Trends in the use of e-journals: a case study of PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh.

Author:Vasishta, Seema
Position:Case study


Journals constitute an important part of a library collection being the most important vehicle for global scholarly communication. Tremendous developments in ICT in the recent years have given amazing boost to electronic publishing. As a result the information which is being generated at intense pace from all the directions world wide for all the themes is now being published in form of electronic journals (e-journals). Anyone with access to a computer equipped with a modern and suitable software can produce and distribute an e-journal through a computer network, thus journal publishing is being democratized. Usually, e-journals are published as electronic equivalents of their print counterparts but recently there is an increase in number of scholarly journals which are being published only electronically. As a result, e-journals have emerged as vital components of information resources of a library and play an imperative role in the distribution of prime information. E-journals have been defined in different ways by different authors. An early definition by McMillan (1991) described electronic journals as "any serials produced, published, and distributed via electronic networks such as Bitnet and the Internet." Ashcroft and Langdon (1999) stated that a journal, including indexing and abstracting services, provided by any electronic means, e.g. Internet, CD-ROM is called as e-journal. These journals are generally accessible electronically via web. Subsequently Smith (2003) gave a clear definition of e-journals as "any journal that is available online, including both electronic-only journals and journals that are available both electronically and in print". E-journal, hence, is a term used to describe a periodical publication that is published in digital form to be displayed on a computer screen.

E-journals are global information highways, so these are being added to library collections at exponential rates. Libraries are doing extensive work to make e-journals available to their users and keeping them abreast with latest developments in their field of interest. E-journals are accessible either free against print subscription or for a nominal charge along with the print subscription. Access to e-journals is generally provided either by the publisher or through their aggregators. E-journals have provided excellent opportunities to access scholarly information, which were previously beyond the reach of libraries due to geographical constraints. E-journals possess many added features for the facilitation of libraries and its user community. These offer concurrent access to the scholarly content for multiple users. So these are boon for a huge campus where there are hundreds of users with many departments. Other features of e-journals include full-text search, multimedia facilities and hypertext links. Text search is much easier and less cumbersome. E-journals also include multimedia and graphics to attract readers. Also the hypertext available in the e-journals will directly link to the areas of greatest interest and results in creative reading. Maxymuk (2004) highlighted that advantages of electronic journals include no physical space required and accessibility from almost any workstation that can be connected remotely to the institution's network. Thus e-journals can be accessed round the clock across geographical barriers, which make e-journals omnipresent. The most fortunate thing about e-journals is that both libraries and users can conquer the problems of missing issues and delay in receiving the issues. To summarize, it can be clearly said that e-journals are truly a dream come true both for the librarians and users. Consequently libraries are now persuaded to subscribe to e-journals from a vast variety of publishers and providers.

Developments in Central Library, PEC University of Technology

The PEC University of Technology Chandigarh India was originally established as Mugalpura Engineering College at Lahore (now in Pakistan) on November 9, 1921. The name of the college was late changed to Maclagan Engineering College and it started functioning under this name on March 19, 1924. After partition in 1947, the college was shifted to Roorkee (India) and was renamed as East Punjab College of Engineering. In the year 1950, the word East was dropped and it came to be known by its present name-Punjab Engineering College. Towards the end of December 1953, the college shifted to its present campus in Chandigarh to function under Government of Punjab. In 1966, with the formation of Union Territory of Chandigarh, the college came under the control of the Govt. of India through the Chandigarh Administration. In October 2003, the Govt. of India notified the Punjab Engineering College as a Deemed to be University. Deemed to be Universities (Commonly referred to as Deemed Universities) represent a category of University--level institutions, unique to India, that have traditionally been respected for quality, relevance and diversity of their programs (Power, 2004). In fact it is a status of autonomy granted to high performing institutes and departments of various universities in India by University Grants Commission (UGC). These institutions enjoy the same academic status and privileges as a university. On 4th June, 2009 Punjab Engineering College (Deemed University), Chandigarh was renamed as PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh. The new name, adopted by the Board of Governors, embodies the new stature of PEC after grant of Deemed University status a few years ago. It also reflects the aspirations as well as the expansion of horizons of PEC in tune with its new status.

With a collection of more than one lakh volumes in Science and Technology, catering to the needs of about 2000 members (both Faculty and Students), imparting/pursuing studies in nine different branches of engineering, Central Library Punjab Engineering College (CL PEC) is rendering library services to its users from the time of its establishment and continuously trying to adapt new technologies so as to promptly fulfill the demand of the users. To keep its user community abreast with latest information in the technology, the CL PEC is subscribing to 78 technical journals (Indian and foreign) in the print from. At the same moment, CL PEC is exploring digital environment for better and fruitful delivery of information in the form of e-journals. CL PEC is member of Indian National Digital Library in Engineering Sciences and Technology (INDEST) Consortium under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) since 2004. The MHRD has set-up the INDEST Consortium to promote electronic resources in engineering science and technology and provides funds required for subscription to electronic resources. The electronic journal service was introduced in the library in 2004, with the help of INDEST consortium. At that time PECUT library was providing access to more than 200 electronic journals of three commercial publishers: ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers), ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and IEL (IEEE/IET Electronic Library) under the category of complimentary access for AICTE-sponsored institutions. In the year 2009, CL PEC subscribed to three more databases as demand for electronic resources increased. At present, CL PEC is providing electronic access to over one thousand journals published by learned societies as well as commercial publishers. Details are given in Table 1.

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