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Information Technology in Libraries

Updated: 2016-05-20T19:20:32.707+10:00




14 September 2007

Subject: Library Management Systems
Questions: Describe the commonalities between the Koha and Vubis Smart Library Management Systems.

Library Management Systems (LMS) is a term used to describe computerised systems used to manage library information resources. Automated systems can also be integrated library systems incorporating acquisition, cataloguing and loans. Collection management of library resources are made accessible via integrated library management systems. In the evolving collection management environment of today LMS, are multi-functional and facilitate access to all library resources regardless of format, conforming to the wider information resource environment.

The Koha LMS is offered free as it can be open sourced under General Public Licence, making this product very attractive as you do not need to enter into a vendor contract. Installation is left to the Library however, significant online and onsite support is on offer. Upgrades and new ‘releases’ to the software have been on offer to new and existing clients with over 100 libraries registered as users. The Vubis Smart LMS has been around for over 25 years and has over 400 customers; this system is focusing on the seamless functionality of its features, allowing libraries to tailor the services on offer within the LMS.

The size and type of library will be a major factor when considering the most suitable LMS to purchase or utilise. Both the Vubis Smart and Koha LMS are prewritten by commercial companies and are therefore, flexible and modular in nature. Both are able to manage any volume of information however, Vubis Smart is more suited to the larger quantities. Koha has the capacity to expand as needs change however, appears to be targeting growing communities. Both LMS use database systems and meet library industry standards.

Navigation is user friendly between modules and flexible in both LMS systems and can be used by any ‘type’ of library regardless of their information management needs. The LMS are modular based, meaning that there is inbuilt vendor flexibility, the vendors are able to supply and support mix and match modules and have the added attractiveness of interchangability. As discussed by Ferguson and Hebels (2003, p.140), an open system that could facilitate mix and match that supports the adding of additional modules from different vendors is necessary in today’s environment, the Koha systems appears to have the flexibility to do this. Market share for either vendor is tight and both systems are offering knowledge management systems that can compete in an evolving industry.

Each of the two LMS has an eye on the future offering integrating systems that are in use worldwide, they use multiple standard formats that can be modified by users. The systems are designed to support current and future needs of the library users. Current Library 2.0 theory suggests that there is major technology and online web based electronic resource implications for libraries in the future. There is a growing need to support web based technologies that incorporate collaborative approaches to both knowledge management and client participation.


Ferguson, S., & Hebels, R., (2003). Computers for librarians: An introduction to the electronic library, 3rd edn, Centre for Information Studies, Wagga Wagga.

12 September 2007


Subject: ‘ACT Public library online information service’
Questions: Outline some of the benefits of the online information service developments will bring in terms of service delivery.

Over the last two or three decades libraries have seen a significant change in the development of Library Management System (LMS). During this time we have seen the removal of most card catalogues and the introduction of the OPAC – within most library environments. The public library services have within the ACT have been targeted by the Government to ensure future provision of library services is highlighted and achieved.

The advent of the LMS gave way for libraries to develop customer services, that could be facilitated via online information services. These include not only the OPAC, that integrates into the web, but also electronic library notices and remote access authentication. Regardless of the library type, whether it is a corporate, academic or a public environment, all are able to benefit from ‘building a community’ based on the collaboration of both online and web based information services. As a result, ‘supporting social inclusiveness’ may be a feature or a result of the customer based service orientated library.

Access to library and community services and resources has expanded and can appear seamless to customers when made available through online information services. The concept of online customers being able to do anything online that they can do in person is possible within the scope of the online environment. As discussed by Hyland (2006) the capacity for customers to ‘take up’ online services is facilitated with the introduction of electronic service delivery. For example, talking on-line to an information specialist at your local library, is a relatively new web based technology and customers are ‘taking up’ or using these new initiatives at a greater rate.

The building of communities and supporting a social inclusiveness within the library customer base is also facilitating life-long learning. Online information services can provide an opportunity for customers, regardless of location, race, disability or ability, to access greater literacy, gain a stronger understanding of the digital environment and tap into a network of resources and services to support their needs. Interestingly, staff resource allocation can reduce within the library, when online information services are introduced however, alternatively resources may shift into other areas to support electronic resource delivery.

Online information services are attractive to users as they open the library and services to everyone, as they reduce the digital divide for many. Libraries are valued by customers and need to be presented as multi-functional operation that appeals to a wide range of members. The physical space still rates highly with customers as visitor numbers indicate, many still feel that the library is a ‘hub’ of comfort and familiarity. Libraries are moving forward in providing a range of services that meet the evolving needs of its users and getting the balance right remains high on the agenda.

Hyland, M., (2006). ACT Public Library Online Information Services, Incite, V3.
[viewed 09 September 2007}

5 September 2007


Subject: ‘Intranets and knowledge sharing’
Questions: Outline what is meant by community of practice and how can an intranet support its activity?

