Influence of factors in provision of networked services: an empirical study in India.

Author:Rao, Srinivasa


Today, we live in a knowledge society, and knowledge is the most democratic source of power (Toffler, 1991). It is the main characteristic of future societies (Repanovici, 2006). Knowledge has been described as a fluid combination of actual experiences, values, and practical information (Dastgerdi, 2009). A knowledge society is one where knowledge is a cognitive asset and the primary source of production. Knowledge-based activities are the production, targeting, and orientation of knowledge (Reich, 1991). Education is the key for generating knowledge to sustain the social, political, and economic prosperity of a nation. Libraries have always existed at the juncture between knowledge consumption and knowledge creation (Kaser, 2009). Libraries exist to serve as many people as possible, disseminating information, preserving culture, and contributing to intellectual and social life (Iwhiwhu, 2008).

Education and libraries are inseparable. They are indivisible concepts, working for knowledge production, promotion, and dissemination. Education is a process of providing knowledge, skill, or competence to learners through optimal use of libraries and information services (Magara and Batambuze, 2009). As an integral part of academic institutions, the libraries are a hub of knowledge and information services ( Mirza and Mahmood , 2009). The primary function of the academic library system is to serve students, researchers, faculty, and staff. Technology has created a host of opportunities for libraries to improve their services (Maddern, 1998). Technology has changed the entire concept of libraries from storage to access (Khalid, 2000). Moreover, technological change is not only in the way information is packaged, processed, stored, and disseminated, but also how users seek and access information (Anunobi and Okoye, 2008). A network is a conduit for information (Sawhney and Parikh, 2001). In the 1990s, the Internet connected networks to create a remarkable technology and it continues to transform higher education (Rosenberg, 2001). The academic community has long appreciated the potential of the Internet to expand access to information, facilitate communication, and promote human development (Dempsey, 2007). Libraries have a role in helping people become masters of the technology that surrounds us (Kaser, 2009).

Networks are a commonly-used technology in the library. Networked information and the methods of storage, transmission, and retrieval are much different compared with traditional methods (Zhen, 1996). Libraries use networks for a variety of purposes, not only for in-house functions, but also remote services. The information stored and used in the library is largely network-based. Use of library services over a network is continuously growing. Users prefer networked information resources, rather than physical access (McClure, 2004). Libraries must be ready to provide Networked Services (NS). Academic libraries may encounter difficulty in managing, accessing, and using networked resources and services. The current state of NS is relatively primitive and tools to guide users to find items of significant interest are still inadequate (Sadowsky, 1993). There are many complicated interactions among technology, policy, organizations and people that require ongoing thought and clarification. (McClure, Bertot and Hert, 1999). Lack of infrastructure hampers the growth of libraries to meet the changing demands of the users (Shariful Islam and Nazmul Islam, 2007).

Many studies explore NS. In global perspective, Yavarkovsky (1993) and Strempel (1996) investigate NS in state libraries. Dempsey, et al. (1993), and Dempsey, Mumford, and Tuck (1994) introduce technologies and standards which are important for emerging networked library services. Kistner (1992) and Geldenhuys (1995) describe CD-ROM networks. Owen and Wiercx (1996) propose three basic models including the networked library model, co-operative network model, and knowledge environment model. Lakos (1997) discusses identifying library clients in the networked environment, and investigates possible links between identification and service assessment. Gessesse (1997) conducted a pilot programme on Internet-accessed CAS. Fletcher and Bertot (2000) and Razeq and Younis (2005) report a new role for the networked library in providing online information services. Taha (2007) investigated networked e-information services to support the e-learning process at UAE University. Using tools such as e-metrics and Measuring the Impact of Networked Electronic Services (MINES), libraries are working on evaluation of networked information services.

In the Indian context, various studies related to NS have been carried out. Ganesan and Srinivasulu (2002) describe network-based information services at IGM library, University of Hyderabad. NS has become more useful, simultaneously accessible, and available at an affordable cost. Vaishali and Dongre (2004) carried out a case study on electronic sources and services provided to users at Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology Library, Nagpur. Vasishta (2007) undertook a case study on library automation and networked services at university libraries in North India. The survey findings conclude that most of the libraries are in a transitional stage. Kapoor and Goyal (2007) examine web-based OPACs in Indian academic libraries...

To continue reading