The Advantages of Ict Supported Digital Library Consortiums

Published: 2021-06-17 09:40:47
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Category: Learning, Computer Science, Experience

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The Library Consortiums are established in order to facilitate the sharing or knowledge resources that are located across fragmented locations worldwide. Networking and resource sharing are the two synergies that are explored across the library consortia (Okeagu & Okeagu, 2008). In literal terms, a library consortium is a grouping of two or more libraries that agree to share the resources in order to fulfill the common demand for knowledge based resources (Bostick, 2001). Yet the usability and purposefulness of such consortia is only determined by the users. In a research emphasizing the need of the libraries to hang together (Allen & Hirshon, 1998), it was observed that consortia based libraries are more efficient in exploitation of ingrained resources, collections through the virtual e-catalogues. Such a set-up has been observed to lower the acquisition and conservation costs as well as the sustained revenue generation. Such mechanisms have been observed to possess positive impact on academia publisher relations. The historical evolution of ICT supported digital library consortia in India is facing similar challenges.
Despite the investment of millions of rupees in national wide UGC-Infonet DLC facility, the user response is not that as predicted and the usability of the platform across masses is still under cloud. The global research on underutilization points towards the gaps either across user’s skills, or in user oriented training, or on part of the institution or across the user interfaces of such platforms. 1 Yet the users and their identity as well as information literacy levels are not changing with the change in service provision technologies (Cox, 2000). The research points towards a rampant change in the profile of the users. The emphasis on ICT based interfaces in learning and knowledge sharing has put extra pressure on the users and librarians alike in familiarization the user with skills that enable better consortia usage. Further these consortia have been observed to possess life cycles, beyond which they need regeneration as well as restructuring (Shachaf, 2003). The libraries are entering the phase of collaborative knowledge sharing and collaborative learning. The space and time constraints with regard to access to and sharing of knowledge are giving way to technology supported mechanisms that are facilitating any time access to qualitative information for research, knowledge creation and transmission across the world (Esposito, 2013).The Indian libraries are no exception to changing role of libraries in university’s knowledge production endeavors. Yet the usability and the respective awareness across research scholars and other library users is a matter of grave concern in developing economies with substantial digital divides (UNESCO, 2009). The academic studies (Reddy, 2004) points towards loss of potential of the collaborative knowledge sharing networks and library consortiums; when the user is either unaware about the existence of such an option (Lee & Lin, 2005) or the perceived user is not apt at effective usage of such a mechanism (Thong, Hong &Tam 2002). The technology acceptance proportion is lower in developing economies in comparison with the developed economies. The negligent or non- sustainable institutional efforts (Johnson, Trabelsi & Fabbro, 2008) at promoting user’s awareness (Tuominen, Savolaine & Talija, 2005) and inculcating information literacy; are largely viewed as potential constraints in effective usage of digital consortiums, institutional repositories and digital library services (Peansupap & Walker, 2005). 2 In this context, the Indian libraries especially the digital consortiums and institutional repositories and UGC-Infonet DLC are facing similar challenges with regard to optimum usage (Reddy, 2004).
The review of existing literature with regard to research scholar’s information seeking and processing behaviors points towards the existence of the multiple aspects of human’s information character and attributes. Such attributes across Indian scholars are not being addressed effectively in timely manner (Reddy, 2004). The attempts regarding academic interpretation of user’s acceptance of digital libraries have been nominal and non-convergent. The research across European libraries observed that the libraries need to play a crucial role in management of digital repositories, ensure provision of high quality data, consistently shape and promote effective information search behaviors as well as enhance the current levels of library incomes. The research underlined a host of be benefits for libraries in terms of increase in readership, lengthening of duration of stay of users, increase and consistency in footfalls across the library premises as well as reliable information search behaviors across the users of the digital libraries and the digital repositories. Similarly, the changes in librarian’s role in ICT diffusion in library cannot be side-lined. The user’s assessment of usability of emerging digital repositories needs to be evaluated vis a vis the user’s attitude and perceptions regarding the usability and convenience of usage (Joo, Lin & Lu, 2011).
The observed lack of awareness and usefulness of the emerging platforms like the INFLIBNET in eyes of users, makes a convincing case for research and evaluation. With regard to the digital library consortia, the resident and visitor notions of the users can never ever be ignored. The studies on youth’s technology usage, points towards the existence of “resident” and “visitor” psychologies that help us understand the platform usage intentions. As per the research, the “resident” tendencies foster the actual information access whereas the “visitor” 3 tendencies lead to opinion formation and non-relevant usage of the aforesaid technology setup.

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