Resource sharing and information service

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Resource sharing and Information Service Provider will be the main tool for education in 21st century since the Internet is emerging as powerful tool in teaching, training and exchanging information reflecting a new vision or learning in educational process. The rapid rate in the growth of information and information technology requires great efforts to develop enhanced teaching skills, dynamic teaching curricula and effective information resources dissemination. The increasing role of multimedia computer-based learning must be coupled with the new concept of school resource center (SRC) as an information service provider.

SRC as an Information Service Provider can be used together with other educational materials to bring about dramatic improvements at all levels of education. SRC as an Information Service Provider should be seen as an entity which will educate our students and future generations with sufficient knowledge, skills and criteria. It should enrich our educational programs and enhance teaching and learning methodologies. The transformation of SRC as an Information Service Provider is the only way to overcome the knowledge and skill gap between national and international educational systems.

The SRC as an Information Service Provider is proposed as an aid to complement existing teaching methodologies. However, its successful usage is highly dependent on efforts to be made by all concern to collaborate. SRC as an Information Service Provider does replace the concept of a library as a repository of knowledge with the notion of it as a provider of information services to knowledge users.

Current Scenario

There is a need to use multi-faceted approaches to deliver content as outlined in the national curriculum, and to develop soft skills among students. To fulfill this need, the Ministry of Education has implemented “Program Pembestarian Sekolah” or “Making Schools Smart” Program for all Malaysian schools under the Ninth Malaysian Plan (RMK-9). This program calls for innovation in areas of teaching and learning by integrating technology.

Motivating and engaging students in active learning is challenging even for the most experienced teachers. Due to students' different learning styles, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, prescriptions of either a “one-size fits-all” approach or the “cookie-cutter” approach do not necessarily gear them towards achieving high standards.

Documented in the “Malaysian Smart School: A Conceptual Blueprint” (Ministry of Education, 1996), the ideal curriculum is:

Meaningful

The curriculum emphasizes the active construction of meaning, so that students find purpose in their studies.

Socially Responsible

The curriculum develops in students a sense of social responsibility, so that they become aware of their obligations and duties as citizens in a democracy, and are especially sensitive to the needs of the poor and the aged.

Multicultural

The curriculum reflects and is responsive to the cultural diversity of this nation and our community, so that students develop a sense of pride in their own heritage and a respect for that of others.

Reflective

The curriculum fosters in students the skills and attitudes of reflection, so that they are able to think critically, creatively, and affirmatively.

Holistic

The curriculum gives appropriate emphasis to all the significant aspects of growth and all the types of human intelligence, helping students see the connections between the separate subjects.

Global

The curriculum develops in students an awareness of global interdependence in all aspects of life including the environment and the economy.

Open-Ended

The curriculum is open-ended in two ways: it is open to revision and continued refinement; and it provides open access to all students, allowing them to go beyond explicitly stated learning outcomes in curriculum documents.

Goal-Based

The curriculum focuses on significant goals, so that all students, including those with special needs, develop the critical skills and acquire the knowledge they need for effective lifelong learning and full functioning as citizens in a changing society.

Technological

The curriculum uses technology as one delivery system, examines the influence of technology on students' lives, and gives students the skills they need to use technology.

Objective

To strengthen School Resource Center towards Information Sharing via Smart Virtual Networking.

Approach And Holistic Strategies

1. Concept And Philosophy

School Resource Center as an information Service Provider (SRC-ISP) Framework was derived from the need to provide a seamless and integrated information web environment representing a modern library system. SRC-ISP is a comprehensive web based library systems for managing, constructing and presenting collections of thousands or millions of digital and non-digital documents, including text, images, audio and video and be able to manage their collections cataloguing and circulation in effective manner. All bibliography information and digital collections are shareable and assessable via single common interface known as webOPAC for all School Resource Center via the NET.

SRC-ISP functionalities comprise of:-

§ Library management functions

1. Cataloguing and barcode labeling

2. Support imprint and digital collection

3. Circulation and late fees charging. A self service checkout function and online renewal.

4. Staff administration

5. Members administration

6. Reporting and analysis

§ webOPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue)

1. Public Interface for browsing online catalog and digital collections

2. Member Interface for allowing Bookings

3. Member Interface for checking account

4. Member rating functionality

5. Member reviews

6. Inter library borrowing and transfer

Digital libraries are not new, but investment in them is fraught with unknowns. Consequently, librarians and library directors are keen for information about different institutional experiences, including what digital library investments are considered good, meaningful, and cost-effective, and what influences have helped shape successful digital library programs.

A digital library is an organized collection of digital documents, in any format such as text, image, audio or video, which would permit easy access by information users and proper maintenance by librarians. In this age of exponential growth of information materials in print as well as digital form, both physical and digital libraries are essential and can work in unison, supplementing each other.

SRC-ISP should offer exciting ways to build and distribute digital document collections. It helps us to publish digital collections on the internet.

The aim of the SRC-ISP is to empower users, particularly in schools, to build their own digital and non-digital collections. SRC-ISP will encourage the effective deployment of digital libraries to share information and place it in the public domain.

2. Total Quality Management (TQM) Approach

TQM approach can be used to plan, execute and monitor the School Resource Center as an Information Service Provider implementation. TQM is a set of management practices throughout the organization, geared to ensure the organization consistently meets or exceeds customer requirements. TQM places strong focus on process measurement and controls as means of continuous improvement. Important aspects of TQM include customer-driven quality, top management leadership and commitment, continuous improvement, fast response, actions based on facts, employee participation, and a TQM culture.

