Saturday, November 29, 2014

Research Library Networks, Consortia and Resource Sharing

इस ब्लॉग्स को सृजन करने में आप सभी से सादर सुझाव आमंत्रित हैं , कृपया अपने सुझाव और प्रविष्टियाँ प्रेषित करे , इसका संपूर्ण कार्य क्षेत्र विश्व ज्ञान समुदाय हैं , जो सभी प्रतियोगियों के कॅरिअर निर्माण महत्त्वपूर्ण योगदान देगा ,आप अपने सुझाव इस मेल पत्ते पर भेज सकते हैं -

Research Library Networks, Consortia and Resource Sharing

P- 15. Special and Research Libraries *

By :malhan v,Paper Coordinator

Resource Sharing

Libraries are the service place, where they attempt to use all its resources to achieve its stated objectives, and to provide the best possible services, but this is not possible because of financial crunch facing by them. Not only in India, but also worldwide, libraries are striving hard to provide necessary and relevant information to their users because of limited resources. Hence, they tried to develop agreements for the sharing of materials, information and even human resources.

Kaula (1986) mentions - resource sharing is not a new concept in the field of libraries. The concept that goes by the term ‘library co-operation’ has been in use  all along among those who had been working in libraries or had anything to do with the development of libraries. The term, however, has been replaced by a new coinage ––‘Resource Sharing’–– which sounds more attractive and makes better sense in this age of inflation and budgetary reduction. ‘Library Resources’ is the term that applies to personnel, material, functions or activities available in a library for satisfying the human needs and demands to acquire their desired knowledge (Anonymous, 2005). 

Thus, resource sharing is basically the sharing of various resources among participating libraries on the cooperation basis. Inter-library loan is one of the oldest form of resource sharing in which exchange of documents was done among two or more than two libraries on mutual basis. Centralized cataloguing and union catalogues are the other forms of resource sharing that were prevalent in many of the libraries.

Laxman Rao (2006) has broadly grouped resource-sharing activities [forms] in Indian context into following four categories:
  • Inter-library Cooperation
  • Document Delivery Service (DDS)
  • National Information System in Science and Technology (NISSAT) and National Information Centers (NIC)
  • Library Consortia

Inter-library Cooperation is the local cooperation between two or more libraries, which may be formal or informal. Local cooperation has been necessitated due to alarming shortages of financial resources in many institutions. Smaller research and academic organizations are unable to procure information resources to satisfy their users’ needs; in turn, the lack of access to such information has a negative effect on research. A number of industries, colleges and similar research organization can be seen which can not afford to buy a single database because government support to them is limited. Here, coordination can be done on various basis among two or more than two libraries. Best example of this was the NISSAT, which has issued library tickets to many institutions and organizations allowing them access to the library facilities of government or government-sponsored institutions at a nominal charge.

National Information System in Science and Technology or more commonly known as NISSAT,  is developed by National Committee on Science and Technology of India (NCST) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), with support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for information support facilities for customers engaged in research and academics, promotion of existing information systems and services, introduction of modern information handling tools and techniques, and promotion of cooperation in information access. NISSAT main goal was to establish a bridge between information resource developers and information users in diverse subjects. NISSAT is non-functional now.

National Information Center or NIC with its Sectoral Information Centers (SICs) provides bibliographic, factual, and numeric information as a product to the scientists in the country. Each SIC is supposed to develop information and information sources in a particular or assigned discipline, including micro-disciplines. Preparation of subject bibliographies and union catalogues; Information retrieval on request; Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) services; Building information on patents, specifications, and standards; Carrying out surveys, preparation of state of art reports, and scientific and technological forecasting; and Provision of translation, reprographic services, etc. are its functions.

Document delivery is a kind of inter-library loan service, which facilitates delivery of copies of journal articles and book chapters owned at any of the library. It helps to bridge the gap between the have and the have-not libraries. Document delivery is being widely used to facilitate user access to required materials. The primary objective of this service is to economically supplement library stock holdings by accessing material held at other libraries in a timely, efficient and cost effective manner, thus extending the amount of resources available to members of the libraries. But in any case, the copyright should not be violated.

INFLIBNET is the best example of document delivery. It has introduced this service in collaboration with the six universities which act as Document Delivery Centers. These universities are - the University of Hyderabad, Banaras Hindu University, Punjab University, the Indian Institute of Science, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Each of these libraries is supposed to take care of a specified region for document delivery service, but it is not mandatory that it only serve that region. Users are free to use resources from any library. However, these libraries are independent and deal directly with the users. In addition to these six libraries, the INFLIBNET center itself also provides document delivery services to the academic community.

Library Consortia are the agreements of various libraries for subscribing e-resources at economic rates. These will be discussed later in details in this chapter.

