Information behavior of scholarly community with e-resources: A case study of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir.

Author:Bhat, Nazir Ahmad
Position:Case study


An electronic resource or e-resource "is any cohesive publication in digital form that is being marketed" or "any electronic product that delivers a collections of data, be it text, numerical, graphical or time based, as a commercially available resource" and includes "full text databases, electronic journals, image collections, multimedia products, collections of numerical data" (Lee & Boyle, 2004, p. 5.). The International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC, 1998) ( defines e-information (or electronic information) as "a broad term that encompasses abstracting and indexing services, electronic journals and other full text materials, the offerings of information aggregators, article delivery services, etc." which can be accessed via remote networks from information providers, or locally mounted by a consortium or one of its member libraries. The electronic information resources, commonly known as e-resources are becoming an important component of modern libraries. E-resources started to emerge in 1740s with the invention of semi-mechanised punch card readers. But it took a lot of time to establish its significance and ultimately in 1970s most of the electronic sources were available on a new medium of storage and communication called magnetic tapes. This medium paved a way for their future online mode (Ravichandra Rao, 2000). The kinds of e-resources that are available and accessible today are based on physical storage media (CD-ROM, magnetic tapes, audio, video cassettes etc); intranet (locally produced e-resources) and Internet also called online (remotely stored & remotely accessible e-resources). The first ones are much like the traditional 'paper based publications' with the exception that they require computer hardware and software for their utilisation (Jodelis, 2003). The e-resources have found place in all academic and research libraries of India. The Agricultural libraries of India have also developed rich collection of e-resources both in offline and online mode. The CDROM and Mirror Server based abstracting databases like that of CAB abstracts, FST abstracts, MEDLARIS, CA and the like were the foremost e-resources introduced by them. Nowadays thousands of online e-journals, e-theses, e-books are made available to scientists and the students of agricultural universities on cooperative basis like that of CeRA, KrishiPrabha, CAB e-books, open sources of information, etc. Being an agricultural university Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir (SKUAST-K) is not an exception to it.

Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir (SKUAST-K)

Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir (SKUAST-K) was established in the year 1982, and is a multi-campii University. The University is offering Undergraduate, Masters' and Doctorate degrees in Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Veterinary & AH, Fisheries, Sericulture and Agricultural Engineering. Its Library System comprises of 01 Central Library, 05 Faculty/College Libraries, 05 Research Station Libraries, and 03 KVK Libraries. This library network comprising of 14 libraries spreads across the valley of Kashmir and Division of Ladakh. The library system is one among the richest library systems both by way of its print and electronic information resources. It possess about 20000 journal volumes, 1157 theses, 43000 textbooks, 7000 reference books, 450 advances and reviews, and about 9000 reports in print form. Its electronic collection comprises of 9.45 million bibliographic records and abstract level research articles available as 11 CDROM databases (CABI, AGRICOLA, FSTA, MEDLINE, VetCD, etc.) operable over mirror server with WinSPIRS software, 6000 full text journals relevant to agriculture and allied disciplines available through CeRA, JABS and Open Access Journals, 7500 full text Indian Agricultural, Doctoral Dissertations available as KrishiPrabha, 554 Masters' and Doctoral Electronic Theses and 225 full text post-prints available as SKUAST-K Institutional Repository; 850 e-books available as CAB e-books; and other important online e-resources like OpenDOAR, OpenDOAB, AGRIS, KrishiKosh, and the like. The Library System is manned by a highly proficient team of library professionals, para library professionals and other supportive staff members. The records and operations of entire Library System stands computerised with Software for University Libraries (SOUL 2.0) used as integrated LMIS for bibliographical description of books, theses and serial publications; DSpace (Open Source Software) for full text electronic theses database and institutional repository, and an indigenously developed soft solution (developed on MS Access and Visual Basics) for maintaining a Journal Directory, article level indexing database of printed journals and Electronic Accession Register of print books and theses. The library system has placed its WebOPAC on the University website to ensure web appearance of the print form of information resources and offline electronic resources. Links to some important information sources and services have been kept available of library webpage. All online electronic resources have been made accessible from a single platform on "anytime anywhere" basis with EzProxy of OCLC.

