Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship
v.8 no.1 (Spring 2007)
Dr. Satish Kanamadi, Assistant Librarian
Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Deemed University), Mumbai, India
Dr. B. D. Kumbar, Reader
Department of Library and Information Science, Karnatak University, Dharwad, India
Management libraries are facing a piquant situation and unforeseen challenges in this age of information technology. They are reeling under pressure to fulfill their obligation of meeting the diverse information needs of clientele. IT has brought in sweeping changes in the traditional way libraries are functioning. Libraries need to evaluate, measure the impact of information technology on them. This will equip them with the knowledge of turning this information Technology into a boon for improving their services. This paper is one such attempt with reference to management libraries affiliated to University of Mumbai, Mumbai City, India.
Academics has undergone tremendous change over the years, assuming new dimensions influenced by technology driven applications. Management education is no exception to this trend. Traditional commerce and management education methods are observed to be inadequate. Quality service package delivery is a formidable task for all institutions of management education. To achieve long-term sustainable advantages in business and management education, more attention to the issues of service, quality and cost in the national and international markets is required(Gupta and Jain, 1996).
Libraries are mainly entrusted with a host of predetermined tasks like acquiring, organizing, preserving, retrieving and disseminating information to the user. From ancient times to the present Internet age, the primary objective of library has always been this (Gopinath, et al.2001). However, the way this purpose has been achieved has drastically changed.
†Information technology has influenced the very nature of business and management libraries. The conventional set up of brick and mortar libraries that store information within a constrained physical space have given way to data centers that integrate data sources around the globe by the means of networking.
With the advancement in technology and its direct application to libraries, management libraries are becoming lean and agile libraries that streamline information supply. The pervasive nature of Internet, coupled with platform independent database connectivity, is making library portals more and more effective.
The technological tools for disseminating information have progressed from conventional books and journals to electronic journals and online databases, making it possible to explore the worldwide pool of knowledge while sitting at one's desk or at home (Ashcroft and Langdon 1999). It is an accepted fact that quality of business education depends on the resources that the institute has. These resources are: highly qualified faculty, well-designed curriculum, good physical ambience and the very crucial support of a well-stocked and maintained library and information center.
A growing percentage of young people in recent decades have been going to colleges and universities for higher education and a steadily increasing fraction of them are enrolled in management institutes. The surge in enrollments has led to a rapid increase in the number of institutes offering management and business education. As per the latest AICTE Annual Report, there are over 602 approved management institutes in India (AICTE, 2005). There are several hundred other institutes and colleges, which are private and offer unaffiliated courses. Many of these institutes came into existence to fill the void that was created in the job market as a result of the globalization of Indian economy (Gupta 2003). Today, the situation seems to have stabilized and many of the institutes may be heading for trouble in the years to come.
Management education, almost unknown in the ninetieth century, has become a dynamic force for change in many universities, in the workplace, and in the societies of both industrialized and developing countries. Economic growth, which can be defined as stocks of labor, physical capital and human capital (the quality of labor force), is a key catalyst for national development.
The contribution of management education to economic growth is positive and significant whether measured in monetary terms or in terms of industrial efficiency or labor productivity. Management education at all levels contributes to economic growth by imparting general attitudes, disciplines and specific skills necessary for a variety of workplaces. It is said that greater skills lead to progressively greater benefits from the introduction of new technology, which in turn, will lead to the further development of human resources.
The relevance of management education to the labor market, thus, lies fundamentally in its ability to produce a flexible, disciplined labor force through high quality universal education. As Indian economy continues to develop and new technology is applied to production, the demand for workers with more and better education to handle diverse business enterprises has increased. The knowledge intensive aspects of human resources require people with the highest levels of technical and managerial competence. To respond to such needs, management institutes all over India are restructuring the curricula (Mishra 2002). They are also hiring the best possible faculty, with enough industry exposure, and improving the infrastructure of libraries and computer labs.
Delhi is the political and administrative capital of India and Bangalore is the silicon city of software industry. However, Mumbaiís position as the countryís financial capital remains undisputed. The city is also an important center for many other industries and foreign trade.
