Ict Based Products And Services Information Technology Essay

The aim of present study is to highlights how much libraries have been exaggerated with the advent of Information and Communication Technology based products & services and their priorities shifted to on them for instance library automation, digital archives (digital library, institutional repository), library 2.0 and library services on mobile phone. By the help of this paper the author has draw his attention towards the innovation & development of ICT and its implications in the field of Library & Information Science (LIS), it create much changes in entire library management system. With the development and application of ICT, the libraries have shifted from the traditional to hybrid library, then automated library, digital archives stages, library 2.0 and mobile phone services. With the effect of these changes, the structure of library has also changed in a dynamic way, in a continuous process.

Keywords: Information and Communication Technologies, Library Services, Library Automation, Digital Archives, Library 2.0, Mobile Services of Library.

Introduction

In the era of information explosion, the tremendous amount of information is being generated and transmitted from every corner of the world in the form of print materials, research articles, lectures, presentations video conferencing, technical reports, standards and patents etc. In the early stages of 20th century, libraries were facing the problems, of how to cater and fulfill the users’ demand in minimum span of time. The solution was to adopt the ICT based products & services. To deal with new challenges and increasing demand of users, libraries are reconsolidating; reshaping, redesigning and repackaging their services and information products by incorporating ICT based products & services.

Owing to ICT enabled products & services, libraries have changed the way, in terms of the provision of information services. These products and services are the integration of computer and communication technologies which can be apply, to store and disseminate the information. They have changed the traditional practices of libraries in delivery of services (Ahmad & Fatima, 2009). Now users can have access to a variety of information and digital archives of libraries (i.e. digital library and institutional repository) from any corner, as well as can get update activities of libraries by the SMS on Mobile. It also helps to users to access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create, and communicate with other users more easily than ever; it can be made possible by the emergence of library 2.0. Significant developments in ICT have forever changed the way of information gathering, processing and disseminating. The ICT products and services melt the physical walls of library, it made library without walls or virtual library.

Meaning of ICT

The term “Information and Communication Technology” (ICT) first appeared in the mid 1980s and was defined as “All kinds of electronic systems used for broadcasting telecommunications and mediated communications”, with examples including “personal computers, video games, cell phones, internet and electronic payment systems and computer S/W.

The ICT is made up of computer and communication technology. The computer technology is the tool for storing and processing information in digital form while communication technology helps us to transfer and disseminate digital information. Additionally ICT means a variety of technological applications in the process and communication of information. The word ICT is a combination of three words; information, communication and technology. Information means knowledge and technology means use of computer and communication. The term ICT can be defined as “The integration of computing, networking and information processing technologies and their applications” (Riyasat & Fatima, 2008).

Thus ICT means the application of computer and communication technology for gathering, processing, storing and disseminating of Information. The ICT as a terminology has overtaken Information Technology (IT) because of its aptness.

Why requirement of ICT based products & services: As I have avowed above, this is the era of information explosion, reasons stated below, why libraries are using ICT based services:

ICt open new dimensions to resource sharing among the libraries by creating library network;

Ict is indispensable to provide better services on wider record scale by adopting online storage and retrieval techniques;

Availability of the information in machine readable form;

Provide assistant in fast storage, retrieval, dissemination and access to information;

Because of information explosion.

Benefits of ict based products & services: The ICT products & services are beneficial for the libraries in the following ways:

It provides efficient and accurate services;

It helps for controlling the tremendous escalation of information (such as digital archives);

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It has invented the ways of resource sharing by co-operation and co-ordination;

It assist to provide high quality of services and increases the range of services (such as library 2.0);

It saves the time, space, energy and resources;

It helps for the betterment of library image by providing better services in modern ways.

Role of ICT products & services for the development of libraries

Libraries always play a vital role as social institution and served as a tangible structure where books, journals, magazines, and all kinds of information sources are available for end users. Both the librarian and users must be physically present in the library in order to exchange the information, available in any format. That’s why the library was called the trinity of staff, user and document collections. But now present scenario has been changed with the emergence of ICT based products & services in libraries. The physical walls of libraries are melting like ice melt in open environment.

Development is a continuous process. Each and every development brings new opportunities in the respective fields. The ICT based products & services have brought a great revolution in the field of education, and libraries are no exception in this context (Kumbhar, 2009). The libraries are considered as heart of every educational & research institution. Owing to these new ICT products & services the library services has got drastically changed. There are even change in librarianship vocabulary: ‘dissemination’ is being replaced by ‘communication’, ‘database’ by ‘repository’, ‘literature’ by ‘knowledge’, ‘search’ by ‘navigation’, etc (Akintunde, 2004). The present boon of ICT based products & services have a great impact on libraries and the impact is quite perceptible right from the beginning as the libraries started adopting ICT in the form of automation, stage of digital archives, library 2.0, and now we are talking about library services on mobile phones.

