Course: Library Automation, Information Storage & Retrieval-II (5644)
Level: MLIS Semester: Autumn, 2021
ASSIGNMENT No. 1
Q.1 How database is developed to automate the library functions? Discuss advantages and disadvantages of the database.
Library automation refers to the use of the computer to automate the typical procedures of libraries such as cataloging and circulation. In the process of library automation, a library makes the use of computers and other technologies to support its systems and services.
Library automation refers to the use of the computer to automate the typical procedures of libraries such as cataloging and circulation. In the process of library automation, a library makes the use of computers and other technologies to support its systems and services. Library automation is the conversion of a library’s procedures from manual to computerized, such as from a card catalog to an OPAC, or from manual circulation cards to an integrated library system.
Automation is a process of using machinery for easily working and saving human power and time. The main purpose of library automation is to free the librarians and library staff and to allow them to contribute more meaningfully to the spread of knowledge and information. In Library Science automation is ‘the technology concerned with the design and development of the process and system that minimizes the necessity of human intervention in their operation.’¹
Beginning in the 1960s with the development of the machine-readable catalog record (MARC), the process of automation has expanded to include the core functions of acquisitions, cataloging and authority control, serials control, circulation and inventory, and interlibrary loan and document delivery. The library automation field is currently dominated by a handful of systems vendors (Auto-Graphics, EOS International, Ex Libris, Follett, Innovative Interfaces, Polaris Library Systems, SirsiDynix, TLC, and VTLS).²
Recent trends in library automation include the growing importance of “add-ons” mostly related to the delivery of digital content (link resolvers, portal and metasearch interfaces, and e-resource management modules often provided by third-party vendors), better integration with the Web environment (rewriting fat PC clients as browser applications, using XML and style sheets for display, and developing XML import and export capabilities) and for academic libraries, closer integration of library systems with learning management systems.
- Controlling Data Redundancy
In the conventional file processing system, every user group maintains its own files for handling its data files. This may lead to
- Duplication of same data in different files.
- Wastage of storage space, since duplicated data is stored.
- Errors may be generated due to updation of the same data in different files.
- Time in entering data again and again is wasted.
- Computer Resources are needlessly used.
- It is very difficult to combine information.
- Elimination of Inconsistency
In the file processing system information is duplicated throughout the system. So changes made in one file may be necessary be carried over to another file. This may lead to inconsistent data. So we need to remove this duplication of data in multiple file to eliminate inconsistency.
To avoid the above problem, there is a need to have a centralize database in order to have this conflicting information.
On centralizing the data base the duplication will be controlled and hence inconsistency will be removed.
- Better service to the users
A DBMS is often used to provide better services to the users. In conventional system, availability of information is often poor, since it normally difficult to obtain information in a timely manner because our existing systems are not capable to produce the same.
Once several conventional systems are combined to form one centralized database, the availability of information and its updateness is likely to improve since the data can now be shared and DBMS makes it easy to respond to anticipated information requests.
Centralizing the data in the database also means that user can obtain new and combined information easily that would have been impossible to obtain otherwise.
Also use of DBMS should allow users that don’t know programming to interact with the data more easily, unlike file processing system where the programmer may need to write new programs to meet every new demand.
- Flexibility of the System is Improved
Since changes are often necessary to the contents of the data stored in any system, these changes are made more easily in a centralized database than in a conventional system.
Applications programs need not to be changed on changing the data in the database.
- Integrity can be improved
Since data of the organization using database approach is centralized and would be used by a number of users at a time, it is essential to enforce integrity-constraints.
In the conventional systems because the data is duplicated in multiple files so updating or changes may sometimes lead to entry of incorrect data in some files wherever it is applicable.
Even if we centralized the database it may still contain incorrect data. For example: -• Salary of full time clerk may be entered as Rs. 1500 rather than Rs. 4500.
A student may be shown to have borrowed library books but has no enrollment.
The above problems can be avoided by defining the validation procedures whenever any update operation is attempted.
- Standards can be enforced
Standards are easier to enforce in database systems because all the data in database is access through centralized DBMS.
Here standards may relate to the naming of data, structure of data, format of the data etc.
Standardizing stored data formats is usually desirable for the purpose of data interchange or migration between systems.
- Security can be improved
In conventional systems, applications are developed in an adhoc manner.
Often different system of an organization would access different components of the operational data, in such an environment enforcing security can be quiet difficult.
Setting up of a database makes it easier to enforce security restrictions since data is now centralized.
It is easier to control who has access to what parts of the database. Different checks can be established for each type of access (retrieve, modify, delete etc.) to each piece of information in the database.
