Date of this Version
Across the disciplines, technology is spawning brand new carries in even as it changes in the way we performed old ones. Standing at the edge of 21st century probably there is no dispute over the recognition of technologies in information activities. Unprecedented changes in the use of information are reshaping our personal activities, our community and organizational practices. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) bring the global information to our finger end. With the emergence of Internet, information kept in different locations has become asset of the world community bringing –almost every day in equal platform. To control over the world information resources different specialized information systems and networks are playing vital role in accumulating and generating indigenous literature on the information super-highway (Alam, 1998).
In the present day, libraries and information centers have become multimedia due to adoption of new technological advances and innovations, and changing nature of their information storage, retrieval and services. In fact, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is an indispensable part of modern information systems development, management and services (Munshi, 1998).
In the present information age, it is simply impossible to keep track with development activities in the absence of a dependable information system in the country. A workable information system is an essential pre-requisite for research and development in every field of study. Scientists and researchers need to know about the information tools and resources available for better utilization of information. Failure to provide accurate and adequate information to the scientists, researchers, planners and administrators may lead to faulty results which will, in turn, hinder national development. The solution lies in identifying the available information resources and ensuring quick dissemination of information to the concerned users through various channels of communication. In this regard libraries and information centers can be considered crucial media, which can play a dynamic role in the universal diffusion and advancement of knowledge and can provide right information to the right user at the right time (Mannan, 1997).
Presently Bangladesh lacks a well organized and planned library and information system. However, both the government and private bodies in recent times have shown an awareness of the importance and need of information system. The existing libraries and information centers in Bangladesh are not properly organized and suffer from different problems such as, acute shortage of funds, inadequate information resources, lack of qualified staff, modern technological facilities and a lack of willingness of the authorities. In such circumstances it is simply impossible for any single library in Bangladesh to meet the information needs of its users. To overcome this stagnant condition of research and development activities, library networking and resource sharing is a must. The major reason of this networking is to share available library resources effectively. The resources can include information, equipment, facilities, qualified staff, time and money. The sharing of resources usually means the sharing of library materials and other information resources irrespective of geographical barriers. The library and information system of Bangladesh is in need of catching up with modern development. Already, many libraries of the country from different fields have started to realize that networking and resource sharing is one of the most effective ways to solve the problem of providing information in time to the users. But many of them are undecided about what models they should adopt, because of a lack of experience, technological facilities or necessary financial allocation, etc. Library and information centers of Bangladesh are now seeking models adaptable to Bangladeshi circumstances (Mannan, 1997). Research motivation and objectives of the study
Library networks have grown mostly during the last thirty years in different geographical environment in order to cater to the specific needs of the users. In the United States there has been a proliferation of them. Library networks in other countries are also growing. The development countries like Bangladesh are lagging behind in library cooperation. The reasons for the same are poor funding and the non-existence of the spirit of give and take or exchange is delaying the prospects of resource sharing programs.
Since the inception of computer revolution, the impact of electronic networking on education in general and library services in particular has been profound. High-speed transmissions of information through electronic networks are reducing the physical boundaries to information and are changing the role of the publisher and the library intermediaries in the chain of scholarly communication. The development of Z39.50 standard, World Wide Web (WWW) browsers and client/server technology has revolutionized the way information is being transferred. With the rise of the internet and the National Information Infrastructure (NII), geographic barriers are finally broken and equal access to electronic information is increasingly affordable. For library users the information super highway is becoming a primary way of accessing information. The ultimate aim of networking and resource sharing is to provide the right information expeditiously to the user as and when required. Keeping all these in mind, the present study has been proposed mainly to develop a model university library networking plan for resource sharing in Bangladesh. Therefore, the study has been designed to ascertain:
- The present scenario of library services to the users in some selected academic libraries of Bangladesh;
- The users' perceptions about the present status of resource sharing, networking and telecommunication in those libraries of Bangladesh;
- Information seeking behavior of academic community, scientists, researchers, and administrators; their information needs, degree of dependence of their institutional libraries and those outside;
- Finally, we have explored some suggestions from the users for improving the information services in the selected academic libraries in Bangladesh.