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.

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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.