Mumbaiís position as the financial capital of India is based on the dominance of its two stock exchanges, the National Stock Exchange and the Bombay Stock Exchange, and the power of its banking sector. The cityís commercial and retail banking center is also the largest in India. The service sector attracts the lionís share of Mumbaiís incoming foreign investment.
Mumbai is also pre-eminent as a trading center, with pearls and precious and semi-precious stones being by far the largest single category (by value) of both import and export goods handled in the city. Of the other principal industries, cotton and textile business and machine engineering are probably the most important. Between them, these two sectors employ a third of the workforce of the city and account for a sixth of the export trade. Film industry is another prominent industry in Mumbai. The average income per household in Mumbai is higher than in any other large Indian city.
In the present ever changing information environment, libraries are encountering both opportunities and challenges. Information technology has introduced many changes in the way information is identified, procured, processed and disseminated to library clientele. Further more, information technology has created a sense of urgency among library users and librarians themselves. Management libraries and information centers are witnessing new paradigm shifts. These shifts include:
It is an accepted fact that the information technology has influenced all the components of a library system: information sources, services, human resources and users (Ramesha and Kumbar,2004). It is more so in case of management libraries where the emphasis is more on the currency of information. The industry-oriented, case study methods and hands-on methods of imparting management education require management libraries to be ever responsive to the changing information needs of their clientele.
The primary objective of the present study is to examine the impact of information technology innovations on resources and services of management institute libraries affiliated to University of Mumbai, Mumbai. The specific objectives are to:
The present study utilized a combination of historical analysis, literature review, questionnaires and personal interviews for data collection. Historical analysis and literature review were useful in collecting textual data from published and unpublished sources. The questionnaire method was quite useful in soliciting information from the librarians of management institutes. Hence, the data collected for this study was a combination of primary as well as secondary data.
The survey was undertaken with the help of questionnaires designed for the purpose. While designing the questionnaire, care was taken that it has the mix of closed and open-ended questions. To enhance the response rate, multiple-choice questions were included in sufficient numbers. Interviews were also held with the librarians to interpret the questions to them and to collect the data.
As many as 23 management institutes are affiliated to University of Mumbai. These offer a two-year Master of Management Studies (MMS, equivalent of MBA). Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), which became a Deemed University recently, has also been included in the survey. Out of a total of 24 management institutes, 22 institutes responded to this survey, thus achieving a response rate of 91.67%.
Researchers visited in person all the libraries of management institutes affiliated with the University of Mumbai and met with the librarians. Repeated checks and reviews were done on the questionnaire. Librarians, teachers and statisticians were consulted to critically review questions and improve their reliability and validity.
Data collected from published sources and the questionnaires were evaluated and analyzed to produce the results.† The Software Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used for analysis the data. After interpretation, inferences were drawn and recommendations were made.
The nature and efficiency of information services provided by a library depends upon the computer facilities it has. If a library lacks computer infrastructure, then there is every possibility that it fails miserably to meet the demands of users. In the recent decades, a lot of information has been made available in a wide variety of formats like CD-ROM, online databases and e-journals. It becomes necessary for a library to have adequate computer facilities to serve users better.
In order to ascertain the availability of computer infrastructure, certain questions on status of automation, hardware and software availability were asked of librarians. Their responses are recorded in Table 1.
The first step towards taking advantage of the benefits of IT is the automation of library activities. The majority of the libraries, 13 (59.09%), have indicated that their automation is complete. However, a considerable number of management libraries, 9 (40.91%), are still only partially automated.
Table 1 indicates the availability of computer hardware and software at different management libraries. The availability of information technology related infrastructure is good in the majority of libraries.
Concerning hardware, the majority of libraries, 20 (90.91%), have Pentium computers; 11 (50.00%) have servers to maintain library databases; 10 (45.45%) have workstations to access the library OPAC and other electronic resources. Fourteen (63.64%) libraries have their own printers, 17 (77.27%) have CD-ROM readers, 8 (36.36%) have CD-ROM writers. In addition, 8 (36.36%) of libraries have scanners and one (4.55%) library possesses a CD tower for accessing several CD-ROMS simultaneously.
