Full Project – Design and implementation of an e-library system
A library is a collection of sources, resources, services and the structure in which it is housed. Libraries have always been a community’s portal to information, knowledge and leisure.
It is a community’s gateway to information from many sources either nationally or internationally beyond the shelves of the users.
The existence of a library in any academic institution is an invaluable asset that is as important as the institution itself. Libraries offer the users the opportunity to have access to academic materials like journals, magazine, books, videos and others that boost the knowledge scope of the users in their different areas of research or discipline. Scholars in fact, said it all when they affirmed that effective teaching and learning cannot take place without adequate provision of library resources.
The volume of materials being dealt with in the libraries are so much that an individual may not have the financial capacity to acquire them – this is very true with the level of the students of the institutions and the high cost of electronic sources online. The advancement in Information Technology, most especially the existence of internet has brought about the globalization of resources and makes sharing of resources possible irrespective of the geographical locations. This has removed the access restriction to various resources online to a great extent. Even though it is not all existing useful library materials that may be available on the internet it still provides a seemingly large access to vast volume of resources for academic use.
This suggests that a blended approach of combining the traditional system of library with that of the electronic library will expand the volume of academic resources that will be made available to library users.
A scan of the library literature in the last four years shows that there are three terms…digital library, electronic library or virtual library; that are used to describe the building of a large information resources of text and numeric data to serve the demanding academic user of today.
Terms such as “electronic library” “digital library” and “virtual library” are often used synonymously. The elements that have been identified as common to these definitions are:
- The electronic library is not a single entity;
- The electronic library requires technology to link the resources of many;
- The linkages between the many electronic libraries and information services are transparent to the end users;
- Universal access to electronic libraries and information services is a goal;
- Electronic library collections are not limited to document surrogates: they extend to digital artifacts that cannot be represented or distributed in printed formats.
The electronic library will be realized as an aggregation of catalogs, lists and indexes of documents of every imaginable type, organized according to the schemes of classification and linked for search, so that they come to behave as a single database in which the lines between individual collections and catalogs are blurred.
There is no single definition for the digital library. The definition evolves as research progresses, some of the current definitions are:
- The digital library is a system that combines the machinery of digital computing, storage, and communication, the content, and software needed to reproduce, emulate, and extend the services of the collections, cataloging, and finding information offered by traditional library based on paper and other materials. A full service digital library must not only fulfill all essential services provided by traditional library but also make good use of the advantages of digital technology.
- The digital library is viewed as systems providing a community of users with coherent access to a large, organized repository of information and knowledge. This organization of information is characterized by the absence of prior detailed knowledge. The ability of the user to access, reorganize, and utilize this repository is enriched by the capabilities of the digital technologies.
- The concept of a “digital library” is not merely equivalent to a digitized collection with information management tools. It is rather an environment to bring together collection, services, and people in support of the full life cycle of creation, dissemination, use, and preservation of data, information, and knowledge.
The virtual library has been defined as the concept of remote access to the contents and services of libraries and other information resources, combing and one-site collection of current and heavily used materials in both print and electronic form, with an electronic network which provides access to, and delivery form, and knowledge sources.
It contains data that is housed electronically and deliverable without regard to its location or time.
A library is “virtual” in the sense that a number of different information resources can be brought to an end-user, rather than delivering the end-user to a physical set of resources. The World Wide Web has changed the environment for information delivery and for representation of information; the explosion of electronic information resources underscores the need for professionals to research, review, evaluate, and select authoritative sources to assist users seeking information.
The library resources provided several definitions of what professionals might consider a virtual library to be:
- A collection of materials digitized from electronic transmission.
- An institution that possesses or an organization that controls such materials.
- A library that scan all its materials to make the entirety of its holdings electronically, or
- Simply a library with Internet access.
A virtual library comprises a set of links to various resources on the Internet, such as documents, software or databases. The links in a virtual library are transparent to users and it provides them with one interface to information. (KAWATRA, 2000)
Virtual libraries rely on interactivity to allow patrons to explore sites and to use resources.
Electronic Library System extends and integrate approaches adopted in traditional libraries as well as in distributed information systems, to yield high-end information systems, services and institutions. Here we will explore some of the parts or components of digital libraries and discuss several of the developments in this emerging field.
Building a comprehensive electronic library system will help users to manage all phases of the information lifecycle. Of particular importance is to simplify the authoring and creation process so that wider population can participate by adding all types of multimedia content directly into digital libraries. Downstream access allows readers to benefit from this type of computer-mediated communication, across time and space. Ultimately, it is believed that knowledge will be shared and then lead to yet another cycle of discovery, authoring and utilization that is facilitated by digital libraries.
There are numerous problems with the traditional libraries. These inadequacies are enumerated below.
- The users of the traditional library need to go the library physically which most times could lead to congestion of the library.
- Inability for the library resources to be accessed 24/7.
- The library resources cannot be simultaneously used. It is one at a time.
- Traditional libraries are limited by storage space.
The main aim of this project is to design and implement an electronic library for the Computer Science department.
The proposed system Electronic Library System also has its general objectives which are as follows:
- Reduce the cost of maintaining a traditional library.
- Information Retrieval: To make it easy and convenient for the user to use any search term (Title or Authors name) to search the entire collection, thus providing user-friendly interfaces, and giving clickable access to its resource.
- Preservation and Conservation: Provide access to materials that would otherwise fall to degradation from repeated use.
- Multiple Access: Ensure that the same resources can be used simultaneously by a number of persons.
- Space: Able to provide storage for information digitally by using little physical space to contain them.
In implementing the objectives of this study, the advantages of a digital library over the traditional library are enormous. Users will be able to access library resource digitally without the inconveniences of users carrying books, journals, magazines etc. which could result in rapid wear and tear of this library resource. Besides, it will afford users the opportunity to access digital books simultaneously without waiting for the book to be returned to the library.
The proposed system will provide security to help track library resources through the development of a comprehensive database that will be used to house the library resources. The system will also eliminate some of the routine manual work prevalent in a traditional library.
The findings of this research work for the proposed system (Electronic Library System) was carried out in the Federal Polytechnic Bida, Computer Science Library. The scope of this study will include the following:
- Information indexing/cataloging.
- Classification of library resource.
- Searching and retrieval (downloading).
- Registration of books/uploading of digital resources
- Registration of users.
- Database management.
- It is not a web based, but a stand-alone delivery system with its own user file and login ID and password.
- Financial resources are a limitation encountered in the course of this research work hence it is not hosted online.
- Digital: Relating to or using signals or information represented by discrete values of a physical quantity.
- Electronic: Carried out, accessed or implemented on by means of a computer or other electronic device especially over a network.
- Library: A room, building or institution where a collection of books, periodicals or other research materials is kept.
- Digital Library: A managed collection of information, with associated services, where the information is stored in digital formats and accessible over a network.
- Electronic Library: A heterogeneous system in which information is available in hard copy, on magnetic tapes and discs, CD-ROMs and videodiscs, and also from online sources.
- E-Library System: Consists of ready-to-use databases to manage the library catalogue, loans, serials check-in, suppliers and borrowers.
- Information: This is a collection of facts or data.
- OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog): An online database of materials held by a library or group of libraries.
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Full Project – Design and implementation of an e-library system