Sunday, April 20, 2008

INDOLIBNET: Some Thoughts......!!


Kishor Chandra Satpathy
Indian Institute of Management
Indore-453331, MP, India


Library Networks, Resource Sharing, Consortia


No library resource centre of the world is self sufficient to meet the various information needs of the users. With the rapid growth of publications, knowledge explosion, shrinking resources, escalation of prices and ever increasing expectation of users compelled the library and information centres to go for networking for resource sharing. The most important goal networking is to maximize the availability of resources & services at minimum expenses. Keeping in view the above points in mind the paper briefly mention about networking and briefly mentions different library networks available in India. It further explains the need of the Indore Library & Information Network (INDOLBINET) and objectives of networking among the libraries and information centres in the city of Indore. Further, it enumerates issues involved in establishing such network; point out the constraints & finally the author has given the suggestions for the success of such networks.


“Knowledge should be available to all as
Universally as the air we breathe,
The water that quenches thirst and the Sun’s
Energy that sustains the cycle of life”

Sri Chilakamarthi Laxminarasimharm’s
Granthalaya Vedam (miniature manifesto)

Library & Information Professionals are fully aware of the phenomenon of ever increasing trend in the cost of books and periodicals. On the other hand, library budgets have been going through a stage of stringency for the last few years. As a result, libraries are struggling for continuation of current periodicals and purchase of new books. The academic institutions can cope with this problem only by networking and resource sharing.

The libraries and information centres, with their diminishing or a best static financial allocation, have to consider new ways to consolidate global resources amongst them in order to maximize their limited financial resources. For this purpose; resource sharing, networking & forming consortia are the best-opted methods.

The concept of network aims at evolving a mechanism of partnership in which each member has something useful to contribute to the others in the network. Basically, it is a cooperative venture of two or more libraries with a view to optimise the utilization of available resources. However the old cooperative arrangements and the new networking differ in several ways, while the traditional one is informal, unstructured the new one is a formalised system with integrated organizational structure whose potential for rendering service is greater than that of its parts.


There are generic social and organisational forces that drive the development of Networks: in particular the pursuit of effective centralised control over far-flung operations scattered in heterogeneous settings. In an academic community, networks may foster the building up of value consensus, setting up minimum standards of performance and contribute to homogenizing the knowledge base of all the members of the. Typically the prime uses of computer information networks in the academic field like electronic mail, databases strengthen the sharing of thought, words and their fine-tuning through intense peer-to-peer communication. The networks help elite groups to develop and maintain shared ideologies without having to enter into cooperative relationships.


Forced by circumstances and by design, there has been a spurt in activities on library network development in the recent past. Some of the factors responsible for promotion and support of such efforts in India have been:

· Increased awareness of the need for resource sharing.
· Resource crunch.
· Increased computer installations or access facilities in library environment and enhancement of computer literacy among library professionals.
· Improvement in computer communication facilities within and across geographical regions, and availability of general data networks like NICNET (Planning Commission), INDONET (CMC Ltd) ERNET (Department of Electronics) and more recently the I-NET (Department of Telecommunications), VSNL for Internet & Private Service providers like Reliance, TATA Telecom etc.
· Creation of facilities for e-mail by networks above mentioned VSNL, SIRNET (network of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research set up by INSDOC) and the ICNET, SPRINTMAIL (SPRINTRPG) etc. in the private sector.

The library network development in India has taken three board directions namely:

In India, library networking efforts using computer communication technologies started during the late 1980’s with the initiation of metropolitan / city networks like:

1. Development of Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN) in cities like Bombay (BONET), Calcutta (CALBINET), Delhi (DELNET), Madras (MALIBNET), Pune (PUNENET), Ahemdabad (ADINET), Mysore (MYLIBNET), Hyderabad (HYLIBNET) and Bangalore (BALNET).
2. Development of countrywide networks like the INFLIBNET (for university libraries).
3. Development of sectoral facilities like the BTISNET (Biotechnology Information System Network), and the proposed ones for oil and natural gas, management science and environment.
4. Development of National Consortia like INDEST, UGC Infonet, CSIR Consortia etc


PUNENET : PoonaLibrary Network, 1992
BONET : Bombay Library Network, 1992
ADINET : Ahmedabad Library Network.1993
MALINET : Madras Library Network, INSDOC, 1993
BALNET : Bangalore Library Network, 1995
MYLIBNET : Mysore Library Network, 1995
DELNET : Delhi /Developing Library Network , 1998-99
CALIBNET : Calcutta Library Network, 1998
MANLIBNET : Management Libraries Network, 2000


Indore city is situated on the Malwa plateau at 553 m above sea level, on the banks of two small rivulets - the Saraswati and the Khan. They unite at the centre of the city where a small 18th century temple of Sangamnath or Indreshwar exists. The name Indore is due to this diety. It is the largest city in Madhya Pradesh state in central India. Today, Indore is spread over 3898 sq. km. with a population of 18,35,915 with literacy rate of 64.21%. It is the commercial capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh. The festivals and celebrations in the North- eastern states of India are a colourful reflection of the people and their lives. Throughout the year, different people celebrate festivals with lot of fanfare in different ways, most of them centering around their modes of living and livelihood.