Library Networks

Human networking has been in operation since the ages when man understood the limitations of survival as an independent entity. The compulsions of interdependence have given birth to the norms for cooperation in different scenarios. So have they done in the case of libraries which had to fulfill the growing demands of their users and to satisfy the legitimate use of their resources. Further, the introduction of computer networking as an accepted part of the library and information infrastructure has paved the way for automated networking. Networking has a very significant impact on the way in which library and information systems are perceived.

A library network is broadly described as a group of libraries coming together with some agreement of understanding to help each other with a view to satisfying the information needs of their clienteles. National Commission on Libraries & Information Science in its National Programme Document (cited in Jebaraj and Devadoss (2005) defines a network as two or more libraries engaged in a common pattern of information exchange, through communications for some functional purpose.
Meitei and Devi (2006) state that “a library network is broadly describe as a group of libraries coming together with some agreement of understanding to help each other with a view to satisfying the information needs of their users”.
Thus, a library network is the grouping of various libraries with in a particular region or the field, where the basic purpose is to promote resource sharing among member libraries by coordinate efforts for suitable collection development and reduce unnecessary duplication wherever possible. Human Resource Development is also one of the basic purposes in the library network.

1. Need for Library Networks
Jebaraj and Devadoss (2005) have listed following some factors which are responsible for the development of library and information networks in India:
•    The report of the working group of the planning commission on modernization of library services and informatics for the seventh five year plan - 1985-90.
•    The National Policy on Library & Information Systems Document (1986) accepted by the ministry of HRD, Government of India.
•    The report on National Policy on University Libraries prepared by the Association of Indian Universities (1987).
•    The UGC report on Information Systems for Science and Technology under the Department of Science & Industrial Research (DSIR), Government of India that has been vigorously promoting an integrated approach to library automation and networking.

Networking has integrated all the library activities e-mail, support reference service through search of databases, exploiting the catalogue of other institutions, participation in inter-library loan (ILL), ordering of books and journals, services by establishing home page, etc. There are various benefits of forming library networks. Important ones based on Vagiswari and Louis (1998) and Jebaraj and Devadoss (2005) are given below:
  • Create better resource sharing to reduce costs.
  • Speedy delivery of documents.
  • Keep abreast of new developments.
  • Give access to advice from colleagues with similar problems.
  • Create databases for projects, specialists and institutions to provide online information services.
  • Improve the efficiency of housekeeping operations.
  • Coordinate with other regional, national and international network for exchange of information and documents; and
  • Generate new services and also improve the efficiency of existing ones.

2. Development of Library Networks
Library networks seem to be developed first in foreign countries. OCLC is supposed to be the first example of library network that was founded in 1967, which has introduced online shared cataloguing system for libraries in 1971. Interlibrary Loan service was introduced in 1979 and since then has been used for more than 114 million loans among 6,700 libraries around the world. First Search service was introduced as a reference tool in 1991 and is now used by more than 19,246 libraries.

RLG-RLIN was formed by Research Library Group (USA) in the year 1974 for cooperative collection development, preservation, conservation, inter-library loan of the documents. RLG Union Catalogue Database has also been prepared by this network.

Washington Library Network (WLN) is another network of USA that was established in the year 1972. More than 800 institutes are participating and sharing their resources through this network.

Joint Academic Network (JANET) is the network of United Kingdom that was sponsored by Higher and Further Education Funding Council.

EURONET was established by European Economic Community (EEC), Luxembourg in the year 1979. It has generated Special Database of Significance to EEC’s thrust areas of research.

As far as India is concerned, the movement for establishing city and regional-based library networks by NISSAT (National Information System for Science and Technology), a body under Dept of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Government of India was started during 1980s and 1990s to expedite the resource sharing among S&T libraries in order to avoid duplication of acquisition and minimization of cost. NISSAT has provided financial assistance for setting up of these library networks. Consequently, the libraries from both Maharashtra and Gujarat began to focus on cooperative efforts by forming networks in the region, viz. ADINET (Ahmedabad Library Network), PUNENET (Pune Library Network) and BONET (Bombay Library Network). All three being city Library Networks initiated the development of union catalogue of resources available in the member libraries (Ghosh and Jambhekar, 2003).

This movement led to the mushrooming of various city library networks in India, like- CALIBNET (Calcutta Library Network), DELNET (Delhi Library Network which later became Developing Library Network in 2000) etc. (Kaul, 2009). Now, we have many general and specialized library networks throughout the country.

3. Important Library Networks of India
Library networks can be divided into two categories – general network and specialized network. The latter can further be divided into metropolitan network and countrywide networks.

(A) General Networks in India
 These networks are not restricted to library services, rather they are meant for the use of a vast community including library services. Some important general networks are narrated in below given paragraphs.

