With the gradual shift from earlier agricultural era to today’s information era the user’s expectations towards library services has been changed. Now a day’s users are intended to get their required information through online. Even they have not enough time to search manual bibliographical sources of information to know the location of the document in the library, they needed. Users are so busy now. Therefore it is necessary for every library & information centers to automate their services that are offered to the users of information.
2. WHAT IS LIBRARY AUTOMATION?
International Encyclopedia of Information technology and library science defines automation as ‘the technology concerned with the design and development of process and system that minimize the necessity of human invention in their operation’.
The term ‘Library Automation’ in the past was used to refer to the mechanization of the traditional library operations like acquisition, serial control, cataloguing and circulation control. Today it is used to refer computerization of not only traditional library activities but also such related activities as information organization, information storage, retrieval, use etc
Although computers play very important role in the automation of libraries, application of telecommunication and reprography technology is also equally important.
3. NEED FOR LIBRARY AUTOMATION
The need for library automation can be explained following
To facilitate wider and deeper access to information;
To increase the retrievability of the resources;
To achieve a new level of library management;
To improve the existing services and to introduce new services;
To improve control over collection;
To have an efficient control over the entire operation;
To avoid the duplication of work;
To facilitate sharing of the resources among various libraries.
Some of the factors that forced the libraries to go for automating the activities are:
Availability of information in electronic form;
Exploitation of computer readable databases.
Therefore it can be said that the success of library automation mostly depends upon the nature of the software used for the purpose. Software helps in performing each & every operations of an automated library & information centers so quickly & easily.
4. WHAT IS LIBRARY MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE?
An automated library is one where a computer system is applied to manage one or several of the library’s key operations. Such as acquisitions, serials control, cataloging, circulation and the public access catalogue. Automated library system depends on library automation packages are also called Library Management Software (LMS). Library automation software provides centralized management and process automation for government; public, private libraries .Library automation applications provide integration of self-service kiosks and online web portal access for catalog search, content delivery or reservation requests and patron check-out history. They also track and automate notification of overdue books and fines.
5. BENEFITS OF USING LMS IN LIBRARY
Software helps in performing library operations quickly & easily and thus saving the time of the users and staff. It also saves the manpower.
LMS are integrated software package.
LMS are compatible to various hardware systems.
It is compatible to national & international bibliographic standards.
Operation in a multi-user environment.
Operation in a networked environment.
User friendly and menu driven.
Least response time.
Capable of handling bibliographical, numerical as well as textual data, also variable field. Sub-fields & repeatable fields.
Provision of data security through password.
Provision for thesaurus and authority file maintenance.
Output facility through card printing; bibliographies and on magnetic media (tape; diskette etc).
Facilitate search through Boolean logic; Single term search; Multiple term search; Truncation search; Field directed searching etc.
Import/ Export of data through standard exchange format.
Provide powerful scanner capabilities.
Display, sort and print records as per user defined formats.
6. LIBRARY AUTOMATION SOFTWARE PACKAGES
There are hundreds of library automation software packages available at the global level. It is difficult to list them all. Here is a table that shows list of some available software packages designed and developed for the libraries.
Name of the software
Designing, Developing, Marketing/Distributing Agency/Organizations
CDS/ISIS (DOS), WINISIS(WINDOWS)
UNESCO ,in India NISSAT/DSIT acts as the nodal agency
ALICE for Windows ,OASIS for DOS
Soft Link Pvt., Australia. Marketed in India by Soft Link Asia
BASISPLUS and TECHLIB PLUS
Information Dimensions Inc.(IDI), USA and NIC, New Delhi
INFLBNET center, Ahamedabad
Libsys corporation, New Delhi
Katipo Communications Limited of Wellington, New Zealand
VTLS Inc, Virginia, USA
Jointly by Netherlands Library Association ,Pakistan Library Association and UNESCO
SOFT-AID Computer Ltd., Pune
Frontier Information Technology Pvt. Ltd, Hyderabad
By DESIDOC under a NISSAT project
Developed in Germany by TRANCE Group
By Autolib Software System, Chennai
By NIC, Bangalore
By collaboration of Kesavan Institute of Information and Knowledge Management(KIIKM), Hyderabad and Venus Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
NEX Evolve Logic Solution Pvt. Ltd.
Algorhythems Consultants Pvt. Ltd., Pune
Datapro Consultancy Service,Pune
CMC Ltd., Kolkata
Nirmal Institute of Computer Expertise, Tiruchirapalli
Tata Unisys, Noida
Asmita Consultant Ltd.,Mumbai
Easylib Corporation, Bangalore
Comtek service Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi
6.1 SOUL: A SEMI COMMERCIAL SOFTWARE
SOUL (Software for University Libraries) provided by INFLIBNET center, Ahmedabad, INDIA. This software is intended to be provided to all the university libraries, which have been covered under INFLIBNET for which a separate agreement will have to be signed by each library. For others who are interested in using this software, particularly public funded organizations, separate modalities are being worked out including pricing, support, training etc. Hardly a cost in comparison to other commercial software is given by the libraries. That is why SOUL software is a semi commercial software. The software was designed to automate all house keeping operations in Library. The software is suitable not only for the academic libraries, but also for all types & sizes of libraries, even school libraries.