- Organization’s requirement can be easily identified
All organizations have sections and departments and each of these units often consider the work of their unit as the most important and therefore consider their need as the most important.
Once a database has been setup with centralized control, it will be necessary to identify organization’s requirement and to balance the needs of the competition units.
So it may become necessary to ignore some requests for information if they conflict with higher priority need of the organization.
- Data Model must be developed
Perhaps the most important advantage of setting up of database system is the requirement that an overall data model for an organization be build. In conventional systems, it is more likely that files will be designed as per need of particular applications demand.
The overall view is often not considered. Building an overall view of an organization’s data is usual cost effective in the long terms.
- Provides backup and Recovery
Centralizing a database provides the schemes such as recovery and backups from the failures including disk crash, power failures, software errors which may help the database
to recover from the inconsistent state to the state that existed prior to the occurrence of the failure, though methods are very complex.
Disadvantages of Database Systems
The following are the disadvantages of Database Systems
- Database Complexity
The design of the database system is complex, difficult and is very time consuming task to perform.
- Substantial hardware and software start-up costsHuge amount of investment is needed to setup the required hardware and the softwares needed to run those applications.
- Damage to database affects virtually all applications programsIf one part of the database is corrupted or damaged because of the hardware or software failure, since we don’t have many versions of the file, all the application programs which are dependent on this database are implicitly affected.
- Extensive conversion costsin moving form a file-based system to a database system If you are currently working on file based system and need to upgrade it to database system, then large amount of cost is incurred in purchasing different tools, adopting different techniques as per the requirement.
- Initial training requiredfor all programmers and user. Large amount of human efforts, the time and cost is needed to train the end users and application programmers in order to get used to the database systems.
Q.2 What is vocabulary control? How vocabulary control helpful in the organization and management of library functions? Discuss in detail.
Vocabulary Control refers to the process of creating, maintaining, and using a controlled vocabulary, where a limited set of terms must be used to index documents, and to search for these documents, in a particular system. It may be defined as a list of terms showing their relationships and used to represent the specific subject of the document.
Controlled vocabularies provide a way to organize knowledge for subsequent retrieval. They are used in subject indexing schemes, subject headings, thesauri, taxonomies and other knowledge organization systems. Controlled vocabulary schemes mandate the use of predefined, authorised terms that have been preselected by the designers of the schemes, in contrast to natural language vocabularies, which have no such restriction.
In library and information science
In library and information science, controlled vocabulary is a carefully selected list of words and phrases, which are used to tag units of information (document or work) so that they may be more easily retrieved by a search. Controlled vocabularies solve the problems of homographs, synonyms and polysemes by a bijection between concepts and authorized terms. In short, controlled vocabularies reduce ambiguity inherent in normal human languages where the same concept can be given different names and ensure consistency.
For example, in the Library of Congress Subject Headings (a subject heading system that uses a controlled vocabulary), authorized terms—subject headings in this case—have to be chosen to handle choices between variant spellings of the same word (American versus British), choice among scientific and popular terms (cockroach versus Periplanetaamericana), and choices between synonyms (automobile versus car), among other difficult issues.
Choices of authorized terms are based on the principles of user warrant (what terms users are likely to use), literary warrant (what terms are generally used in the literature and documents), and structural warrant (terms chosen by considering the structure, scope of the controlled vocabulary).
Controlled vocabularies also typically handle the problem of homographs with qualifiers. For example, the term pool has to be qualified to refer to either swimming pool or the game pool to ensure that each authorized term or heading refers to only one concept.
Types used in libraries
There are two main kinds of controlled vocabulary tools used in libraries: subject headings and thesauri. While the differences between the two are diminishing, there are still some minor differences.
Historically subject headings were designed to describe books in library catalogs by catalogers while thesauri were used by indexers to apply index terms to documents and articles. Subject headings tend to be broader in scope describing whole books, while thesauri tend to be more specialized covering very specific disciplines. Also because of the card catalog system, subject headings tend to have terms that are in indirect order (though with the rise of automated systems this is being removed), while thesaurus terms are always in direct order. Subject headings also tend to use more pre-coordination of terms such that the designer of the controlled vocabulary will combine various concepts together to form one authorized subject heading. (e.g., children and terrorism) while thesauri tend to use singular direct terms. Lastly thesauri list not only equivalent terms but also narrower, broader terms and related terms among various authorized and non-authorized terms, while historically most subject headings did not.
For example, the Library of Congress Subject Heading itself did not have much syndetic structure until 1943, and it was not until 1985 when it began to adopt the thesauri type term “Broader term” and “Narrow term“.