(1). ENVIS ( 
 ENVIS or Environmental Information System is established by Ministry of Forest and Environment in the year 2002 which became fully operational by 2006. ENVIS is a distributed environmental information network with the mandate of collection, collation, storage, retrieval and dissemination to varying users comprises of decision-makers, researchers, academicians, policy planners, research scientists, etc. The focal point of ENVIS and its network partners laid emphasis on the development of information base by creating comprehensive databases and strengthening information resource repository in the concerned subject areas.

The main objectives of ENVIS include:
  • to build a repository and dissemination centre in Environmental Science and Engineering;
  • to gear up the modern technologies of acquisitions, processing, storage, retrieval and dissemination of environmental information.
  • to support and promote research, development and innovation in environment information technology.

ENVIS has developed a computerized database listing more than 5000 papers. ENVIS has also designated as a National Focal Point (NFP) and a Regional Service Centre (RSC) of INFOTERRA of UNEP for the South Asia sub-region, a global environmental information network which stimulates and supports exchange of information within and between the nations.

(2). ERNET (
ERNET is a computer network for academic and research community that was established by ERNET, India which is an autonomous scientific society of Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (Govt. of India), in the year 1986. ERNET was started with the financial assistance from UNDP (UNESCO) as Dial-up network. It is largest nationwide terrestrial and satellite network with point of presence located at the premiere educational and research institutions in major cities of the country.

ERNET has been serving institutions in various sectors, namely- health, agriculture, higher education, schools and science & technology and thus, understands the needs of these knowledge institutions. ERNET India is now well placed to address the complete ICT requirements of these sectors through large turn-key project solutions and consultancy services. All IITs, IISc Bangalore, DOE, Delhi and NCST, Mumbai were connected by 9.6 kbit/s leased line by 1992. It has also been instrumental in giving connectivity to UGC purviewed universities under UGC-INFONET programme.

Its services include communication services such as e-mail, file transfer, remote log on, database access, bulletin board etc. Besides, ERNET has also organized a number of training programmes catering to specific requirements of its user communities from various domains belonging UGC, ICAR, Defence, KVKs, etc.

(3). INDONET ( 
INDONET is the first commercial computer network that was established by CMC Limited, Hyderabad in 1986. CMC Ltd is renamed in 1989 as Informatics India Ltd  and it is looking its operation. INDONET was set up fulfill the following objectives:
  • To create the infrastructure for a network and promote a "network culture" within the country;
  • to create a "software library" so that specialized users could afford to use software;
  • to provide a platform for developing software and
  • to develop in-house expertise in networking and disseminate information to the computing professional arena through training programmes, seminars etc.
The main customer of INDONET is the parent organization CMC itself. The two most important activities carried out by CMC on the network are the maintenance of a Management Information System (MIS) available for each of the departments - marketing, finance and personnel; and OLIMPICS - the spare part inventory management system developed in-house for maintaining an accurate inventory of all spare parts necessary for any maintenance or repair job anywhere in India (Rau and Rao, 1993).

This commercial computer network provides database services such as DIALOG, COMPUSERVE; IP; SHARP to its members.

(4). NICNET ( 
National Information Center Network (NICNET) is a Planning Commission, Govt. of India sponsored nationwide computer and communication network of NIC, which utilizes state-of the art network technologies to provide connectivity to Central Government  Ministries/Departments and all 35 States and 616 Districts of India.

The primary objective of the network is to provide computing and communication infrastructure, to aid planning and monitoring of schemes and decision-making activities in the government. Its services include - bulk file transfer; teleconferencing; full text and bibliographic retrieval services. NICNET utilizes variety of technologies including terrestrial, wireless and VSAT networking to provide connectivity across the country and is now extending to the grassroots level (Anonymous, 2011).

It also acts as a centre for ICMRNIC and MEDLARS in India; and facilitates the access of Chemical Abstracts Database.

(5). SIRNET ( 
Scientific and Industrial Research Network was commenced in 1989 by the Indian National Scientific Documentation Centre (INSDOC), a constituent establishment of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of India.

40 labs and R&D Institutions of CSIR are its members. Scientific communication; leather technology; natural products; food technology; medicinal plants are its fields which it cover. SIRNET is connected to ERNET which, in turns, is linked with the international network UUNET. It also provides access to other international networks like BITNET, CSNET and JANET.

VIDYANET is a dedicated communication/computer network to meet out the needs of scientists and research workers in the laboratories/institutions of excellence in the country. It is sponsored by Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bombay. VIDYANET objectives are to provide rapid means of communication by linking computers at various institutions in India to similar networks outside the country; to stimulate corporate research, the day-to-day exchange of research information and the execution of joint projects and publications.

All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Indian Institute of Technology (NT), Indian Statistical Institute, and National Physical Laboratory in New Delhi and Bhaba Atomic Research Centre, Indian Institute of Geomagnetism NT, National Centre for Software Technology, and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bombay are its potential users. Sharing of computer resources and access to remote applications, databases, libraries, etc. are its major activities (Lahiri and Singh 1999).