Table 1. Hardware and Software Availability
|Hardware and Software Availability||Number of Libraries||HARDWARE|
|PC AT 286/386/486||7 (31.82%)|
|Pentium I/II/III/IV||20 (90.91%)|
|Apple Macs||0 (0.00%)|
|CD-ROM (Read)||17 (77.27%)|
|CD-ROM (Write)||8 (36.36%)|
|CD Towers||1 (4.55%)|
|Library Management Software||20 (90.91%)|
|Word Processing Software||22 (100.00%)|
|Networking Software||15 (68.18%)|
Concerning software, the majority of libraries, 20 (90.91%), are using Library Management Software; all the libraries, 22 (100%), are using word processing software and they also use different operating systems like DOS, UNIX, LINUX and Windows. Fifteen( 68.18%) of libraries have indicated that they have networking software as well.
One of the distinct gifts of information technology has been the invention of devices with huge storage capacity. CD-ROMís, DVDs and flash memory cards have changed the face of libraries. Online access to information has turned many libraries into ďVirtual LibrariesĒ (Mishra, 2000). Libraries are also changing the way in which information is stored and disseminated to users. †In order to ascertain the librariansí perceptions about electronic resources, series of questions were asked of librarians. These questions were related to the advantages of electronic resources over conventional print sources.
Librariansí opinions on this is presented in Table 2. For these statements, we calculated the Mean (X), Standard Deviation (SD) and Coefficient of Variation (CV).
Table 2. Advantages of Electronic Resources over Print Versions
|1||It is not necessary to retain journal bound volumes even after the library has all the back volumes in CD-ROM form or has access to them from a digital repository||3||1.10||34.48|
|2||We can save lot of storage space by having resources like journal back volumes, dissertations, reports in electronic form||2||0.53||29.81|
|3||It saves substantial amount of money being spent on maintenance (binding, cleaning, etc) of books, bound volumes by having them in electronic form||2||0.68||35.82|
|4||It is easy & convenient to conduct a search on electronic resources.||2||0.65||38.43|
|5||Electronic resources are not very expensive compared to their print versions||3||0.75||24.27|
|6||It is better to procure an electronic version of a book/journal if its price is equal to or not much higher than print version||3||0.85||32.15|
|7||In this networked environment, electronic resources achieve the objectives of resource sharing in a far better way than print versions||2||0.83||44.73|
|8||Electronic resources require expensive infrastructure to disseminate information contained in them||2||0.82||40.82|
|9||Despite being user friendly, it requires certain degree of computer knowledge to get the maximum benefit of these electronic resources||2||1.00||51.11|
|10||Librarians need to develop in-depth and rigorous user education programs to create awareness among users about proper utilization of electronic resources||1||0.51||34.12|
|11||Electronic resources can be updated easily and immediately in case of online sources||2||0.61||34.52|
Table 2 reveals that librarians are uncertain (X=3) whether to retain the bound volumes when back volumes are available in CD-ROM form. Librarians agree that lots of storage space can be saved by having resources in electronic form (X=2), that it is easy and convenient to conduct a search on electronic resources (X=2), that resource sharing is easier with electronic resources (X=2), that electronic resources require an expensive infrastructure (X=2), it requires certain degree of computer knowledge to get the maximum benefit from electronic resources (X=2), and that electronic resources can be updated easily and quickly (X=2). Librarians also agree they need to develop in-depth user education programmes to create awareness among users about proper utilization of electronic resources (X=1).
However, librarians are uncertain about whether electronic resources are inexpensive compared to print versions (X=3). They are also uncertain about whether it is better to procure an electronic version of book/journal if its price is equal to or not higher than print version.
An analysis of the data indicates that electronic sources have considerable advantages over print versions and information technology innovations have redefined the way information is stored and disseminated in libraries.† Librarians feel that anywhere/anytime multiple access convenience of e-resources achieves the objective of resource sharing in a far better way than print sources did.
