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Posted by 01. Anil K. Jharotia on January 14, 2011 at 5:45 AM Comments comments (24)

DEVELOPMENT OF CONSORTIA AND LIBRARY NETWORKING IN INDIA

*Anil Kumar Jharotia

**Deepak Shukla

Abstract:

The concept of library consortia and library networking to aid information resource sharing and support activities in libraries has become a real necessity in India. The present study briefly highlights some of the major library consortia and networks in India. The objectives, functions, services, future prospects and stages of completeness of these library resource-sharing networks are also discussed. The Indian information professionals, education specialists and scientists have realized that the time has come to share the information resources and to coordinate mechanisms. This has resulted in discernible change in the information scenario in India. A large number of library resource sharing networks like the Metropolitan Area Networks such as DELNET in Delhi, MALIBNET in Madras, BONET in Bombay, PUNENET in Pune, CALIBNET in Calcutta HYLIBNET in Hyderabad, ADNET in Ahmedabad, and countrywide ones like INFLIBNET (Universities and Research Institutions), ERNET (Educational and Research Institutions), and DESINET (Defence Laboratories), and sectoral ones like BTISNET (Biotechnology Networks) etc. are under various stages of conceptualization, design, development and implementation. The article draws its conclusion by briefly mentioning the obstacles to the development of these networks and library consortium.

 Key words: Library Networks; Library resource sharing; Library Consortia, Inter Library Loan

 Introduction:

The world has been witnessing a knowledge and information explosion during the past few decades. Over 10 million journal articles are published every year besides news items, editorials and articles that are appearing in popular print media. Information professionals who would be the leaders in the twenty-first century depend on information for their work. Access to information holds the key to development. Libraries, which are storehouses of knowledge and information, and information centers, which disseminate knowledge and information, form two important components of present day society. While there is a deluge of information on one hand, the cost of collecting, processing, storing and disseminating information has been spiraling up on the other hand this his calls for heavy budgets for libraries even to maintain a reasonable level of acquisition of journals, books and reports. Estimates show that a three to fourfold rise in library budgets will be needed by AD 2000 to maintain the same acquisition level as in 1990. Information buying power of libraries has been declining year after year. Because of this, resource sharing and cooperative functioning through networking have become inescapable for libraries and information centres worldwide. India is no exception; for that matter, it is even more necessary to network libraries in newly developing countries like India than in the developed nations. Efficient resource sharing can be achieved by using the recent advances in information technology for realizing a network of libraries.

During the last six to seven years, library and information activities in the country have entered a new era. Individual libraries are coming out of the proverbial “Berlin Wall” around them. They are trying to form a larger community in an effort to tackle the ever increasing demands for better services, quantitatively and qualitatively, in an environment already over strained by financial pressures. Forced, motivated, or logic driven, the librarians are coming out of their shell in large numbers.

This has resulted in discernible change in the information scenario. Now a large number of library resource sharing networks like the Metropolitan Area Networks, such as CALIBNET (Calcutta), DELNET (Delhi), BONET (Bombay), PUNENET (Pune), MALIBNET (Madras), MYLIBNET (Mysore), HYLIBNET (Hyderabad), ADNET (Ahmedabad), and countrywide ones like ERNET (Educational and Research Institutions), SIRNET (CSIR Laboratories), INFLIBNET (Universities and Research Institutions) and DESINET (Defence Laboratories), and sectoral ones like BTISNET (Biotechnology) and TIFACLINE (Technology per se) are under various stages of conceptualization, design and development. A host of agencies, like the National Information System for Science and Technology (NISSAT), Dept. of Electronics, NISCAIR/ CSIR, DESIDOC/DRDO, DBT, NIC, and TIFAC/DST, are involved. Looking from the participant’s side, it is common to find an institution participating in more than one network. The ultimate goal of information/library networks is to interlink information resources in a metropolitan area, so that users could access information irrespective of its location, format, medium, language, script etc. Further, the development of such networks requires actions in several areas such as training, rationalization of information resource acquisition, diffusion of standards, preparation of union lists and generation of database services apart from setting up hardware, software and communication facilities.

The concept of library networking to aid information resource sharing and support activities in libraries has become a real necessity. The shortcomings observed are mainly related to two aspects:

a) Non-availability of materials and services, and

b) Efficient administrative control.