(7). VIKRAM 
VIKRAM is the packed-switched public data network was developed by the Department of Telecommunications to cover nine cities of the country. Initially, the network was consisted of 8 switching nodes and 12 remote access points with its Network Management Centre at Delhi, while nodes in the four metros, namely- Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi and Madras were extended later.

VIKRAM services include-information exchange through e-mail/FTP and Bibliographic Databases.

(B) Specialized Networks
Special library networks are developed giving emphasis on library services and are the meant, especially for library community. Firstly, have a look on metropolitan networks.

(1). ADINET ( 
Ahmedabad Library Network or ADINET was established in the year 1994 with the support from NISSAT, DSIR and INFLIBNET, but formally, it was inaugurated in February 1995 (Thakore, 1996) to bring about cooperative mode of working amongst more than 150 libraries and information centers in and around Ahmedabad. Its major aims were to bring cooperation among its regional libraries; to develop databases; to integrate scientific and technical information systems. It also plans to coordinate efforts for suitable collection development and reduce unnecessary duplication wherever possible.

A centralized database of periodicals and databases available in member libraries of Ahmedabad has also been prepared to generate Union Catalogue of Ahmedabad Libraries by this network.

Gujarat institute of Development Research; Gujarat University; Gujarat Vidyapeeth Entrepreneurship Development; Institute of India; Gujarat Cancer Research Institute; Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research Centre and Sardar Patel lnstitute of Public Administration are some of its beneficiary libraries.

(2). BALNET ( 
Bangalore Library Network was established in the year 1995. It is sponsored by JRD Tata Memorial Library. Presently, it has more than 100 Libraries as its member.

(3). BONET
Bombay Library Network (BONET) was established in the year 1994 with the help of NISSAT & NCST to promote cooperation among libraries in Bombay. The aim of BONET is to build a low cost library information system which can possibly be used as a model for future expansion of this service even outside Bombay.

BONET has created a bibliographic database on computers and software technology, union catalogue of journals and other periodicals of the libraries in the region. It is providing online catalogue; online document delivery; information retrieval; inter-library loan; and dissemination of information service to its member libraries. It also offers training related to library computerization and networking, and speed up computerization of Bombay libraries.

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre; Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.; lndira Gandhi Institute of Development Research; Marathwada Institute of Technology; Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies and Reserve Bank of India were some of its beneficiary libraries (Ramani, 1996). But this network is non-functional now.

(4). CALIBNET ( 
Calcutta Libraries Network (CALIBNET) was envisaged as a metropolitan network linking some 38 libraries in Calcutta metropolitan area.  It is a Government of India Project that was launched by the National Information Systems for Science and Technology (NISSAT), Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR). It is managed by CALIBNET Society which is established under the West Bengal Government's Societies Registration Act 1961.

It aims to provide the individual libraries and their reading members with cost-effective solutions to their information problems. The project is building access to library & information resources available in the eastern region.

CALIBNET is helping in cataloguing; serials control; acquisitions; circulation to member institutions. Its major services include - CAS; SDI; union catalogue; partial database; editing and retrieval of records; global information; search; full-text document delivery; library automation; and CALIBNET INFO Services. It also provides– On-Demand Information Services; Consultative Service for Library Automation; Manpower Development Opportunities; and Research & Development in IT Applications.

Madras Library Network (MALIBNET) was initially developed by INSDOC and NISSAT in 1993 to connect six major academic institutions. Now, it has many local libraries as its members.

MALIBNET has developed two important databases – one is a Directory Database of Current Serials in Madras covering 30 libraries, and the other is a Contents Database covering articles published in 300 journals available in Madras libraries. They are available for online access to any user but the information is also supplied in CD and hard copy.

(6). MYLIBNET ( 
Mysore Library Network is also a NISSAT sponsored library network that was established during the year 1994. Its prime objectives are to develop software tools; conducting seminar; workshops/training programs; and conducting surveys for libraries.

Mysore city is unique as compared to any other metropolitan city due to the richness in information resources. It is also unique in a way where one can find information on many areas like food science, sericulture, speech & hearing, pharmacy, dentistry, polymer, medicine, archeology, anthropology, Indian languages and engineering at one place (Krishna Rao, 2002). Therefore, Mylibnet network was developed to cater the needs of vast community of different libraries in the city.

Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore, being an active member of Mysore City Library Consortium (MCLC), is hosting this network in its premises CFTRI, Mysore and 116 Institutions are its members.

MYLIBNET has also compiled a catalogue MYLIB Database in the year 1996 in the machine-readable form and developed a software package for searching this catalogue either by institution name, journal title or by keywords. Now MYLIBNET is bringing reality to its networking activity by providing Web-enabled facility to its member libraries to modify the union catalogue database online. Besides, e-journals; food patents; CFTRI Library Bulletin; public services are its some of the important services being provided to member libraries.

