Mr. Rupak Chakravarty, a young and dynamic Lecturer of Department suggested later that I should write on OpenMED@NIC. He is computer savvy lecturer with prominent online presence. I guess he knew my interests. I decided to revisit my experiences with OpenMED@NIC and few lessons learned from it. I am of the opinion that Institutional Repositories are among the most important and immediate future strategic issues for the libraries. I took keen interest in writing the paper and completed it within the specified time frame. Went to the city beautiful on the D-day.
Panjab University has a beautiful campus. I had always admired it. It looked very familiar to me. I could feel as if the time has stopped and only new students have taken place of old students like me.The early morning, with street lights still on, gave a hypnotic feeling.
The seminar started with usual inauguration session. Keynote address was interesting as the speaker was taking about open access in length. He included it in the future strategic issues. I remember, only a couple of people including myself use to speak about open access in India around the year 2004 in an email forum i.e. Lis-Forum. My turn for presentation came after lunchtime. Session chairman gave me just seven minutes, but I exceeded the time limit. I had sixty slides to show but then could just run through. This time I experimented with my slide show. I compiled number of images picked from various sources and tried to convey the points included in my paper. I think people liked the presentation but I wanted to tell more.
The diamond jubilee celebrations included many other events including some cultural events in the campus. However the Department of Library and Information Science had just the seminar.
Panjab University Library is among the most functional libraries. You will notice that noise prone areas like staff working area and staircase is at the maximum distance from the reading halls. The library stacks act as insulation wall between these. It has Four Floors, but you can enter only the First and Third Floors from the main staircase. The Second and Fourth Floors can be called as false floors as these are meant for stacks only. Entrance to these floors is from the reading halls on first and third floor. Each reading hall has a ‘Reference Desks” at one side. The position is such that the staff can easily observe the readers sitting on tables and those entering into stack areas. Now they are keeping watch in the stack areas with help of technology. The staff can observe the stack areas with closed circuit TV cameras.
Lobbies connect the main staircase area to reading halls. In the lobby of the first floor there is a long card catalogue.
The Indian Languages Catalogue is obviously in different alphabetic series.
But there is change now, in addition to this card catalogue, there are Web OPAC workstations kept on its sides.
Well that is not touch screen terminal. It is an ordinary workstation.
During my days, the cards were written by hand. For that staff needed a good ‘Library Hand’. Library hand is a writing style in which the words should be clearly legible and letters should not be connected with each other. I know, somewhere in the sea of cards, few would be in my handwriting. Now they don’t write with hands. Cards are generated from library software system and printed through laser printers on special stationary.
I had a nice and fruitful time during the seminar. I interacted with number of Participates, Department Staff and Students. I had heartily discussions Prof. G.C Bansal during lunch breaks. He is also one of my teachers but now retired from the Department. I also had in-depth interaction with Prof. Jagtar Singh, Prof. Sewa Singh and Prof. Satija.
Lie 1. My solution is the one that best meets your needs
Lie 2. My solution does not require much of your company’s IT resources
Lie 3. My solution is supported well
Lie 4. My solution will save you time and money
Lie 5. That will take 2…maybe 3 weeks to develop
Lie 6. Here are my prices
Lie 7. Here are my contract terms and conditions
What about open source softwares? They are at least better in the sense that there are no sales persons.
Information Technology gets obsolete every year. Just see the history of computers - take just one particular operating system - DOS to VISTA. Have you realized how fast the things have changed over a short period of time - in just two decades! Do libraries change that fast? No! and there is absolutely no logic that they should also change.
What does that mean? - if a library is using a particular automated procedure - it won't change that easily because the whole library system would have to undergo changes. Not only the procedural changes are difficult to decide and manage, these are expensive too. Library procedures are not only tightly coupled with each other but also to standards and best practices. How many times AACR II has changed in last two decades? While you might have seen how different versions of softwares have come and gone? The sad part of all these versions is that their developers declare that they won't provide support for the earlier versions. If these are proprietary softwares, libraries will have to migrate to new versions or just get struck with a system for which no support is available. Well the migration strategy never provides optimum results because the technology gets obsolete before it is fully implemented. Thus libraries are put on perpetual migration route. Had a library used an open source software, chances are that library staff would had learned to use and maintain the software system. It means that it can still be managed and enhanced by the library staff - because the source code is available. Thus its long time survival is ensured to large extent.