Customer-Driven Quality

TQM has a customer-first orientation. The customer, not internal activities and constraints, comes first. Customer satisfaction is seen as the company's highest priority. The company believes it will only be successful if customers are satisfied. The TQM company is sensitive to customer requirements and responds rapidly to them. In the TQM context, `being sensitive to customer requirements' goes beyond defect and error reduction, and merely meeting specifications or reducing customer complaints. The concept of requirements is expanded to take in not only product and service attributes that meet basic requirements, but also those that enhance and differentiate them for competitive advantage.

TQM Leadership From Top Management

TQM is a way of life for a company. It has to be introduced and led by top management. This is a key point. Attempts to implement TQM often fail because top management doesn't lead and get committed - instead it delegates and pays lip service. Commitment and personal involvement is required from top management in creating and deploying clear quality values and goals consistent with the objectives of the company, and in creating and deploying well defined systems, methods and performance measures for achieving those goals. These systems and methods guide all quality activities and encourage participation by all employees. The development and use of performance indicators is linked, directly or indirectly, to customer requirements and satisfaction, and to management and employee remuneration.

Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement of all operations and activities is at the heart of TQM. Once it is recognized that customer satisfaction can only be obtained by providing a high-quality product, continuous improvement of the quality of the product is seen as the only way to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction. As well as recognizing the link between product quality and customer satisfaction, TQM also recognizes that product quality is the result of process quality. As a result, there is a focus on continuous improvement of the company's processes. This will lead to an improvement in process quality. In turn this will lead to an improvement in product quality, and to an increase in customer satisfaction.

Elimination of waste is a major component of the continuous improvement approach. There is also a strong emphasis on prevention rather than detection, and an emphasis on quality at the design stage. The customer-driven approach helps to prevent errors and achieve defect-free production. When problems do occur within the product development process, they are generally discovered and resolved before they can get to the next internal customer.

Fast Response

To achieve customer satisfaction, the company has to respond rapidly to customer needs. This implies short product and service introduction cycles. These can be achieved with customer-driven and process-oriented product development because the resulting simplicity and efficiency greatly reduce the time involved. Simplicity is gained through concurrent product and process development.

Actions Based On Facts

The statistical analysis and facts is an important part of TQM. Facts and analysis provide the basis for planning, review and performance tracking, improvement of operations, and comparison of performance with competitors. The TQM approach is based on the use of objective data, and provides a rational rather than an emotional basis for decision making. The statistical approach to process management in both engineering and manufacturing recognizes that most problems are system-related, and are not caused by particular employees. In practice, data is collected and put in the hands of the people who are in the best position to analyze it and then take the appropriate action to reduce costs and prevent non-conformance.

Employee Participation

A successful TQM environment requires a committed and well-trained work force that participates fully in quality improvement activities. Such participation is reinforced by reward and recognition systems which emphasize the achievement of quality objectives. On-going education and training of all employees supports the drive for quality. Employees are encouraged to take more responsibility, communicate more effectively, act creatively, and innovate. As people behave the way they are measured and remunerated, TQM links remuneration to customer satisfaction metrics.

A TQM Culture

It's not easy to introduce TQM. An open, cooperative culture has to be created by management. Employees have to be made to feel that they are responsible for customer satisfaction. They are not going to feel this if they are excluded from the development of visions, strategies, and plans. It's important they participate in these activities. They are unlikely to behave in a responsible way if they see management behaving irresponsibly - saying one thing and doing the opposite.

Product Development In A TQM Environment

Product development in a TQM environment is very different to product development in a non-TQM environment. Without a TQM approach, product development is usually carried on in a inconsistency atmosphere where each department acts independently. Short-term results drive behavior so scrap, changes, work-around, waste, and rework are normal practice. Management focuses on supervising individuals, and fire-fighting is necessary and rewarded.


Product development in a TQM environment is customer-driven and focused on quality. Teams are process-oriented, and interact with their internal customers to deliver the required results. Management's focus is on controlling the overall process, and rewarding teamwork.

Awards For Quality Achievement

The Deming Prize has been awarded annually since 1951 by the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers in recognition of outstanding achievement in quality strategy, management and execution. Since 1988 a similar award (the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award) has been awarded in the US. Early winners of the Baldrige Award include AT&T (1992), IBM (1990), Milliken (1989), Motorola (1988), Texas Instruments (1992) and Xerox (1989).

Conclusion

A general-purpose of School Resource Center as an information service provider is a useful tool to provide information services in our libraries. Absence of knowledge on how to use it should not come in the way of exploiting the advantages it offers. We, the librarians, can improve our capabilities, as knowledge managers, if we are particular in learning the information technology tools and use them for managing knowledge resources. We should learn, utilize, promote and propagate School Resource Center as an Information Service Provider to make our libraries better.

Being open source, School Resource Center is readily extensible, and benefits from the inclusion of GNU-licensed modules for full-text retrieval, database management, and text extraction from proprietary document formats. Only through international cooperative efforts and open source community will School Resource Center Application become sufficiently comprehensive to meet the Malaysia's needs with the richness and flexibility that users deserve.

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