Document Sample

A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically
carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations. The particular sequence of
operations can be changed readily, allowing the computer to solve more than one
kind of problem.

Conventionally a computer consists of some form of memory for data storage, at
least one element that carries out arithmetic and logic operations, and a sequencing
and control element that can change the order of operations based on the
information that is stored. Peripheral devices allow information to be entered from
an external source, and allow the results of operations to be sent out.

A computer's processing unit executes series of instructions that make it read,
manipulate and then store data. Conditional instructions change the sequence of
instructions as a function of the current state of the machine or its environment.

The history of the modern computer begins with two separate technologies—
automated calculation and programmability, the defining feature of modern
computers which distinguishes them from all other machines is that they can be
programmed. That is to say that some type of instructions (the program) can be
given to the computer, and it will carry process them. While some computers may
have strange concepts "instructions" and "output" (see quantum computing),
modern computers based on the von Neumann architecture often have machine
code in the form of an imperative programming language.


traditionally, collection of books used for reading or study, or the building or room
in which such a collection is kept. The word derives from the Latin liber, “book,”
whereas a Latinized Greek word, bibliotheca, is the origin of the word for library
in German, Russian, and the Romance languages.From their historical beginnings
as places to keep the business, legal, historical, and religious records of a
civilization, libraries have emerged since the middle of the 20th century as a far-
reaching body of information resources and services that do not even require a
building. Rapid developments in computers, telecommunications, and other
technologies have made it possible to store and retrieve information in many
different forms and from any place with a computer and a telephone connection.
The terms digital library and virtual library have begun to be used to refer to the
vast collections of information to which people gain access over the Internet, cable
television, or some other type of remote electronic connection. This work provides
a history of libraries from their founding in the ancient world through the latter half
of the 20th century, when both technological and political forces radically reshaped
library development. It offers an overview of several types of traditional libraries
and explains how libraries collect, organize, and make accessible their collections.
An integrated library system (ILS), also known as a library management system
(LMS), is an enterprise resource planning system for a library, used to track items
owned, orders made, bills paid, and patrons who have borrowed.
An ILS usually comprises a relational database, software to interact with that
database, and two graphical user interfaces (one for patrons, one for staff). Most
ILS separate software functions into discrete programs called modules, each of
them integrated with a unified interface. Examples of modules might include:

      acquisitions (ordering, receiving, and invoicing materials)
      cataloging (classifying and indexing materials)
      circulation (lending materials to patrons and receiving them back)
      serials (tracking magazine and newspaper holdings)
      the OPAC (public interface for users)

Each patron and item has a unique ID in the database that allows the ILS to track
its activity.Larger libraries use an ILS to order and acquire, receive and invoice,
catalog, circulate, track and shelve materials. Smaller libraries, such as those in
private homes or non-profit organizations (like churches or synagogues, for
instance), often forgo the expense and maintenance required to run an ILS, and
instead use a library computer system. Librarians often referred to ILSs as library
automation systems or automated systems in the 1970s and early 1980s. Before the
advent of computers, libraries usually used a card catalog to index their holdings.
Computers came into use to automate the card catalog, thus the term automation
system. Automation of the catalog saves the labor involved in resorting the card
catalog, keeping it up-to-date with respect to the collection, etc. Other tasks
automated include checking-out and checking-in books, generating statistics and
reports, acquisitions and subscriptions, indexing journal articles and linking to
them, as well as tracking interlibrary loans. Since the late 1980s, windowing
systems and multi-tasking have allowed the integration of business functions.
Instead of having to open up separate applications, library staff could now use a
single application with multiple functional modules. As the Internet grew, ILS
vendors offered more functionality related to computer networks. As of 2009
major ILS systems offer web-based portals where library users can log in to view
their account, renew their books, and authenticate themselves for access to online

The changing role of libraries

Libraries are collections of books, manuscripts, journals, and other sources of
recorded information. They commonly include reference works, such as
encyclopaedias that provide factual information and indexes that help users find
information in other sources; creative works, including poetry, novels, short
stories, music scores, and photographs; nonfiction, such as biographies, histories,
and other factual reports; and periodical publications, including magazines,
scholarly journals, and books published as part of a series. As home use of records,
CD-ROMs, and audiotapes and videotapes has increased, library collections have
begun to include these and other forms of media, too. Libraries were involved early
in exploiting information technologies. For many years libraries have participated
in cooperative ventures with other libraries. Different institutions have shared
cataloging and information about what each has in its collection. They have used
this shared information to facilitate the borrowing and lending of materials among
libraries. Librarians have also become expert in finding information from on-line
and CD-ROM databases. As society has begun to value information more highly,
the so-called information industry has developed. This industry encompasses
publishers, software developers, on-line information services, and other businesses
that package and sell information products for a profit. It provides both an
opportunity and a challenge to libraries. On the one hand, as more information
becomes available in electronic form, libraries no longer have to own an article or
a certain piece of statistical information, for example, to obtain it quickly for a
user. On the other hand, members of the information industry seem to be offering
alternatives to libraries. A student with her own computer can now go directly to
an on-line service to locate, order, and receive a copy of an article without ever
leaving her home. Although the development of digital libraries means that people
do not have to go to a building for some kinds of information, users still need help
to locate the information they want. In a traditional library building, a user has
access to a catalog that will help locate a book. In a digital library, a user has
access to catalogs to find traditional library materials, but much of the information
on, for example, the Internet can not be found through one commonly accepted
form of identification. This problem necessitates agreement on standard ways to
identify pieces of electronic information (sometimes called meta-data) and the
development of codes (such as HTML [Hypertext Markup Language] and SGML
[Standard Generalized Markup Language]) that can be inserted into electronic

