Integrated Library Management Utility From Prospects

The meaning of the term digital library ranges from a digitized collection of all digital information along with the services that make the information useful to all possible users. At times it is used interchangeably with term such as virtual library, electronic library, and a library without wall.

A digital library is a type of information retrieval that used the science of searching for documents. The simplest definition was aptly put forth by Hunter and Mardis (2001),” a digital library is a collection of information that is both in digital (electronic from) and is organized. Information may take in many forms such as images, video, audio, text, formatted documents and interactive software”. All these collection information then are stored in digital formats and accessible by computers either through internal accessing using Local area Network (LAN) network or external accessing through online.[1] The digital content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely via computer networks.

A digital library is an organization, which might be virtual, that comprehensively collects, manages and preserves for the long term rich digital content, and offers to its user communities specialized functionality on that content, of measurable quality and according to codified policies operation (L. Candela 2008).

The purposed digital library aims to provide an electronic system to help educators and student obtain accurate information; collect, store, and organized information in digital format; publish and share electronic resources; and learn how to use Information Technology (IT) tools to obtain information on local contents.

The fundamental reason for building digital libraries is belief that it will provide better delivery of information than was not possible in the past (Arms, 2000). The major advantages of digital libraries over traditional libraries include:

Digital libraries bring the libraries closer to the customers: Information are brought to the customers, either at home or work, making it more accessible, and increases its usage. This is very much different than traditional libraries where the customers have to physically go to the library.

Computer technology is used for searching and browsing: Computer systems are better than manual methods for finding information. It is useful for reference work that involves repeated leaps from one source of information to another.

Information can be shared: Placing digital information on a network makes it available to everyone. Many digital libraries are maintained at a single central site.

This is a vast improvement over expensive physical duplication of little used material, or the inconvenience of unique material that is inaccessible without traveling to the location where it is stored.

Information is always available: The digital library’s doors will never close; usage of digital libraries’ collections can be done at hours when the library buildings are closed. Materials are never checked-out, missed-shelve, or stolen. In traditional libraries, information is much more likely to be available when and where the user wants it.

New forms of information become possible: A database may be the best way to record and disseminate information. Whereas conventional libraries are printed on paper, yet print is not always the best way to record and disseminate information.


The objective of this paper is to study the function of ILMU system on perceived ease of use of digital libraries. Further, this study also attempts to answer whether there is a relationship between the ILMU system and perceived ease of use in context of CRM. There is limited research done in Malaysia on the end-users’ perception of the ease of use and usefulness of digital libraries.

Thus this paper attempts to study the nature of the relationship between system function, ILMU system modules, and effectiveness of CRM on digital technology among library staff in Malaysia.


The methodology used was to examine academic libraries on the web to identify types of electronic information services available; the method of deliver and functionalities of these services. The selected organizations were those which used the term ‘digital libraries’ or ‘virtual libraries’ to describe the online library.

history of ilmu

In Malaysia, the use of Internet technology in libraries began with university libraries creating static web sites containing general information about the library, its collection, services and facilities. Libraries then began to incorporate Web-based Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) in the web site. Consequently, library systems evolved into Web-based library systems, with some of these sophisticated systems being able to integrate content management systems and facilitate the creation of Web-portals for the expansion of library services. As Chao (2002) observes, the rapid development of information technology is transforming key library services at a spectacular rate. By connecting to the Internet and WWW, the university library expands its access to information resources, some of which appear as digital libraries. Lately the term ‘hybrid library’ is being widely used by Malaysian libraries as there are only just embarking on the journey to the ‘digital world’.

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ILMU was derived from the need to provide a seamless but integrated information environment representing a modern library system. From the paper-work description such as cataloguing, authority, circulation, etc. to the digitalized document and online database store. The end-product is a major step towards a true digital library but still maintains the lifework of the library system and follows the procedure of the library of congress classification (LCC).

ILMU utilises client-server technology and accommodates multimedia; OLE, event-driven program execution and ODBC connectivity, in addition to conforming to international classification and standardisation schemes. Based on the digital library term and description, any information can be accessible and stored via LAN and online.

