Friday, January 2, 2015

Library Network in India: INFLIBNET - objectives, Functions, Services and Activities P- 04. Information Communication Technology for Libraries

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 -

Library Network in India: INFLIBNET - objectives, Functions, Services and Activities

P- 04. Information Communication Technology for Libraries *

By :Usha Munshi,Paper Coordinator

Content Navigation


0. Objectives

This module aims to give an overview of Information and Library Network Centre (NFLIBNET Centre). It briefly introduces key activities and services of INFLIBNET centre and also discusses new initiatives taken by the Centre.

1. Introduction

Cooperation amongst institutions for sharing the library resources is being practiced for decades to provide cost-effective and efficient services to its users that the libraries individually could not afford. Traditionally, primary purpose of establishing a library network was to share physical resources including books and periodicals amongst members. As collaboration flourished, the networks and cooperatives were focused on automation, database development, resource sharing, etc. Library cooperatives that were  created primarily for the purpose of a joint catalogue or shared integrated library system  include WALDO (1983), WISPALS (1989), LOUIS (1992), Orbis Cascade and SUNYConnect (1998),etc.

In India, library Networks was initiated by NISSAT in the year 1986. The CALIBNET was established in 1986 followed by the DELNET in 1988 with initial funding from the NISSAT. Other library networks in India include ADINET (1993), MALIBNET (1993), BONET (1994), MYLIBNET (1994). Establishment of the INFLIBNET by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in 1996 as a national-level network can be considered as a major turning point in the evolution of library networks in India. 

2. INLIBNET Centre

The INLIBNET Centre was initiated as a major programme of University Grants Commission,  in 1991.  At initial stage, the programme was directed towards modernization  of  libraries and information centres and establishment of a mechanism for information transfer and access, to support scholarship, learning and academic pursuits. In May 1996, the centre was established as an independent, autonomous Inter-University Centre (IUC) of the University Grants Commission (UGC) with an objective to co-ordinate and implement national wide high speed network using state of the art technologies for connecting all university libraries in the country. Major activities and services of the Centre include automation of academic libraries and information centres, creation of union databases of resources available in academic libraries, promote resource sharing among academic libraries, promote information access and support scholarship. The Centre acts as a nodal agency for networking of libraries and information centres in universities, institutions of higher learning and R & D institutions in India with an aim to promote scholarly communication.

The Centre has made remarkable progress in its ongoing programmes with an aim to keep abreast with the trends and emerging technologies in information and communication technology (ICT). The Centre has also taken-up a number of initiatives for the benefit of the academic community. 

3. Objectives

The objectives of the Centre, as per the Memorandum of Association (MoA), are as follows:

i)          To promote and establish communication facilities to improve capability in information transfer and access that provide support to scholarship, learning, research and academic pursuits through cooperation and involvement of concerned agencies;

ii)        To establish information and library network - a computer communication network for linking libraries and information centres in universities, deemed to be universities, colleges, UGC information centres, institutions of national importance and R&D institutions, etc. avoiding duplication of efforts;

F to promote and implement computerization of operations and services in the libraries and information centres of the country, following uniform standards;

F to evolve standards and uniform guidelines in techniques, methods, procedures, computer hardware and software, services and promote their adoption in actual practice by all libraries, in order to facilitate pooling, sharing and exchange of information towards optimal use of resources and facilities;

F to evolve a national network interconnecting various libraries and information centres in the country and to improve capability in information handling and services;

F to provide reliable access to document collection of libraries by creating on-line union catalogue of serials, theses / dissertations, books, monographs and non-book materials (manuscripts, audio-visuals, computer data, multimedia, etc.) in various libraries in India;

F to provide access to bibliographic information sources with citations, abstracts, etc. through indigenously created databases of the Sectoral Information Centres of NISSAT, UGC Information Centres, City Networks and such others and by establishing gateways for online accessing of national and international databases held by the national and international information networks and centres, respectively;

F to develop new methods and techniques for archiving of valuable information available as manuscripts and information documents in difference Indian languages, in the form of digital images using high density storage media;

F to optimize information resource utilization through shared cataloguing, inter-library loan service, catalogue production, collection development and thus avoiding duplication in acquisition to the extent possible;

F to enable the users dispersed all over the country, irrespective of location and distance, to have access to information regarding serials, theses/dissertation, books, monographic and non-book materials by locating the sources wherever available and to obtain it through the facilities of the INFLIBNET and union catalogues of documents;