For many years libraries have bought books and periodicals that people can borrow
or photocopy for personal use. Publishers of electronic databases, however, do not
usually sell their product, but instead they license it to libraries (or sites) for
specific uses. They usually charge libraries a per-user fee or a per-unit fee for the
specific amount of information the library uses. When libraries do not own these
resources, they have less control over whether older information is saved for future
use—another important cultural function of libraries. In the electronic age,
questions of copyright, intellectual property rights, and the economics of
information have become increasingly important to the future of library service.
Increased availability of electronic information has led libraries, particularly in
schools, colleges, and universities, to develop important relationships to their
institutions' computer centres. In some places the computer centre is the place
responsible for electronic information and the library is responsible for print
information. In some educational institutions librarians have assumed
responsibility for both the library collection and computer services. As technology
has changed and allowed ever new ways of creating, storing, organizing, and
providing information, public expectation of the role of libraries has increased.
Libraries have responded by developing more sophisticated on-line catalogs that
allow users to find out whether or not a book has been checked out and what other
libraries have it. Libraries have also found that users want information faster, they
want the full text of a document instead of a citation to it, and they want
information that clearly answers their questions. In response, libraries have
provided Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) services, in which
librarians choose information that may be of interest to their users and forward it to
them before the users request it. The changes in libraries outlined above originated
in the United States and other English-speaking countries including Nigeria. But
electronic networks do not have geographic boundaries, and their influence has
spread rapidly. With Internet connections in Peking (Beijing), Moscow, and across
the globe, people who did not have access to traditional library services now have
the opportunity to get information about all types of subjects, free of political

As libraries have changed, so, too, has the role of the librarian. Increasingly
librarians have assumed the role of educator to teach their users how to find
information both in the library and over electronic networks. Public librarians have
expanded their roles by providing local community information through publicly
accessible computing systems. Some librarians are experts about computers and
computer software. Others are concerned with how computer technologies can
preserve the human cultural records of the past or assure that library collections on
crumbling paper or in old computer files can still be used by people many centuries
in the future.

The work of librarians has also moved outside library walls. Librarians have begun
to work in the information industry as salespeople, designers of new information
systems, researchers, and information analysts. They also are found in such fields
as marketing and public relations and in such organizations as law firms, where
staffs need rapid access to information. Although libraries have changed
significantly over the course of history, as the following section demonstrates, their
cultural role has not. Libraries remain responsible for acquiring or providing access
to books, periodicals, and other media that meet the educational, recreational, and
informational needs of their users. They continue to keep the business, legal,
historical, and religious records of a civilization. They are the place where a
toddler can hear his first story and a scholar can carry out her research.

The history of libraries

In earliest times there was no distinction between a record room (or archive) and a
library, and in this sense libraries can be said to have existed for almost as long as
records have been kept. In later developments, the difficulties of library
management grew in the 19th century. Libraries had increased in size, but their
growth had been haphazard; administration had become weak, standards of service
almost nonexistent; funds for acquisition tended to be inadequate; the post of
librarian was often looked on as a part-time position; and cataloging was
frequently in arrears and lacked proper method.

The university library at Göttingen was a notable exception. Johann Gesner, the
first librarian, working in close association with the curator of the university, G.A.
von Münchhausen, and proceeding on the principles laid down by Leibniz, made
strenuous efforts to cover all departments of learning; the library provided good
catalogs of carefully selected literature and was available to all as liberally as
possible. The library's next director, C.G. Heyne, enthusiastically followed the
same principles, with the result that Göttingen became the best-organized library in
the world.

A leading figure in the transformation of library service was Antonio (later Sir
Anthony) Panizzi, a political refugee from Italy who began working for the British
Museum in 1831 and was its principal librarian from 1856 to 1866. From the start
he revolutionized library administration, demonstrating that the books in a library
should match its declared objectives and showing what these objectives should be
in the case of a great national library. He perceived the importance of a good
catalog and to this end elaborated a complete code of rules for catalogers. He also
saw the potential of libraries in a modern community as instruments of study and
research, available to all, and, by his planning of the British Museum reading room
and its accompanying bookstacks, showed how this potential might be realized.
His ideas long dominated library thought in the field of scholarly—or, as they are
now called, research—libraries and achieved major expression in the Library of
Congress in Washington, D.C.

