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.
Application of FOSS in University Libraries in Sri Lanka
Senior Assistant LibrariansEastern University of Sri Lanka
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
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.
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
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
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)
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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