The terms are chosen and organized by trained professionals (including librarians and information scientists) who possess expertise in the subject area. Controlled vocabulary terms can accurately describe what a given document is actually about, even if the terms themselves do not occur within the document’s text. Well known subject heading systems include the Library of Congress system, MeSH, and Sears. Well known thesauri include the Art and Architecture Thesaurus and the ERIC Thesaurus.
Choosing authorized terms to be used is a tricky business, besides the areas already considered above, the designer has to consider the specificity of the term chosen, whether to use direct entry, inter consistency and stability of the language. Lastly the amount of pre-co-ordinate (in which case the degree of enumeration versus synthesis becomes an issue) and post co-ordinate in the system is another important issue.
Controlled vocabulary elements (terms/phrases) employed as tags, to aid in the content identification process of documents, or other information system entities (e.g. DBMS, Web Services) qualifies as metadata.
There are three main types of indexing languages.
- Controlled indexing language – only approved terms can be used by the indexer to describe the document
- Natural languageindexing language – any term from the document in question can be used to describe the document
- Free indexing language – any term (not only from the document) can be used to describe the document
When indexing a document, the indexer also has to choose the level of indexing exhaustivity, the level of detail in which the document is described. For example, using low indexing exhaustivity, minor aspects of the work will not be described with index terms. In general the higher the indexing exhaustivity, the more terms indexed for each document.
In recent years free text search as a means of access to documents has become popular. This involves using natural language indexing with an indexing exhaustively set to maximum (every word in the text is indexed). Many studies have been done to compare the efficiency and effectiveness of free text searches against documents that have been indexed by experts using a few well chosen controlled vocabulary descriptors.
Controlled vocabularies are often claimed to improve the accuracy of free text searching, such as to reduce irrelevant items in the retrieval list. These irrelevant items (false positives) are often caused by the inherent ambiguity of natural language. Take the English word football for example. Football is the name given to a number of different team sports. Worldwide the most popular of these team sports is association football, which also happens to be called soccer in several countries. The word football is also applied to rugby football (rugby union and rugby league), American football, Australian rules football, Gaelic football, and Canadian football. A search for football therefore will retrieve documents that are about several completely different sports. Controlled vocabulary solves this problem by tagging the documents in such a way that the ambiguities are eliminated.
Compared to free text searching, the use of a controlled vocabulary can dramatically increase the performance of an information retrieval system, if performance is measured by precision (the percentage of documents in the retrieval list that are actually relevant to the search topic).
In some cases controlled vocabulary can enhance recall as well, because unlike natural language schemes, once the correct authorized term is searched, there is no need to search for other terms that might be synonyms of that term.
A controlled vocabulary search may lead to unsatisfactory recall, in that it will fail to retrieve some documents that are actually relevant to the search question.
This is particularly problematic when the search question involves terms that are sufficiently tangential to the subject area such that the indexer might have decided to tag it using a different term (but the searcher might consider the same). Essentially, this can be avoided only by an experienced user of controlled vocabulary whose understanding of the vocabulary coincides with that of the indexer.
Another possibility is that the article is just not tagged by the indexer because indexing exhaustivity is low. For example, an article might mention football as a secondary focus, and the indexer might decide not to tag it with “football” because it is not important enough compared to the main focus. But it turns out that for the searcher that article is relevant and hence recall fails. A free text search would automatically pick up that article regardless.
On the other hand, free text searches have high exhaustivity (every word is searched) so although it has much lower precision, it has potential for high recall as long as the searcher overcome the problem of synonyms by entering every combination.
Controlled vocabularies may become outdated rapidly in fast developing fields of knowledge, unless the authorized terms are updated regularly. Even in an ideal scenario, a controlled vocabulary is often less specific than the words of the text itself. Indexers trying to choose the appropriate index terms might misinterpret the author, while this precise problem is not a factor in a free text, as it uses the author’s own words.
The use of controlled vocabularies can be costly compared to free text searches because human experts or expensive automated systems are necessary to index each entry. Furthermore, the user has to be familiar with the controlled vocabulary scheme to make best use of the system. But as already mentioned, the control of synonyms, homographs can help increase precision.
Numerous methodologies have been developed to assist in the creation of controlled vocabularies, including faceted classification, which enables a given data record or document to be described in multiple ways.
Q.3 Literature searching is a very tricky job. Do you agree with the statement? Write your answer with examples.
A literature search involves searching and compiling all the literature (books, journals, and more) available on a specific topic. It is carried out to identify knowledge gaps in a particular topic, which will then guide further research in that topic.
A literature search is a considered and organised search to find key literature on a topic. To complete a thorough literature search you should:
- define what you are searching for
- decide where to search
- develop a search strategy
- refine your search strategy
- save your search for future use.