By the middle of the 19th century the idea had been accepted that community
libraries might be provided by local authorities at public expense. This proved a
significant stage in the development of library provision. Panizzi had stated that he
wanted the facilities of a great library to be available to poor students so that they
could indulge their “learned curiosity”; in England in 1850 an act of Parliament
was passed enabling local councils to levy a rate for the provision of free library
The paradigm for libraries and librarianship shifted radically in the 20th century
with the advent of new information technologies. By the end of the century,
computer-based systems had given individuals access to an enormous network of
information. Especially in the world's major urban centres, the library's traditional
means of sharing access to information, such as the owning and lending of books
and other materials or the sharing of these resources with sister libraries, were
increasingly supplanted by the use of electronic databases that contained
everything from library catalogs and subject area indexes and abstracts to journal
articles and entire book-length texts. As individuals using home computers became
familiar with a worldwide electronic network, the library as a storehouse site was
challenged by the so-called virtual library, accessible by computer from any place
that had telephone or cable lines. The role of the professional librarian also
evolved, as many were called upon to be familiar with and to train others to use a
variety of electronic databases.

Types of libraries

Library services available throughout the world vary so much in detail from
country to country that it is difficult to present anything but the most general
picture of their activities. Nevertheless, they follow a broad but discernible pattern
that has evolved over the years.

National libraries

In most countries there is a national or state library or a group of libraries
maintained by national resources, usually bearing responsibility for publishing a
national bibliography and for maintaining a national bibliographical information
centre. National libraries strive principally to collect and to preserve the nation's
literature, though they try to be as international in the range of their collections as
possible. Most national libraries receive, by legal right (known in English as legal,
or copyright, deposit), one free copy of each book and periodical printed in the
country. Certain other libraries throughout the world share this privilege, though
many of them receive their legal deposit only by requesting it.

University and research libraries

Before the invention of printing, it was common for students to travel long
distances to hear famous teachers. Printing made it possible for copies of a
teacher's lectures to be widely disseminated, and from that point universities began
to create great libraries. The Bodleian Library (originally established in the 14th
century) at Oxford University and Harvard University Library (1638) at
Cambridge, Mass., are superior to many national libraries in size and quality. In
addition to a large central library, often spoken of as the heart of a university, there
are often smaller, specialized collections in separate colleges and institutes. The
academies of science in Russia and various other former Soviet republics and those
in the countries of eastern Europe consist of groups of specialized institutes, and,
while not all act as universities in awarding degrees, their research function has the
same significance. Some, as in Hungary and Romania, serve as the national library.

In a university library many users may seek to use the same books at the same
time. The difficulty of providing multiple copies has vexed most university
librarians, who must balance slender resources against sometimes vociferous
demand. To handle the problem, many libraries have set up a short-loan collection
(typically called the reserve collection) from which books may be borrowed for as
little as a few hours. The use of computers for circulation control has brought some
relief through great flexibility of operation and capacity for instant recall of
information on the whereabouts of a particular work.

The range of research carried out at a traditional university may encompass every
aspect of every discipline, and even the largest university libraries have long
recognized the need for cooperation with others, first in cataloging and later in
acquisitions. Automation and computers have helped, too, by making it possible
for readers in one library to consult the catalogs of others, as well as independent
databases, indexes, and abstracts, by means of computer networks. The printing of
multiple volumes of union catalogs, especially for periodicals, proved the value to
scholars of sharing information on catalogs and collections. Many universities have
made available catalogs of their special collections and have arranged for the
reproduction both of rare individual works and of complete collections on
microfilm and in other formats. An example is the Goldsmiths'-Kress collection of
early works in economics, which combines the holdings of the Goldsmiths' Library
at the University of London and the Kress Library at Harvard.

Public libraries : Public libraries are now acknowledged to be an indispensable
part of community life as promoters of literacy, providers of a wide range of
reading for all ages, and centres for community information services. Yet, although
the practice of opening libraries to the public has been known from ancient times,
it was not without considerable opposition that the idea became accepted, in the
19th century, that a library's provision was a legitimate charge on public funds. It
required legislation to enable local authorities to devote funds to this cause.

Public libraries now provide well-stocked reference libraries and wide-ranging
loan services based on systems of branch libraries. They are further supplemented
by traveling libraries, which serve outlying districts. Special facilities may be
provided for the old, the blind, the hearing-impaired, and others, and in many cases
library services are organized for local schools, hospitals, and jails. In the case of
very large municipalities, library provision may be on a grand scale, including a
reference library, which has many of the features associated with large research
libraries.. The importance of public library activities has been recognized in many
countries by legislation designed to ensure that good library services are available
to all without charge. In many cases public libraries build up collections that relate
to local interests, often providing information for local industry and commerce.
Not all countries provide public library services of an equally high standard, but
there has been a tendency to recognize their value and to improve services where
they exist or to introduce them where they do not. Public librarians work
strenuously, through such organizations as the International Federation of Library
Associations (IFLA), for such developments.

