Universities & E-Libraries: Propelling Information Discovery and Critical Analysis

With the widespread penetration of technology in all aspects of life including modern-day education, e-libraries have emerged as a widely accepted evolutionary successor and complement to traditional libraries.

In essence, digital libraries are getting popular as they onboard a host of advantages that empower universities to promote greater excellence among their researchers.

With the agile expansion of the information technology, and the multiplicity of its applications in academia, e-libraries or digital libraries are turning widely popular across universities globally.

Digital libraries essentially offer a vast collection of documents spanning magazines, articles, academic research, books, papers, sound files etc. organized in electronic formats. They extend tangible benefits in terms of enhancing both information availability and its efficient discovery.

In this blog, we look at the key benefits of modern e-libraries and how they help to enhance academic progress in universities.

Evolution of Libraries

In man’s quest for knowledge, there has been creation and accumulation of a tremendous quantum of knowledge across civilizations.

The way this information has been preserved and transmitted across generations has undergone massive evolution from being transmitted verbally to copies of text being maintained in handwritten manuscripts. This then moved over to print books. Over the years, it has further evolved to digital formats such as CDs and Library Software. Today, as modern technology is getting more advanced and sophisticated, e-libraries are being hosted on Cloud and are updated every single day, while being accessible from any computer with the user’s login credentials.

Here Are The Main Benefits of E-libraries in Universities

The growing popularity of e-libraries lies in the host of benefits they extend in terms of enhancing research at a university. Here are some of the most prominent benefits of e-libraries –

Access to Wider Choice of Resources – With no limitation of physical space, digital libraries permit expansion of the quantum of library resources that can be provided to students – both in textual and other formats. Hence, they offer a mechanism to store a lot more information and maintain it a lower cost.

Efficient Instant Informational Retrieval  – With electronic libraries, manual search of content has been greatly minimized and has been replaced with e-search. This allows relevant content to be identified and delivered to researchers at great speed. Good, modern day e-libraries are equipped with intuitive discovery services available that allow users to perform sophisticated searches for a variety of their queries.  

Improved Resource Preservation – Digital libraries are also largely popular as they offer an efficient mechanism to preserve information sources and prevent their loss, damage or theft.

Since digital files can be easily copied and replicated without error, making multiple copies helps to preserve them. Moreover, digital format permits students and researchers with access to those resources that were restricted earlier due to risks of damage or being misplaced. For instance, fragile photographs and other multimedia such as audio-cassette tapes that couldn’t be played often without damage.

Facility to Research Remotely– Physical libraries have been traditionally based out of a fixed location. During travel or times when one may not be able to visit the university, access to the library resources was completely cut off.

However, with e-libraries researchers get to access their desired content even from a remote location, and suffer no academic interruption due to external factors.

Round the Clock Access – Digital Libraries also extend the freedom to refer to library resources at anytime of the day. This means students need not wait for library hours during university timing to access the research they wish to. They get the freedom to read anytime as per their own convenience from their own web-enabled devices.

Simultaneous Multi Student Access – When library resources are available in digital formats, a single copy can be made accessible to multiple researchers at the same time. This ubiquity carves out a clear advantage as simultaneously different users can access the same content.

DeepKnowledge ™ offers a feature-rich and cost effective solution for universities to launch their e-libraries instantly. Each of the features are carefully designed to maximize the benefit to researches. Find out more about product here.

Librarians & E-Library: A Relationship Made in Heaven

A librarian’s role is critical and indispensable in any progressive institute. After all, they form the focal point of supporting and ensuring smooth access to academic resources for student, teachers and researchers.

On a day-to-day basis, managing these varied tasks that can be quite tiresome for library administrators and e-libraries plug in to simplify their workload significantly.

In this article we shed light on the different ways digital libraries simplify life for librarians.

Librarians play an indispensable role in fueling the academic journey of students, researchers and even faculty members. After all, they’re responsible for selecting, acquiring and evaluating scholarly resources, while also ensuring their proper access and maintenance. In the historical world, where libraries were storehouse of physical and print resources, the to-do task list for librarians was arduous with too many things to manage simultaneously.