In India, the need for resource sharing has been well recognized but the technology options available until now were limited. NISSAT has taken up networking of libraries in Calcutta (CALIBNET), Delhi (DELNET), Madras (MALIBNET), Mysore (MYLIBNET), Hyderabad (HYLIBNET), Ahmedabad (ADNET), Pune (PUNENET), and Bombay (BONET). The present study highlights only some of the major library networks in India.

Towards library networking activities in India NISSAT has taken the initiative for promoting resource-sharing activities. These initiatives are aimed at ensuring better utilization of science and technology information resources, minimization of functional load of information centres and encouragement of motivational factors to a large extent by better means of communication. NISSAT only goes to the extent of setting up general infrastructural facilities like network service centres including hardware, software, manpower and other organizational requirements, communication facilities etc. With a change in the development and implementation strategy, the participating institutions in a network are to arrange their own terminal hardware, software, manpower and data conversion.

Objectives:

• To promote and support adoption of standards in library operations.

• To create databases for projects, specialists and institutions to provide online

   information services

• To improve the efficiency of housekeeping operations

• To coordinate with other regional, national & international network for exchange of

   information and documents

• To generate new services and to improve the efficiency of existing ones

 What is Library Consortia?

Library consortia means to co-operation, co-ordination and collaboration between, and among, libraries for the purpose of sharing information resources. Libraries in developing countries have been working on consortia at national, regional and international level. However, some barriers such as poor technological and communication infrastructure, inadequate finances, culture and context, attitudes toward consortia and multiple efforts are reported to be limitations of consortia activities in developing in India.

 Main Consortium:

CSIR consortium:

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in India has 40scientific

laboratories involved in basic and applied research in various disciplines. Many of the laboratories have well equipped libraries, and some of them act as the main information centres for different subjects, functioning as consultant libraries at the national level. Access to e-journals through the use of state-of-the art technology is possible in many of the libraries belonging to these laboratories. Each of the laboratories has a well-established library or documentation center. National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resource (NISCAIR), a constituent establishment of CSIR. To augment CSIR research and development activities, NISCAIR implemented an agency for providing access to globally available e-journals to the entire scientific and technical staff of CSIR and its constituent units through a consortia approach. As a first step, NISCAIR, on behalf of CSIR, has entered into an agreement with Elsevier Science to access its 1,500 e-journals and further intends to strengthen its information resource base by subscribing e-access of more and more journals published globally. The CSIR consortium extended its access by creating appropriate agreements on a consortium basis with the other providers of e-journals. The major focus is on emerging sectors such as, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, information/ communications/ entertainment (ICE) and financial services.

INDEST consortium:

INDEST is an open-ended proposition, and welcomes other institutions

with the similar area of interest and who can join for sharing benefits. The INDEST

Consortium is the most ambitious initiative taken up so far in India in the area of engineering and technology disciplines. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has set up the Indian National Digital Library in Science and Technology (INDEST) Consortium. Institutions including the Indian Institutes of Science (IIScs), the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Regional Engineering, Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and a few other centrally funded government institutions through the consortium. Besides that, 60 government or government-aided engineering colleges and technical departments in universities have also joined the consortium with the financial support from the All India Council for Technical Education. In addition, a total of 26 other engineering colleges and institutions have also joined the consortium on a payment basis.

The electronic resources subscribed by the INDEST are as follows:

• Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Digital Library.

• ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineering) journals.

• ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) journals.

• Elsevier’s ScienceDirect.

• IEEE/IEE Electronic Library Online (IEL).

• ProQuest Science.

• Springer Verlag’s Link.

• Indian Standards.

• COMPENDEX on EI Village.

• INSPEC on EI Village.

• J-Gate Custom Content for Consortia (JCCC).

• MathSciNet.

• SciFinder Scholar.

• Web of Science.

 FORSA consortium:

The Indian Astrophysics Consortium called Forum for Resource Sharing in Astronomy (FORSA) is a typical example of a homogeneous group of members wherein the libraries have a common area of interest and establishing the consortium is slightly easier than in a heterogeneous type of members. The FORSA consortium consists of five members who joined together for negotiating licensing for astronomy journals and identified a subscription agent as a supplier of journals. Subscriptions for both print and electronic format are paid through their supplier. The agreement was originally meant for only astronomy journals, published by a particular publisher.