Special libraries : The national, university, and public libraries form the network
of general libraries more or less accessible to the general public. They take pride in
special collections, which are built around a special subject interest. Beyond this
network are a large number of libraries established by special groups of users to
meet their own needs. Many of these originated with learned societies and
especially with the great scientific and engineering societies founded during the
19th century to provide specialist material for their members. Thus some special
libraries were founded independently of public libraries and before major scientific
departments were developed in national libraries; for example, the National
Reference Library of Science and Invention, now the Science Reference Library
and part of the British Library, was originally established at the U.K. Patent Office.
With the coming of the Industrial Revolution arose the need for a working class
educated in technology, and industrialists and philanthropists provided facilities
and books of elementary technical instruction. Special libraries are frequently
attached to official institutions such as government departments, hospitals,
museums, and the like. For the most part, however, they come into being in order
to meet specific needs in commercial and industrial organizations. Special libraries
are planned on strictly practical lines, with activities and collections carefully
controlled in size and scope, even though these libraries may be and in fact often
are large and wide-ranging in their activities; they cooperate widely with other
libraries. They are largely concerned with communicating information to specialist
users in response to—or preferably in anticipation of—their specific needs. Special
libraries have therefore been much concerned with the theoretical investigation of
information techniques, including the use of computers for indexing and retrieval.
It was in this area that the concept of a science of information flow and transfer
emerged as a new field of fundamental theoretical study. The concept underpins
the practices not only of special libraries but of all types of library and information
School libraries : Where public libraries and schools are provided by the same
education authority, the public library service may include a school department,
which takes care of all routine procedures, including purchasing, processing with
labels, and attaching book cards and protective covers; the books are sent to the
schools ready for use. This is done in Nigeria and in some parts of world. In other
countries—the United States, for example—processing may be contracted out to a
specialist supplier. In most countries, in fact, school and public libraries cooperate
closely. Teachers who take an interest in the school library make a considerable
contribution to its progress, and many have acquired qualifications in librarianship,
recognizing that a modern library requires full-time attention and a variety of
skills. The school librarian must have a close knowledge of and sympathy with the
work of the teaching staff. School libraries have been the scene of significant
research and experiment with many different media, so much so that some school
libraries have become resource centres. Teachers accustomed to using visual aids,
often indeed to making their own, have come to expect the library to provide such
materials as collections of photographs, slides, films and filmstrips, videotapes,
and artifacts for work in subjects such as history and mathematics. Some school
librarians use the term “realia” to describe these resources.

Private libraries : The libraries owned by private individuals are as varied in their
range of interest as the individuals who collected them, and so they do not lend
themselves to generalized treatment. The phrase private library is anyway
unfortunate because it gives little idea of the public importance such libraries may
have. Private collectors are often able to collect in depth on a subject to a degree
usually impossible for a public institution; being known to booksellers and other
collectors, they are likely to be given early information about books of interest to
them; they can also give close attention to the condition of the books they buy. In
these ways they add greatly to the sum of bibliographical knowledge (especially if
they make their collections available to scholars).

Subscription libraries : Part public, part private, these libraries enjoyed much
popularity from the late 17th to the 19th century. Many of them were set up by
associations of scholarly professional groups for the benefit of academies, colleges,
and institutions, but their membership was also open to the general public. Some of
them are still in existence: perhaps the most famous are the Library Company of
Philadelphia, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731; the Boston Athenaeum,
founded in 1807; and the London Library, opened largely at the request of Thomas
Carlyle in 1841, which today has a wide-ranging collection for loan to its members
in their homes.
During the 19th century, the great size of many subscription libraries enabled them
to wield much influence over publishers and authors: Mudie's Circulating Library,
for instance, established in London in 1842, would account for the sale of as much
as 75 percent of a popular novel's edition. Nevertheless, these libraries were for the
most part unable to survive, and the service they gave is now largely provided by
the free public libraries.

Archives : Archives are collections of papers, documents, and photographs (often
unpublished or one-of-a-kind), and sometimes other materials that are preserved
for historical reasons. They are created in the course of conducting business
activities of a public or private body. Until the mid-15th century and the use of the
printing press, such records were not distinguished from library materials and were
preserved in the same places as other manuscripts. The importance now accorded
to public records has been recognized as one outcome of the French Revolution,
when for the first time an independent national system of archive administration
was set up, for whose preservation and maintenance the state was responsible and
to which there was public access. While the administration of archives shares with
libraries the basic obligation to collect, to preserve, and to make available, it has to
employ different principles and management techniques. Libraries might be
described as collecting agencies, whereas archival institutions are receiving
agencies: they do not select—their function is to preserve documents as organic
bodies of documentation. They must respect the integrity of these bodies of
documents and maintain as far as possible the order in which they were created.
And, of course, the documents need catalogs and finding aids, or guides.