With the introduction of modern-day technology in the education realm and libraries specifically, a large portion of executing these tiresome activities are turning out to be efficient with a robust digital infrastructure in place. In this article, we look at how e-libraries are turning out to be a blessing for the library administrators – 

1. Makes Administration Simpler

Digital library infrastructures provide an extremely efficient and simplified administration toolkit to librarians, introducing tremendous efficiency into their workflow.

Today, almost all good e-library portals come equipped with handy and powerful tools that allow their administrators to control their various functions such as controlling user access, roles, privileges; running surveys, collecting feedback from a single dashboard. They also provide alerts on expiring subscription, making it significantly simpler to manage the timely tasks.

2. Supports Smarter Decision Making

E-libraries equip librarians with the ease of auto-recording and analyzing content usage patterns and thereby making optimal decisions.

By gathering, combining and interpreting data from the different content vendors in one place, e-libraries provide a thorough synopsis of actual library usage data. This helps librarians to make effective data backed decisions with respect to allocating content budgets and choosing the most useful subscriptions for the library users.

In fact, some advanced e-library portals even come equipped with intelligent data analysis tools that actually make meaningful predictions based on historical usage and current usage patterns. This truly helps in maximizing ROI from content purchases without putting in any extra effort.

3. Allows Seamless Communication

Another advantage of e-libraries for librarians is the ease of communication they introduce in their schedules. With an efficient digitized portal in place, librarians get the option to freely connect with all their researchers, students or custom groups through inbuilt communication tools such as emails or SMS alerts. This enables them to reach out to all, just with a few simple clicks from within the portal.

4. Helps Conduct Events & Trainings

Often, librarians are required to conduct training sessions, schedule sessions or webinars for the researchers. Whether it is notifying the different stakeholders, conducting the event, taking attendance or even managing feedback in real time – digital library portals make it all very simple for the administrators with the right mix of tools to support the same.

5. Support Simplified Management of Physical Library

Some e-library portals also come bundled with optional modules that are designed to help librarians with the management of their offline content and print books. With subscription to these features, digital libraries introduce unmatched efficiency to the physical library workflow and ensure efficient management of physical inventory.

Looking to set up a powerful e-library in your institute to maximize benefit to students, faculty and librarians alike? Get in touch with experts at DeepKnowledge™ to help you get started.

محرك البحث مقابل المكتبة الإلكترونية: ما هو المصدر الذي يوفر المعلومات الأكثر دقة؟

بينما يعيش العالم اليوم عصر الإشباع الفوري للمعلومات عبر الإنترنت، أصبح هناك توجهاً كبيراً بين الطلاب في الاعتماد على محركات البحث كأداة لتلبية احتياجاتهم من المعلومات – ولا سيما في الجامعات التي لا تتوفر فيها مكتبة إلكترونية يمكن للباحثين الوصول إليها! إلا أن هذه الممارسة تعتبر، وجهة نظر البحث الأكاديمي، دون المستوى المطلوب من حيث الكفاءة والدقة في نتائج البحث

تحظى محركات البحث مثل جوجل وبنج وغيرها من المحركات بشعبية كبيرة بين جميع مستخدمي الإنترنت، وذلك كونها تساعد فيإجراء مسح سريع للكم الهائل من المعلومات المتوفرة على الإنترنت. حيث توفر هذه البوابات، عبر استخدام خوارزميات الكمبيوتر، آلية مرنة لمعرفة ما إذا كانت المعلومات ذات الاهتمام متوفرة على الشبكة العنكبوتية، إلى جانب أدائها الرائع في جمع التفاصيل السريعة حول مصدر ما أو مؤلف. ومع ذلك، يعتبر الاعتماد على المعلومات الفورية التي تقدمها محركات البحث هذه وحدها ليس نهجاً مثالياً من وجهة نظر التميز في البحث الأكاديمي

في هذه المدونة، سننظر في الأسباب الرئيسية التي تبعث على عدم استخدام المعلومات التي توفرها محركات البحث كبديل عن تلك المتوفرة في المكتبة الإلكترونية، والاكتفاء باستخدامها لاستكمال المعلومات عند الحاجة إليها فقط

