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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Books, journals only a click away for UG, PG students [Source: Deccan Herald, 27 Oct 2015]

Books, journals only a click away for UG, PG students

Libraries of all varsities in Karnataka will be digitally connected

Shruthi H M
Bengaluru: Students of graduate and postgraduate courses in the State will soon be able to access books and journals of different universities sitting in their college library. The Higher Education department in Karnataka has taken up an e-library initiative which would digitally connect the libraries of all universities in the State.
With this facility, all students can have access to a wide pool of study materials. Sources in the State Higher Education Council said the programme was already in the initial stages of implementation with e-content of some of the universities being made available on the government portal. "We have already started working on it and some of the content is available at present. It would take a couple of more months for implementing the scheme on a full scale," an official in the Higher Education Council said.
The e-library initiative is part of the larger ICT initiative taken up by the Higher Education department, which looks at overall automation and digitisation of higher education institutions in the State.
According to the plans at present, every university will make its e-content available on the common government portal set up for the purpose. This would be open to not just all universities but their affiliated colleges as well. This includes government, aided and unaided colleges affiliated to a university. The varsities will share the journals they are subscribing to and articles published by their faculty, apart from digitised books in their respective libraries. In addition, the entire catalogue of books available in every library will be hosted on this portal.
I R N Goudar, visiting professor and library advisor, Bangalore University explained: "In BU, we have already digitised 80 per cent of our content. We are in the process of uploading thesis of our research scholars. We have brought the catalogues of libraries of Jnanabharathi, Central College and University Law College on a common platform."
Goudar was earlier responsible for digitally collating the catalogue of all the libraries under University of Mysore.
In the future, the department could also explore inter-university book lending where a faculty or student of university can borrow books from the other varsity. This would provide an abundant pool of learning material. "Several universities abroad have this system in place already. It is not an unthinkable project. With some co-ordination, the department can constitute a committee for the same and look into coming up with rules and regulations for inter-university book lending" Goudar said.
Not just this, the higher education department could also look at buying e-journals and sharing them with all universities, he pointed out. For instance, BU has spent around Rs 2.35 crore in buying e-books over the last three years. Instead of each university duplicating expenditure, the department could buy it on behalf of the universities and share it on its server. This could be done with partial funding between the universities and the department, Goudar added.
This ambitious project of the department could open doors to many opportunities for rural students, only if adequate infrastructure is provided.
Sreesha Kumar, Principal of Government First Grade College, HD Kote (the college is affiliated to University of Mysore) said that while they had a lot to benefit from such an initiative, the infrastructure needed to be developed. "We would need more computers for this to be effective. Without adequate infrastructure, students would not benefit from it. Also, for our students to make the best use of it, it would be helpful if there is Kannada e-content. Many students in rural areas usually are intimidated by English and they would hesitate to access the resources if it is not in the regional language."
DH News Service


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