The ‘corporate intranet’ within organisations is part of an interactive knowledge sharing society and essentially represents internal networks with a web browser client. If developed well the intranet can also serve to enhance communication and may include data, procedures, minutes and is a useful tool in disseminating resources.

The process of knowledge sharing using a variety of less-formal methodologies is the essence of the ‘communities of practice’ concept. It is not limited to knowledge sharing within one organisation it can also occur between organisations (Ferguson & Hebels, 2003). There are many benefits to users in accessing web based technologies such as the intranet, some of which are outlined later in this review. The sharing of information within individual organisations is a major ‘knowledge management’ issue in libraries today.

Managing a dynamic corporate intranet is a positive approach to developing ‘communities of practice’. The sharing of intranets between two or more organisations is strong evidence of this practice, playing a valuable role supporting ongoing and diverse activities. It is essential to ensure that this publishing tool does not represent or become a static repository of web pages. Many of us have are or have been exposed to the intranet via our work places. We are familiar with the terms home page, staff directories, organisation charts, procedures and corporate information as they are routinely found on the intranet, all components evident within ‘communities of practice’ activities.

The concept of ‘communities of practice’ in relation to intranets is founded on the need to have an interactive and dynamic space. A publishing tool that encourages a diverse range of knowledge management activities must have a focus on the growth of collaborative spaces. Beneficial to the employees by promoting effective knowledge sharing and as discussed by Robertson (2004), a number of new tools are emerging including blogs, wikis and k-logs that can meet this need. Most of us are now familiar with blogs and wikis but the use of k-logs are less known. Weblogs are ‘knowledge logs’ and are often referred too as k-logs. All are platforms for growing organisations and its people.

Communities of practice are the result of corporate technologies that support knowledge management initiatives within collaborative environments with an invisible or virtual thread linking people, processes, projects and practices to each other. A wonderful intriguing perspective on organisational culture entwined, within a group of dynamic publishing and technology tools, that when used expertly will provide innovative ways for knowledge sharing.


Ferguson, S., & Hebels, R., (2003). Computers for librarians: An introduction to the electronic library, 3rd edn, Centre for Information Studies, Wagga Wagga

Robertson, K., (2004). Intranets and knowledge sharing. StepTwoDesigns
{viewed 03 September 2007}

1 September 2007


Subject: ‘Library 2.0 Theory: Web 2.0 and its implications for Libraries’
Question: Define the term Library 2।0 and describe some of its key elements.

Libraries still consider themselves guardians of knowledge and library collections are now mostly hybrid in nature. With the rise of Google, Wikipedia and other web based technologies, we have started to see a change in the history of libraries. However, there is change on the horizon and the emerging technologies are driving the Librarian’s out of their comfortable corners, making everyone question the relevance and usefulness of existing client services in meeting the future needs of users.

Over the last decade there has been considerable change occurring on the web. Web 1.0 content included static websites, and Britannica Online to name just a few. The shift from static to more collaborative and dynamic technologies resulted in the shift to Web 2.0. This gave way for interactive multi-sensory media that includes; Wikipedia, Blogs, Wikis and Syndication for example. The awareness of growing technologies on the web has not only resulted in Web 2.0, it has also made way for user-centred and user-driven services (Maness, 2006).

There are a number of characteristics of Web 2.0 that are interactive and include; social, sharing, participatory and the re-use of existing content aspects that are user-focussed. However, the shift towards user-centred or user-driven services presents the biggest evolution in libraries for some time (Maness, 2006). Library 2.0 is a direct spin-off of the term Web 2.0, it is inferred that libraries must adopt a strategy for constant change while promoting a participatory role for library users.

The need to provide responsive, appealing and relevant services in a more direct manner as discussed by Miller and Chad (2005) is indicative of most literature available on the evolution of Library 2.0. This term Library 2.0 represents a mashup of new web based technologies that provide a social network or interface that includes personalised OPAC, RSS, blogs, wikis, tags to name just a few that exist within library network systems. A socially rich community of library users is emerging who can communicate with one another and to harness the collective intelligence of their users. the forcasts and implications are there for our metadata specialists within libraries through disintrmediation and user self-sufficiency, linking a wide array of information objects.

Library 2.0 is completely user-centred and user-driven allowing for client participation and opens the Library up as it has no barriers and has systems that are flexible. However, the role of the user and the Librarian are not always clear. In turn it makes the library matter once again because it expands the value to users and lets them tailor services to their needs. There are ongoing implications for Library 2.0 in relation to the rapid change of the web and the continual need for innovative change to facilitate new web technologies and for library services to stay abreast of these changes.


Chad, K., & Miller, P., ‘Do Libraries Matter? The rise of Library 2.0’,
{viewed 02 September 2007}

Maness, J., (2006). ‘Library 2.0 Theory: Web 2.0 and its implications for libraries’. Webology, 3(2).
{viewed 01 September 2007}