The library operation
Training and library management
Throughout the centuries, librarians have preserved books and records from the
hazards of war, fire, and flood, and it is no idle boast to say that they have played a
large part in maintaining the cultural heritage of their countries. Although the
traditional librarian acted primarily as a keeper of records, the concept of an active
service of advice and information eventually appeared as a legitimate extension of
the role of custodian. The rise of scientific and industrial research and the
establishment of public libraries in the 19th century led to the greatly increased
emphasis on the subject approach and the role of systematic cataloging and
classification in addition to the accepted function of building the collection and the
consequent need for expert knowledge of bibliography, both systematic and
analytic. In the industrial library in particular, the information officer was almost
entirely concerned with the information contained on documents and was
indifferent to their form; in this scheme a scrap of paper recording an important
telephone call would have more significance than an incunabulum (a book printed
before 1501). The proliferation of different forms of record eventually led to a
much wider view of information storage and retrieval methods, often requiring the
intervention of subject specialists who understood the work of their specialist

The professional librarian: Now sometimes known as information specialists,
librarians often specialize in certain areas. Their professional skills range from
those of the archivist, who is concerned with records management, records
appraisal, accessioning and arrangement, archival buildings and storage facilities,
preservation and rehabilitation, and reference services (including exhibition and
publication), to those of the information scientist, who is concerned with research
on the nature of information itself and the process of information flow and transfer
between individuals and communities. The various branches of the information
profession share many objectives, practices, and skills. Each branch works to make
the records of human progress readily available, and the contribution of each to
society can only suffer from the lack of integration into a larger whole.

The personnel requirements of the profession include several categories, based on
various kinds of specialist knowledge and skills. These include knowledge of the
nature of documents and their role in collection building, skills in the organization
of knowledge through cataloging and classification, an ability to analyze and
survey needs and to disseminate information in response to and in advance of
inquiries, and, often, a high level of computer literacy. Support personnel are
needed to maintain the equipment, both hardware and software, and clerks,
technicians, and stewards also are essential.

Training institutes

Most of the initiatives for the education and training of professionals have come
from librarians or their professional associations. In the United States the first
university school for librarians was established in 1887 by Melvil Dewey at
Columbia University. The American Library Association (ALA) pursued a policy
of accreditation in an effort to ensure that library schools offering a professional
qualification meet the standards established by the profession itself. The first
British library school was established in University College, London, in 1919, and
until 1946 all other qualifications were gained through public examinations that
were conducted by the Library Association. Today there are many other schools,
most in polytechnic institutes, where the Library Association's own standards
continue to influence the curriculum. The association's successive syllabi have had
considerable importance for countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, and the Caribbean
states. Training once weighted heavily toward historical and bibliographic aspects
of library management has since been balanced with more emphasis on scientific
literature, indexing and abstracting techniques, and information technology. Much
more research effort is now directed also to the theory of information transfer and
the development of mathematical models for this and to other aspects of
management in library and information services.

Library materials: Types of materials

Ancient materials

Historically libraries have depended on what materials were available to build
collections. The evolution of libraries in antiquity involved the search for a
material durable enough to survive as a permanent record and relatively easy to
use. Samples of ancient writing are rare and therefore are highly valued, and
national and other scholarly libraries collect and preserve them as part of their
responsibility to the preservation of history and the advancement of learning. Most
universities have collections of rare books. Eton College, for example, has a fine
collection of incunabula, some of which were purchased when they were first
printed. A Gutenberg Bible is one of its finest examples. Some, such as the Duke
Humphrey Library in the Bodleian at Oxford and the Beinecke Library at Yale
University, contain collections of manuscripts, and wealthy private collectors have
established world-famous institutions such as the Henry E. Huntington Library in
San Marino, Calif., the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and the
Cotton and Harley collections in the British Library Reference Division.

Photographs: The invention of photography in the 19th century made possible a
new kind of record, and collections of photographs are popular, particularly in
public libraries with an interest in local history. Specialized photo libraries, such as
the BBC Hulton Picture Library, are regularly used to provide illustrative material
for film and television programs.

For the general use of libraries, however, microphotography has played a much
more important role. Many leading newspapers and periodicals have reproduced
their entire sets of back issues on roll film, which offers a considerable saving of
space and makes it feasible for even a small library to house an entire set. The
disadvantage of roll film is that the user must start searching the roll film from the
beginning of the reel, no matter where the relevant pages may be on the reel. A
considerable advance was achieved by the invention of the transparent Microcard,
or microfiche. This is a piece of film cut to a specified size and shape usually
approximating a library catalog card but available in more than one size (although
the most favoured size is 5 by 3 inches [8 by 13 centimetres]). The microfiche
offers the advantage of random access; that is, instead of starting at the beginning,
the user can bring any section of the microfiche directly into view on the screen.
Microfiche also are more convenient to store and handle, and they have become
very popular for the production of catalogs and bibliographies as well as for
reproduction of texts.

Audiovisual materials: There are various forms of audiovisual media. The most
common in libraries is the audio recording on disc or tape, and most libraries,
especially public and school libraries, have built up extensive collections of
nonbook materials, from the recordings of symphony orchestras on long-playing
records or compact discs to tape-recorded oral history interviews. Videotape loans
are also available from many libraries. Cooperation among school and public
libraries in this field has made a considerable contribution to local history. The
importance attached to these media, particularly in schools, is indicated by the use
of the name resource centre for what was formerly called the school library. When
teachers are eager to use audiovisual materials, they are often also eager to create
materials, and this enthusiasm can enable school librarians to build up a strong and
productive relationship between the library and the teaching program.

