The Readiness of a State College for the Establishment of a Digital Library.

Author:Wagayan-Alicmas, Velon
Position:Report
 
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Introduction

In the 21st century, libraries are trying to keep up with the digital world and the new generation of students who are used to having instant information. These facts might be a consequence of the increased availability of e-resources. As Shonfield (2003) stated, the facilities and services which public libraries provide are changing to meet new cultural needs and interests, at an ever-increasing pace of cultural and technological transformation, particularly in response to the development of new media: CDs, videos and DVDs, talking books, computer software, and internet access.

In addition, a report commissioned by the Research Information Network and the consortium of research libraries in 2007 realized that there is extensive work going on in libraries to digitize archival or special collection material and the feedback from researchers is very positive. Indeed, researchers themselves very much value this provision. While librarians would like to do more, resourcing the effort is costly. Moreover, digitization is but part of the task. Making digitized as well as printed materials require the creation of good metadata. Nevertheless, the big idea is to digitize the often hidden or difficult to access archive collections. This is to greatly enhance access faster and easier.

Likewise, special libraries are changing dramatically by adopting new means of technology in all activities from print to e-environment. Examples are printed library card catalogues having been replaced by computerized Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) system, availability of numerous e-databases, e-journals, information resources, information literacy and online services for users.

To face the new information explosion, Li (2009) stated that special libraries will have to meet even more encounters and chances to serve users, all with much expectation and many more demands activated by the growth of developing and cutting edge technologies in electronic learning environments. Special libraries are adopting emerging and cutting edge technologies, new array of services with packaging and repackaging according to the needs and demands, but still, many specific functions have to be inducted to really justify the essence of service oriented philosophy.

Kumar (2011) also stated that a full service digital library must accomplish all essential service of traditional libraries and exploit the well-known advantage of digital storage, searching, and communication. As affirmed by Chowdhury (2006), the digital library provides access to part of or all its collections, such as plain texts, images, graphs, audio/ video materials, and other library items that have been electronically converted via Internet and World Wide Web.

Thus, the Medical and Health Libraries Association in the Philippines (MAHLAP), at present, is doing a survey to identify the information facilities and services of medical and health libraries in the Philippines, and to find out the readiness of health libraries to access digital information. They intend to come up with appropriate system, processes, and training modules that will enable member libraries to convert their information resources into digital format, and make these accessible on-line, through the Internet.

Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) library has a mission to support the institution's instructional, curricular, research, and extension programs through organized and relevant information services and fast delivery of the same. Thus, the institution should come up with digital library to respond to the information needs and high demands of the students and patrons.

The Accrediting Association of Chartered Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (AACUP) recommended, during its visit to Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) last October, 2012 that if budget warrants, the library should be equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities and equipment like enough computer units for students' use as well as the electronic networking. To this end, it is very important to know the readiness of library users and Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) state college for the establishment of a digital library.

Statement of the Problem

The study aimed to find out the readiness of state college libraries for the establishment of a digital library. Specifically, it sought to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the extent of the state college's (1.1) students' and (1.2) faculty/employees' knowledge about (a) digital library and its uses, (b) digitization process, and (c) electronic resources services?

  2. What is the extent of readiness of the state college to establish and operate a digital library based on the adequacy and availability of the following:

    1. Physical resources

    2. Professional librarian and qualities of Library Staff

    3. Financial resources

    4. Library collection, and

    5. Information and Technology Resources (hardware and software)

  3. What is the extent of agreement on the prospects for digital library in terms of (a) embarking on establishment of a digital library and (b) importance of electronic resources and services?

    The model shows the parameters of readiness of a state college for the establishment of a digital library. These are the (1) extent of state college students' and faculty/employees' knowledge about (a) digital library and its uses, (b) digitization process, and (c) electronic resources services. Also, the (2) extent of adequacy based on students' and faculty/employees' evaluation of the (a) physical resources, (b) number of professional librarian and qualities of Library staff, (c) financial resources, (d) library collections, and (e) Information Technology resources (hardware and software), and, (3) the prospects for a digital library in terms of (a) embarking or desires to establish a digital library and (b) importance of electronic resources services. The results of the evaluation were the basis for the recommendation consisting of the establishment of digital library in the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College or improving the conditions to meet the requirements before embarking on the establishment of a digital library.

    REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE AND STUDIES

    The studies reviewed indicate the library users' perceptions, being at the forefront of library assessment; considering their perspectives as basis in evaluating the library; integrating library collections into digitization; library users' accessibility of library resources, considering library as place of reading and studying; provision of modern technology as very important, from the users' perception on electronic resources. The studies also pointed out budgetary resources as source for strengthening digital resources in libraries. Library collection and enhanced skills of librarian and staff in the use of information communication technology play very important roles in digitization.

    These findings were considered relevant and offered basis for the conduct of the present study. The related literature and studies reviewed provided the researcher with thorough information and insights, which made this study more comprehensive.

    The present study finds guidance in the Commission on Higher Education requirements for academic libraries common to all programs, wherein most of the required and related activities are the provisions on digital library, electronic resources, database and Information Technology resources and services. This may also include adequacy and availability of the physical facilities, librarians and qualities of library staff, library collections, and Information Technology resources and services. The study is also related to the study of Ginger and Goger (n.d.) on evaluating the national science digital library for learning application readiness. The study is also related to the statements of requirements for library by the Accrediting Association of Chartered Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (AACCUP), that collection development is one of the important areas to be evaluated which include provision of the library holdings, sufficient research books and journals, extensive Filipiniana collections and provision of non-print, digital and electronic resources made accessible through sufficient hardware/software. These statements of requirements were also the bases of the present study.

    This present study is also related to the Philippine Association of Academic Research Libraries' (PAARL) requirements which indicate that, the availability of CDROMs and online databases may replace one or more of the library requirements, depending on the number of full-text titles/volumes obtained therein, and the availability of internet connection. The same is true with the Accrediting Association of Chartered Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (AACCUP) which mentioned that the requirements also include extensive electronic and other non-print collections to support the print collections.

    While the previous studies were focused on the requirements for libraries pursuing automation, this present study used these requirements as bases for determining the readiness of the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College for embarking on the establishment of a digital library. All the other related studies provided the basis for the development of the conceptual framework used in this present study.

    RESEARCH DESIGN

    The researcher used the descriptive-evaluative method of research. Descriptive research involves collection of data in order to test hypotheses or to answer questions concerning the readiness of state college towards digital library. In the case of this research, the readiness of Mountain Province State College, as of the last five years, was the target of the study.

    The study was conducted among the library users from different departments such as students and employees in the institution.

    The study's main gathering tool was the...

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