 Advantages of library consortia:

The advantages for libraries if they buy their resources through consortia can include:

• Site wide access for all involved

• Shared access to information sources

• Smaller libraries can benefit

• Common interface to resources

• Possible global impact

 Types of Networks:

Presently, there are three types of computer networks:

• LAN

• MAN

• WAN

 Local Area Network (LAN):

A LAN is a number of related computers and electronic devices that share information over a transmission media. A typical use of LAN is to tie together personal computers in an office so that they can all use a single printer and a file server. The LAN can be within a building or a campus wide network.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN):

Attempts are being made to develop this type of network in metropolitan areas such Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore, Madras, etc.

Wide Area Network (WAN):

A large-scale network, involving offices in different cities and countries is referred to as WAN, which is specially designed to interconnect data transmission devices over wide geographical areas.

 Major Library Networks in India:

DELNET:

Developing Library Network

DELNET is a major resource-sharing library network in South Asia, which covers a wide spectrum of member-libraries and their resources connecting more than 1630 libraries in thirty-two states in India and seven overseas countries. It was registered

as a society in 1992. DELNET is committed to pool the information about resources

scattered in the libraries in the country and consolidate information through union

catalogues, union lists and other databases. This is being done to satisfy the major

information requirements of students, researchers, scholars and the public in the country.

DELNET is extensively providing Interlibrary Loan facilities to its member libraries in

and outside the country and is one of the most widely used and popular services of

DELNET databases have crossed over 90 Lac records. DELNET has shifted to its newly

constructed building in JNU Campus in October 2005.

The limitation of financial resources and space for housing library collections in the libraries in Delhi led to the promotion of sharing of resources by automation and networking and establishment of the DELNET in 1988. NISSAT took the initiative in setting up DELNET. It has emerged as an important resource centre for the libraries in Delhi. In Delhi the libraries have been growing very fast in number and site during the last four decades. They cater to specialized and general clientele and are of various types which include institutional libraries, research libraries, government libraries, public libraries, departmental libraries and libraries of the universities, colleges and schools. During the recent years, cumulative information has been increasing at a very fast pace and with it the increase in demands of the users. It has been noticed that in the era of information explosion the libraries in India are generally ill equipped to handle and retrieve information effectively. As already mentioned, the financial resources and the space for housing library collections are limited in almost all of the libraries. The option left with the forward looking librarians has been to promote the sharing of resources by automation and networking.

Initially, 40 libraries were directly linked to the DELNET host system through e-mail to promote library mailing, interlibrary requests, transfer of files, exchange of messages, interlibrary services, etc. Side by side with the automation of participating libraries, the functions and services have also started. Presently about 90 libraries are members of DELNET. Almost all participating libraries are now computerized by means of acquisition and fund accounting, cataloguing, circulation, serials control and local users services. Users are able to locate books and serials through Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). A union catalogue of current periodicals available in Delhi libraries, and a union list of current serials available in Indian libraries are available on online for DELNET participant libraries. A central database of DELNET has been created and made operational. This central database includes the library holdings of DELNET member libraries used as union catalogues of books/monographs.

DELNET provides access to the central union catalogue for books and monographs, efficient electronic mailing facilities to access databases of member libraries. It also proposes to develop a network for accessing CD–ROM databases available at member libraries in the near future. DELNET also provides CAS and SDI services, consultancy in library computerization, training and H.R.D. and assistance to libraries on standardization, local automation, retrospective conversion etc. DELNET is likely to emerge as a co–operative network incorporating all disciplines of science, technology, social sciences and humanities.

 CALIBNET

The Calcutta Library Network (CALIBNET) was inaugurated on 21 December 1993. NISSAT, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Govt. of India, took the initiative in setting up CALIBNET, which has adopted a two-way system for networking:

1. The networking route with a library automation and networking through its own application software "Maitrayee"

2. The e-mail route connecting member libraries with on-line access to various databases within network and Internet access.