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6.2 LIBSYS: A PROPRIETARY SOFTWARE
Libsys is a proprietary software. The term proprietary is derived from the Latin word proprietas meaning property. Proprietary software is computer software licensed under exclusive legal right of its owner. The purchaser, or licensee, is given the right to use the software under certain conditions, but restricted from other uses, such as modification, further distribution, or reverse engineering. LIBSYS is developed by Libsys Corporation, New Delhi. Libsys is a complete, comprehensive, integrated system that manages all aspects of all kind of libraries i.e. public, national, higher education and research libraries.
6.3 KOHA: AN OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE
KOHA is a full featured Integrated Library System. It is an open source software. There is no cost for the license; you have the freedom to modify the product to adapt it to your needs. Like other open source software KOHA also provide the original source code used to create it so that users can modify it to make it work better for them. KOHA developed initially in New Zealand by Katipo Communications with Horowhenua Library Trust in1999. Koha is using now by so many libraries around the world, including academic, public, school, special libraries of Australia, Africa, Canada, USA, France, India and off course New Zealand.
7. COMPARISONS BETWEEN THESE THREE KINDS OF SOFTWARE
This paper gives emphasize on a comparative study among these 3 types of software. Each one has unique features regarding to its server, web server, Architecture, client, price, standard support, training provided to the customers etc. The following Table: 2 Shows the comparisons between these.
Client-server based architecture, only OPAC is web based.
Based on client-server model and TCP/IP for communication and networking.
Based on a client-server architecture.
Windows-NT/ Windows2000 server (operating system) MS-SQL server 7.0/ Advance server 2000(RDBMS) personal web server or Windows NT IIS with option pack 4.0 installed or Windows 2000 as server for web opac college version windows-98/ ME/NT/2000/XP/2003(operating system).
UNIX, LINUX Pentium machine with SCO Unix/Unix Ware SunSparc with solaris Alpha with OSF/1 RS/6000 with AIX HP-9000 with IRIX Windows NT/2000/XP Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP/ 2003(operating system)
Standard Windows (95/98/NT/2000/XP)
Standard Windows (95/98/NT/2000/XP) Web Enabled (JSP implementation) Unix Workstations X-Windows Workstations (Xterm) VT220 & compatible terminals Thin Java clients.
Based on GUI browsers.
Based on GUI browsers.
Based on GUI browsers.
Character Encoding Unicode for Language Computing Support
Support internationally known standards such as MARC 21, CCF, AACR2, LCSH.
MARC 21 and AACR2R(selected authority fields)
a)Industry standards: Z39.50, UNIMARC, ISO2709, MARC21
b)Technical standards: the OPAC is “valid XHTML”, and respects the standards o accessibility
c) web standards recommended by the WWW Consortium.
Software can be used with either SQL Server, ORACLE, or MySQL as a back-end RDBMS with ODBC compatibility.
Koha uses a dual database design that utilizes the strengths of the two major industry-standard database types (text-based and RDBMS). This design feature ensures that Koha is scalable enough to meet the transaction load of any library, no matter what the size of the library.
Data import /export
data exchange through ISO-2709 standard
data exchange through ISO-2709 standard
Serial Control Module
Training and manual
An extensive training in SOUL will be provided to the library staff on site upon its installation by Inflibnet staff
Only user manual is available, system manual (such as installation and configuration of server not provided) system manual kept hidden or not provided so that AMC (Annual Maintenance Contract) can be taken from libraries.
Full training and manual is provided
National and Regional Soul coordinators are appointed for this,free support is provided
Costly only on the basis of AMC(10 to 20% of total costs) charged from the libraries
Only online discussion and support is available free of cost
20-50 thousand. No AMC
4 to 5 lakhs and 10-20% AMC.
No other commitment, what is their in it may be used
Bias with developers and distributors, even committed things are not yet done properly at various places where it is in use.
General Public License
SOUL 1.0 was released during CALIBER 2000. The latest version of the software i.e. SOUL 2.0 released by the end of the year 2008.
3.2 (October 2010)
Nature of developing organization
Non for profit or government
Developing under open source category.
As it was mentioned earlier that the success of library automation mostly depends upon the nature of the software it is used for. Therefore it is necessary for any library & information center that they choose the software very carefully. The management must discuss about how the software matches the library’s requirements, product quality, cost factor, various features of the software, its functions, installation date and time duration of installation, staff training, support services, licensing, used standard etc. Here we discussed about these 3 software and it can be said that as in Koha the source code is open so the users are free to innovate and improve the software to meet their needs free. Innovation also means that open source software has much faster development cycles when compared to proprietary and commercial software. Because as the source code is open so it can be improve again & again. But this is not possible in the case of other 2 software.
LIBSYS is so costly (around 4-5 lakhs). So it is not possible for a small library to adopt it. But in case of a big library where money is not a big issue for their LIBSYS is appropriate. Because data entry, searching procedure is so much easy in LIBSYS and also when technical support is needed for application of the software in the library LIBSYS always provide it. Although SOUL is not so costly but it required a large & technically strong manpower. So SOUL is appropriate for a big library who can provide manpower but at the same time they have not enough money to effort LIBSYS or some other costly software. Although SOUL has a college version also. And for a small library which can not afford money but they are intendent to make their services and operational functions automate and even they have not also manpower ability. For them KOHA is the only option.
Even though wide range of Library automation softwares are available , it is necessary for librarians to keep watch on the developments and to choose appropriate software package depending on their needs.
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