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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Using a digital library relevance by Niranjan K (Source: Deccan Herald, 23 July 2015)

Using a digital library relevance-

Niranjana K explains the importance of libraries in the age where most people have switched over to the Internet

With the advent of information and digital technology, libraries are considered not only storehouse of books but also as a nerve centre for information. Enormous changes have taken place in the day-to-day working of the library. When we enter a library, we can find different kinds of resources archived in various ways. According to the Father of Library Science, Dr S R Ranganathan, libraries have to provide the right information, at the right time, to the right user in the right format. In this regard, participation of the user is very necessary to achieve the goal of libraries.
All modern libraries have been automated with library management software. When a user enters the library s/he may notice a computer named as OPAC (online public access catalogue) at the entrance. If the user enters a keyword or title or author in the OPAC search, it will show the bibliographical details of the book, its location, status (whether it has been issued to someone or is available) etc.
Normally, most libraries follow Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) from 000 to 999. These are arranged in increasing order and subject wise. For instance, number 600 indicates Engineering and Technology, 624 represent Civil Engineering, 151 represents Soil Mechanics and PUN alphabets represent the surname of the author of the book. When a user moves to the first rack, 000 indicates Computer Science and Generality; likewise, 300 indicates Social Sciences, 900 represents History and Geography. Users can pick an appropriate book according to a DDC number.
In order to get reliable and authentic information one has to resort to the reference books. It is found that most users avoid using reference books because its size and language intimidate them. Before going to refer these books, the user has to read and understand the syllabus copy thoroughly. In addition to this, it is better if he makes points or short notes in the class lecture and prepares his own notes prepared by reading reference books. Self-build notes are very easy to understand and useful during examinations.
Students who come to the library to read newspapers give them only a cursory glance. None or very few go to the core or soul pages of a newspaper like editorial columns. Normally, these pages consist of editorial content which analyse current events in the context of political, economical, technological and social aspects. It gives insights about recent developments in the world.
Journals are published by institutes specialising in a particular discipline. Many surveys shows that research activity in India is very low because there is no effective use of research journals.
Normally, journals consist of information about recent development in a particular discipline, case studies and research articles. Users can reads articles in the area of their interest. Most of the times, a user can't read the whole journal article at that time, but s/he may just glance at articles' titles and abstracts. It will help to increase his/her subject knowledge and also be useful for conducting research like producing project reports and doctoral thesis.
Most sophisticated libraries have the Digital Library or Digital Repository Facility. Some users think Digital Library means there is an internet connection to all library books and journals are available in a soft copy format; so it is easily accessible and installed on their PC or cell phones. But the fact is that we can't buy all books and journals as soft copies, because there are certain issues about Intellectual Property Right and copyrights.
So libraries instal digital library software in server system and deposit institutional scholarly contents like project reports, seminar reports, thesis and dissertation, conference volumes, articles, e-Notes, subject related audio video lectures, syllabus, question papers etc. Students can access these contents in the client system within the campus.
In order to achieve library goals, there is a need for user's continuous support and feedback to library staff. Despite the onslaught of smartphones, Internet and social media, libraries still continue to be a centre of genuine and reliable information.

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