Efforts have been made to ensure online access to this invaluable information base through the state-of-the-art ICT infrastructure, establishment of Campus Area Networks, and provision of Internet facility at almost each of these campuses. Four main faculties have well established campus area networks (CAN) comprising of around 525 nodes. The Library System has got its own sub-network comprising of 4 LANs at Four Campii Libraries (1 with 50 nodes at Central Library; 1 with 20 nodes at FVSc Shuhama; 1 with 15 nodes at FOA Wadura; 1 with 5 nodes at FoFy Rangil). The scientists and students avail Internet access on all these nodes, through seven 512 kbps DAMA VSATs, 6 Mbps Leased Lines, 20 Broadband connections and 1 Gbps NKN Line). The Library System is working on the establishment of Inter Campii Library Network (ICLN) to facilitate sharing of resources and speedy communication of information throughout the University.

All official activities, ranging from dispatch to rendering of online information services in all constituent libraries of the system are carried out through computerised mode. The major items in this infrastructure base include 01 Blade Server of IBM make with four blades; 04 Medium End Servers of IBM & HCL brands; 01 Mirror Server of Tulsient make; 80 Desktop Computers; 02 Laptops; 01 Flat Bed Document Scanner; 09 Printers; 03 Barcode Tag Printers; 05 Photocopiers; 01 Digital Camera; 01 Multimedia Projector and 02 plastic film printing machines for library membership cards.

Review of Literature

The literature survey shows that a good number of libraries in India were subscribing to CD-ROM databases and were willing to migrate to online journals for meeting out the demands of their users in late 1990s' or initial years of twenty first century (Moorthy & Karisiddappa, 2001). The study conducted by Mohamed Haneefa (2005) found that some electronic databases were available in a few special libraries of Kerala; two libraries had separate digital library and only three libraries were participating in library consortia for accessing electronic journals. The survey conducted by Srinivasa Rao and Choudhury (2009) finds that all NIT libraries in India have the facility of 6-16 online journals databases. The study highlights that 85 percent of these libraries have some e-resources on CD-ROMs/DVDs and about 90 percent of libraries obtain audio/video course materials. This study also reveals that south zone of India (with 75% libraries having EIRs) leads the fray as compared to all other zones. Nagaraja, Gangadhar and Vasanthakumar, (2011) stated that it is evident that most colleges only subscribed IEL online through INDEST.

The study conducted by Gowda and Shivalingaiah (2009) in university libraries of Karnataka reveals that electronic resources have created a positive hope among the research community and thus have established an optimistic atmosphere. Verma and Baljinder Kaur (2007) found that users are very well accepting electronic information resources, and there is a rapid growth in their acceptance & use within the scholarly community (Amritpal Kaur, 2011; Chakravarty & Singh, 2005; Deng, 2010; Haridasan & Khan, 2009; Madhusudhan, 2008; Moghaddam & Talawar, 2008; Naushad Ali & Faizul Nisha, 2011; Kumar & Kumar, 2008; Sasireka, Balamurugan, Gnanasekaran, & Gopalakrishnan, 2011; Singh & Sharma, 2013;). Nicholas, Williams, Rowlands and Jamali (2010) found that academic journals have become central to all disciplines and that the e-format is the prime means of access. Naushad Ali (2005) revealed that 63% of users are utilizing electronic journals regularly. Upon analysing the data the author interpreted that 46% of the library users of IIT Delhi are consulting 2-5 journals and databases in a week. About 17% users use only one e-journal, whereas, 10% of users are browsing more than 6 e-journals in a week. However, 14% users indicated they had never used any e-journals or databases yet. "E-journals are gaining high importance both as a means of rapid desktop access to current research materials and as a way to view back runs at an extended quantity" (Sreekumar & Sunitha; 2006). Thanuskodi (2011) while measuring on a 5 point scale evidenced that among e-resources majority (73%) of users use e-journals and only 46.46% of them use e-books. There is an ever-increasing demand for subscriptions to more e-journal titles in LIS (Madhusudhan, 2008). Moghaddam and Talawar (2008) identified a growing interest in electronic journals among users at IISc. Bhardwaj and Walia (2012) and Hetreck (2002) have pointed out that most...

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