For background reading or an introduction to a subject, you can do a shorter and more basic Library search.
Use this guide to work your way through the all the stages of the literature searching process.
We provide a charged-for literature searching service for funded University of Leeds researchers.
A literature search involves searching and compiling all the literature (books, journals, and more) available on a specific topic. It is carried out to identify knowledge gaps in a particular topic,
which will then guide further research in that topic. It is also carried out to provide background in a study, support methodologies, provide context or comparisons for discussions, and more. One of the most important reasons to do a literature search is to have enough information to formulate a valid research question. A literature search is typically carried out by scientific researchers, academics, R&D personnel of large businesses and organizations, entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals (also called a systematic review) and by students who have to write a thesis/dissertation (also called a literature review).
Q.4 How important is the HEC Digital Library for libraries? Discuss in detail.
HEC National Digital Library Programme (NDLP) provides researchers within public and private universities/institutions and non-profit research & development organizations in Pakistan with access to international scholarly literature. It provides subscription to high quality, peer-reviewed journals, databases, and other electronic content across a wide range of disciplines.
The subscribed e-resources under Digital Library are categorized as;
- These resources are extended countrywide to universities, colleges and other academic and research institutes.
- These are expensive resources whose access is given to limited public and private sector universities based on demand and availability of licenses.
- A digital library, also called an online library, an internet library, a digital repository, or a digital collectionis an online database of digital objects that can include text, still images, audio, video, digital documents, or other digital media formats or a library accessible through the internet. Objects can consist of digitized content like print or photographs, as well as originally produced digital content like word processor files or social media In addition to storing content, digital libraries provide means for organizing, searching, and retrieving the content contained in the collection.
- Digital libraries can vary immensely in size and scope, and can be maintained by individuals or organizations.The digital content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely via computer networks. These information retrieval systems are able to exchange information with each other through interoperability and sustainability.
- The early history of digital libraries is not well documented, but several key thinkers are connected to the emergence of the concept.Predecessors include Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine‘s Mundaneum, an attempt begun in 1895 to gather and systematically catalogue the world’s knowledge, with the hope of bringing about world peace. The visions of the digital library were largely realized a century later during the great expansion of the Internet, with access to the books and searching of the documents by millions of individuals on the World Wide Web.
- Vannevar Bushand C.R. Licklider are two contributors that advanced this idea into then current technology. Bush had supported research that led to the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. After seeing the disaster, he wanted to create a machine that would show how technology can lead to understanding instead of destruction. This machine would include a desk with two screens, switches and buttons, and a keyboard. He named this the “Memex“. This way individuals would be able to access stored books and files at a rapid speed. In 1956, Ford Foundation funded Licklider to analyze how libraries could be improved with technology. Almost a decade later, his book entitled “Libraries of the Future” included his vision. He wanted to create a system that would use computers and networks so human knowledge would be accessible for human needs and feedback would be automatic for machine purposes. This system contained three components, the corpus of knowledge, the question, and the answer. Licklider called it a procognitive system.
- Early projects centered on the creation of an electronic card catalogue known as Online Public Access Catalog(OPAC). By the 1980s, the success of these endeavors resulted in OPAC replacing the traditional card catalog in many academic, public and special libraries. This permitted libraries to undertake additional rewarding co-operative efforts to support resource sharing and expand access to library materials beyond an individual library.
- An early example of a digital library is the Education Resources Information Center(ERIC), a database of education citations, abstracts and texts that was created in 1964 and made available online through DIALOG in 1969.[
Q.5 Write a comprehensive note on the use of ICTs in the library.
