EnglishGeneralLibrary Science

Traditional Library Resources

Traditional Library Resources

Generally resources are included a person, asset, material, or capital which is support to fulfill the task or any assignment. Similarly library resources consist of manpower of library and reading material like printed and electronic resources which are meet the users requirement. But the manpower of library is only providing service to the users. So, generally library resources are consider as the reading materials such as print and e-resources.Traditional Library

In ancient period variety of materials are preserved in libraries and used as a library reference. Generally the word traditional denotes that trust of our old customs or beliefs. Similarly, our ancestors are used as Birch Park, clay tablet, Codex, manuscript, ostracism, papyrus, scroll, vellum, wax tablet for made the library resources. After some technological development the paper was invented and it is used as a library resource. So, in our generation print resource are considered as traditional library resource. But more technological development may lead the libraries to use e-resources. So, library users are unable to avoiding both print and e-resources in library.

History of Traditional Library Resources:

History of library resources includes the history of libraries. More than 6000 years back people were make records or written their ideas by pictorial scripts. They kept their records in bone, leather, clay, silk, paper, tapes and so on.

There are different types of resources used for written work and preserved in the libraries from ancient to present time. From time to time some technological improvements have been making changes in the library resources. At every stage these kinds of resources are preserved and maintained by the library-in-charges and served to library users. Now, we are using print and e-resources based on our requirement and availability. So we know what are the technological developments came across to reach this stage in library resources. Historical development of the library resources is just an evolution of library resources. History of library resources contains lot of the draw backs for collecting the information about resources. Some of the ancient library resources are given below;

Inscribed in Clay : From 3100 BC:1

The clay was tablets were made 2000 years before the birth of Christ. The writing system was developed in Mesopotamia. During 3100 BC people were used clay for writing and reading. The clay was available easily on those days.

There are two ingredients define the first script. Characters are formed from the wedge-shaped marks by which a corner of the reed is made while pressing into the damp clay – a style of writing known as cuneiform.

Clay tablets are kept in sunlight up to its dried and hardness. Because, the humidity may be affects the clay tablets.

The Egyptian Papyrus : 3000 BC:

During 3000 BC Egyptians were used as a writing material was called as papyrus. Papyrus was produced from an aquatic plant. It consists of smooth surface without roughness or any cracks.2

The preparation of papyrus involves two processes. The processes begin with wetting and the second process is papyrus put in pressure. The green plant was cut and laid side by side to form a rectangle, and others are then laid across at right angles. After complete the cutting two layers are bonded with adhesives then it kept under sunlight for the purpose of wetting. After wetting it gives pressure then up to twenty sheets are pasted together and it was called as papyrus scroll.3

Bamboo Books : From 1500 BC:

During the 1500 BC the writing material was used as bamboo in china. It is convenient for writing and preserving. The Chinese scripts at this early period were written in vertical columns, so a thin stripe of bamboo is convenient for a single column. To produce a lengthy document, threads are used for making continuity in the bamboo stripes.

During the period of 5th century the shang dynasty people were used wax, leaves, wood for purpose of writing and reading. During the 400 BC the bamboo was used for made a book like reading material.

Palm Leaf Manuscripts:

The manuscripts made out of dried palm leaves. They served as the paper of the ancient world in different parts of Asia as far back as the fifteenth century BCE and possibly much earlier. South Asia and south East Asian people were used to record actual and mythical narratives.4

At the beginning stage the communication was done orally, but after find the alphabets and its benefits were motivated the people eventually began to write it down in dried and smoke treated. After written completes, all document had only some limited time to be copied onto new sets of palm leave manuscripts. The reason for spreading Indian culture to South East Asian countries was the palm leaf manuscripts.

During the early 19th century the invention of printing technology affects the manuscripts process like copying.

Pergamum and Parchment:

In turkey during 197 to 159 BC Pergamum was used as a reading and writing resource. This is best alternative for papyrus, but it was expensive. This is one type of leather. The Pergamum and parchment are using the period of 2nd BC.5

Since about 2500 BC the leather has been used as writing and reading resources, but only one side can be written on. If the ordinary leather was treated both sides it become smooth and able to write both sides.

It is not until much later, in the second century AD, that parchment becomes a serious rival to papyrus. But from the 4th until the 15th centuries it is the standard writing surface of medieval European scribes.

Birch Bark Document:

In India during 4th century CE, the people were used this birch bark for wrote the Sanskrit text. In Russia early of 1400 CE the people were used this birch bark for written purpose. Birch park document of Gandhaharan Buddhist texts have been found in jars. It expresses the culture of the people to the next generation.

In India for writing long scriptures and texts in Sanskrit and other scripts has been used the Birch park document of Himalayan Birch that was named as Betulautilis. Early Sanskrit writers such as kalidasa during the period of 4th century CE, Sushrutha during the period of 3rd century CE, and the period of 6th century CE Varahamitra has been used bark document for their work.


In latin the caudex means trunk of a tree or block of wood. It was a book format resource which was bound and used. The popularity of codex was associated Christianity. The Bible was written in codex document in early periods. The codex was considered as a familiar book form resources in the ancient world and also replaced the scrolls. It is one of writing resources which was developed by the Romans.

