Perhaps no other recent innovation has changed libraries to such great extent as the Internet.
The roles and functions of both libraries and librarians are developing. They parallel the acceptance and use of the Internet.
Today’s library activities are no longer confined within the 4-squared boundaries of concrete and wood. In fact, people use technology, such as Instagram, to encourage reading and library use. A lot of libraries are electronically connected. They rely heavily on computer and telecommunication technologies as a means of providing library and information services.
This is why a reliable internet connection is now a necessity for libraries.
The Internet has made purchasing seamless.
There’s a wide array of publications and services presently online in USA and India that have made canvassing, comparing, and purchasing easy for libraries worldwide.
Librarians can easily access and browse through thousands of publications online, compare their prices, and purchase them in a matter of minutes. Should there be discrepancies in the invoices and/or in billing, a correction is possible via telecommunication such as email. This process even eliminates paper trail usage by a significant amount.
The Dewey Decimal Classification System (DDC) is the most widely used method for classifying books in the library. Since its conception in 1876, the DDC has been constantly evolving and adapting the needs of the electronic community.
There are now numerous libraries opting the Cyber Dewey Decimal Classification Summaries to organize and navigate resources on the Internet.
Moreso, preparing and checking a standard catalog in a lesser amount of time has been possible with the Internet. Librarians use the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) to check the catalogs of other libraries like that of the National Library of India and confirm the information required for a record.
Using the Internet, the OPAC can access the bibliographic information of a certain material and organize that information into databases.
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After the acquisition and classification of materials, users can digitally access the same materials through the library’s OPAC System. Readers can now browse or reserve books right on their fingertips.
Libraries subscribing to e-journals, e-magazines or e-books don’t have to provide a physical copy of the material in the library. Whether the user’s subscription is paid, for free, pay-per-use or on a trial method, the subscriber gets a unique User ID which he will use in remotely logging in online.
According to Public Libraries Online, the electronic circulation of materials is growing steadily at a rate of 11.7% as of 2017. Although this figure does not sufficiently justify the removal of physical materials in libraries, the increasing rate is a manifestation of online traffic.
As advancement is becoming a trend, libraries should have the ability to access rather than own.
A student in India can now have access to a library in the United Kingdom because of the presence of online libraries.
With the advent of the Internet, major libraries are now available online. They are directly accessible from any part of the world through the Internet. Because of this, librarians now have access to catalogs of various online libraries where they can request materials for their users.
Libraries are unable to provide a wide range of in-house collection in recent years. This is due to the acquisition costs of physical reading materials are high and library budgets are low.
However, librarians and other professionals are constantly seeking easier ways to access materials. Fortunately, a number of publishers are sharing their materials online through websites such as First Search Electronic Collection Online.
As a function of Resource Sharing, libraries have been implementing the Interlibrary Loans (ILL) process. ILL is a service where a user can request to borrow printed materials from other participating libraries which are otherwise not available in the library where they are registered.
Before, ILL can be very tedious and time-consuming. However, because of the power of Internet and software such as Ariel and Mandarin M5, automation and management of e-documents and other library services have been efficient and effective.
Information is readily available online.
Definitely, Internet usage has paved the way for information accessibility. And because of this, information-sharing has significantly behaved in an upward trend.
In spite of the popularity of e-materials, the Digital Natives, also known as the Millennials, still prefer to read using printed copies. However, there are road bumps along the way and it has become a challenge for librarians to prove the importance of libraries in the digital age.
To combat this road bump, libraries have adapted to use the Internet in their day-to-day management operations in order to make the Internet a vital part of the library’s ecosystem.
Definitely, libraries store the highest amount of reliable information.
However, as users are more inclined towards digital presence and accessibility, the focus on storage and preservation of data is changing as well.
Various technological platforms can store and communicate information and data at high speed over electronic networks wherever and whenever. Because of this, the retrieval of resources and processing of library-related transactions are more seamless.