Libraries should use open source softwares not because these are free or cost less - but as a Leader in Open Source for Libraries i.e LibLime has put it:
Use of open source not only lowers the per-library cost of running software, it also empowers libraries with a higher level of control over customization and the overall direction of software development.And to add over here - Open source softwares are for long term. This suits the long term nature of libraries.
FrontPage - Open Knowledge Definition - Defining the Open in Open Data, Open Content and Open Information
A piece of knowledge is open if you are free to use, reuse, and redistribute it
(Via Open Access News)
Well, it is very natural for librarians to be "tagging" internet resources. They have been selecting best books and documents for their libraries. While doing so they have been keeping their users' requirements in mind. Librarians have been cataloging and classifying to organize books and other reading materials in most helpful manner suitable for their users. Internet resources, like books, are documents containing recorded knowledge. Why should not librarians be selecting and indexing them? Call it indexing or "tagging" if you wish, but they have been doing it since ages.
Public University Online.com for public online lectures. It intends to spread knowledge through knowledge sharing.
To me, it appears more of a directory listing and search engine to find educational videos. It links to original sites hosting the videos lectures along with comments.
The Best Free Software - Reviews by PC Magazine - lists out 157 software tools under following categories:
- Hall of Fame
- Operating Systems
- Firewalls & Security
- Finance & Office
- Backup/Sync & App Launchers
- Downloads & Interface Enhancement
- File View/Conversion & Networking
- Blogging, RSS Readers, & Instant Messaging
- Communication & Audio
- Browsers & Browser Add-Ons
- Free (Okay, Cheap) Hardware
Semantic Library - Data, meaning, content
..Semantic Web is about creating relationships between data. This gives data flexibility and strength. Open data enables raw research information, records and more to be shared and built upon by others. Because of the power of data, many not-for-profit designers and activists are putting their energy into developing mashups and visualising information..
Others have also reported problems with Google Newsreel in past. Something wrong?
The IMLS National Study on the Use of Libraries, Museums and the Internet
The study concludes that “the amount of use of the Internet is positively correlated with the number of in-person visits to museums and has a positive effect on in-person visits to public libraries.”
250+ Killer Digital Libraries and Archives | OEDb
..This list contains over 250 libraries and archives that focus mainly on localized, regional, and U.S. history, but it also includes larger collections, eText and eBook repositories, and a short list of directories..
Really a praise worthy effort.
An open source Web Authoring System like FrontPage and Dreamweaver.
Other tools in the list are those which are not so common yet. These are:
Left the following comment on ‘The horror of closed-access publishing’ according to Jonathan Eisen « Pimm - Partial immortalization
The question here is different -
- Who is producer of the first hand information? - Scientists / researchers.
- What does the scientists / researchers gets after giving away
their research results? - No immediate monetary benefits from the
journal (Never from the Journal).
- Who does the quality control? - Fellow scientists and researchers acting as peer reviewers.
- What do the peer-reviewers get? Nothing, Not even their names are revealed.
- Who are the editorial board members? Eminent scientists and
researchers. Will get the tag of being on editorial boards or perhaps
annual subscription to the journal.
- Who are the publishers? Not scientists / researchers. Have marketing and distribution skills. Reap all the profits.
- Who are the readers? Scientists / researchers. Will Consume
expensive public resources to do research and produce papers to give
away free to publishers.
This model was necessary before internet era. Publishers had control
on distribution channels in the academic publishing and book trade.
we still need this? Or Open Access is the answer?
O'Reilly -- What Is Web 2.0
..The central principle behind the success of the giants born in the Web 1.0 era who have survived to lead the Web 2.0 era appears to be this, that they have embraced the power of the web to harness collective intelligence..