CALIBNET established a high-tech resource base and provides the following services:

• Online/CDROM based global information search and retrieval services

• Full-text document delivery

• Database services

 MALIBNET

The need for interconnecting libraries and information centres in Madras was visualized in the Indian National Scientific Documentation Centre (INSDOC) in 1991. Initially six major academic institutions were directly linked to the MALIBNET host system. Two important databases have been created utilizing the resources available in Madras libraries. One is a Directory Database of Current Serials in Madras covering 30 libraries, and the other is a Contents Database covering articles published in 300 journals available in Madras libraries. Both these databases are continuously updated and also expanded. They are available for online- access to any user and the information is also supplied in diskettes and hard copy. Photocopies of articles from member libraries can be supplied within two days.

Madras has about 60 important libraries besides information centres like INSDOC. About 15 of these libraries have a holding of well over 100,000 items. These libraries act as good resource centres on the network. As of December 1993, all the 60 libraries together invest about Rupees 8,000,000 on acquiring journals and books every year. It is estimated that 40% of the information acquired is redundant. With the libraries networked and resource sharing implemented, each user on the network can get access to a vast amount of literature, and redundancy can be brought down significantly. A novel and unique feature of MALIBNET is that the members will be permitted to offer their own innovative information services on the network. A membership in MALIBNET is open to universities, colleges, R&D institutions, industries and individuals.

MALIBNET presently offers the following information services:

• Current serials acquired in about 60 libraries

• Full journal holdings of about 60 libraries

• Contents information of about 500 important journals

• Electronic mail including internet connectivity

• Door delivery system for document photocopies

• It also offers access to about 1000 international databases

  MYLIBNET

It is the first library network established in a small city. The launching of MYLIBNET in association with Mysore city library consortium (MCLC) took place on 12th June 1995. There are 16 institutional members. The holding list of Mysore city libraries has been computerised and software has been developed to enable users to access the catalogue and information on-line. MYLIBNET provides e-mail facilities to its members.

  BONET

The Bombay Library Network (BONET) was setup at the National Centre for Software Technology (NCST), Bombay, on 6 November 1992. The Network is sponsored by NISSAT. The aim of BONET is to build a low cost library information system which can possibly be used as a model for future expansion of this service even outside Bombay.

BONET also benefits significantly from the experience gained, and facilities created, by the Education and Research Networking (ERNET) project of the Department of Electronics, Govt. of India, assisted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). BONET is aimed at promoting cooperation between libraries in Bombay. The focus is on inter-library activities, rather than on computerizing individual libraries, which will no doubt computerize their own operations and are likely to share their experiences with each other. BONET offers training related to library computerization and networking, and speed up computerization of Bombay libraries. BONET membership provides for access to its centralized catalogues and for E-mail among BONET members. However, access to library related services outside Bombay in India and abroad would require use of ERNET.

The services offered through BONET include the following:

• Consultation on standards

• Organized training for selected staff of participating libraries

• On-line catalogue of periodicals for the region

• On-line catalogue of books for the region

• On-line catalogue of preprints/reprints

• Inter-library lending of books and periodicals

• Inter-library request for photocopying

• Computer network support for book ordering

• Information retrieval services

• On-line document delivery of items (such as technical reports) made available by participating        

  libraries in machine readable form

• On-line access to foreign databases, subject to the user’s willingness to pay the costs incurred

• E-mail interface for inter–library queries

• E-mail facilities to order reprints from abroad, when necessary

• Dissemination of information, on new books etc, using E–mail, Bulletin boards, and SDI techniques

• Courier service for inter–library exchange of materials

  Under BONET the following databases were created:

• 25,000 items in a bibliographic database on computers and software technology

• Union catalogue of journals and other periodicals in libraries in the region

• Tables of contents of 250 Indian periodicals created by the national centre for information

• A number of CDROM databases have been mounted on a Novell Server for use to members

  PUNENET

Presently, 30 libraries and 15 professionals from Pune city are accessing the PUNENET through modem. The users not only access PUNENET data, but also use the e-mail and internet facilities. Following databases are available on PUNENET for its members:

• Catalogues of holding of all member libraries

• Union catalogue of current periodicals in Pune libraries and information centres

• Publishers and book sellers database

• Database on international grants and fellowships in the health sciences

• Hard databanks in biotechnology

• Access to NICNET and databases available on NICNET e.g., MEDLANS, AIDS database, US

  patent database

• Access to internet and various databases available on internet

• Patent information

• Union catalogue of books available in British libraries in India

  ADINET

Ahmedabad Library Network (ADINET) was formally inaugurated in February 1995 when a memorandum of understanding was signed between NISSAT and ADINET at Ahmedabad. ADINET has ten institutional members, five associate institutional members and two professional members. A centralized database has been created at ADINET, which contains institute master, journal master and book databases. It also organized six work and training programmes. ADINET provided e-mail connectivity to 30 libraries of Ahmedabad.

