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IT now happens in India!!!!: Library NEXT

Fully functional Next Generation libraries now becoming reality in India. This I realized only last Saturday (1st December 2007).

I happened to visit NATIONAL SOCIAL SCIENCE DOCUMENTATION CENTRE-NASSDOC (ICSSR) at 35, Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi 110 001. They hosted a meeting of "Ranganathan Research Circle". After the meeting, the hosts took us for a visit of their library. Well I was fascinated to see latest technology working for their library.

An ordinary library user needs to have his / her RFID embedded library card to get hold and carry home a book of his/her choice. That too without having to come in personal contact with library staff.

Library Card

The reader would be able to enter the library by swiping one's card at a special entry / exit automated gate.

Automated Entry / Exit Gate

Once in the library, the user can search library catalogue. It is computerised and available in the form of an online database commonly known as OPAC - Online Public Access Catalogue. I found three terminal aesthetically placed in front of large banner depicting the utility of catalogue.

Library OPAC

Searching OPAC could be useful. But as we know, most users would browse through the stacks. This comes naturally to human mind. One can easily browse the library stack area with help of guides. These guides are full of colours with well thought out background and labels.

Stack Guides

Book stakes are made of wood that matches with the lovely atmosphere of the library. The shelves are made of think glass slabs. Not wonder sliding books to withdraw give a silky touch and hence protect book edges.

Stack Area

All books have a RFID tag pasted below the accession slip. The tag is in the shape of a white small square patch that is noticed only when observed.

Book with RFID Tag

After getting a document of choice, one can choose to sit in a well lighted reading area. Few computer workstations are also available. So internet and electronic databases are are also available to readers.

Reading Area

Taking a book home is easy. Keep it with library card on the Automated Issue / Return Kiosk. Issue it and take it away. The automated security exit would not make any fuss.

Automated Issue / Return Kiosk

I hope Indian Libraries would soon witness adoption of such innovative technologies. The library staff would be spared from routine issue / return activities. Now they can devote their time and energy in some better activities. The 'stereo typed public perception' about librarians would also change.

So can we call such libraries as ATM Libraries?


Anonymous said...

Accept my congratulations.
All the time I was under the impression, that here is an other librarian, prepared to sermonize on all mundane things. But, I think you have grown mature and are doing things that a matured professional must be doing.

Well, you have made the NASSDOC/ICSSR Library and their efforts very visible. And many young professionals can benefit out of the exposure, visit and shared knowledge.

Keep it up! And you can cover all library/information/services centres of interest and keep the profiles accessible.

Should you need help -- even feedback, I am a willing person.

Sunder Singh, B.G.

Pradeep P said...

So nice. In IISc also implemented RFID and also Smart card reader.

Sunder Singh, B.G. said...

Congratulations! I thought that there is another librarian who goes on sermonizing, but I realize you are a matured professional.

Please keep up the good work. You need to provide profiles / information of use to people, not necessarily librarians, but all those interested in accessing/providing/sharing information.

I also offer my services -- even if it is feedback!

sunder singh, bg.

ss said...

A very informative blog. They have really done a great job by utilising the latest available technologies. This model should be implemented in other Indian libaries as well.

Vijay Verma said...

I had visited NASSDOC Library and talk to the Director in May 2007 while writing my Thesis for M. Phil. on " Implementation of RFID Technology in Libraries". It is the first library in Delhi which has implemented this Technology and its a good beginning. While visiting and talking to library professionals of other libraries, I come to know that many libraries are planning to implement it.
Although the technology is costly, but there are many positive aspects of it. One can get the more benefit of the technology where there is always queue for circulation, but of course NASSDOC provides a good platform to visit and see the technology.
Vijay Kumar Verma
National Defence College
(Ministry of Defence)

Unknown said...

Timely hit and hint there that what "the technology" can do for our modern libraries. It's rightly pointed out there that the routine mundane works (which any non-professionals can do)can very well be entrusted to the "technolgy", as demonstrated there in NASSDOC library. But that's not all, the saved time should be devoted towards more innovative and creative professional works, interacting with and facilitating the users.

I somehow, feel that our library profession is still moving and living, never because a few self-aggressive self-aggrandized nut-like library professionals who talk and adore on the public platforms, but mainly because of the many unsung dedicated library professionsl especially at middle or smaller position who are rendering services to the users community on a library principles spirit, without any name or fame or identity.

Anonymous said...

Hi dear Sukhdevji,

Hearty congarts....!for having taken keen interest in updating the information on IT enabled NASSDOC Library at Delhi. Really it's very interesting & amazing too. Keep it up.

R.M. Putta Swamy
Chief Librarin

Unknown said...

You have brought the dream of Indian Library in truth.We hope that world bank should take initiative to fund for developments of Indian public libraries,research libraries,academic libraries etc like other infrastructures and be all the libraries have idol of your Library.

Kshipra Sardesai
RBI, Bandra

Dr. Susmita Chakraborty said...

Thank you Sukhdevji for providing an inspiring tale. Though the technologies mentioned are available for a couple of years, its the implementation part that attracted professionals like me; and also assembling the IT with Ranganathan's idea of an useful and attractive library.
All those guides and ergonomic furnitures calls for love of the users' comfort.

Thanks for revealing the good work.

Susmita Chakraborty
Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur, WB,India

Unknown said...

It's time now for the librarians in India to understand that changes are coming in the field of Library and Information Science, with the entry of private education institute from abroad will bring lot of new ideas and technologies in the field of Library and Information Science. Better look for some software and technologies like virtua ( and RFID solution protocol to understand what are MARC 21, Z39.50, ISO 2709, and lot more other standards.

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