Information Technology and Online Resources in Dental College Libraries of Haryana
Information technology (IT) is not a new concept. In the last decade, IT education and applications have continued to move forward. IT education in the state of Haryana has been enhanced and strengthened recently. Haryana is among the smallest states of India in both population and geography, but it is committed to providing every kind of education to its students. It is taking the lead in the field of medical education, with nine dental colleges. In medical and dental science, IT is essential. Library professionals working with medical organizations have a great challenge to fulfill the needs of demanding users for library and information service and resources. The use of IT is necessary to give access to e-resources. This study reflects the current state of the implementation of IT in dental libraries, and attempts to evaluate the current potential of special and academic libraries to provide access to scientific and research information.
A number of studies have been carried out on IT in universities and research organizations. Womboth and Abba (2008) found that The Federal University of Technology, Yola library has embraced ICT in its services. Catalogue cards are now produced by computer. FUTYLIS, locally developed software, is being used to prepare the library's OPAC. This is to be replaced by the more comprehensive ALICE FOR WINDOWS Software in order to completely offer online services. Out of the eight academic librarians, six are computer/Internet-literate. The library has seven computer operators. Saeed, et al., (2000) observe that availability of funds and lack of IT infrastructure were reported by a majority of the in university libraries of Pakistan. Similar results were found in a later study by Haider (2004). Ramzan (2004) reveals that 57 of out of 244 libraries did not any have any computers. The majority, 129 libraries, had fewer than 5 each, 48 had 5-20, and 10 libraries had more than 20 computers. Only 57 percent of academic and research libraries offered e-mail, and 53 percent had Internet access in their libraries. His studies also reveal a generally low level of IT knowledge among librarians. Askhita (2000) describes how since 1998, Al-Assad National Library has allowed its visitors to use the Internet, and has also published its online public access catalogue on an Internet-enabled server. He also advises that the Arab world should become involved in information production and e-commerce. Al-Zahrani (2000) says that Kuwait University library has introduced CD-ROM and Internet facility in its libraries. Similarly, University of Bahrain libraries have implemented an electronic check-out system, and are using CD-ROM databases. Taran and Gorman (1999) conclude state that many Vietnamese libraries now have basic IT hardware and software, and the telecommunications infrastructure has improved to the point that most libraries have reliable telephone links. Gorny and Jazdon (1997) recognize that the best developed IT infrastructure is found in academic libraries, while the situation is worse in special libraries, because of a lack of financial funds.
A questionnaire was structured to collect the primary data. Visits were made to all the dental college libraries of Haryana, where the librarians were consulted. Information was also collected from the official documents of the colleges.
The study is limited to the dental college libraries of Haryana, which are listed in table 1.
There are nine dental colleges in Harayana state. All offer a bachelor's degree in dental surgery (BDS). All are self-financed except DHADC. Only two colleges, DHADC and MMDC provide a master's degree in dental surgery (MDS).
Collections of the Dental College libraries
MMDC library has the largest collection, followed by GGSDC and SDDDC. Two-thirds of these libraries have fewer than 5,000 books. DHADC is the only government college in the group, and it has the lowest number of books. MMDC and DHADC have the largest collection of e-journals. A large majority have no collection of theses and dissertations.
MMDC library has the largest collection of journals, with 80. The rest have around 30 titles, with the government college DHADC at the bottom with only 14.
Only two of nine institutions are fully computerized, with four being partially computerized. DHADC has no automated services and none planned. This is a shocking outcome in the era of ICT, since new technologies are coming into existence very rapidly and older ones quickly becoming obsolete. Only MMDC library has standardized library software, i.e., SOUL, with the others surviving with locally-developed solutions.
Factors leading to automation
In all the six dental college libraries that are fully or partially automated, this is due to the initiative taken by the librarians. All the college libraries have implemented automation to improve the quality of the services except DLDC library. Along with the above factors, the managing authorities in MRDC, MMDC, and SDDDC were also willing to see the libraries automated. MRDC, GGSDC, and SDDDC libraries also implemented automation to minimize the repetitive work.
Steps in implementation
A majority of the college librarians have attended seminars or conferences on automation before implementing it. MRDC, MMDC, and SRDC libraries sent their staffs for training. Library personnel at MRDC, GGSDC, and SDDDC have also taken some more steps to lead library automation, i.e., study related literature, visit automated libraries, discuss with other librarians.
BDA: British Dental Association; NPG: Nature Publishing Group; LWW: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
There are a number of online journal packages in the field of dental science, of which some popular packages have been listed in table 7. The libraries mainly subscribe to Blackwell and Elsevier. The absence of online journals in these libraries indicates that the level of research in these colleges is low.
Less than half the libraries have telephones, and less that one fourth have faxing capability. The lack of these is a major barrier to communication. The same numbers have television and LCD projector, respectively. The dental college libraries of Haryana are facing a lack of basic facilities which needed in any library.
MRDC and DLDC libraries have the largest number of PCs. GGSDC and SRDC are next, with BRSDC and DHADC at the bottom. All the libraries have their own server except BRSDC and PDMDC. All have printers except BRSDC.
A majority of the libraries under study use Windows 98, while nearly half have implemented Windows 2000. Only MRDC and SDDDC have launched Windows XP.
Networking is essential to optimize the use of automated services. All the institutions have set up a LAN except BRSDC and DLDC. Only MMDC and PDMDC have established a LAN at campus level.
Slightly more than half the libraries have leased line Internet connectivity. DHADC has broadband access. BRSDC and DLDC do not have Internet connectivity.
Internet service provider
One third of the libraries use GLIDE as an Internet service provider. Libraries of DHADC and PDMDC use BSNL, and MRDC uses VSNL.
Most of the dental college libraries in this study are in a beginning stage, and will continue to mature. There is an urgent need for improvement in the IT infrastructure. There is a clear lack of e-resources. Due to non-availability of any external financial aid and the self-financed nature of the institutions, there has always been a state of financial crisis in these libraries.
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