 INFLIBNET

Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET), a programme of the University Grants Commission, was launched in May 1991. The main aim of INFLIBNET is to establish a national computer-communication network to link libraries and information centres in universities, colleges, universities, UGC information centres, institutions of national importance, R&D institutions, etc., and thereby improve capability in information handling and services. It is a programme for academic excellence to be achieved through establishment of a mechanism for information transfer and access to support scholarship and academic work. It facilitates pooling, sharing and optimization of scarce library resources in the country. As a major programme it helps modernize libraries and information centres in the country through application of information technology.

The National Centre of INFLIBNET is located in Gujarat University campus at Ahmedabad. At present, INFLIBNET aims at computerizing and networking of university/college libraries. Every year, INFLIBNET programme is identifying a number of university libraries for automation depending on the budget allocation. The selected institutions are given funds for procuring computer systems, retro conversion and networking. Application software for data entry and other library functions, library standards and formats, etc., are provided by INFLIBNET to the participating libraries. Manpower development is an important part of the programme. Training courses for core library staff engaged in computerised library operations, have been conducted since 1992-93.

Development of suitable software, standards for various library operations and communication based services (e.g., e-mail, bulletin boards) designing suitable network architecture and preparation of union catalogues of serials, books, non-book materials, and cooperation with other networking organizations like NISSAT, NICNET, etc., are other important activities

 Network Development in India:

Some factors those are responsible for the development of library and information

networks in India are:

• The report of the working group of the planning commission on modernization of library services and informatics for the seventh five year plan, 1985-90

• The National Policy on Library & Information systems document (1986) accepted by the ministry of HRD, Government of India.

• The report on national policy on university libraries prepared by the Association of Indian Universities (1987)

• The UGC report on information systems for science and technology under the Department of Science & Industrial Research (DSIR) Government of India has been Vigorously promoting an integrated approach to library automation and networking.

 Limitations in Network Development:

A network may fail in the early stages if there is not proper planning or if adequate funds are not available. Moreover, a common memorandum of agreement signed by the participating libraries at the institutional level is essential for the success of a network venture. On a more practical level, catalog data must be in a standard, machine readable form for it to be shared and exchanged. And, finally, a continuous flow of external assistance is crucial for the network's survival.

Following the launching of DELNET and CALIBNET, the library automation and networking movement in India is surely catching on. The objectives, which are:

• Better utilization of funds through sharing of resources by creation of commonly usable data-bases and communication between libraries.

• Automating the functions of individual libraries at a local level for effective and efficient services to the users.

A number of benefits are being offered to member libraries of the particular networks. First, one gets access to a very large volume of literature without increase in the library budget because of the sharing of resources among the members. Secondly, the library budget can now be diverted to acquire the most important (even if expensive) information required by an institution, the other peripheral information being available on the network. Third, one gets near real time access to about 1000 international databases apart from the electronic mail and remote log in facilities. There are plans of these networks to connect and share the resources in the near future.

Nevertheless, the growth of these networks is slow. It is taking a long time to create and provide bibliographic databases of recognizable size, e.g., DELNET took already ten years in creating bibliographic databases of reasonably good size. Without the databases neither could networks be made effective to achieve the goals nor could resource sharing be effective.

Finally it appears that prospects are quite favorable for development of networks for better information services and resource sharing in India. In this direction lot of work has to be done. Some of the problems faced by other developing countries are common to India too, including financial constraints, inadequate communication, non-availability of equipments, less awareness of the value of information, reluctance to development and non-coordination of various kind of activities, resource building, resource sharing and exchange of information and ideas, non-standardization operational procedure, lack of dedication, motivation and knowledge on the part of available manpower.