F to create databases of projects, institutions, specialists, etc. for providing online information services;

F to encourage co-operation among libraries, documentation centres and information centres in the country, so that the resources can be pooled for the benefit of helping the weaker resource centres by stronger ones;

F to train and develop human resources in the field of computerized library operations and networking to establish, manage and sustain INFLIBNET;

iii)      To facilitate academic communication amongst scientists, engineers, social scientists, academicians, faculty, researchers and students through electronic mail, file transfer, computer/audio/video conferencing, etc;

iv)      To undertake system design and studies in the field of communications, computer networking, information handling and data management;

v)        To establish appropriate control and monitoring system for the communication network and organize maintenance;

vi)      To collaborate with institutions, libraries, information centres and other organizations in India and abroad in the field relevant to the objectives of the Centre;

vii)    To promote R&D and develop necessary facilities to create technical positions for realizing the objectives of the Centre;

viii)  To generate revenue by providing consultancies and information services; and 

4.0 Scientific and Technical Activities

Major scientific and technical activities undertaken by the INFLIBNET Centre  based on its functional requirements are given below.

4.1 Database Management

4.1.1        IndCat: Union Catalogues at the INFLIBNET Centre (

IndCat: Online Union Catalogue of Indian Universities contains bibliographic records of books, serials and theses contributed by participating universities in all disciplines.  It was started in 1994- 1995, when university libraries were given funds to set up infrastructure and convert their card catalogue into machine readable form. The IndCat is searchable through in-house developed search interface at Apart from the databases of books, serials and theses available through IndCat, the Centre also has other non-bibliographic databases developed for benefit of the academic community.

Books Database: Union catalogue of book provides bibliographic information of book contributed by the member universities. Database covers monographs, reference books, conference proceedings, and textbooks etc., which are normally classified by the universities under their book collection. It provides access to millions of bibliographic records from  member universities.

The Union database of books facilitates downloading of bibliographic records in MARC21, CCF or ASCII format. The downloaded bibliographic records can be imported to any library management software compliant to MARC21 bibliographic format including SOUL 2.0. As such, in addition to being a Union Catalogue of books available in university libraries, IndCat serves as a virtual catalogue for each participating university library. GujCat and NeRCat, are sub-sects of IndCat that are designed to restrict searching of bibliographic records to 33 libraries of the Gujarat state and 8 university libraries in North-eastern region respectively.

Theses Database: The union catalogue of theses provides bibliographic information of the doctoral dissertations submitted to the Indian universities. The project was started in 1995 with 52,000 records from 82 universities. The database has grown to more than 2.64 lack records from around 350 universities.

Serials Database: The union catalogue of serials provides bibliographic information of journals subscribed in various universities and maintains the information in three categories, namely serials holdings, current serials and e-journals. The serial database provides bibliographic information of over 33,000+ unique titles with holdings information from member universities. Each bibliographic record for serials contains title, publisher, frequency, year of publication, homepage URL and subject headings along with holdings details and names of the universities.

CEC’s Video Database: CEC’s Video Database  is collaborative endeavor of the INFLIBNET Centre and Consortium for Educational Communication (CEC) which aims to disseminate information regarding the video programmes produced by CEC to the academic community and the masses of the society. The database provides more than 15000 bibliographical records of educational video programmes produced by the CEC and its 17 EMMRCs.

The Centre has developed an application software called “Online Copy-Catalogue System” (OCS) to promote co-operative cataloguing and avoid duplication of efforts. The interfaced called “Online Copy Catalogue System (OCS)” on one hand, facilitates libraries to search and browse bibliographic records of documents available in IndCat and download selected records directly into SOUL 2.0 or any MARC21 compliant software. On the other hand, the interface facilitates creation of a new record for a document that is not available in the IndCat. This new record gets saved into local integrated LMS as well as into the IndCat simultaneously. 