The team that is responsible for ILMU had originally developed System Perpustakaan Berkomputer (SISPUKOM) in 1985, which won a National award and was awarded the first runner-up position for the Asia Computer Weekly Award for best software. But ILMU is not simply a revised or re-engineered version of SISPUKOM. It is a completely new idea and product built based on the experience on designing and maintaining the earlier system. It still used the concept of library system and follows the procedure of LCC but directed at utilising the latest technologies and fulfilling modern user prerequisites.

From the CRM view, the computerised library information system is designed to provide both technical and customer information services in any library or information centre. By using the similar library activities and operation, it can be operated by customers both public and private sectors.

Based on an open concept of software development, its modular and integrated approach towards library computerisation is complemented by its ability to be installed and executed in a number of hardware environments. Any update classifications are easily been upgraded to the new version.

In commercial terms, the product has been successful, being enthusiastically received by customers both public and private sectors. It has been accepted most of the Information Center and been adapted by customer as a guidance and module in library system.

ILMU was implemented at PTAR in January 1999 then presently been installed over 170 in Information Center. It is a library information system designed to assist librarians and library staff for daily activities and operation.

ILMU MODULES and functions

In the literature by Bunge and Bopp (2001), the three aspects of service are identified as (i) service that assisting customers in finding information, (ii) service that helps customers learn skills to find and use library collection and (iii) guidance to customers in choosing relevant information resources based on the need and presenting the information. This definition, together with Marchionini’s categorization was used by Choi (2006) and expanded by him. In this study, Choi’s categorization was adopted to suite the study aims and the selected digital libraries were examined based on the following criteria:

  • Availability of Internet Resources
  • Digital reference service
  • Availability of online user education
  • Availability of links to reference sources
  • Availability of links to search engines
  • Availability of links / guide to citation tools.
  • Other services

Mainly the concern was to identify the availability of information services useful to students and researchers, the library’s main clientele.

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Table 1 shows the overall description of the various digital information services in the digital libraries examined in this study. Each type of service is described based on the various functions it had in the library.

Any functional digital library should following five main components (IBM DB2, 1998):

It should provide for creating and capturing materials and support an array of industry standard and specification, able to define and import data in varied format, incorporate templates and authoring tools to help in the creation process.

It should include an access and distribution module so that information can be distributed over public or private network.

It should provide search and retrieval components so that the contents of the stored learning objects can be search effectively, utilising keyword searches, Boolean search and ranking relevant searches.

It should provide authentication and rights management module that control user access and protect the library contents.

It should incorporate the storage and management of contents that provides high-performance, scalable storage and efficient digital learning object management.

ILMU provide some modules in library activity and operation such as acquisition, cataloguing, authority, circulation, infotrack, IRS, and accounting that can be implement by the customers.


Cataloguing module provides user friendly, and established data entry templates. Ability to interface with on-line bibliographic databases that can store hundred thousand bibliographic at the same time.

With its locally established data-entry templates, assist libraries in the management of bibliographic information retrieval.

This module provides searching method to the customer in retrieving certain information needed. It also provides customer accurate calculation about the total of the item that have been stored in the database. Using this module, customer can modify texts to conform to local cataloguing requirements, and import selected records to ILMU’s database. As such, custom tailored records are produced.

This module also permits the generation and arrangement of lists, such as Shelf lists and Accession lists, according to the libraries’ needs.

Cataloguing module allows customers organized different kinds of library collection with very systematic way and can easy accessing. It gives very good solution for various kind of problem occurs and bibliographic operation such as bibliographic maintenance, accession maintenance, release for circulation, deleted bibliographic records, and batch indexing.


Customers in the management of bibliographic information can use Bibliographic Organisation to locally establish data-entry interfaces. It allows the customer to enter a new record and index the record so that it can be used by other customer. This feature also enabling the customer to edit, modify or delete the existing records.


Accession Maintenance is the process allows the customer to record all the details of accession for every item in library. At the same time, it allows the customer to create a new accession record, edit or modify the existing accession record and also can deleting the records.


