Usage of E-Resources in Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, with Special Reference to the UGC-Infonet Digital Library Consortium

Article excerpt

Introduction

Libraries spend a large portion of their budget on subscription of scholarly literature, especially on peer-reviewed journals and databases. Though, Information explosion, increase in the cost and availability of scholarly information in electronic mode are some of the important factors responsible to open the gate for library consortium. A library consortium is a formal association or a joint venture of homogeneous libraries that operates on mutual approved terms to share the resources among members. According to US Federal Communications Commission (FCC Form 470) 'library consortium is any local, statewide, regional or national cooperative association of libraries that provides the systematic and effective coordination of the resources of schools, public, academic and special libraries and information centers, for improving services to the clientele of such libraries'. In paucity of funds in libraries and information needs of the users placed cutthroat need of the library consortia. Mushrooming of many library consortia in all around the world have been observed during the last decade. Many countries have been started taking serious steps to establish different national consortia to develop quality oriented academic and research environment in their respective countries. Similarly, in India University Grants Commission (UGC) has launched an ambitious program called UGC-Infonet in December 2003. This program is aiming to facilitate the Indian universities with state of the art technology for productive communication and to provide online access to peer reviewed e-resources. Information and Library Network Centre (INFLIBNET) is a nodal agency to monitor and to execute the program systematically. So far more than 171 universities and around 600 colleges have already been incorporated into this national virtual venture. Himachal Pradesh University is the single university which caters the higher educational needs of state's people. Since January 2005, university has been getting access to e-resources under UGC-Infonet program. This paper is an attempt to review the usage of e-resources given to this university, and offers some suggestions to make maximum use of the facility extended by UGC through UGC-Infonet Digital Library Consortium.

International Scenario of Library Consortia

As per the latest trend a consortium is not restricted to one geographic region but it has become a global phenomenon today. Many professional associations and network centres have been running various successful library consortia which are setting the examples at global arena. The Net Library, an eContent division of OCLC (Online Computer Library Centre, Inc.) has increased its boundaries by subscribing to thousands of scholarly books from various prominent publishers and making it available to the member libraries. Net Library has also been signing agreements with many leading libraries to convert their print collection in to electronic form (Grogg and Ashmore, 2005) to strengthen the library coordination all around. In UK, CURL (Consortium of University Research Libraries) is being running with the motive to increase the ability of research libraries in terms of sharing resources for the benefit of the local, national and international research community. The FinELib (Finland National Electronic Library Consortium) is a national consortium comprises with all universities, polytechnics and public libraries as well as various research institutes of Finland (Hormia-Poutanen, 2005). Within Thailand, THAILINET (Thai Academic Libraries Network) and PULINET (Provincial University Library Network) were merged together to formulate ThaiLIS (Thai Library Integrated System) consortium for improving the higher educational system in the country. The HEAL-Link (Hellenic Academic Libraries Link) is the consortium aimed at developing cooperation involving all the academic libraries in Greece. The same way, primary goal of the NEICON (National Electronic Information Consortium) is to provide Russian organizations with access to scientific information resources via the Internet. …

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