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Application of FOSS in University Libraries in Sri Lanka
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Application of FOSS in University Libraries in Sri Lanka


It was based on a survey done amongst the university libraries in Sri Lanka, to explore the extent to which FOSS tools are being utilized to enhance the library service quality and management, in …

It was based on a survey done amongst the university libraries in Sri Lanka, to explore the extent to which FOSS tools are being utilized to enhance the library service quality and management, in general.

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  • 1. Senior Assistant LibrariansEastern University of Sri Lanka
  • 2. INTRODUCTION University Libraries in Sri Lanka (coming under the governance of the UGC)  Universities - 15  Postgraduate Institutions - 09  Higher Educational Institutions - 07 Current issues  Inadequate funds  Ever-rising costs  Increasing user demands & Info. Explosion  Insufficient infrastructure facilities
  • 3. Introduction... Jaffna Univ. Sri Lanka map with the locations of the universities Vavuniya Campus (JU) Geographical facts Trincomalee Campus (EU) • The country is from Rajarata Univ. north to south 435 kms and from east to west Eastern 225 Kms. University • 65,610 sq Km. Wayamba Uni. University of Peradeniya Univ. of Kelaniya University of Colombo University of S’J’ Pura University of Moratuwa Open Uni. Of SRL Uni. Of Visual & Performance Arts SE Univ. Sabaragamuwa University Uva Wellassa Univ. Ruhuna Univ.
  • 4. INTRODUCTION Library Resources  Money (Govt./ Pvt./ etc.)  Library Collection (Monographs, Journals/DBs, etc.)  Staff Expertise (HR Profile of libraries)  Space/ Building  ICT Facilities  Library Services Library Automation Digital Library Services Exploitation of OSS Resource-sharing and OSS
  • 5. Objectives of the Study To explore the  level of library automation,  electronic & digital library services,  extent of usage of OSS in LIS, and  potentiality of developing & sustaining a consortial arrangement for resource-sharing among university libraries in Sri LankaMethodology As the study type is descriptive, the methodology used was survey research – questionnaires, interviews, and secondary information sources
  • 6. Automation of Univ. Libraries in Sri Lanka Proprietary and open-source software – most of the libraries are automated Purpose – modernization of services and to have greater access to info. resources LibSys – widely used commercial software (followed by Alice for Windows) Koha, NewGenLib, and OpenBiblio - well-renowned OSS -are distributed under GNU General Public License. OSS – WINISIS (lost popularity), KOHA (getting popular), NGL (being tried)
  • 7. Automation of Univ. Libraries…. OSSs cover housekeeping operations, dual database design, web-based interfaces, and institutional repositories (Ravi, 2010). Financial challenges – commercial systems – license renewal, post-sale services, etc. Data-sharing and resource-sharing – requires uniformity in system communication Possibilities to widen consortial services throughout the country
  • 8. Automation of Univ. Libraries…. Utilization of Win ISIS, CDS/ISIS was very low Since 2000 - installation of commercial software –  Alice for Windows – Univ. of Peradeniya, Univ. of Colombo, Univ. of Sri J’pura & Open Univ.  University of Kelaniya used Libsuite.  Univ. of Moratuwa commenced with LibSys, followed by Univs. of Jaffna, Eastern, Kelaniya, Sabaragamuwa, & Open Univ. Later followed by successful installations of Koha (OSS) in Univ. of Ruhuna, South-Eastern Univ., & Rajarata Univ. NewGenLib (NGL) another successful OS-ILS is getting popular – Eastern University has attempted to exploit it to its branch libraries.
  • 9. Digital Library Initiatives Need and demand compels the implementation of digital library services 78% of the surveyed libraries have DLS Solely created by using OSS – Greenstone & D-Space (been tried and successful at many univ. libraries) Digitizing past-papers, thesis abstracts, & preservation objectives (e.g. Palm leaf manuscripts) 33% D-Space 67% Greenstone Figure : Softwares used to Create DLS
  • 10. WebPages and OSS Of the total university libraries surveyed, 45% of them have their WebPages created using Joomla - an open- source solution that is freely available to everyone. Advantage of using a CMS is that it requires almost no technical skill or knowledge to manage (joomla.org/). Other s/w – FrontPage, Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver 22% 33% Joomla 45% HTML/ CSS Editor Figure : Softwares used to Create Websites
  • 11. Challenges and Issues No library is self-sufficient in its perpetuation Sustainability of service standards is always a crucial question Insufficient Budgetary Allocations Technical Issues Associated with ILS - Unicode support – interactive search - fails (Tamil, Sinhala and Arabic materials), OS compatibility The survey results show that lack of ICT facilities (67%), power failures (56%) and inferior staff capacity (34%) - noteworthy factors that hinder the seamless information services.
  • 12. Challenges and Issues… Ceylon Linux (2012) stated in its email, procuring proprietary software involves not only cost but also does it give little or no room for knowledge development in IT personnel. On the other hand, as the above source continues, exploiting open-source software is cost- effective and paving ways for the professionals to learn and develop IT-based knowledge. “Open Source has been hailed as a solution to the economic problems but there are still organizational problems to be surmounted” (Hopkinson, 2009). Requirement/ development of IT skills of library professionals – both advantage & disadvantage.
  • 13. Consortium in Sri Lanka Cooperative arrangements mitigate the issues associated with scarce resources – absence of well-established consortium in SL – presents issues with RS However, consortial acquisition -INASP/ PERii and SIDA/ SAREC Library Support Programs Challenges to work in cooperation - attitudinal barriers, administrational rigidity, and fear of losing authority Possibilities for transfer of technology expertise Creating common institutional repository hubs – digital archiving – space & cost management
  • 14. Consortium… “A library consortium is a group of libraries that share common goals. Library consortia can speak with one voice to policy makers and funders – to advocate for libraries - and can share resources and activities – to build capacity and expand access for users”. - Courtesy: http://www.eifl.net/news/three-consortia-celebrate-10 Role of OSS in consortium setup – saving monies & time, sharing expertise & technology, seamless/ greater access to information resources, and conservation of national heritage
  • 15. Conclusion The study aimed at exploring the magnitude of benefits gained through library automation using different systems – both proprietary and FOSS. Need for automation – inevitable – demand + limited resources Automation – involves challenges (finance – rationalization of spending, ICT facilities, expertise and attitude, power, etc.) Striving to sustain service qualities with available information resources & services
  • 16. Conclusion… Open-source software has given rise to the benefits gained from automation and digital library services – in SL – (financial obstacles – managed) Automation, DL services, and webpages are utilizing OSS – flexibility in OS platforms Continuous education and training opportunities – library HRD, esp. in ICT realms Paves avenues to have greater access to resources and to establish a well-structured consortium among university libraries in Sri Lanka Close interaction with libraries in the SAARC / Asia- Pacific region – ultimately, the Global liaison
  • 17. THANK YOU