 MYLIBNET has organized many workshops on multimedia applications in Library and Exhibition of Multimedia Products; and seminar on Bar Code Applications in Library and Demonstration of Bar Code Products; on Internet Concept and Techniques and Live Demonstration of Internet Access over STD Line and training programme on Common Communication Format for the Creation of Databases etc.

 Pune Library Network was developed as a joint programme of the University of Pune, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) in the year 1992. It was funded by National Information System for Science and Technology (NISSAT).

Union catalogue of current periodicals in Pune libraries and information Centers; Catalogues of holding of all member libraries; Publishers and book sellers database; Database on international grants and fellowships in the health sciences; Hard databanks in biotechnology; Union catalogue of books available in British libraries in India are available through PUNENET for its members (Uchale, 2013).

Besides, it was providing access to NICNET and databases available on NICNET e.g., MEDLARS, AIDS database, US patent database; and access to internet and the databases available on internet and Patent information. But this network is non-functional now.

(B) Countrywide Area Network:
These are the networks which have their reach beyond metropolitan cities. Hence, they may be called national networks. Now, have the details on some nationwide/countrywide networks of the country.
(1). BTISNET ( 
BTISNET is a specialized information network that was sponsored by Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India and established in 1986-87. It has been set up for 10 specialized information centres in genetic engineering-cell culture and virology, plant tissue culture, photosynthesis and plant molecular biology, oncogenes reproduction physiology, cell transformation, nucleic acid and protein sequences, immunology and bio-process engineering.
The important services of BTISNET include - data processing using application software; online communication access; and facsimile facility.

(2). DELNET ( 
DELNET was started under the name Delhi Library Network at the India International Centre Library in January 1988 initially with the supports of National Information System for Science and Technology (NISSAT) and Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India.  Subsequently, it was supported by the National Informatics Centre, Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India and the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

Kaul (2009) states that this network whose journey started as a city based library network in 1988, emerged as a major operational library network not only in India but in South Asia, connecting more than 1597 libraries in 30 States and UTs in India and seven other countries. Now, it is known by the name Developing Library Network.

The main objective of DELNET is to promote sharing of resources among the libraries located in Delhi and beyond. This is done by developing a network of libraries, by storing and disseminating information, offering computerized information services to users and by coordinating efforts for suitable collection development and reducing unnecessary duplication wherever possible. Other objectives were as follow:
  • to promote sharing of resources among the libraries in Delhi by developing a network of libraries and collecting, storing and disseminating information through computerized services;
  • to undertake scientific research in the area of information science and technology;
  • to offer technical guidance to the member libraries;
  • to facilitate establishment of referral and/or research centers and maintain a central on-line catalogue of books, serials and non-book materials of all the participating libraries;
  • to develop specialized bibliographic databases of books, serials and non-book materials;
  • to develop databases of projects, specialists and institutions; and
  • to co-ordinate with other regional, national and international networks and libraries for exchange of information and documents through e-mail etc.

DELNET gives membership to various libraries including universities, colleges, government departments and provides technical assistance to them for creating and maintaining the bibliographic databases, serials control, union catalogue preparation, abstracting services, inter-library loan, document transfer/ copying facilities and for accessing local, national and international databases.

It is actively publishing various Union Catalogues of the resources available in member-libraries. Union Catalogue of Books, Union List of Current Periodicals, Union Catalogue of Periodicals, CD-ROM Database, Database of Indian Specialists, Database of Periodical Articles, Union List of Video Recordings, Urdu Manuscripts' Database, Database of Theses and Dissertations, sample databases of language publications using GIST technology and several other databases have already been developed by the DELNET. The data are being updated in these databases and they are growing rapidly. DELNET has also launched two software, namely- DELSIS and DEL-PLUS for library automation purposes at a greatly reduced rates.

Alternate Text

DELNET popularity can be seen through its membership growth chart (after Kaul, 2009), which itself tells the story of its popularity where the growth from 26 members in 1992-93 has gone upto 1597 in 2009-10.

Nowadays, it is looking to help the libraries in tapping the tacit knowledge available in their institutions and to contribute for the development of the Knowledge Repositories and networking the knowledge resources. It also want to open shortly the State Centres in different parts of India and also the Regional Centres in order to provide training to the library professionals, promote the usage of network resources and also to help the local libraries in the development of the digital contents.

(3). DESINET (http://www.drdo.desinet) 
Defence Science Information Network (DESINET) is a bibliographic information network for Defence that has been sponsored by DESIDOC, Delhi (Lahiri and Singh, 1989). 51 Laboratories are member of this network.