Indore city play the role in Central India as a education hub and standing as educational mile stone in the country, because Top educational/research institute of the country available here in different streams i.e. Indian Institute of Management (5th IIM), Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (CAT), National Research Center for Soyabean, Wheat Research Station, Military Headquarter of War (MHOW), Devi Ahilya VishwaVidyalaya (University Established in 1964), GSITS (Autonomous Institute, Established in 1952), MGM Medical College (One of the oldest college in Country 1884), Daily college (Residential School Established in 1885) , Veterinary College, Agriculture College & so on….

With a host of large number of educational Institutions, there has been a growing need to have NETWORK for these educational Institutions.

There is a growing demand by the LIS professionals for the networking of said institutions & other state level institution libraries for better resource sharing.

On this background, the idea for Indore Library & Information Network (INDOLIBNET) has come up. On the line of other active Library networks Like DELNET, INFLIBNET etc. it is proposed that Indore should have a network- Indore Library & Information Network (INDOLIBNET) for this Region.


Provision of equal access to universe of knowledge, information and cultures & promote understanding of the cultural diversity of Indore.


In the light of the factors mentioned above, the objectives of the network will be:

Broad Objectives

1. To utilize the resources in a better way, by concentrating on specific areas of interest.
2. To generate new services and to improve the efficiency of existing ones.
3. To develop forums for interaction among information professionals and users and thereby, helping them seeking solutions to common problems.
4. To promote and support adoption of standards in library operations. 5. To improve the national information infrastructure specifically in Satate of MP
6. To form a Indore Library Consortia.
7. To promote better understanding among participating institutions & libraries.

Specific Objectives

1. Information available in the different library & information centers would be accessible to the right users as quickly as possible.
2. To make linkages among libraries having information on different areas of interest, with a view to prepare national information resources database and to improve access of the available information so that the information needs of the users cab be met as quickly as possible.
3. Optimum utilization of the existing national information resources, systems and services.
4. To promote exchange of information among institutions.
5. To prepare a common platform for the available information resources for better & effective usage.
6. To organize seminars and group discussions for exchange of views and information on the latest developments in the field.
7. To prepare a Union Catalogue of journals holdings available with different institutions.
8. To offer computerized services to the users and coordinate efforts for suitable collection development and for reducing unnecessary duplication wherever possible.
9. To provide all their library resources to the members in sharing and networking culture and deliver to them after due identification, the library reading material, at individual costs.
10. To extend the facilities to the members to interact through remote logic of the data available in electronic form.
11. To form consortia.
12. To develop and strengthen existing information system/network at the national level and thereby promote effective participation in national development.


For establishing such kind of network arrangement that enhances the usage of information, some problems are likely to crop-up, such as:
1. Who will take the initiative in bringing all the concerned institutions libraries on to one platform?
2. What will be the policies and guidelines for such a network?
3. Compatibility of existing hardware and software - guidelines need to be framed.
4. Manpower development in participatory institutes with special reference to information technology.


Certain Constraint s/ Problems are involved while implementing NELBINET. They are:

1. Lack of Trained Human resources
2. Lack of financial resources
3. Lack of infrastructure facilities in LICs
4. Lack of knowledge awareness in IT based information handling services.
5. Lack of interest on the part of the library professionals in implementing the IT based information handling services in their libraries.
6. Lack of motivation on the part of library staff
7. Lack of legislative measures in the library Acts towards consortium / network based library services
8. Lack of co- ordination among the library staff to go in for IT based information handling services in LICs
9. Users attitude towards information seeking pattern and behavior


The following suggestions would be worth mentioning in developing the network.

1. National level intervention would be required for the coordination of such network and ensure adequate and reliable funding. However, this control must not affect the performance of the participating libraries, institutions and the individual professionals.
2. Policy makers must have awareness on the necessity of information networking. The lack of adequate funding the major problem in libraries is not always due to lack of financial resource but due to lack of knowledge on the advancement information services and its importance.
3. Provision of adequate funding facilities for IT based Information Product and Services
4. Provision of infrastructure facilities
5. Implementing the National Information Policy (NIP) for Information and Documentation Management activities
6. Training of librarians and other information service providers is an essential component.
7. Short-term trainings, regular workshops, seminars and workshops are necessary to facilitate the current awareness of information professionals in acquisition, classification, storage, repackaging and dissemination of information. However, staff expertise has to be put to practice what they have learned.
8. Motivating the information professional people to go in for IT based information handling services in LICs.
9. Creating co- ordination among the library staff to go in for IT environment in LICs
10. The structure of the networking may affect information accessibility.
11. Evaluation of networking activities is an indicator of whether activities are conducted as planned and a way to improve future endeavors.
12. There should be staff exchange programs and training for professional upgrading through attachment in different information centers.
13. Effective information exchange and dissemination within the members is essential to avoid duplicating resources.
14. Providing orientation programme to the information user community periodically as and when the new products are acquired in the Library, Information and Documentation Centers.


The success of Library Automation and Networking depends mainly upon the proper planning and appropriate decisions taken by the appropriate authority time to time. At the same time the motivation, zeal and lot of efforts of library and information professionals and well-trained professionals also results in quick and early implementation of library networks.

For the success implementation of the INDOLIBNET, the Institute like IIM Indore, DAVV, CAT & NSRC etc should take a lead role. The organizations like IIMI, SIDBI, University and State Education department should help in setting up such a network.

The INDOLIBNET will constitute a unique opportunity for the region to avail of cutting-edge Information Technology to give a fillip to the development of the region.


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