Information technology is of utmost importance in every sphere of life such as in insurance, Airlines, Railway, Banking etc. So, libraries were also not lying behind in this field. Earlier the print media such as books, journals, and other reading materials were available, but today University libraries are equipped with the computer, scanner, printer, compact discs, hard discs, floppy discs, barcode reader, RFID, and other commercially available databases to provide information to the users through net. The traditional card catalogue has been changed by the online public access catalogue. In the traditional system there was a huge line of catalogue cabinets which is more time consuming but now due to the online public access catalogue the reader does not faces such types of problems. The internet, online journal services, e-mail services have provided a helping hand to the library users for providing comprehensive information in their respective subjects.
The services of the University library have changed drastically due to the application of Information technology. The activities of the libraries such as ordering, cataloguing, classification, Reference & Information services can be done easily with the help of Information technology. If the trends continue for some year then by the year 2020 it can be expected that library automation will be completed in all the University libraries in India. The scientist will be able to find out their required information through their own networked desktop in their lab.
The process of collection development includes analysis of the needs of the users and to ensure that it is served adequately towards meeting the needs of the users.
- Selection Process:
The proper identification of resources is the main aim of the selection process. It determines the money available for collection development and allocating a specific amount of specific category or subject. It also includes the development of a plan for identifying potentially useful material to acquire and search for the required resources.
The electronic tools which are commonly used in the University libraries for collection development process include online publisher catalogue, online sides (e.g. Amazon, book finder etc), CD-ROM databases, online book review for magazine and newspaper, readers suggestion through emails.
- Library Web Sites:
It acts as a mirror of University libraries in which online catalogue can be used to access the information by the library websites, the information of all the University libraries can be acquired. The information that is available on the websites mainly depicts the condition of the University libraries, as it is the main source of gaining information of that particular University library.
- Online Databases:
The online databases are the main source to access the electronic books and journals in the University libraries. The access to online databases can be acquired through login to the portal of the University libraries. The online databases are mainly a collection of electronic information sources by the publisher from various fields. The access to the databases are free of cost of some portal by publishers and vendor and others required subscription for such databases. By subscribing to the databases the researcher gets access to thousands of scholarly article in the field of specialization or research.
- CD-ROM Databases:
The databases which are stored in CD-ROM can be accessed without any internet connection it is highly cost-effective and can be carried anywhere by the users. They can be printed when they are required by the users. The CD-ROM has a storage capacity of approx 650 MB so the researchers felt the need of a higher storage device which leads to the emergence of DVD technology which can store information on both sides and in two layers. Several publishers are making their publication available in the CD-ROM version as well as in printed format.
- Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC):
Online public access catalogue is developed to meet the needs of the library users. It is mainly a machine-readable catalogue which can be used in the place of card catalogue. The facility of accessing the library housekeeping operations, especially circulation facility can be made available through the use of OPAC. The OPAC when available on the internet can be called as web OPAC. OPAC can also be used as an access tool and resource guide to the library holding/ collection which contain the data in the machine-readable format.
The OPAC can be used as a gateway for accessing information in the libraries as they provide facilities to browse search and locate information. The web OPAC can help to realize the resource sharing activity among the libraries.
- Union Catalogue:
A union catalogue is an assemblage of catalogue records from two or more libraries. It may be local, regional and national levels. Union catalogue can be framed in a different range of media including microform, book format, card, and electronic databases. The union catalogue helps the reader to locate the material and acquiring it through interlibrary loan services (ILL) from other libraries. It acts as an important tool for document selection.
The traditional system of acquiring resources in the University libraries take a lot of time but after the use of information technology, the process of selection and acquisition has become very fast. Through the e-mail, the University library gets the list of selected books and journals from the various departments, which has removed the unnecessary correspondences, wastage of paper and time. The order of books and journals are now sent directly to the publishers, vendors and booksellers by e-mail and the response is very quick.
We can get the information, comparison of all the books in a single click of a computer. This has definitely helped the library staff in acquiring books & journals in a very fast way and also removes the traditional constraint of acquiring books. Earlier when depending on the print media we have to wait for months for accessing the books & Journals, but now we can access the online journals & books in a much stipulated time. The online subscription of books and journals can be accessed through library consortia such as E-ShodhSindhu, National Knowledge Resource Consortium (NKRC), Consortium for e-Resources in Agriculture (CeRA), DBT e-Library Consortium (DeLCON), etc. If any library joins in the consortia they can provide a large amount of resources to the users. The main function of the acquisition section is the book ordering and Payment of bills.
Ordering system includes:
i. Place a new order
ii. Place new order directly
iii. Print/e-mail purchase order
iv. Send reminder letter to vendors
v.Cancel any specific order
The librarian has to place orders for the approved title to different vendors depending on their ‘specialization’ e.g. some vendors specialize in supply only information technology books, some on social science, engineering etc. Some time the librarian has to place ‘Direct order’ for a specific vendor or supplier.
- Bill Payment:
The librarian or the acquisition section in charge checks the books with the ordering files. The next step in the reference is to process the payment the items accessioned/ received. The payment process allows to:
a. Process the invoice for the title received
b. Complete payment process (Cash/ Cheque/ Account Dept)
c. Generate ‘credit note’ or ‘Refund’ amount for advance payments
d. Forward the invoices to account department (Letter/ e-mail)
The invoice process includes:
a. Invoice no & date
b. Overall discount % rate (if any)
c. Currency (if different from placed order)
d. Additional charges life postage, packing, forwarding etc (if any)
e. Discount % rate for individual title
f. Budget head
The librarian has to make payment either in cash or by cheque/demand draft/ credit card processed within the library. In large set-up the librarian is sent to the main accounts department of the University for Payment.
After selection and acquisition of reading materials processing work is started.
Processing involves the accessioning, classification and cataloguing of documents.
Different University libraries follow different procedure to accession their documents. Some libraries just allocate continuous to any type of materials received that may be printed books, CDs, cassettes, e-book etc. Some libraries group the document like textual documents and digital materials (CDs, etc) and follow different series for each of them. Some of them Prefix/suffix the accession number with alphanumeric code to identify department, collection (Lending/ reference) etc.
It is not possible to assign duplicate accession number to any documents. Precaution needs to be taken to ensure that number is not skipped in sequence while assigning the accession number to any documents.
Catalogue is a list of books holding in the library. It is a key to open the treasure of the library. Cataloguing in the traditional way is to prepare different entries (Such as title, author, series, editor etc) to satisfy the various approach of documents searched by the users. With the advent of digital technology, all the information filled in the catalogue are stored in the digital database designed in the software so that data can be accessed easily by the users. With the use of OPAC, the users will no longer need to visit the library and waste time. They can get the information by sitting in department through their computer network. The users do not need to remember the long title of the document or its author to know the availability, combination search and keyword search with Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT,*) will help to remove the problem.
The University libraries now move towards digital collection building. Digital resources are collected and old collection is being digitized. It is not possible to digitize all the documents due to copy right act.
Through OPAC we can access the full-text of digital collection in addition to access the bibliographical detail of print and digital resources.
To organize and locate the reading materials classifications plays an important role. Classification of a document can be done through different library classification scheme. In future, the library documents will be classified online with the help of keywords of the title.
Google has recently digitized 150 lakh books and put on the internet and classified according to categories. The purpose of it to access the books from anywhere in the world at any time by the readers.
During the issue of books in the traditional format, the users have to stand in long queue with knowing about the availability of the books. Now by applying the information technology, the user can utilize less time for the issue of the books. The overdue charges are calculated automatically and statistics, reminders are generated easily. In the manual system to check the issue status of a particular book will take time but an automated system the users will know immediately.
The manual issue and return work may reduce when the print media collection decreases and digital collection is increased. Now the maximum information is available online and can be downloaded easily. At present, the library system is heading towards self-issuing of books as like the ATM in a bank. This process can be made readily available by the library staff with the bar coding every book or by pasting electromagnetic strip. In USA the University libraries are using advanced technology which is known as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) for self-issuing of books and other reading materials. RFID is also helpful for checking theft, stock verification and tracing the misplaced books of the University library.
Information technology is used for users’ needs analysis, especially when doing users surveys and cheeking usage statistics for both printing and electronic resources. Information technology is also used in bibliographic description of the records in the University libraries.
Original Reference Article:
- Kumar, P. A. (2017). Impact of information technology on the collection development in university libraries of Assam: a study. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle.net/10603/180648