4.1.2        VIDWAN: Subject Expert Database (

VIDWAN is the premier database of profiles of scientists / researchers and other faculty members working at leading academic institutions and other R & D organizations involved in teaching and research in India. The University Expert Database was launched in the year 1999 that contained profiles of the subject expert serving in the universities and other academic institutions in India. In the year 2001, the Centre developed another database called Expert Database in Science and Technology with financial support from the National Information System for Science and Technology (NISSAT), DSIR that contained profiles of experts working in the R & D organisations, particularly in science and technology areas. These two databases were merged in the year 2012 and rechristened as VIDWAN: Expert Database with an aim to provide information about experts to peers, prospective collaborators, funding agencies, policy makers and research scholars in the country, to establish communication directly with the experts who possess the expertise needed by users, to identify peer reviewers for articles and research proposals, to  create information exchanges and networking opportunities among scientist and to discover prospective collaborators for on-going research projects.

Vidwan database provides important information about expert's background, contact address, skills and accomplishments. The database contains more than 11,000 profiles of experts from  leading academic institutions, R&D organizations including IITs, CSIR, DRDO, etc. The databases can be searched on parameters such as name, designation, area of expertise, organization, state, etc.  Login IDs and passwords have been issued to experts whose profile is available in the database with a persistent URL enabling them to update their profiles. Experts can provide a link to text books, articles and other additional sources available on their website.

4.1.3        Research Projects Database (

The Research Project Database provides details of completed and ongoing projects carried out by faculty members working in universities and institutions across the country. The database contains more than 15,000 records of project reports submitted by the project investigators of MRP funded by the UGC regularly. The softcopy and print copy of the project reports are available at the INFLIBNET Centre for walk-in users.

4.2 Software R&D Activity

4.1.1        Software for University Libraries (SOUL) (

The SOUL (Software for University Libraries) is state-of-the-art integrated library management software designed and developed by the INFLIBNET Centre based on requirements of colleges, universities and other academic libraries. It is user-friendly software developed to work under client-server environment. The first version of software i.e. SOUL 1.0 was released during CALIBER 2000. The latest version of the software i.e. SOUL 2.0 was released in January 2009. SOUL 2.0 is compliant to international standards for bibliographic formats and circulation protocols. The software is compliant to international standards such as MARC 21 to facilitate data transfer and exchange; Unicode to facilitate handling of multilingual content, SIP and N-SIP for RFID compliance; FRBR to support functional requirement for bibliographic records, etc. The new version was received very well by the libraries in India. For detail information on SOUL, please refer separate module on “Case Study: SOUL” in same paper.

Other software R&D activities includes customization of the SOUL 2.0 software on payment basis as per the requirement of libraries, development of SOUL Query Management System (SQMS) to handle and manage user’s query about SOUL Software, development of web version of SOUL Software, Customizations  of institutional repositories, etc. 

4.3 Consortia Initiatives at INFLIBNET

4.1.1        UGC-Infonet Digital Library Consortium and its Associate Membership Programme

The UGC-Infonet Digital Library Consortium was launched by Dr. A.P. J. Abdul Kalam, the then President of India during December 2003. The UGC-Infonet Digital Library Consortium provides current as well as archival access to more than 8,500+ core and peer-reviewed journals and 11 bibliographic databases from 28 publishers including commercial publishers, scholarly societies, university presses and aggregators in different disciplines. The programme was implemented in a phased manner.  In the first phase that began in 2004, access to e-resources was provided to 50 universities who had Internet connectivity under the UGC-Infonet Internet Connectivity Programme.  In the second phase, 50 more universities were added to the programme in the year 2005 as additional universities got Internet connectivity through UGC-Infonet Internet Connectivity Programme. So far 208 member institutions including 14 National Law Schools/ Universities and IUCs of the UGC, are being provided differential access to subscribed e-resources. These e-resources cover almost all subject disciplines including arts, humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, chemical sciences, life sciences, computer sciences, mathematics and statistics, etc. The programme is wholly funded by the UGC and executed by the INFLIBNET Centre. The Centre has also initiated Inter-Library Loan (ILL) through J-Gate@UGC-INFONET. The J-Gate provides article-level access to all articles published in journals subscribed by the UGC-Infonet Digital Library Consortium as well as content in journals subscribed by 26 university libraries designated as ILL Centres of the INFLIBNET Centre.

The Consortium has also launched its “Associate Membership Programme” wherein private universities and other research organizations can join the Consortium for subscription of selected e-resources. For detail information, please refer separate module on “Library Consortium: UGC INFONET Digital Library Consortium” in same paper.