 Conclusion:

Today libraries are facing increasing demands for services while struggling with the challenges such as the rise in the information resources, high cost of library materials,

high expectations from users, budget cuts and much more. Library consortia are created

to help libraries obtain better prices by buying joint access for a greater number of users,

expanding access to print and electronic collections and developing new services to meet

their user’s needs. Libraries can acquire more resources by paying less if they are members of consortia. Consortia purchasing offers, for the single library, the opportunity to gain access to more resources than might otherwise be possible. For the consortia members it offers reduced costs in the inter-institutional document delivery processes for specific resources. Resource sharing is considered to be a great advantage of consortia for libraries, as today, the ability for users to access resources is often more important than collection building within a particular library. Through a library consortium, the collective strength of resources of various institutions available to it can be increased. The consortia enable libraries to gain the benefits of wider access to electronic resources at an affordable cost.

Information resource sharing and networking in libraries has become a real necessity in India. The Indian information professionals, education specialists and scientists have realized that the time has come to share the information resources and to coordinate mechanisms. This has resulted in discernible change in the information scenario in India.

 References:

1. INFLIBNET : Current Programme. NISSAT Newsletter 12(3) 1993: 19p.

2. Kaul, H K. DELNET: a brief introduction. In Dubey Y P, Menon V. V and Prasad HH (eds.). Information Technology and National Development. Agra: Y K Publishers, 1994, 299-308 pp.

3. Kumar P, Arora 0 P. 1996. Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET). DESIDOC Bulletin of Information Technology 16(2): 11-22

4. Kaul, H K. DELNET: An overview. IASLIC Bulletin. 38(3) 1993: 113-122

5. Mitra A C. 1996. CALIBNET on stream. DESIDOC Bulletin of Information Technology 16(2): 35-40

6. NISSAT Newsletter 11(3)1992: l-2pp.

7. NISSAT Newsletter, 11(3) 1992: 3-6pp.

8. NISSAT Newsletter, 12(1)1993: 3-6pp.

9. NISSAT Newsletter 13(1), 1994: 3-7pp.

10. Raghavan R, Raghavan J. 1996 Notable features of MALIBNET. DESIDOC Bulletin of Information Technology 16(2): 47-56

11. Ramani. 1996. Report from the Bombay library network. DESIDOC Bulletin of Information Technology 16(2): 41-46

12. Thakore S R. 1996. Ahmedabad library network - ADINET. DESIDOC Bulletin of Information Technology 16(2): 57-61

13. University Grants Commission (India). Development of an information and Library network : Report of the Inter Agency Working Group, (1988), xxx, 473p.

14. http://delnet.nic.in/DeL_files/NACLINE.HTM

15. http://jccc-indest.informindia.co.in/

16. http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~mbolin/jebaraj-networks.htm

17. http://ncsi.iisc.ernet.in/pipermail/lis-forum/2005-June/002281.html

18. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do?contentType=Article&contentId=1771570

19. http://www.alibnet.org/

20. http://www.naclin.org/Brochure.doc

21. http://www.inflibnet.ac.in/about/biosketch/premchand.html

22. http://www.widernet.org/intlinet/links/technology/regional-tech.htm

23. http://keynotes.benfranklin.org/0309/cnp_itn_knack_0309.html

24. http://eprints.rclis.org/

25. http://www.librarydotcom.webs.com/

26.http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~tefko/Courses/610/Lectures/Information%2520seeking.ppt

 

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*ANIL KUMAR JHAROTIA, Apeejay School of Management, Sector-8, Dwarka, Delhi-110077.

Email: [email protected]

**DEEPAK SHUKLA, Librarian, International Inst. of Health Mgt. Research

Plot No.3 HAF Pocket, Sector-18A, Phase-II Dwarka, N.Delhi-110075

E-mail: [email protected]

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This paper has been published in the confernce proceedings of J.K Bsiness School.

• Anil Kumar Jharotia, Deepak Shukla “Development of Consortia and Library Networking in India” published in the proceeding of the national Conference held at J K Business School, Gurgoan (ISBN-9788190938709)19 March 2010 pp.164-176

Knowledge Management

Posted by 01. Anil K. Jharotia on September 29, 2009 at 3:57 AM Comments comments (8)

The Role of Knowledge Management in Libraries: Emerging Perspectives

                                              Anil Kumar Jharotia

 

Abstract

Knowledge management (KM) is about enhancing the use of organizational knowledge through sound practices of information management and organizational learning. It has emerged as a new area in the field of Library & information science.