لماذا يجب على الباحثين تفضيل المكتبة الإلكترونية على محرك البحث؟

صحة المعلومات

في الوقت الذي تتصف فيه معظم المعلومات المتوفرة عبر الإنترنت بأنها مفتوحة المصدر، تشكل مراقبة جودة وصحة هذه المعلومات مشكلة كبيرة. فالمعلومات الخاطئة في النتائج التي تقدمها محركات البحث شائعة جداً. ويعود السبب في ذلك للإمكانية المتوفرة لأي شخص للقيام بنشر الموقع الإلكتروني الخاص به، واعتماد فهرسته على مدى حسن إدارته لمحرك البحث الخاص به. وفي الوقت الذي تتوفر فيه هذه الأيام بعض المصادر البحثية الموثوق بها المنشورة على محركات البحث، إلا أنها غالباً ما تكون مدفوعة لا يمكن للطلاب الوصول إليها بسبب نقص الاشتراكات. ونتيجة لذلك، يتسبب الاعتماد على والتوجه إلى المعلومات مفتوحة المصدر في تقليل صحة البحث الأكاديمي بشكل كبير

وفي هذا السياق، تأتي المكتبات الإلكترونية لتشكل مصدراً موثوقاً جداً للمعلومات. فهي تشمل فقط المعلومات المدققة من قبل الجامعات والصحف والمجموعات البحثية والمجلات والكتب الإلكترونية المعروفة على نطاق عام

وهذا يضمن أن تكون أي معلومات صادرة عنها دقيقة ووفقاً للمعايير المطلوبة. علاوة على ذلك، يمكن في حالة المكتبات الإلكترونية تحديد مصدر المعلومات بوضوح تام، دون أن يختفي بين عشية وضحاها، كما هو الحال مع معظم المواقع المنتشرة على شبكة الإنترنت. مما يساعد على الحفاظ على النزاهة الأكاديمية في البحث

عدم وجود هيكل منظم

نظراً لأن محركات البحث ليست مصممة خصيصاً لتلبية احتياجات البحث الأكاديمي، فهي لا تتضمن سجل موحد يقوم بتصنيف وتنظيم جميع المصادر المتاحة حول موضوع معين. حيث تعتمد النتائج على مجموعة الكلمات الرئيسية التي تم إدخالها في محرك البحث فقط، وقد لا تقوم دائماً هذه المحركات بتقديم نتائج ذات صلة بالموضوع المحدد – مما يؤدي إلى الالتباس وإهدار الوقت

أما المكتبات الإلكترونية، من ناحية أخرى، فهي منظمة جداً. ويمكنها أن تقدم في لمحة واحدة، فهماً شاملاً ودقيقاً للمعلومات المتوفرة في قاعدة بياناتها حول الموضوع المرتبط بالبحث من خلال تصنيفه إلى مقالات أو دراسات منشورة أو كتب إلكترونية. علاوة على ذلك، توفر المكتبة الإلكترونية آلية فعالة لإجراء البحوث الأكاديمية بجودة عالية. وذلك لأن جميع المعلومات الموجودة فيها متاحة للطلاب على عكس الموارد المحمية على الإنترنت

ضعف كفاءة البحوث

بينما توفر محركات البحث وصولاً سريعاً إلى المعلومات عندما لا يحتاج الباحث إلى محتوى دقيق جداً أو محدد، يمكن الاعتماد على قواعد البيانات في المكتبات الإلكترونية بشكل أكبر بكثير من حيث الكفاءة

تتضمن معظم خصائص البحث في المكتبة الإلكترونية خاصية البحث الموحد الذي يوفر خيارات تصفية بحث دقيقة للغاية. وقد يستغرق ذلك بضع دقائق إضافية مقارنة بمحركات البحث لجلب النتائج، إلا أنها تحصر نتائج البحث على سمات محددة مطلوبة مثل المجال والفترات الزمنية وما إلى ذلك. وهذا يجعل نتائج البحث محددة جداً. إلى جانب ذلك، قد لا يكون جميع المحتوى المتوفر على شبكة الإنترنت نصاً كاملاً أو قابلاً للبحث، على عكس الحالة في المكتبات الإلكترونية، مما يجعلها أكثر كفاءة لاستخدامها من أجل متابعة أهداف البحث