4.1.2        N-LIST (National Library and Information Services Infrastructure for Scholarly Content)             (

The "National Library and Information Services Infrastructure for Scholarly Content (N-LIST)" has graduated from being a project funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development under its National Mission on Education through ICT to a regular scheme of the UGC-INFONET Digital Library Consortium as its college component. The N-LIST, using a highly innovative access model, provides access to 6,328 e-journals and 97,333 e-books to all Govt. / Govt.-aided as well as non-aided colleges. Electronic resources subscribed under N-LIST programme covers all disciplines taught in colleges including arts & humanities, social sciences, physical and chemical sciences, life sciences, computer sciences, political sciences, library and information science, law, business, mathematics, statistics, etc.  The INFLIBNET Centre has implemented EZ-Proxy from OCLC for authenticating registered users. Individual users from colleges can access and download articles from journals and chapters from books directly from publisher’s website once they are duly authenticated as authorized users through authentication mechanism deployed at the INFLIBNET Centre.

4.4 Open Access Initiatives

INFLIBNET Centre provides a platform called OJAS@INFLIBNET to host open-access journals. The Centre has also set-up three institutional repositories, namely IR@INFLIBNET, Shodhganga and Shodhsagar. These open access initiatives taken-up by the Centre are described below:

4.1.1        Shodhganga: A Reservoir of Indian Theses (http://

Shodhganga is a digital repository set-up for submission of electronic version of theses and dissertations  submitted by students / research scholars in universities in India and make them available in open access to the world-wide academic community. Universities are signing MoU with INFLIBNET Centre for granting non-exclusive rights to host their ETDs in Shodhganga. Moreover, students from different universities are submitting electronic version of their theses into the repository on voluntary basis.  Shodhganga provides access to more than 21,000 theses.

The Shodhganga is set-up using Dspace that uses internationally recognized protocols and interoperability standards. The repository provides a platform to research students in universities to deposit, reuse and share their theses and dissertations. The interface facilitates submission of theses either by university administrators, university representatives or researchers. The interface also facilitates self-registration of scholars wherein the user gets e-mail alerts and notifications at different stages of workflow. The Shodhganga website provides information and help relevant to the researchers, research supervisors and university authorities with regard to ETDs including their responsibilities, access policies, submission process, metadata structure, tutorial, manual, e-book, etc. The interface also provides a semantic visual browser facilitating users to browse records available in Shodhganga semantically with associated fields.  Major fields like title (works), authors, guides, universities and keywords are linked for visual browsing.  ShodhGanga has also developed subject search interface which is based upon UNESCO’s SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System), LOC’s LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) and other thesaurus. The major subject domains include six categories such as Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Medical and Health Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities.   The search can be restricted to micro level (four levels down) for more precision on the subject domain. 

4.1.2        ShodhGangotri (

Shodhgangotri is a new initiative that compliments "ShodhGanga". While "ShodhGanga" is a repository of full-text theses submitted to universities in India, Shodhgangotri hosts synopsis of approved research proposals submitted to the universities in India by research scholars for registering themselves for the Ph.D programme.

4.1.3        Open Journal Access System (OJAS) @ INFLIBNET (

Open Journal  Access System @ INFLIBNET Centre provides digital platform for hosting of electronic version of journals into open access mode with all processes of submission, peer-reviewing, editing, layout designing and publishing built into it. It encourages universities and institutions that are publishing journals in print format to use the OJAS @INFLIBNET for hosting electronic version of their journals free-of-cost on server at the INFLIBNET Centre.

4.1.4        IR @ INFLIBNET (

The Centre has established an institutional repository called IR@INFLBNET using DSpace, open source software accessible at The papers published in the proceedings of the CALIBER and PLANNER, are uploaded into the repository. The Repository also includes course materials, newspaper clippings, etc.

4.1.5        InfoPort: A Subject Gateway to Indian Scholarly Internet Resources

INFOPORT: INFLIBNET Subject Gateway for Indian Electronic Resources is designed to facilitate entry of Internet resources and extending its access to users. The gateway open-ups the Indian scholarly content scattered over the Internet through an integrated interface that support search, browse and multiple listing. INFOPORT supports browsing of Internet resources by Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) Scheme.