Knowledge management as used as a base line in this paper is ‘knowledge management is the identification and communication of explicit and tacit knowledge residing within processes, people, products and services.’ Knowledge management in libraries normally focuses on effective research and development of knowledge , creation of knowledge bases, exchange and sharing of knowledge between library staffs and its users, training of library staff, quick processing of knowledge and realizing of its sharing.

Keywords : Knowledge Management, Library Environment, Information Management, Tacit Knowledge, Explicit Knowledge

Introduction

Library is one of the most important indicators of the stage of evolution, the society is passing through. The changes brought in due to the ongoing social evolution could be technological or managerial, library is sure to reflect the development. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the nature of changes undergone by the society over the years to know where the library stands.

The rapid development of Information Communication Technology (ICT) has changed the Information Society into a Knowledge Society. Accordingly, keeping pace with the changes, the emphasis of libraries has been shifted from documents to information and then to knowledge. Knowledge Management (KM) in libraries does not mean to management of existing knowledge of the library, rather it refers to effective identification, acquisition, organization, and development, using, storing and sharing of both existing and new knowledge. The aim of such effort is to create an approach to transforming and sharing of tacit and explicit knowledge and to raise innovation capability by utilizing the wisdom of the people of an organization.

What is Knowledge?

Knowledge starts as data- raw facts and numbers – for examples, the market value an institution’s endowment. Information is data put into context – in the same example, the endowment per student at a particular institution. Information is readily captured in documents or in databases; even large amounts are fairly easy to retrieve with modern information technology systems.

 

Knowledge process are two types :

1. Explicit

2. Tacit

 

Explicit knowledge is :

ü Packaged

ü Easily codified

ü Communicable

ü Transferable

Tacit knowledge is:

ü Personal

ü Context-specific

ü Difficult to formalize

ü Difficult to communicate

ü More difficult to transfer

Origins of knowledge management

The term “Knowledge management” (KM) is used to describe everything from the application of new technology to the harnessing of the intellectual capital of an organization (Sallis and Jones).

The field of knowledge management is seen as an essential part of a much broader concept known as intellectual capital. Knowledge management is about the management of the intellectual capital, controlled by the company. However, too often the delineation between the two terms is unclear and seldom adequately addressed.

Although Knowledge Management concepts have been around for a long time, the terms “Knowledge Management” seems to have arisen in the mid-70s. Nicholas Henry (1974) uses “Knowledge Management” in a manner that resembles our current understanding of the expression.

 

Knowledge Management Definitions

Many people perceive knowledge in many forms. As such it is only logical that knowledge management has many definitions according to the field it is being used in.

Knowledge management systems that are presently available or implemented, are just large electronic libraries of best practices, and needs to be rebuilt on more accurate understanding of what knowledge is. The following definitions are quoted from the works of a few experts in this field:

According to De Jarnet – “knowledge management is a process of knowledge creation, which is followed by knowledge interpretation, knowledge dissemination and use, and knowledge retention and refinement.”

“Knowledge management is the process of critically managing knowledge to meet existing needs, to identify and exploit existing and acquired knowledge assets and to develop new opportunities. (Quintas et al.)

 

“Knowledge management in the activity which is concerned with strategy and tactics to manage human centered assets.” - by Brooking

“Knowledge management is the process through which organizations extract value from their intellectual assets.”- by Kaplan

 

Working definition of knowledge management (km)

KM is a process of creating, storing, sharing, applying and re-using organizational knowledge to enable an organization to achieve its goals and objectives. KM is extending the concept of "knowledge" beyond existing concepts like "memory", "storage", and "information". The term covers such areas as tacit knowledge (expertise), implicit knowledge, explicit knowledge and procedural knowledge.

 

Knowledge Management in Libraries

Libraries deal with the document, information and knowledge. Knowledge can be divided in to two categories, Tacit knowledge and Explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is the ‘know-how’ acquired by persons. It is usually intuitive and generally demonstrated in how an individual makes accomplishment in his work, even though this knowledge is not recorded anywhere. But one of the goals of the knowledge management is to make tacit knowledge more widely available. Explicit knowledge is systematically documented records in any kind of format, which guide the users to gain the knowledge, as the individuals need and to expand the knowledge base further.

