CHAPTER - 7
PROBLEMS AND IMPLICATIONS OF LIBRARY NETWORKING
7.2 Implications of Networking
As we have seen in the previous chapters, Library Networks help us in the dissemination of information in cooperative manner where all the concerned libraries pool their resources, and use them , thus ensuring the optimum utilization of resources. But behind setting up a library network and utilize its services, there is a lot of problems facing the Library/Information professionals. Some recent studies have shown the following as major problems to be considered:
The status of Libraries, especially in developing countries like India is not so good. No much importance is given to libraries and library professionals compared to other fields. There is lack of growth of libraries in our country due to negligence on the pat of the Government as well as lack of will on the part of the library staff.
Library Networks need educated and trained staff to sustain and run smoothly. Due to attitude of certain traditional library staff, they hesitate to learn new technology which is essential in this age. Library automation is pre requisite for starting a Library Network. Library automation can not be achieved without learning new technology
There is problem of availability of training facilities. Every Library/Information staff should be given training in the field of networking and library automation. In our country, every library/information center should be provided with adequate training facility which is not so in the present context.
Initially Library Networking needs resources for the development and contacts with other institutions for its expansion, which is lacking in the country.
Even if an institution manages some funds there is problem of resource allocation. Often imbalance resource and personnel creates problem for further development of the networks.
Actually various networks employ different techniques for the construction of the database of their holdings. They do not follow any common approach. So there is problem of compatibility among various systems and databases.
In India, due to presence of various regional languages, there is problem of standardization. Any standard can not be so much effective.
In several countries, various government organizations do not show willingness in providing information. It might be due to internal security problem or simply hide the information from others in Science and Technology fields.
The world over, various networks are established in different languages. There are multiple command languages.One has to study various systems and databases for searching purpose.
This is a major problem in our country. The development of Library networks in isolation creates the problem of standardization and coordination among various networks. Also a new library network has to spend much more resources in developing a network. If a new starting-network employ the methodology of an already developed and successful network, it can certainly minimize the cost for developing the network. With mutual understanding they can themselves consult each other in their respective fields of expertise.
7.2 Implications of Networking
The implications of Resource Sharing Networks can be categorized into five types. They pertain to staff, activities, cost, technology and time.
Networking means sharing of special staff skills in specific areas for training, answering of information requests, bibliographical assistance, processing, etc. It emphasizes the importance and need for higher level of reference assistance to readers. For this to achieve, it implies the need for training and retraining of reference librarians to meet the demands of networking and sharing.Networking will surely demand from librarians and library administrators more time , skill and patience than are presently required of them. In addition, it requires a change in the attitudes of librarians and other staff.
Collaborative development of resources including provision for cooperative acquisition of rare and research materials, and for strengthening local resources for currently used material is expected for successful running of a network. The development of multimedia resources is essential. There is need for identification of primary patron groups and provision for assignment of responsibility for information service to all within the network. Identification of levels of service that provide basic as well as special needs of patron groups, and distribution of each service type among the needs is required.
There must be provision for "referral" as well as "relay" and for "document" as well as "information" transfer. Critical implications of growth of networks would lead to questions of limits of size and growth, optimal size for computerized bibliographical network,etc. Development of evaluation criteria and procedures to provide feedback from users and operators and means for network evaluation and modification to meet specified operational utility needs to be developed.
Networking goal of improved access implies that it involves real cost and , therefore, it cannot be viewed as a panacea or easy means to reduced expenditure of member libraries.It means sharing of cost of telecommunications networks and of common functions of network by the member libraries.
Availability through Networking implies delay in obtaining a particular item not held locally. Access to larger and larger resource/collection would cause access/search time to go up. However, this access time is much lower than the traditional manual search within a library.
After all a technology helps a person in getting or developing a new-one in a comfortable manner in less time and with less cost, not sacrificing the accuracy. So, a Networking System should be simple to use if electronic excommunication by an unforgiving operating system is to be avoided.
From the above considerations, it can be said that tomorrow’s automated network libraries will cost more than today’s automated libraries, but still less than the future cost of single traditional libraries. Initially, a library network needs resources to sustain, but on long run, benefits accrued by the networking will surpass the loss of revenue.