It is also observed from the data and analysis of the same table that in spite being user friendly, it requires certain degree of computer knowledge to get the maximum benefit from these electronic sources. The calculated Mean, Standard Deviation (SD) and Coefficient of variation (CV) prove the opinion that there is a need to develop in-depth and rigorous user education programs to create awareness among users about proper utilization of electronic resources.
Information has always been prime factor for the development of society and is often regarded as a vital national resource. The growth of information and the dependency on it have paved the way for the information society and subsequently the knowledge society. Information has become important part of our lives and should be available when needed. Information services try to meet this objective.
Information services are generated using new tools and techniques to facilitate the right users to the right information (Khodeh and Dhar, 2002). Information technology has had a significant impact and has successfully changed the characteristics of information services being generated in libraries.
In order to ascertain the impact of information technology on information services, librarians were asked series of questions to get data on the characteristics of computerized information services. They were also asked to compare computerized and manual services using a predetermined set of parameters. The majority of librarians, 21 (95.45%), indicated that computer-based information services are better than manual services. Only one librarian (4.55%) disagreed with this.
Librarians were asked specific questions to ascertain what were the characteristics that made computer-based services better than manual services. Table 3 presents the librariansí opinions in this regard. The librarians surveyed agreed that computer-based information services were accurate, consistent, quicker and could be tailor-made for specific user needs (X=2).
Table 3. Characteristics of Computer Based Information Services
|Computer based information services are better than manual services because||Mean||SD||CV||They are accurate||2||0.81||42.49|
|They are consistent||2||0.59||37.11|
|They can be provided in much less time||2||0.51||34.12|
|Can be tailor made for specific user needs||2||0.65||38.43|
Among all these statements, "computer-based information services can be provided in much less time" generated the most positive responses (CV=34.12).
The best way to understand the impact of information technology on information services is to compare manual and automated services based on certain criteria.† Table 4 presents the data about librariansí comparison of computer-based information services to manual information services.
Table 4. Comparison of Computer Based and Manual Information Services
|Sr.No||Statement||Mean||SD||CV||1||Users prefer to search electronic resources before they do a manual search of print versions||2||0.97||50.89|
|2||Users require orientation to make the maximum use of computer based information services||2||0.59||32.37|
|3||Computer based information services have a positive effect and thus have improved the image of Library||2||0.51||32.98|
|4||Staff is required to undergo training in IT periodically to make optimum use of IT facilities||1||0.51||35.04|
Librarians agreed with the statements that users prefer to search electronic resources before they do a manual search of print versions (X=2), users require orientation to make the maximum use of computer-based information services (X=2), and computer-based information services have a positive effect and thus have improved the image of library (X=2).
Librarians also agreed that staff is required to undergo training in IT periodically to make optimum use of IT facilities (X=1). Among these statements, "users require assistance while searching online databases" generated the most positive responses (CV=32.27).
The present study has evaluated the availability of information technology infrastructure in management libraries affiliated with the University of Mumbai. It also studied the impact of IT innovations on library resources and services.
The views and comments offered by the librarians have enabled the investigator to offer some feasible suggestions for deriving the maximum benefit from the impact of information technology innovations on library resources and services.
Academic institutions and their libraries are experiencing a massive change in the way they function. Management libraries are no exception to this. Information technology innovations have found their way into applications in management and business libraries. The accelerating pace of information technology continuously raises the standards of users' anticipations and expectations of new value-added services.
Today information is available in variety of forms like CD-ROMís, online databases, e-journals, etc. Inventions of devices like CD-ROMs and flash memory cards, which have huge storage capacities, have changed the outlook of libraries. These digital sources of information and storage devices bring drastic changes in the management libraries because of their distinct advantages in convenience of searching, low search times, most up-to-date information, etc. These digital sources also require considerable expenses in infrastructure development. However, this can be overlooked when we see the manifold advantages.
Information technology also has a positive impact on all library and information services like reference services, current awareness services, online public access catalogue, etc. Human resources is another aspect which is influenced by the developments in IT and its application in libraries.
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