept of digital villages that have no location yet they connect individuals and shares objective and interest. The most active users of the internet are the scholars who have diverse discussion forums which use e-mail, e-journals for debating and sharing their ideas.


  • Kumar, P. A. (2017). Impact of information technology on the collection development in university libraries of Assam: a study.
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Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

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