It has been termed the most important advance in the history of the book prior to the invention of printing. The roman poet Martial during the period of the 1st-century AD, who was received appreciation for conveniently used. During the 6th century the codex had completely replaced the scrolls.


The word ostrakon was derived from Greek, which means a shell pr shard. The plural form of ostracon is ostrca. Usually ostraca was produced from the broken earth ware vessels. It is a piece of pottery.

The scripts are like scratched-in words or other forms of writing which may give clues as to the time in use of ostraca. The ostraca was used as a voting ballot. This hard of pottery was used as avoiding ballot in Athens.

Parchment & Leather:

The history of parchment and leather was based on the pergamena. The leather is supported to carry our ancient civilization into our next generation. In the quality aspect Pergamena was better than parchment and leather.

In Lerida of Spain during the period of 8000 BC the cave paintings of pergamena was rendered. During the period of 700 AD, the oldest existing version of the biblical Gospels, were written and illuminated on parchment. During the period of 2600-2000 BC, leather scrolls and parchment are used by Ancient Egyptians to record writings.

Wood Pulp:

The rags are one of the main ingredients for paper manufacturing process. The paper has white smooth and flexible pages, it provides convenient to its readers. During the period of 19th century the demand of paper was increased. The main ingredients of paper rags also meet the requirement of paper production. So, paper manufacturers are try to alternate for rags that was esparto grass.

Paper from wood pulp soon turns yellow and brittle. Many books of the late 19th century are now in an unreadable condition, falling to bits, and books of our own time will follow even more rapidly down the same path. Electronic publishing has arrived none too soon.


Paper was invented during the period of AD 105 by the Chinese emperor Cai Lun. To make a sheet of paper these substances are repeatedly soaked, pounded, washed, boiled, strained and bleached. The mush is left to drain in a mesh frame and then dried. The result is thinner and more flexible than papyrus or parchment, and much more adaptable to methods of large-scale production.

Paper is the best resource for printing and maintaining in the form of books, periodicals in library. During the period of 800 BC the paper preparation method is shifted to bhagdad, during 900 and it was moved to Egypt and Europe by 1400. In present situation papers are considered as a traditional resource because it is using in book form from the past several decades.

Evaluation of Traditional Library Resources:

The evaluation of print resources is following some important aspects. There are

  • The publication of traditional print sources involves the some process that includes editing and article review. To maintain the standard and quality of print resources have required some processes i.e. verification of fact, reviews, and editorial work.
  • Print sources clearly stated that authors details like his experience, working institution and interesting area, publication details and so on.
  • All the traditional print publications, clearly pointed out the sources to be consulted for complete the work.
  • While bias certainly exists in traditional publications, printing is more expensive and difficult to accomplish. Most major publishers are out to make a profit and will either not cater to special interest groups or will clearly indicate when they are catering to special interest groups.
  • The Qualification of an author is necessary for accept by the publisher for the publication.
  • Publication information such as date of publication, publisher, author, and editor are always clearly listed in print publications.


Advantages of Traditional Library Resources:

There is lot of advantages while using traditional library resources. Because its some features like the format, size, quality, easy to handling and etc.

  • Traditional print resources are able to take by the users because of its portability. Compactness, light in weight and comfortable to read.
  • Traditional print resources are able to read. Even if computers are failure.
  • Users can turn the pages comfortably the traditional print resources. Because of the familiarity.
  • One of the traditional formats of print resources is very convenient for the users. Bob Balay, in an article praising print reference sources that he facetiously titled Notes from the Jurassic, claimed that, with print reference sources, you always know where you are and have a sense of the entirety of the source.
  • Before publish all the print format resources are followed by processes like editing, and peer reviewing. The print resources are usually more authoritative than their E-resources. Healey points out that the expense of publishing, combined with an extensive reviewing system and the relatively fixed™ nature of printed materials, all help the librarians to find quality materials, and avoid shoddy, biased, or misleading works
  • There is no need of any technology for read the print resources.
  • User can spend long time for using print resource
  • A traditional format of print resources is very convenient for the reading. Traditional format Printed resources are printed and bound in the different size for make use conveniently.
  • A traditional format of print resources is more portable, easier to read, and better to handle.
  • There is no specific places are required for store a printed format resources.
  • Printed resources are more environmental than e-resources. The printed resources are not creating any pollution in the environment.
  • Traditional Printed resources remain readable for many years.
  • The user can feel physically, cover, paper and binding from the original work while using the traditional Printed resources.
  • The user unable to use the print resources only the reason maybe damaging. The damage may happen after many decades of print.
  • Users can be able to buy used copies at significant discounts, as they can now easily do with printed resources.

Disadvantages of Traditional Resources:

  • The maximum number of printed reference books is available at high price. Even there are number of free search engines and search directories and websites available online for users reference purpose.
  • Only one user can use a printed resource at one time. The user may lose the opportunity if the resources is misplaced or lost in library.
  • As reporter May Wong states, Once-a-year updates for printed editions means that Some information can be stale even before the books get out of the box
  • If users want a traditional print resource he/she should visit the library during the working hours only.



Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *