Bridging the Information Divide among Engineering College Libraries in Tamil Nadu, India: A Network Design

Article excerpt

Introduction

Libraries provide support to engineering colleges for achieving college goals through ensuring quality library and information services. It is crucial to bridge the information divide in engineering college libraries, because of the growth of engineering literature, increasing costs, and declining budgets, and the importance of user satisfaction.

Global Networks

Library networking as a means of resource sharing had its beginning in the 1970s and developed during the 1980s. Libraries in all countries of the world have adopted some form of networking. As early as in April 1976, the Library of Congress Network Advisory Committee (NAC) looked at options for a national system for sharing bibliographic information.

OCLC is the largest library network in USA. It was established in 1967, and supports resource sharing in more than 6,000 libraries. In Canada, Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Victoria established TRIUL in 1970. There are three major networks in UK: the VINCOUNT Project; LIBERTAS Project of SWALCAP; and JANET. JANET is the major network connecting the libraries of universities and polytechnics. College Libraries Activities Network of New South Wales (CLANN) and Co-operative Action by Victorian Academic Libraries (CALVAL) are the best-known networks in Australia.

Networking in India

Resource sharing in a networked system has been functioning since 1930 in developed countries, while India has concentrated on interlibrary loan. Networking activities in India started with the establishment of National Information System for Science and Technology (NISSAT) in 1979. Some of the examples of such Wide Area Network (WAN) networking are INDONET (INET), National Information Centre Network (NICNET), Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET) and Developing Library Network (DELNET). CALIBNET and MALIBNET are typical examples of Local Area Networking (LAN) system, which is now ongoing in libraries of metropolitan cities like Calcutta and Chennai.

Engineering Colleges in Tamil Nadu: An Overview

Anna University was established in 1978 in Tamil Nadu. Since December 2001, it has grown and gained a reputation, having brought into its fold about 225 self-financing engineering colleges, six government colleges, and three government-aided engineering colleges located in various parts of Tamil Nadu. It offers programs in engineering, technology, and allied sciences relevant to the current and projected needs of society. Besides promoting research and disseminating the resulting knowledge, it fosters cooperation between the academic and industrial communities.

Objectives of this Study

The objectives of this study are

* To recommend networking of engineering college libraries in Tamil Nadu

* To propose a design for Tamil Nadu Engineering College Libraries Network (TECLIBNET).

Literature Review

The amount of information available on resource sharing and networking is huge. Though the practice of resource sharing is as old as librarianship itself, the introduction of information technology in libraries has brought this idea to even more prominence. This literature review touches on a few notable studies in this area. Nonglak surveyed the university libraries in Thailand and proposed a plan for a university library network in that country. Khurshid looks at library services in fifteen universities in Pakistan and finds no systems of library cooperation or networking. He stresses the need for resource sharing under the central government and suggests creation and maintenance of an updated union list of serials. Frederik describes the national plan for university libraries in Brazil, and recommends a centre for cooperative cataloguing, a standard format for computerized cataloguing, and development of an online network. Fritz and Baldock looked at Canadian resource sharing, finding that university libraries in Saskatchewn used resource sharing methods in support of distance education. …