Recent advances in IT have not only increased tremendously the ability to access, store and process information within the library but also have brought significant changes in the concept, organisation, functioning and management of library and information systems (Peyala, 2011). The IT revolution has facilitated the processes of searching for and recovering information; ICT improves the efficiency of organizational management processes and provides new ways of improving the capacity of response to its users (López, Peón, &Ordás, 2009). Use of ICT applications can assist in creating, storing, transferring and using tacit and explicit knowledge (Okumus, 2013). Buarki, Hepworth, & Murray (2011) have carried out a study on “ICT skills and employability needs at the LIS programme Kuwait: a literature review”. In study, authors reviewed an enormous number of ICT related literature. They have concentrated on information and communication skills (ICT) of library and information science students in global LIS education and compare them with those skills needed by the job market in Kuwait. They found that, “ICT skills have been recognised as essential qualities for LIS graduates’ employment”. Therefore, at present days, ICTs skills have become the prerequisite and central attention to judge a candidate for the employment. Anunobi&Edoka (2010) have discussed how university library plays a pivotal role as an information providing system; it supports teaching, learning, and research with information materials of various types. Amongst the different information materials, serials or periodicals are most obligatory mainly for faculties and researchers. Earlier, the serials operation was manual; but with the development of ICT the acquisition of serials or periodicals became easy as well as its retrieval. In line with the above perspective, users’ curiosity for seeking information changed from print to e-resources. Haneefa (2007) investigated the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) in special libraries in Kerala, India. In the study, it is found that the library catalogue was the utmost popular area for automation. The investigation revealed that, inadequate ICT infrastructure as the major cause of users’ dissatisfaction. The study has recommended to enhance library automation and to focus on effective and efficient application of ICT. Chandrakar& Arora (2010) provided the Indian approach on the use of information technology on copy cataloguing from different trusted sources such as IndCat, and catalogue of Library of Congress. So, the overall review illustrate that, the appropriate use of ICT in library is much essential. It is also consider that the proper infrastructure and ICTenabled environment can provide better and faster services to users.
. Use of ICT Tools
The emergence of the information revolution as championed by information and communication technology (ICT) has enabled libraries to devise viable strategies for improved service delivery (Igwe, 2010). Library uses various technologies to provide information to its users. Followings are the some of the ICT tools which are basically used for different communication purposes:
Email is the most effective way of formal communication; it is the best system to exchange the messages and information in electronic format. Revolutionary changes have been seen in communication, because different types of information such as personal message, letter, article, computer programming files, pictures, sound, etc. are being possible to send or receive from any corner of the world within some fraction of second. At present, this is the most useful tool for different types of communication (personal, official communication, etc.). This tool can be used to provide the required information at the right time. At present, Libraries are using this live tool to serve the library users; through this, renewal or return (check-in) of library materials is basically asked. It can also be considered as a medium for faster information. • Voice mail is the new and innovative emergence of mail technology. We can also say it as an alternative to email technology. It helps to send the mail immediately through the voice. • Telephone is used for personal contact of the users. Generally, users ask their queries regarding the resources and availability of the reading room. Even, they use the telephone for advance booking of carrels for reading and research purpose. • Fax (short for facsimile and sometimes called telecopying) is described by Rouse (2006) as “the telephonic transmission of scanned-in printed material (text or images), usually to a telephone number associated with a printer or other output device. The original document is scanned with a fax machine, which treats the contents (text or images) as a single fixed graphic image,converting it into a bitmap. In this digital form, the information is transmitted as electrical signals through the telephone system. The receiving fax machine reconverts the coded image and prints a paper copy of the document”. This technology helps us for providing various services, such as to send official letter, communicate with the vendors, etc. • Videoconferencing (or video conference) is explained as a “means to conduct a conference between two or more participants at different sites by using computer networks to transmit audio and video data. For example, a point-topoint (two-person) video conferencing system works much like a video telephone. Each participant has a video camera, microphone, and speakers mounted on his or her computer. As the two participants speak to one another, their voices are carried over the network and delivered to the other’s speakers, and whatever images appear in front of the video camera appear in a window on the other participant’s monitor (Beal, n.d.)”. This tools is used for the various purpose of the library activities, such as to conduct user orientation for students available at remote places. Basically, when students are out of the campus and they study in other universities under the student exchange programme, that time, it is essential to use this technology to guide them about the use of resources. • Internet: This is the most important component of ICT. It is basically a network of networks that performs the connectivity among the computers. Internet provides the medium for communication using different online tools.
Remote Control Technology:
Remote control provides a platform to work with a remotely located computer system. It is a great development in the field of technology. By using this technology, one can easily implement any kind of services sitting far away from the destination. This ICT is generally used for remote control, online meeting, desktop sharing, web conference and file transfer from one computer to others. One example of remote control software is TeamViewer. • RemoteXs Technology: Eclat Engineering Pvt. Ltd. (n.d.) defined RemoteXs as a “single-window Platform to access all subscribed e-resources anytime anywhere. It has an ability to provide secure access to scattered e-Resources of the institution, bringing them under one umbrella, along with subscribed eJournals, eBooks, and all other e-Content. This technology has empowered institutions in systematically imbibing research values among faculty and students and take right steps in creating a knowledge-base of their own”. This technology is very much helpful, where students are outside the campus and wanted to use their institution’s resources for research and learning. 4.3. Social Media: Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc. have become the central focus for quickest information dissemination. Most of the libraries are using these social media for the promotion or marketing of their e-resources. Basically, Blogs are used to disseminate short communication of library, whereas Facebook has become most useful ICT tool for every kind of information dissemination.
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