DESINET is covering only unclassified and technical information. It has close links close links with other similar networks like NICNET for exchange of information on mutually agreed terms. Its major activities focus on scientific, research and defence communities.

Information Library Network is an autonomous Inter-University Centre (IUC) of University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi that was established in the year 1988 at Ahemdabad, but starts its functioning in 1991. INFLIBNET Centre has become an independent and autonomous Inter-University Centre (IUC) of the University Grants Commission (UGC) in May 1996 with the target to network all the Academic Libraries of Higher Education in India for promotion of scholarly communication among academicians and researchers. Now, it has been shifted in its new own campus at Gandhi Nagar – the capital of Gujarat.
INFLIBNET is a computer communication network of universities and R&D libraries and bibliographic information centers throughout the country. UGC purviewed Universities and the colleges along with R&D libraries are its members.

            Karn and Das (2009) have listed its various missions and vision as follows:

-          Leveraging on the latest technology to create a virtual network of people and resources in academic institutions with an aim to provide effective and efficient access to knowledge through perseverance, innovation and collaboration.
-      Providing seamless, reliable and ubiquitous access to scholarly, peer-reviewed electronic resources to the academic community in all educational institution with a focus on services and tools, processes and practices that support its effective use and increase value of this information.
-          Building and strengthening ICT infrastructure in educational institutions with value added services.
-        Developing tools, techniques and procedures for secure and convenient access management enabling users to access information in electronic format from anywhere, anytime.
-         Developing resource selection guides and online tutorials for effective delivery and usage of e-resources.
-         Facilitating creation of open access digital repositories in every educational institution for hosting educational and research contents created by these institutions.

SOUL software is also developed by INFLIBNET. It also trains human resources in the field of information technology by organizing short term courses at many times at Ahemdabad  and other places. UGC-INFONET Digital Library Consortium that provides access of e-resources including full-text journals, and bibliographic databases is also being executed by INFLIBNET. Annually it also organizes meets where library professionals, information scientists from different universities and institutes participate and discuss the hot topics. Besides, Shodhganga – a reservoir of Indian University Thesis is also being developed by this centre.

Its new initiatives include: Open Source Software R&D, Access Management R&D, Open Access R&D, Web2.0 and Lib2.0 etc.

Management Libraries Network or MANLIBNET was established in the year 2000 which is in operation through a registered Society in Delhi under Societies Regulation Act of 1860. The fundamental objective of the network is to provide a forum for all the management libraries to share information and ideas for development of libraries and business librarianship.

MANLIBNET also organizes its annual meets at various places to discuss new and latest developments in the field. A quarterly newsletter is also published by the MANLIBNET for member institutions.

(6). RENNIC (
 Research & Education Network of National Informatics Centre is sponsored by NIC, New Delhi. It was established to promote creation and usage of online databases and to provide online access to various international databases. It also facilitates to setup country wide computer network for the academic and research community sponsoring more than one million potential users through 8000 institution members.

RENNIC provides global computer communication facilities to academic, research and medical institutions through NICNET. It also facilitates openness among academicians and researchers throughout the country.  Its memberships is open to academic,  research, medical institutions which are recognized and funded by UGC, CSIR, MHRD, MHFW, ICMR, AICTE, ICSSR, ICAR, DBT and central & state governments. 

Library Consortia

Library networking paved the way for development of library consortia, but the motive behind library consortia remain the same that is “cooperative arrangement among group or institutions”.

Oxford English Dictionary defines a consortium as “temporary cooperation of a number of powers, companies, etc. for a common purpose. It is an association of similar type of organizations/institutions who are engaged for producing and servicing the common things for providing services for a specific purpose of its users”.

American Heritage Dictionary (3rd ed., 1993) considered the term - “a cooperative arrangement among groups or institutions”. More straightforward description of ‘library consortia’ would be organizations of libraries formed to realize the benefits and opportunities of collaborative activity.

It is a generic term to indicate any group of libraries that are working together towards a common goal, whether to expand cooperation on traditional library services (such as collection development) or electronic information services... It is now used perhaps too broadly, and encompasses everything from formal legal entities to information groups that come together solely to achieve better pricing for purchasing electronic information (Hirshon, 1999).

Thus, a library consortium is a concept that facilitates the libraries to get the benefits of wider access to electronic resources at affordable cost and at the best terms of licenses. Library consortia may vary from being decentralized to highly centralized in nature. The degree of centralization of consortium is the primary factor affecting not only how member institutions interact with one another, but also maintain the relationship with external party (publisher/vendor). More decentralized the consortium, the greater the degree of autonomy each member retains.