Knowledge management is the management of processes that govern the creation, dissemination, and utilization of knowledge by merging technologies, organizational structures and people to create the most effective learning, problem solving, and decision-making in an organization and library.

Libraries, the institutions for knowledge management deal with both categories of knowledge, tacit knowledge for the library personnel and the explicit knowledge for the users. Knowledge management in libraries is about the acquisition, creation, packaging or application or reuse of knowledge.

Characteristics of Knowledge Management in Libraries

The role of knowledge management in libraries will become more and more important along with the development of knowledge economy. It is a new management mode, boasts the following superiority and characteristics incomparable with conventional management:

 

Human Resource Management is the Core of Knowledge Management in Libraries

The most important resource in the knowledge economy system is the talents who grasp knowledge. The talent competition has become the focus of market competition in the knowledge economy era. In the knowledge economy era, the libraries will attach importance to vocational training and lifelong education of library staffs to raise their scientific knowledge level and ability of acquiring and innovating knowledge. They also will and fully respect the human value, guide and bring into play wisdom potentialities of library staffs, take developing knowledge resources in the brains of library staffs as an important way for rising work efficiency. An all-round improvement of library staff's quality and positioning of the human value will become important objectives of knowledge management in libraries.

The Objective of Knowledge Management in Libraries is to Promote Knowledge Innovation

Knowledge innovation is the core of the knowledge economy society. As bases for collection, processing, storage and distribution of knowledge and information, libraries represent an indispensable link in the scientific system chain, an important link in the knowledge innovation. Secondly, libraries take part in scientific research process directly. The library work is a component of knowledge innovation. Thirdly, libraries must pay attention to diffusion and conversion of knowledge. They act as bridges for turning the results of knowledge innovation into realistic productive forces. Knowledge management in libraries is to promote relationship in and between libraries, between library and user, to strengthen knowledge internetworking and to quicken knowledge flow. In the knowledge economy era, libraries will carry out researches on development and application of information resources, construction of virtual libraries, protection of intellectual property rights in the electronic era etc., thus founding the base for knowledge innovation

Information Technology is a Tool for Knowledge Management in Libraries

Knowledge acquisition is the starting point of knowledge management in libraries. The application of information technologies enlarges the scope of knowledge acquisition, rises knowledge acquisition speed and reduces knowledge acquisition cost. It is impossible to accomplish such important tasks by using man's brains only in the modern society in which the knowledge changes with each passing day. It will be possible to link closely knowledge sources and knowledge workers by computer networks, thus constructing knowledge networks in libraries based on realization of single-point informatization

The knowledge acquired must be accumulated and converged into knowledge warehouses of libraries. The priority of information technologies in the field of knowledge storage not only finds expression in quantity, but also in retrieval, sorting and security of the knowledge. Information technology is also indispensable in the application and exchange of knowledge and other fields. It functions as a source and tool for knowledge innovation.

Contents of Knowledge Management in Libraries

As a completely new method of management, knowledge management in libraries leaves much to be desired in its theoretical system. In my opinion, knowledge management in libraries should include such respects as follows:

 

1. Knowledge Innovation Management

2. Knowledge Dissemination Management

3. Knowledge Application Management

4. Human Resources Management

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Conclusion

 

In the short, we can say that Knowledge Management (KM) as a fluid of framed experience, values contextual information and expert insight that provides framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. Knowledge management requires a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to management processes and an understanding of the dimensions of knowledge work. Knowledge management should be the evolution of good management practices sensibly and purposively applied. One of the aims of knowledge management in libraries is to promote the knowledge exchange among library staffs, strengthen innovation consciousness and abilities for learning, making the knowledge most efficiently applied to the library and rebuilding the library into a learning organization. The knowledge management programme should provide a sound foundation for knowledge evolution.

 

References

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This paper has been published in journal :

 

* Anil Kumar Jharotia, “The Role of Knowledge Management in Libraries: Emerging Perspectives” Lingaya’s Journal of Professional Studies, Harayana Vol.3 No.1 July-Dec.2009 (ISSN 0975539X) pp.97-101

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