Magnetic materials: Newer articles requiring library storage include the
machine-readable magnetic tape and disc. These need such specialized treatment,
for the safeguarding of their contents from accidental erasure, that most computer
centres employ their own specialist librarian. Like roll film, magnetic tapes and
discs do not readily yield information about their contents and therefore require
particular care in labeling and indexing as well as equipment and programming to
permit retrieval.

Access to materials: Two types of documents, indexes and abstracts, contain
catalogs and bibliographies of original materials. Indexes include any of countless
bibliographies of currently published material, usually of articles in periodicals.
Sometimes libraries have taken the initiative to create these finding aids for journal
articles. For example, the U.S. National Library of Medicine has produced Index
Medicus, a monthly listing of current articles from some 3,500 biomedical journals
throughout the world. In other cases, scientific societies have taken the initiative.
Early in the 20th century, the American Chemical Society began to prepare indexes
and abstracts to help chemists obtain information about the literature in their field,
and the Institute of Physics in the United Kingdom took a similar responsibility for
physics. The long series of indexes published by the H.W. Wilson Company of
New York City and covering many different fields is well known and widely used
in other countries, though their coverage is mainly limited to American
publications. This national focus has resulted in similar efforts in other countries,
such as the Current Technology Index (British) and the British Education Index.
Since the 1960s many indexes and abstracts have become available electronically.
In subject areas having a low level of user demand, libraries can obtain information
about journal articles by connecting their computers to those of database vendors.
In areas of higher demand, libraries can buy the electronic form of indexes and
abstracts on CD-ROM (compact disc read-only memory). These small discs, which
are identical in appearance to those used to record music, can replace several
volumes of an index or abstracting service. In areas of the highest user demand,
libraries can purchase the electronic indexes and abstracts on magnetic discs or
tape and enter this information about journal and magazine articles into the same
computer that contains the library catalog information. In this way, the OPAC (on-
line public access catalog) can be extended to include information about both
books and journal articles. One major advantage of electronic indexes and abstracts
is that they enable users to search for information using words from titles and
abstracts in addition to the author and subject access provided in print versions.
This expands significantly the number of paths by which people can find

Abstracts, which are summaries of documents that indicate contents as well as
authors and titles, have a history that dates to at least 1682, when the Weekly
Memorials for the Ingenious was published in London. The British Librarian of
1737 published abstracts of well-known and useful books and claimed to cover all
the sciences “in a manner never before attempted.”

Technical services

One of two major functions of libraries, technical services include processes for
acquiring, arranging, indexing, and storing the collection.
Acquisition and supply

Criteria for selection

The output of published materials, in all forms, is so vast that no single library, not
even the largest, can hope to acquire everything; even in relatively specialized
fields, some selection has become necessary, and most libraries have an explicit
selection policy. The basic principles of selection vary little among different types
of libraries, inasmuch as they derive directly from the known interests of the users.
Practice is another matter and varies according to the types of user. A national
library aims to hold at least one copy of all the publications of its own country and
to have a good representation of foreign works, many of which may be obtained
through exchange agreements with other national libraries. University, college, and
school libraries relate their choice of acquisitions to the programs of teaching and
research in their institutions; the academic level of the material naturally varies
according to the level of the student population. An important aspect of selection
is learning about new publications that would enhance the library. Various surveys
have been made of the ways in which specialists gain new information about their
fields of work, and the most popular usually turns out to be informal discussions
with colleagues. But this is by nature a haphazard process, and most countries now
have, or aim to have, a national bibliography based on the acquisitions of the
national library. The British National Bibliography, begun in 1950 at the British
Museum, is a leading example: it is published weekly, with regular cumulating for
easy access over long periods. It is a tool for subject inquiry searches as well as for
current selection. The International Federation of Library Associations and
Institutions has established a program to increase the range and number of such
bibliographic tools. The program, called Universal Bibliographic Control and
International MARC, aims to encourage national libraries, or groups of libraries, to
institute methods of recording their national publications in a standard format and,
wherever possible, of entering them into computer files. This program is
accompanied by two additional programs, the Universal Availability of Publication
and Universal Dataflow and Telecommunications, which aim to provide the
necessary follow-up service of document delivery.

Other aids to the selection of material for acquisition are legion. Many libraries
join professional societies and institutions to obtain their publications, which
usually contain lists and reviews of new work relevant to their subjects. Leading
journals, such as The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books,
Nature, and Science, contain reviews by experts, advertisements for new and
forthcoming publications, and review articles covering important new books in
special fields.

Acquisition systems:- The development of electronic means of document delivery
is unlikely to supplant the more traditional sources of supply, the publishing and
bookselling trades. Some companies combine the two functions. Purchases by
libraries have traditionally generated much of the revenue of local bookshops, but
firms operating as specialist library suppliers are able to offer many auxiliary
services, such as attaching plastic covers and inserting labels of ownership,
because they deal in large-scale bulk supply and can afford to maintain machines
for such processes.