Release for Circulation is the last function can be done in Cataloguing Module. After this function, the item can be manipulated in Edaran unit of a library. Customer can borrow, return and also can reserve the item. The status for the item will be changed from “Final Processing” to “Available” after the function.


All the deleted items in Cataloguing module are stored in Deleted Bibliographic Record. Customer can use Deleted Bibliographic Records function to permanently delete a record.


The Batch Indexing used to indexing the buffer record which is temporary stored in batch. It enables customer to register the records into particular type of indexing. This process will keep the records into database for retrieving purposes.


ILMU authority modules provide valuable assistance to term reference. It allows users to submit terms that can be used by a library system to ensure the data consistency. For example, the author Kamaludin Muhammad uses his pen name Keris Mas for his writings. When a work written by the author is catalogued into the system, a user may key in Keris Mas or Kamaludin Muhammad as the author.

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When used in conjunction with the Cataloguing module, users are able to search for specific information through customized search keys derived from a variety of MARC tags. This mechanism ensures that when a user performs a search, it is possible to obtain consistent results.


Facilities tracking of check-in, check-out, renewal, recall, fines payment, generation of predetermined notification and a host of reports.

Circulation is used by the librarians at the counter to perform activities such as borrowing items, returning items, booking, renewal, etc. the patron’s activities will be recorded by the system and displayed in the enquiry screen.

The functions of Fast Discharging are similar to Discharging. When there is scanner connected to the system, discharging will be executed automatically once the item is scanned. This will increase the efficiency of the librarian, especially when there is a long queue.

The Item Recall is a request by the customer to the library to ask another customer who has an item checked out to bring it back to the library by specific date.

Modify item status: Used by the librarians to modify the item status and able to displaying the related items.

Reservation Scrutiny: Used by librarians to search the reserved item which has been given notifications.

Item Branch Reassignment: The module will be released to satellite enabled site only.

Batch Renewal: Gives the customer a flexible way to renew the items. By using this application, the customer can renew the items by grouping or one by one for same person.


Enables librarian to process users’ requests, create orders, and generate claim and cancellations. It also enables librarians to process customer’s purchase requests, to create orders, to generate claims and cancellations, and to record full and partial receipts.

Librarians can import records from existing bibliographic databases or perform pre-ordering searches against the Cataloguing database for re-ordering purposes, thus reducing the ordering of duplicates On-line links with the Library Fund Accounting databases enable libraries to track all expenditures.


Enables customers to keep abreast with the latest events at the library as well as perform searches via features such as Library Map, Library Messages, Library Information, Library Calendar, looking for particular books, and journal in OPAC.

Customers can browse through the latest news headlines or books and journals through the Newspaper Headlines and New Arrivals functions respectively.

Also has an OPAC function, which permits quick information retrieval, and the sorting and printing of this information. Other facilities include Suggestion Box for obtaining users’ feedbacks, Patron Enquiry to allow individuals to browse through their personal information, Library Collection and Top 10 listings for librarians.


This module provides features such as creating a thesaurus, profile of patron, generating SDI listings, searching IRS database – such as theses, articles in seminars etc.


This module is integrated with the Acquisitions and Serials modules respectively which allows transactions from the above-mentioned modules to be automatically transferred to the accounting database.


This module handles ordering, automatic prediction patterns, check-ins, claims, cancellations and reporting functions.

Ilmu features

In the ever-evolving world of library automation, ILMU provides organization with the perfect library solution:

Open-Based on industry standards such as OpenURL, XML and ODBC. ILMU offer the ultimate in resource-sharing capabilities, full connectivity, and seamless interaction with other systems and databases.

  • Reliable-The inherent multi-tier client/server structure guarantees that ILMU will meet your needs today and in the future.
  • Flexible- Modular components can be tailored to accommodate the requirements of your institution or consortium.
  • Easy to use- User-friendly workflows and intuitive graphical interfaces increase staff and patron efficiency.
  • Customizable-Modifiable components enable libraries and consortia of any size to create unique management systems.
  • Multilingual-Full Unicode support provides multidirectional and multiscript text capabilities.

 L. Candela et al.: The DELOS Digital Library Reference Model – Foundations for Digital Libraries. Version 0.98, February 2008 (PDF)

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