Library Automation

Library automation was first giant step towards the use of ICT based products & services in libraries. It brings great revolution and save tremendous time of users and library staff for collecting and disseminating information.

The libraries are started for automation in middle 1950’s till 1980’s. Library automation refers to use of computers, associated peripheral media such as S/W for automation, magnetic tapes, disks, optical media etc. Library automation makes the provision to provide the ‘right information to right reader at the right time in a right form in a right personal way’ it is the basic aim of libraries. Library automation fulfills the above demand of libraries by providing the library activities as: very efficiently, rapidly, effectively, adequately and economically. Thus, the ICT made possible for automation in libraries (Ahmad & Iqbal, 2009).

Now libraries are using the RIFD (Radio-frequency identification) to prevent the theft of library resources. The RFID is the use of an object (typically referred to as an RFID tag) applied to or incorporated into an information product for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves. For library automation, there are some open source software available: Evergreen, CDS Invenio, Koha, NewGenLib, PMB, PhpMyLibrary, OpenBiblio as well as many commercial software: SOUL, Alice for windows, Netlib, LibSys etc.

Benefits of Library Automation: It fulfills the implications of Ranganathan’s ‘the five laws of library science’, especially the concept of the fourth law i.e. ‘save the time of the reader’. In addition there many benefits of library automation such as:

Owed to the automation, circulation is one of the most affected area of library services, which saved a lot of time of users as well as staff;

Staff can set fine rules only one time and S/w will provide results automatically;

With the help of WEBOPAC, users can search information from anywhere at any time;

Users can easily do the reservation of library sources;

Check out process of library document is very easy or it may be self check out process, so there will be no queue of users in library;

Users can do self circulation of library resources;

It helps to avoid the theft of library resources (with RFID system);

It provides the multimedia facility, some automation S/w gives the cover image of book in OPAC (such as Alice for Windows S/w).

Digital Archives

Libraries must provide the best services to its users, in order to meet the user’s requirements, libraries in the past have updated their collections. But in the present scenario, libraries must not only update their collections but also provide better access to information through the new information highways. This can be achieved through digital archives. Digitizations in libraries are today’s response towards a faster delivery of information to its users through the digital archives. The concept of digital archives emerges after the rapid advancement of ICT. The advent of digital archives has great impact on libraries. It provides information very speedily to the end users. The digital archives means: to collect the information and store it in machine readable format or digital format for dissemination to end users. The digital content can be easily reproduce and may indeed have been reproduced globally. Digital archives can be as:

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Digital Library: A digital library is a library in which all collections of a library are stored in digital formats, and anyone can access to this collections without any barrier. The digital content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely via computer networks. A digital library is a highly organized collection of electronic resources.

Institutional Repository: An institutional repository (IR) is a web-based database (repository) of any institute’s scholarly materials. Include works of various stages in the process of scholarly inquiry. In addition to published works, an IR may include preprints, theses & dissertations, images, data sets, working papers, course materials, or anything else a contributor deposits. The main task of institutional repository is to collect the scholarly materials to store and disseminate in digital format for widely used.

Benefits of Digital Archives: Some basic benefits of digital archives, which are as follows:

Ability to provide a large number of users’ at single time access to unique or special collections, this is the most attractive feature of digital archives.

Easily accessibility to information and content can be delivered directly to end-users and retrieve remotely.

Flexibility of the digital material, since the data is not “fixed”, as with paper or printed text, it is easy to reformat, edits and prints.

Providing access to primary material can help to “publicize” the material to other departments and peers, and to demonstrate the importance of the collections.

Digital archives are very useful to save the place.

It saves a lot of time of the users in searching of information.

Library 2.0

The concept of library 2.0 is derived from web 2.0. The library 2.0 encompasses a range of new and contemporary products & services of ICT that are used for evolving collaborative environment required for library 2.0. Owing to library’s services have focusing more on the facilitation of information transfer and information literacy rather than providing controlled access to it. New products & services based of ICT in forms of “Library 2.0” are the interactive, collaborative, and multi-media web-based technologies to web-based library services and collections (Arora, 2009).

The library 2.0 is a loosely defined model for a modernized form of library service that reflects a transition within the library world in the way that services are delivered to users. With library 2.0, library services are constantly updated and reevaluated to best serve library users. The library 2.0 also attempts to harness the library user in the design and implementation of library services by encouraging feedback and participation. (Wikipedia, 2010).

