HEC digital library and higher education: trends and opportunities for faculty members at the Islamia University of Bahawalpur, South Punjab, Pakistan.

Author:Bhatti, Rubina
Position::Higher Education Commission - Report


Bekele (2002) indicated that the digital library has positive impact on professional learning, information sharing and thus supporting research activities. According to Borgman, C. L. (1999) "studying DL use in academic and corporate settings, we should include research into how DLs transform home life, the workings of local communities, and the activities of small community organizations, all of which are important in determining how we stitch together our days". Dorner (2004) maintained the benefits of digital library and its impact on teaching and research development. He discussed the day by day increasing use of digital library resources has brought high interest in conducting research.

Higher Education Commission, Pakistan started its Digital Library services in February, 2004. Initially it subscribed eight databases, with the assistance of the UK's International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), in association with the execution of their Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information (PERI). The databases consist of mainly the field of science and technology, and include peer reviewed journals and abstracting services. Other resources include subject and multidisciplinary databases, resources in social sciences and humanities, e-books that use the McGraw-Hill platform, Oxford University Press and Taylor and Francis journals and reference works, and open-access e-books and journals. The HEC has acquired e-resources using a consortium (Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (n. d.).

HEC National Digital Library (DL) is a programme to provide electronic resources to researchers within public and private universities and non-profit research and development organizations in Pakistan. It gives access to international scholarly literature based on electronic (online) delivery, providing access to high quality, peer-reviewed journals, databases, articles and e-Books across a wide range of disciplines. HEC DL has launched e-brary and McGraw Hill Collections to provide around 50,000 online books in addition to more than 24,000 journals that have been made available. The e-books support programme will allow researchers to access most of the important text and reference books electronically in a variety of subject areas (Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (n. d.).

Accessing HEC Digital Library's databases, e-books and e-journals

The main objective of the DL is to support and strengthen the learning activities of students in Pakistan. The students, faculty and staff will have the access of E-books and all of the powerful research technologies offered through this platform.

Over 220 leading international publishers have been identified for the access including Oxford University Press, Taylor & Francis, Blackwell Synergy, BMJ publishing Group, Cambridge University Press, Emerald, John Wiley & Sons, The McGraw Hill Book Companies, MIT Press, Springer Publishing Company, Stanford University Press and Sybex Inc, United Nations University Press etc. containing a vast collection in varied disciplines, such as Business and Management, Information Technology, Engineering, Health and Biomedical, Life and Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, etc (Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (n. d.).

The salient features of the DL service include automatic save links to highlights, bookmarks and notes and storing them in personal bookshelves. The bookshelves can be shared by patrons, teaching staff, and administrators and items can be deleted at any time.

Moreover, InfoTools instantly links patrons from the full-text to other content within Ebrary databases, online resources within the subscribing library (federated search engines, ILS, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and third party databases), information on the web such as definitions, translations, maps, web search engines, and bibliographical information. InfoTools also allows patrons to highlight, annotate bookmark, print, copy and paste text from any document into any text application, complete with customizable bibliographical citations (Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (n. d.).

Objectives of the Study:

The objectives of the study are:

* To explore the extent of HEC Digital library usage by the faculty members teaching and research.

* To solicit their purpose of seeking information on DL.

* To investigate the kind of resources consulted by faculty members.

* To find out their preferred place for DL usage and time spent per week.

* To identify the impact of DL on their teaching and research

* To find out what problems are faced by faculty members in seeking information HEC DL.

Research Design

A survey research method was used to collect needed information in order to achieve the objectives of the study. The questionnaire was pilot tested on 18 faculty members and the data for this study was acquired from 120 faculty members from all four faculties of the Islamia University of Bahawalpur: Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Islamic Learning...

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