Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Library Automation Facilitation: A Case Stuy of NIT Libraries in India: Automation Makes the Library Systems, Resources, and Services More Attractive and Interactive, Helping Libraries to Meet Their User's Expectations

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Library Automation Facilitation: A Case Stuy of NIT Libraries in India: Automation Makes the Library Systems, Resources, and Services More Attractive and Interactive, Helping Libraries to Meet Their User's Expectations

Article excerpt

India is a huge country with a population of more than 1 billion. In India, by tradition, education and learning are highly valued. In fact, India has one of the largest higher education systems in the world, with regard to the number of institutions. Both authors of this article have spent their professional lives in support of India's higher education system, with author Rao serving as assistant librarian for the National Institute of Technology in Rourkela, India, and author Choudhury serving as guest faculty at Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, India, after retiring from his professorship at Sambalpur University.

Education is a necessity. It is the most effective instrument with which to imbue people with the knowledge, skills, and capability to develop a developing nation.

Libraries are one invaluable way to provide this education since each library is a hub of knowledge. This is one reason that automation is important for libraries--it is the way to effectively modernize their functions and services, which in turn makes them more efficient at responding to the needs of their users. Library automation is viewed as the total composite of technologies needed to bring to the library user the necessary access and services to answer real-world information needs.

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History of India's National Institutes of Technology

The seeds for some of India's higher education institutions were planted in the latter half of the 1950s. During that time, in India, a number of industrial projects were being contemplated. To ensure enough supply of trained personnel to meet the demand these projects would create, the decision was made to build Regional Engineering Colleges (RECs), one per each major state, that could churn out engineering graduates. Thus, starting in 1959, 17 RECs were eventually established across the country to encourage regional development of technical manpower. These colleges were set up as a joint and cooperative enterprise between the central government and each state government concerned.

Subsequently, these colleges were granted university status. In 2002, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, decided to upgrade, in phases, all 17 RECs as National Institutes of Technology (NITs). Later, three government engineering colleges (Patna, Raipur, and Agartala) were added to the NIT family. All 20 institutes (see Figure 1) offer benchmarks for technical education, especially in the areas of engineering, science, and technology. All institutions have their own autonomy to draft curriculum and functioning policies, and they offer bachelor's, master's, and doctorate courses and degrees in various fields. Greater infrastructure facilities have been given to these institutions for development in teaching, learning, research, and dissemination of information across the country.

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The Case Study--Construction

We conducted this study a few years ago in order to identify the extent of computerization among NIT libraries across India. Objectives--The main objectives were as follows:

* To examine the level of computerization among NIT libraries in India

* To study integrated library software (ILS) and its management

* To find out the automation of library in-house functionalities

* To evaluate zone performance with respect to computerization

Methodology--Aquestionnaire was used to collect data. The sample size was 20, due to the number of NITs in India. The questionnaire was presented to administrators of the libraries of the various NITs across the country. A reminder was sent to those librarians who failed to respond in a timely fashion. Finally, all responses were received.

Scope and Limitations--The study was confined to India's 20 NIT libraries, concerning only the library automation facilitation. In this study, data received from the respondents were authenticated and assumed to be factual. …

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