Automation of university libraries: a comparative analysis of Islamabad and Khyber Pukhtoon Khwa, Pakistan.

Author:Jan, Saeed Ullah


The rapid growth and uses of emerging technologies has changed the traditional library into automated, electronic, virtual and digital library. This revolution has completely changed the library scenario, especially in an academic setup. This revolution is the need of the hour to make research more productive, to disseminate information and to establish a strong network system among all university libraries to quench the information thirst of the clientele.

It is the wish and desire of a modern library to apply and enjoy the benefits of emerging technologies in its library daily house keeping routines and future developments. Developments in emerging technologies have had a tremendous impact on all kinds of libraries and information resource centers over the last two and half decades. The concept of library automation in Pakistan is not new, but the situation is still not leveled with developed nations.

This study depicts the status of automation in public sector university libraries of Islamabad and Khyber Pukhtoon Khwa, Pakistan with a comparative analysis. The areas covered in this paper are: available library services and resources, digital library infrastructure, status of library automation in university libraries of Islamabad and Khyber Pukhtoon Khwa and means and ways for their improvement.

Objectives of the Study

The aim of the research study is to compare the current status of automation in the public sector university libraries of Islamabad, Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa, Pakistan. However, the specific objectives identified are:

  1. To assess the available services and resources in the public sector university libraries of the Islamabad, Khyber Pukhtoon khwa with a comparative analysis.

  2. To assess to what extent the users are satisfied with technology based services and resources in the university libraries of the mentioned areas.

  3. To suggest means and ways for the improvement of public sector university Libraries of the territory under study

Research Design

To meet the specific objectives of the present investigation, a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies along with a comprehensive literature review and web analysis has been employed. Structured questionnaire were prepared and administered to chief librarians and users of the libraries. The purpose of questionnaire targeted to librarians was to obtain data regarding the demographic information, available services and resources, state-of-the-art digital technology infrastructure and status of library automation. This questionnaire was distributed to chief librarians with a covering letter indicating the significance of the study. The purpose of the questionnaire targeted to users was to assess the impact of technology based information services and resources, and to know to what extent they are satisfied with these technologies based services and resources.

The method of collecting information through interviews is usually carried out in a structured way. For the present study, both telephone and face-to-face interviews were conducted with chief librarians. The purpose of the interviews was to complement the quantitative information obtained by the questionnaire with more detailed qualitative information.

The universe of the present study was the public sector university libraries of Islamabad and Khyber Pukhton Khwa. The website of Higher Education Commission ( was used to identify the names, status and web addresses of the public sector university libraries. A total of 25 questionnaires were distributed to the public sector university libraries of Islamabad, Khyber Pukhtoon khwa and got a response of 21(84%) of university libraries. The information from the questionnaire survey was updated through interviews with librarians and observational visits to the libraries.

Literature Review

Library automation may be defined as the application of automatic and semi-automatic data processing machines (computers) to perform traditional library house keeping activities such as acquisition, circulation, cataloguing and reference and serial control. Finally, library automation is the process of performing all information operations/ activities in library with the help of computers and related information technologies. The history of library automation in the world is not an old one. It dates back to 1950s and 1960s in America and Europe. Malik (1995) states that in Pakistan, library automation was introduced in 1980s and a number of libraries have been computerized in or after 1987. Dilroshan (1998) says that automating a library is only the first step. Keeping up with new trends in information and communication technology is also of paramount importance. If the libraries fail to meet these challenges successfully the tremendous investment that universities have made in their library collections and facilities will be seriously undermined. Nok (2006) observes that the success of automation in the university library depends largely on the ability of staff to facilitate and implement the process. Proper, frequent, and regular in-house IT training is a necessity if the maximum benefit is to be gained from the automation of library services. It was...

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