The acquisition systems described above are found mostly in countries with long-
established traditions of reading, research, libraries, and book trade. Far greater
difficulties confront the library services in the developing countries, particularly in
Africa and Asia. Even in India and China, with their long history of using books, a
steady and satisfactory progress is hindered by shortages of finance, materials, and
trained staff. Some universities in these nations have large libraries and receive
grants that enable them to acquire foreign as well as national publications, but they
often meet with delays caused by administrative procedures, shortage of foreign
currencies, and problems of language in the postal services. In most African
countries, growth of a national literature is hampered by the centuries-old
prevalence of an oral tradition and by the cost of importing even such basic
materials as paper. Many countries in eastern Europe as well as in the Third World
look to exchanges as a means of obtaining materials. Some governments allow
libraries to exchange duplicate copies of national publications, as a recognized
method of compensation without payment in foreign currency. The practice does
present certain administrative problems, but it is a useful means of encouraging the
international flow of publications as well as of giving practical help in collection
building to libraries in countries with limited resources.


However careful and scholarly the methods used in building a collection, without
expert guidance to its access and use, the collection remains difficult to approach.
Cataloging and classification, well-tried disciplines often combined under the
general heading of “indexing,” provide the needed guidance. Both techniques have
been in use as long as libraries have existed, and their value in the so-called
information age has been enhanced by the use of computers.

The function of the catalog is to identify all the items in a collection and to group
like items together. All the great libraries of the ancient world seem to have had
lists and inventories, whether kept on clay, stone, papyrus, parchment, palm leaves,
or bamboo strips. Examples may be found in museums throughout the world.
Cataloging by author and subject

For many centuries the feature that gave a work its unique identity was the name of
the writer, and users of the library were expected to know the names of the authors
whose works they wished to consult. This system was eventually supplemented by
the development of a subject catalog.

Catalog systems

Despite a steady, if slow, trend toward standardization, various forms of catalog
continue to exist. Sets of entries generally are arranged in one of three catalog
systems. The first is the dictionary catalog, in which author, title, subject, and any
other entries are filed in a single alphabetical sequence. This form is popular in the
United States and in public libraries generally and probably presents the least
amount of difficulty for the general or casual reader. The second is the divided
catalog, still in alphabetical sequence but with subject entries in a separate file.
This form has increased in popularity, and many libraries have divided their former
dictionary catalogs, recognizing the growing value of the subject approach. The
third is the classed, or classified, catalog, which is more popular in Britain and
continental Europe and in some developing countries whose librarians trained
there. In the classed catalog, as its name suggests, all the entries are filed in the
sequence of a classification scheme—that is, in a systematic order of subjects—but
separate alphabetical files link names of authors and of subjects to the notation
symbols of the classification scheme used in the main file. The chief advantage of
a classed catalog is that the entries are related subjects grouped together in the file;
thus, a subject search can be made much more simply than in a catalog based on
the alphabet. In addition, when different languages are used, the sequence of
entries in a classed catalog does not alter, as is the case with the dictionary.
Vehicles for catalogs

The types of catalog differ on the basis of the information provided in the entries,
but the actual physical form may also vary. Originally, catalogs took the same form
as the books they listed; being made of the same material, the catalog was an extra
item of the collection itself. The earliest catalogs of the great national and scholarly
libraries were in book form, with handwritten entries and spaces for new additions.
The main problem of the book-type catalog, of course, was the insertion of entries
for new acquisitions. Most plans, like that of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris,
made no attempt to add to the printed file and instead placed vain hopes in the
prospect of new editions.The initial solution to this problem was the creation of a
card catalog, each entry having its own card and each card containing only one
entry. In principle, such catalogs can grow in size indefinitely; any new entry can
be filed between any two existing entries. Thus the catalog offers the opportunity
to have a completely up-to-date file: an entry can be made in the catalog
immediately after a book has been purchased.

In 1901 the Library of Congress began offering copies of its own catalog cards for
sale to other libraries. For many years this proved of inestimable value, particularly
to small libraries unable to afford skilled catalogers. The service was also intended
to serve as a central cataloging agency. Many eminent librarians, in conferences
and in published papers, had lamented what they argued was wasteful duplication
of effort involved in the separate cataloging of the same books in many different
libraries. They proposed that a central agency undertake the task and make the
results generally available, so that any library could use the central catalog thus
produced to complete its own highly professional catalog. In the 1950s the British
National Bibliography also began to produce cards from the entries in its weekly
These and similar schemes in other countries in Europe achieved a certain success
but for various reasons could not be said to have provided the ultimate solution.
The advent of the computerized catalog, however, offers a more practicable
approach because the storage capacity and the operating speed of even small
machines overcome the main drawbacks to card services: delays in production and
the labour of filing the cards when they arrive. Computer technology makes it
possible for the details of any document to be entered into a file at any point and
then to be transmitted to a central data file from which other libraries can obtain
details by means of telecommunications links. The process is demonstrated by the
revised Machine-Readable Cataloging Project, known since its revision in 1968 as
MARC II. Library users find no difficulty in consulting such on-line catalogs, and
many prefer them to the more cumbersome, if more familiar, form of cards in
drawers. Not only do they enable library patrons to search for books containing a
particular word or combination of works in the title, but the patron also can narrow
a subject search by finding books that are on two or more topics. The information
from the catalog can be alphabetized or put in order by year of publication and
printed out as a book list.