وفي ظل غياب وجود مكتبة إلكترونية في الجامعة، يميل الطلاب والباحثون إلى الرجوع إلى شبكة الإنترنت أكثر مما ينبغي. ونتيجة لذلك، تتأثر جودة المدخلات والمخرجات الأكاديمية بشكل كبير. لذا نقدم للجامعات في DeepKnowledge ™، حلولاً فعالة ومعقولة التكلفة لإطلاق مكتباتها الإلكترونية على الفور وتوسيع نطاق الاستفادة من أبحاثهم. اكتشف المزيد هنا

Search Engine vs E-Library: Which Source Provides the Most Accurate Information?

Living in the online age of instant gratification, there is a high tendency among students to rely on search engines for their information needs – especially in those universities where there is no e-library available for the researchers to access! However, this practice is suboptimal from the viewpoint of academic research on grounds of both efficiency and accuracy in research.

DeepKnowledge Blog on Search Engines vs E-Library

Search engines such as Google, Bing etc. are widely popular among all Internet users as they help to quickly scan the large chunk of information available on the Internet. Using the computer algorithms, these gateways offer an agile mechanism to find out if the information of interest exists on the Web, and are great for gathering quick details about a source or an author.  However, relying on instant information solely from these search engines is not an optimal approach from the view-point of excellence in academic research.

In this blog, we look at the main reasons why information from search engines must not be used as a substitute for those from an e-Library, but rather only to complement it where needed.

Why Should Researchers Prefer E-library Over Search Engine?

1. Authenticity of Information

Since most of the information on the Internet is open source, quality control of the information becomes a big problem. Misinformation in search engine results is quite common as anyone can publish their own website, and have it indexed depending on how well they manage to take care of their search engine optimization. These days, there are peer-reviewed or published scholarly resources available in search engines but they’re mainly paid resources that students are unable to access due to lack of subscriptions. Hence, relying on that information downplays the authenticity of the academic research significantly.

In that context, e-libraries form a very dependable source of information. They only include vetted information from well-known universities, journals, research groups, magazines, e-books etc. This ensures that any information coming from them is accurate and confirms to the required benchmarks. Moreover, the source of the information in e-libraries is clearly identifiable and doesn’t ever disappear overnight as is possible in case of any site on the Internet. This helps preserve academic integrity.

2. Lack of Organized Structure

Since the search engines are not specifically designed to cater to Academic research needs, there is no unified repository that catalogs and organizes all the resources available on a given subject. The search results merely depend on the combination of keywords entered, and may not always fetch results relevant to the topic –leading to wasted time and confusion.

E-libraries on the other hand are extremely organized. At a glance, they provide a thorough understanding of the information that is available in their database on a relevant topic right from classifying it to articles, published studies or e-books.

Moreover, since all the information in the e-library is accessible to the students unlike guarded resources on the Internet, they offer an efficient mechanism to do quality research for specific academic assignments.

3. Poor Efficiency of Research

While search engines do provide quick access to information when one doesn’t need very narrow or specific content, the databases in e-libraries are much more dependable from the efficiency standpoint.

Most e-library search features include federated search that provide very precise search filtering options. These may take a few minutes extra as compared to search engines to fetch results but they limit the search results to specific attributes requested such as industry, time periods etc. This makes search results very specific. Moreover, all content on the Internet may not be full text and searchable, unlike the case in e-libraries. This makes them much more efficient to use for pursuing research objectives.

In the absence of an e-library in the university, students and researchers have the tendency to refer to the Web more than they should. As a result, the quality of their academic input and output is significantly impacted. At DeepKnowledge ™, we provide a cost-effective and efficient solution for universities to launch their e-libraries instantly and maximize the benefit to their researches. Find out more by contacting us.