4.5 Human Resource Development and Consultancy

One of the important objectives of the Centre is to impart training in the use of ICT to library and information science professionals working in university and college libraries. The centre regularly conducts annual conventions, training programmes, workshops and seminars on the library automation, networking, e-resource awareness, theses repositories, institutional repositories, etc. INFLIBNET Regional Training Programmes for Library Automation (IRTPLA) and User Awareness Training Programmes are being conducted across the country in collaboration with the universities and colleges. National and international conventions called PLANNER in North-eastern regions and CALIBER in various states of India are being organized bi-annually as part of the human resource development activities. The Centre also conducts training programmes on SOUL Installation and Operations for Libraries.

4.6 Bibliometric and Scientometric Studies

The Bibliometric Group was set up to study the impact of access to e-resources on research productivity in universities in India. Research profiles are being developed for every member university. These profiles include research output of a university including annual and cumulative growth of research publications over a period of four decades, impact of research in terms of citations received, H Index, focused areas of research of a university including its strength and weaknesses, international and national collaborations in different disciplines, correlation between number of articles downloaded from e-resources and number of research articles produced by researchers in a given university. Web of Science is being used for source as well as for citation data. Research profiles for 50 universities have already been completed.

4.7 Implementation of Web 2.0 Technologies at the Centre

The INFLIBNET Centre has entered into the world of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 with implementation of interactive and collaborative technological tools mentioned below. All the Web 2.0 tools used are open source software. Web 2.0 / Library 2.0 technologies implemented at INFLIBNET Centre includes Chat  (, Blogs (, Wiki (, Streaming Media and Social Network (, RSS Feeds Aggregation Service (, Library Toolbar, etc.

4.8 Other Initiatives

4.1.1        e-PG Pathshala: Content Creation at Post-graduate Level

The INFLIBNET Centre has been assigned the task of coordinating all activities involved in production of e-contents at postgraduate level in 77 subject areas under the initiative called e-PG Pathshala funded by the MHRD under its National Mission on Education through ICT. The content and its quality being the key component of education system, high quality, curriculum-based, interactive content are being created in different subjects across all disciplines of social sciences, arts, fine arts and humanities, natural & mathematical sciences, linguistics and languages under this initiative named E-PG Pathshala.

4.1.2        Integrated e-Content Portal

The INFLIBNET Centre is being developed a web-based “Integrated e-Content Portal” for all e-content project, developed / funded under the National Mission of Education through ICT. There are more than 55 projects on e-content under NME-ICT which are developed / being developed in various subject disciplines (science, arts, engineering, social science, etc) through various Indian institutes / universities / colleges.

The portal would provide facility to search and browse all hosted content wherein a learner can easily access the desired material including audio/video learning material, textual material, multimedia enriched materials etc. through a single interface. Moreover, features of faceted search, syllabus-based search, usage statistics, personalized learning experience with provision for “my account” and “my space”, etc. would be incorporated in this portal.

Other projects executed by INFLIBNET Centre includes development of UGC website and automation of its scheme, development of  CUG (Central University of Gujarat) website, Institutional repository for National Institute of Occupational Health(NIOH), Library Automation Project of Gujarat University, etc.


The Centre has added new dimensions to its ongoing programmes and activities that were due for a long period of time. The INFLIBNET Centre has also taken a number of new and timely initiatives for providing effective and efficient information support to the higher education community in Indian universities it serves. Functionalities of copy and online cataloguing were added to the IndCat, the union catalogue of the INFLIBNET Centre. Second version of SOUL, called SOUL 2.0, was released after a gap of 10 years with emphasis on after-sales services and support. Associate membership of the UGC-INFONET Digital Library Consortium, launched in 2009, facilitates private universities and other organizations to join the Consortium and subscribe to desired resources on payment basis. Internet connectivity to the universities was enhanced from maximum of 2 Mbps to 10 Mbps with switching over of ISP from ERNET India to BSNL. In nutshell, the Centre has done noteworthy job in past couple of years that has duly been recognized by the academic community in India. The N-LIST programme, extends access to scholarly content to colleges in a highly imaginative and cost-effective manner, regular scheme of the UGC-INFONET Digital Library Consortium as its college component The Centre has gone full-throttle to promote and support open access movement through Shodhganga, ShodhGangotri, IR@INFLIBNET and OJS@INFLIBNET Centre. All open access initiatives taken by the INFLIBNET Centre has great potential to grow into major knowledge bases on research conducted in Indian universities. Open source R & D activities of the Centre holds great promises for the LIS community in India. The Centre has entered the world of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 with implementation and integration of several Web 2.0 tools into the Centre’s Web site.


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