1. Salient features of Library Consortia
The salient features of library consortia may be narrated as under.
  • They eliminate the different problems faced by the libraries to provide various services to their users. They also meet the thrust of information of the vast people due to rapid growth of population all over the world.
  • They cope up with the newly generated knowledge published in different forms, such as, printed and non - printed documents, electronic media on various disciplines, multi-disciplinary and new generated subject areas.
  • They collect all the documents published at the national and international level to overcome of the problem of library financial crunch.
  • Publishers also find it convenient to negotiate with members through an agent and agent raising individual invoices to all members and single payment to publishers.

2. Benefits of Library Consortia
 There are numerous benefits of library consortia, the most important being the access of electronic resources in minimum subscription. Other benefits (Panchakshari, n.d.) can be as stated below:
  • They provide each institution the ability to share resources without sacrificing the individuality of each member library.
  • The collections of the consortium libraries enable each member library to support scholarly research for its users.
  • Cooperative research and development in application of information technology enhances the service and realizes cost efficiencies.
  • Staff development and interaction enhance the quality of services.
  • Reduction in cost is achieved, where the consortium acts as an agent for all member libraries and negotiates a purchase price that is lower than that available to individual institution. Hence, end users reap the benefits of more resources than would be available through one library.
  • Enhance library services that are provided with an emphasis on access to new electronic resources including databases and services offered through the Internet and World Wide Web.
  • Expedite inter-library borrowings at lower cost.

Bansode (2007) adds the following benefits to library consortia:
  • Library consortia enrich the educational, intellectual, informational and social aspirations of users through the co-operative provision of superior quality library resources and services made available to the users. Many electronic products, normally out of reach for a single institution, are made available to them.
  • Formation of library consortia allows gaining competitive advantage by pooling resources, mutual interests and complementary skills which develop as a result of consortia, bring with them better solutions and help in bridging the gap between information and resource deficient libraries.
  • Consortia link libraries into an effective network of cooperative entities that benefit the users. Every library is liable to send their respective holdings to other libraries under a resource sharing program.
  • Enable libraries to procure more resources with less finance and ultimately help them to create library beyond four walls.

But we should not forget that consortia are ambitious network of both electronic and non-electronic resources and services. However, mainly they are formed for electronic resource sharing.  Though there are some limitations too, like occasional hike in contribution fee; potential conflict because of bureaucracy culture; level of technology, staff size; budgetary constraints and illegal and unethical use of user authentication etc., but they are not of so much worry in comparison to benefits of consortia and can be tackled easily.

3. Aims and Functions of Library Consortia
The aim of consortia is to achieve what the members of the group cannot achieve individually, and its purpose is sharing of resources, money, and the manpower. Sharing physical resources including books and periodicals amongst members is the main goal. However, the mode of cooperation has gone under transformation with infusion of new information technology from print-based environment to digital environment. The emergence of internet, particularly the World Wide Web (WWW) as a new media [sic] of information delivery triggered proliferation of web-based full-text online resources (Arora and Agarwal, 2004). Hence, we have consortia mainly for subscribing e-resources at affordable cost.

The main functions of library consortium are – collection sharing, electronic content licensing; electronic content loading/presentation; inter-library loan/ document delivery; preservation; training; union lists/shared online catalogue (Dhiman and Rani, 2007); and other such as new forms of scholarly and scientific communication.

Growth and Development of Library Consortia
Library consortia do not have any remarkable history, however, the consortial arrangements basically started in 1930s to cooperate in administering ‘interlibrary loans’ as well as ‘resource sharing’. It is worth noting that the office of Education (US) initiated a nationwide study on the growth of the library consortia, conducted by the System Development Corporation (SDC), aiming in view of providing guidance for libraries that are forming or planning to form the consortia. This study identified 125 library consortia — largely focused on academic libraries, founded during a period from 1931 to 1972. Same study reveals that a significant number of 115— comprising of 92 percent of library consortia had been founded after 1960, a few comprising of 5 in number were established between 1951-61, whereas another 5 consortia had their beginnings before 1950.

Patrick (1972) also noted a similar observation in her introduction to Guidelines for Library Co-operation. But it would be interesting that, despite the continued growth in number of consortia in 1980s, some other factors like development of ‘mega-consortia’ (bibliographic utilities) and integrated library systems (library automation) enhanced the involvement of libraries into consortial activities.

Allen and Hirshon (1998) indicate - “perhaps the most important development for libraries during the current decade has been the move from organizational self-sufficiency to a collaborative survival mode as personified by the growth of library consortia. They emphasized that, IT is now enabling a level of cooperation that is much broader and deeper than ever before”.

As such, new types of library consortia began to flourish during 1990s which exploited the advances in Information Technology.

International Scene
Currently, according an estimate, roughly 215 consortia are operating in U.S alone ranging from large/comprehensive to regional and small consortia. And 50 consortia are operational in European area.

National & State Libraries Australasia (NSLA) E-Resources Consortium is operational in Australia.

China Academic Library and Information System (CALIS) consortium is operational in China. 