The system that accommodates this type of search is known as OPAC (on-line
public access computer). Further development of this system has made it possible
to integrate other library records with the OPAC, so that patrons can reserve
materials that are still on order and can determine if items in the library's collection
are already on loan. The OPAC has been expanded in many libraries to include
information about journal articles and sometimes about the community served by
the library. The job of cataloger, once highly dedicated to the task of describing
library materials for the production of a catalog, is now focused on producing an
information retrieval tool that will be of general use to the library's patrons.
Catalog standardization

The ideal of centralized cataloging led to increased interest in standardized forms
of entry. Many other discussions, revisions, and simplifications have taken place
since the mid-20th century. Short versions of the major codes were published for
small libraries in certain countries; the public instruction ministry in Italy issued
new rules; a French commission on cataloging issued standards for anonymous
works; and in the former Soviet Union, proposals were published for standardizing
the transcription of Chinese names into Cyrillic script.


A new use of the term thesaurus, now widespread, dates from the early 1950s in
the work of H.P. Luhn, at International Business Machines Corporation (IBM),
who was searching for a computer process that could create a list of authorized
terms for the indexing of scientific literature. The list was to include a structure of
cross-references between families of notions, in the manner of P.M. Roget's
Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (1852) and similar to the structure of
faceted classification schemes. A major thesaurus, and one of the earliest, is the
Thesaurofacet (1969), a list of engineering terms in great detail designed by Jean
Aitchison for the English Electric Company. The thesaurus has proved very useful
both for indexing and for searching in machine systems. It is especially helpful in
such areas as medicine, aerospace, and other scientific and technical fields.

Thesauri depend upon the concept of controlled vocabulary, subject headings
organized into lists that help users locate the appropriate heading for their topic of
interest and find related terms used for narrower or broader topics. One of the
functions of controlled vocabulary is to select from what may be a large group of
synonyms the one term that most accurately describes a topic. When libraries use
that one term consistently, their users will know where to look to find materials on
any topic of interest. Books on travel in Britain, for example, might be described as
travel, tourism, or sightseeing in Britain, Great Britain, or the United Kingdom. By
selecting one expression of this topic—for example, “Great Britain — Description
and Travel”—a library ensures that all of the books on the topic will be grouped
under one subject heading in the catalog.

The disadvantage of controlled vocabulary systems such as subject headings lists is
that they are slow to evolve. New topics and new ways of thinking and talking
about topics continually evolve, and, although there are ongoing efforts to keep
controlled vocabulary lists as up-to-date as possible, they inevitably lag behind
ordinary language usage. As a result, some topics may be difficult to find using the
subject heading approach. For this reason, many library systems, particularly those
that use computerized information retrieval techniques, combine controlled
vocabulary such as subject headings with free vocabulary: descriptions of the topic
of books or other materials using ordinary language. In these systems, subject
headings are supplemented with topic descriptions such as abstracts and
summaries, which have no restrictions on descriptive vocabulary.


While catalogs aim to identify and list items in a collection, schemes of
classification have a more general application in arranging documents in a
sequence that will make sense and be helpful to the user. Because they display
subjects, and not documents, they can be used in several libraries, and some indeed
have found applications in many different countries. Like schemes for grouping
entries in catalogs, classifications—whether of knowledge based on philosophical
principles, of the subject faculties of universities, or of the pragmatic grouping of
books on shelves—have formed the basis of many individual systems.

The changing role of libraries

Librarians often referred to ILSs as library automation systems or automated
systems in the 1970s and early 1980s. Before the advent of computers, libraries
usually used a card catalog to index their holdings. Computers came into use to
automate the card catalog, thus the term automation system. Automation of the
catalog saves the labor involved in resorting the card catalog, keeping it up-to-date
with respect to the collection, etc. Other tasks automated include checking-out and
checking-in books, generating statistics and reports, acquisitions and subscriptions,
indexing journal articles and linking to them, as well as tracking interlibrary loans.

Since the late 1980s, windowing systems and multi-tasking have allowed the
integration of business functions. Instead of having to open up separate
applications, library staff could now use a single application with multiple
functional modules.

As the Internet grew, ILS vendors offered more functionality related to computer
networks. As of 2009 major ILS systems offer web-based portals where library
users can log in to view their account, renew their books, and authenticate
themselves for access to online databases.

In recent years some libraries have turned to major open source ILSs such as Koha
and Evergreen. Common reasons noted were to avoid vendor lock in, avoid license
fees, and participate in software development. does an
annual survey of over 1,500 libraries and noted in 2008 2% of those surveyed used
open source ILS, in 2009 the number increased to 8% and in 2010(most recent year
available) 12% of the libraries polled had adopted open source ILSs.

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