The term “Library 2.0” was coined by Michael Casey on his blog LibraryCrunch as a direct spin-off of the terms Business 2.0 and Web 2.0. Casey suggested that libraries, especially public libraries, are at a crossroads where many of the elements of Web 2.0 have applicable value within the library community, both in technology-driven services and in non-technology based services. He described the need for libraries to adopt a strategy for constant change while promoting a participatory role for library users.

There are some tools and techniques of library 2.0 which are being used by today’s libraries: Blogs, Wikis, Streaming Media, Tags or Tagging, Social Networks, RSS Feeds, Synchronous Messaging, Podcasts, Mashups and etc.

Benefits of Library 2.0: Some benefits of Library 2.0 are as follows:

User-oriented. Users participate in the creation of the content and services they view within the library’s web-presence, OPAC, etc

Provides a multi-media familiarity. Both the collections and services of library 2.0 contain video and audio components.

Communally rich. The library’s web-presence includes users’ presences. There are both synchronous (e.g. IM) and asynchronous (e.g. wikis) ways for users to communicate with librarians.

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Reciprocally pioneering. It may be most important aspect of Library 2.0. Libraries must not only change with users, and must allow users also to change the library. It seeks to continually change its services, to find new ways to allow communities, not just individuals to seek, find, and utilize information.

Mobile phone services of the library

ICT has collapsed all the barriers and promoted fast communication by across boundaries. To cope with the basic challenges of life and responsibilities has informed the invention and the use of information technologies. Before the advent of ICT, communication in the library was possible through notices, circulars etc. in libraries’ notice boards, means users had to come to library to get the update about the library activities. As scientific knowledge increased, electronic communication systems began to develop. The library can inform through a single SMS on his users’ mobile phones about any new activity. Means it is not necessary come to the library for its users. Therefore, we can say, now libraries are without walls.

With dawn of ICT, libraries may have started exploring the feasibility of its products & services. These would support library-to-user, user-to-library, and user-to-user online interactions. It made possible by Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM). Mobile phones have revolutionized the daily lives of all over the word. The GSM also enhance library operations. The application of telecommunications to an automated library can bring more efficiency of library services on mobile phones. Libraries are investigating ways to deliver their services to mobile phones so their users can access them any time anywhere. Further mobile phones can be use for sending text message alerts about their reservations becoming available or overdue books (Iwhiwhu & Ruteyan, 2010).

Some vendors also have a mobile version of catalogue for their customers or have announced plans to produce an iPhone-optimized version of their catalogue, such as Sirsi/Dynix and Innovative.

Examples of Library Mobile Services

District of Columbia Public Library iPhone software (dclibrarylabs.org/projects/iphone/)

Denton Public Library (library.cityofdenton.com)

Benefits of mobile phone services of libraries: Some are as follows:

Short Message Services (SMS) facilities available on all mobile phones, could be use to create awareness amongst the academic library users about upcoming events and new arrivals.

With the help of GPS, users can find the location of multiple branches of the central library.

Libraries can provide to access their digital library on users’ mobile phones.

Web OPAC on mobile phones; it can help users for searching the information from anywhere.

Users can subscribe to RSS feeds using software on mobile phones. When library updates any information, phone will be able to receive the new information.

Library S/W can be configured as automatically to send text message alerts for hold, overdue materials and reserved resources available.

Conclusion

The current scenario of world’s libraries are changing very fast by ICT based products & services. The change is enforced by ICT, to adoption of products and services of ICT in libraries are robust indicator of this response. It provides a means for overcoming historically intractable problems of isolation and lack of access to information and knowledge, crucial impediments to libraries development. The ICT products and services have reshaped the educational landscape by transforming the content and modes of release of information. Apart from facilitating the global networked ICT, also enhances knowledge creation and innovation.

The modern libraries are using ICT based products and services for their development such as library automation, digital archives, library 2.0 and library services on mobile phones etc. As the above discussions to use of ICT based products and services by the libraries, it is the continuous process, and has some distinguish qualities in every stage of development. There is a symbiotic relationship between the library and ICT, such that any development in ICT accelerates library development. In the same vein, any development in the library today can only be through the deployment of ICT.

Thus as per above, exploitation of ICT based products & services by libraries, can be broadly valuable in terms of 4 Es, namely economy, ease, extension (or expansion) and efficiency (Chauhan, 2004). We can say today’s libraries are without walls or virtual. Now we can declare that libraries of 21st century are mostly depend on products & services of ICT.

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