Arizona University Libraries Consortium (AULC) is a voluntary alliance of six university libraries which are situated in close proximity of Arizona. E-content licensing, inter-library loan and document delivery are its important functions along with collective purchase of electronic resources for member libraries. 

Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC) was formed in 1987 as a regional resource sharing organization by 7 universities in Washington DC. It is providing e-resources to students and faculty members of participating universities.

Cape Library Cooperative (CALICO) is the consortium of South Africa which was formed in Cape region in the year 1992. It is promoting information literacy and economic development in the region by providing information to its users in a form they want. Other consortia of South Africa include - ESAL (Eastern Seaboard Association of Libraries), FRELICO (FREe State Libraries and Information Consortium, GAELIC (Gauteng and Environs Library Consortium, SEALS (South Eastern Academic Libraries’ System) and South African National Library and Information Consortium (SANLIC).

Consortium of Academic Libraries at Manchester (CALIM) was formed in 1992 by an alliance of five university libraries in the Manchester region of UK. Its main aim is to reduce duplication efforts through a common technical platform, collaboration in the delivery of information and standardization of user services.

New England Law Library Consortium (NELLCO) is the other consortium of UK that was formed by 15 New England Law Libraries in 1983 to enhance research and educational opportunities at law libraries through cooperative collection development and resource sharing. Its primary function is resource sharing, inter-library loan, training of professionals and preparation of union/shared online catalogue for member libraries. Besides, Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL), NESLI, SUPC, London Libraries ConsortiumM25 Consortium of Academic Libraries and UK Academic Library Consortia are also there in UK.

Indian scene 
Library cooperation activities in India too can be traced back to 1868 when Whitney Stokes compiled the ‘Catalogue of Manuscripts’ in various parts of India. This was followed by publication of part first of Sanskrit Manuscripts in private libraries of Northwest Province covering Banaras in 1890. During that period “A Catalogue of Sanskrit” was edited by F. Kelhorn. More and more cooperative activities came to light and in 1924, when Motibhai N Amin organized a cooperative venture called“Pustakalaya Sahayak Sahakari Mandal”, to supply books, periodicals and articles to libraries in Gujarat and also the funds and deposits from the libraries were collectively held in a trust.

Slowly libraries in India have come together to know each other’s existence, and have realized the importance and strength of co-existence, which in many ways facilitated the library services. Manpower sharing and training are other important aspects, brought to limelight by library cooperation. Organized communication in the form of conferences and workshops were established among groups of libraries. Further, the well-established Science and Technology Libraries in India act as mentors for the less equipped university and college libraries. As cost of periodicals escalates every year, it is not possible for any individual library to subscribe to many of the science journals. Therefore, the libraries felt – either resorts to cutting down on expensive titles or practice the broad hearted attitude of sharing those journals with neighbours through short-term loan or through duplicating the required articles for their users. This all needed co-operation and sharing of sources among libraries.

Later, library cooperation induced the librarians to work towards establishing well-connected library networks in their regions initially, without a formal commitment towards its organization and collective funding. Many library networks have successfully extended their services to their users, since inter-library loan concept is the foundation for all resource sharing activities. Further, the advent of technology has accelerated this process and the globalization of education and multi-directional research output constantly enforces to disappear the borders between different disciplines.

Further, the new paradigm for ‘seamless integration of disciplines’ posed the multidisciplinary research opportunities, results a great demand for scholarly communications. Changing patterns in publishing industries and phenomenal increase of web-based resources as well as other organizational imperatives, perhaps forced the Indian libraries to move towards a strategic partnership - as a measure of last resort. Therefore, a few consortia have been made in different levels to provide shared web-based electronic resources amongst the research, academic, and technical libraries in India during last decade of 20th century. Such major include- IITs-BARC-TIFR Co­operation, TIFR Libraries Consortium, ISI-Library Consortia Deals, SNDT Consortia of LISA, FORSA Libraries Consortia, ICAST Consortia, IIM Libraries Consortia, VIC Consortium of ICICI-Knowledge Park, and ISRO Libraries Consortia (Pal and Das, 2008).

It is worth to mention that some of the initiatives listed above could not materialize properly and beyond their success. Still there was a belief that the consortia initiatives will have bright future, and hoping to have more members to participate. Therefore, newer initiatives were continued. Consequently, two big consortia - Indian National Digital Library in Engineering Sciences and Technology (INDEST) Consortium in 2003 and UGC-INFONET Digital Library Consortium in 2004 respectively were launched for centrally-funded technical institutions (IITs, IISc, IIMs, IIITs, etc.) and universities. Both are setting a new culture of electronic access and browsing in academic institutions. Other library consortia like Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) Consortium, CeRA (Consortium of e-Resources in Agriculture), Health Science Library and Information Network (HELINET) Consortium and are also existing well.

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