ICT and Information

Needs and Purposes of library automation

The motto of Library Automation is to provide the right information, to right person, in right manner, in right time. While justifying need of library automation more than cost-effectiveness the benefits derived by the library users become the major consideration. Since library does not happen to be an economic entry such benefits need to be looked at in a different perspective. to appreciate the advantages it becomes necessary to highlight the different levels of library automation. for convenience it can visualized at following levels:

  1. Library Cataloguing system: The automated library cataloguing system means creation of bibliographical information in MARC standard format for most of the library activities and services such as acquisition, reference, bibliographic service, inter-library loan, cooperating cataloguing etc.. For user point of view, users can search any fields, fast retrieval and printing the required information. Users can also use to access the same database, e-mail services, make their request/reserve and other internet services, if the same  system is available in network environment.
  2. To reduce the staff: Library automation means minimize the intervenes of human activities and maximizes the uses of latest technology. It’s eliminating the repetitive work and cumbersome job of printing the card catalogue. It serve the stationary and space. it reduces the activities of human being in all the housekeeping operation and make the process simple.
  3. Increase the staff productivity: It increase the efficiency and productivity of library staff by using copy cataloguing, sharing of bibliographical records, making union catalogue, use of other external databases. It makes the consistency of the record and the standard quality.
  4. House-keeping operations: Housekeeping operations covers acquisition, circulation and serial control, cataloguing. The all these features should be requires in the library software. The Circulation Data Migration facilities should be required it reflects your collection’s use and is a valuable resource for library managers. Charge and hold transactions offer a timely picture of what items are popular and in use, while other data (fines paid, items declared lost etc.) gives the library long-term management tools to control library resources.
  5. Advance in technology: Library should follow the new advance technology i.e. RFID. A new and innovative replacement for barcode technology is RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Devices). RFID is used in retail environments and is beginning to be installed in libraries. RFID brings many of the same advantages of barcodes, but uses a different type of reader to collect data. When this technology is used in libraries it allows books to be checked out and returned without the need to physically handle every item. In addition, it makes library inventory projects much more efficient. Instead of pulling each book off the shelf to scan a barcode, an RFID reader is simply passed near the shelf and all the RFID labels are read and decoded.
  6. System hardware and software: A computer operating system is the underlying software that is usually provided by the hardware manufacturer from whom you purchased your system. Arguments outlining advantages abd disadvantages of operating systems are beyond the scope of this document. Most library system vendors offer software that runs on more than one operating system take steps to plan for one and have it installed. Network planning is beyond the scope of this document. however, every library system on the market today uses TCP-IP as its basic telecommunication structure, so without such a network, no library software can operate. If your library has a TCP-IP network, make sure that the cabling connecting workstations to routers in each branch in Level 5 or above (cat 5, cat5E, or cat6). Any cabling under cat5 is susceptible to electronic interference and to data corruption.
  7. Meet specific needs of library and information users: Your library system contains personal information about your patrons and their transactions, as well as invaluable information about your library’s holdings, and the status of each item. Without this information, the library would not be able to operate. All networks are potentially vulnerable to intrusion from hackers. At a minimum, your network should be protected by a firewall that shields your telecommunications equipment and servers from external attack by closing down access to all ports except those necessary for system operations.

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Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

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