Kamal Kumar Chaurasia(
The term Library automation connotes the use of automatic data processing machines to perform routine library activities. It implies a high degree of mechanization of various routine and repetitive tasks & operations and processes are left to be performed by human beings. Simply Library Automation is the application of computers and utilization of computer based products and services in the performance of different operations and functions or in the provision of various services and output products. In addition to computer advancement, telecommunication and audio-visual technologies gave a way to new possibilities in information processing and handling.
Library Automation has been defined as ‘integrated systems’ that computerizes an array of traditional library functions using a common database (Cohn, Kelsey and Fiels) and while this is still generally true, rapid technological change is forcing a re-examination of what it means to “automate the library”. In the broadest sense, Markuson means “employment of machines for library processes”. ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science defines automation as “the performance of an operation, a series of operations or a process by self activating, self controlling, or automatic means. Automation implies the use of automatic data processing equipment such as a computer or other labour saving devices”.
ADVANTAGES OF LIBRARY AUTOMATION
The versatility and speed of computers offers numerous benefits over manual library functions and operations. Computer applications in libraries has manifold advantages:
✓ Reduces Drudgery
✓ Increases Productivity
✓ Improves Quality of Services
✓ Expands the scope and coverage
✓ It will foster new products and services
✓ Instant Answers to queries
NEED & OBJECTIVES OF LIBRARY AUTOMATION
While justifying need for library automation more than the cost-effectiveness, the benefits derived by the library users become the major consideration. Since library does not happen to be an economic entity such benefits need to be looked at in a different perspective. The multifold increase in information output and usage has posed a problem for librarians to handle information in an effective manner. The advances in technology, lowering of cost and changes in users expectations have brought changing in the attitude of librarians to cope with the other related challenges. The need of automation in libraries can be explained on the basis of following factors: ✓ To expand the horizons of its coverage having possibility to develop it further into online form ✓ To promote the resource sharing among the libraries ✓ To cope with increasing demands for services in terms of frequency and speed ✓ To reduce staff or avoid the further increase in staff ✓ To increase the efficiency of supporting and paraprofessional staff ✓ To provide the access to the documents (electronic access) ✓ To increase the storage capacity of information using small and compact media ✓ To improve the quality of access to existing services (remote login, etc.) ✓ To provide new (increasingly digital) information services ✓ Document delivery very fast, frequent and online ✓ To be remain economical as providing the more services to more users having same staff
PLANNING & IMPLEMENTATION
The level of formal procedure in planning and implementing an automation project varies widely according to library preference and the nature of the application. The human element is a very important aspect in implementing an automated system. A library should interact with the following people in implementing an automated system or service- library staff, administrative and government authorities, regulatory agencies and...