Friday, November 26, 2010

Cloud Computing - a new buzz

These days we are hearing about cloud computing a lot, though this phrase has been in discussion for a decade now. This is the most talked phrase being used recently, after the ‘Web2.0’ hype. I am trying to peep into the basic idea of this hardcore buzz and to know what it is all about. After exploring few articles I got amazed that unknowingly I have been using ‘cloud computing’ as some of the web services since a long.

Introduction:
Cloud computing is a latest buzz all around with respect to web technologies and services. As web 2.0, this phrase is also being defined differently but the basic idea is almost same. In which users are getting web services on free or priced manner from service providers located at remote places.

Cloud computing seems to be a new phrase but looking into the concept, we all have been using it since quite a long., e.g. email services of yahoo, google, sify or others, YouTube and, Google Docs etc. are embedded with the ‘cloud computing’. These services are free and we have also been putting important information on our email IDs, youtube, flicker, and now few social networks (facebook etc.) where we have been sharing or shifting our personal information or data in different formats on the web. All these servers holding our information on the web can be metaphorically treated as clouds.

The ideal crux is, when we are directly or indirectly shifting our personal or organizational data on the servers which offer their services (web services, infrastructural services or application's platform) free of cost or on payment, is called ‘cloud computing’. In simple terms, our data which has stored over the Internet (virtual place) and can be accessible 24x7.

Areas of Cloud Computing:
Cloud computing is again still searching for an established definition but as of now it means using web services of others to satisfy users' computing needs, like – software applications, data storage and using different platforms to build needed applications. On basis of this cloud computing can broadly be divided in following three segments:

Software as a Service (SaaS): In this application or software is given as service to users, who can access the required programme online. For example email and few other services offered by Google, Hotmail, Yahoo, Sify, Skype etc.

Platform as a Service (PaaS): To run required service a special platform or application infrastructure is also being provided to the clients where clients can build their web based applications. Client does not require to know programming language, database management systems, etc. to run applications. Windows Azure, Google App Engine and Force.com can be few of good examples of PaaS.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): In IaaS, clients are being offered with storage, networking and processing of data. Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) or Simple Storage Service (S3), VMWare vCloud are some of its examples.

Inspite of using cutting edge technologies in ‘cloud computing’, still we are in debate of its use in our official systems. Therefore, following pros and cons have been observed which may broadly be focused upon.

+tive:
  • All time accessibility of data. 
  • Technical problems related to storage and accessibility can be taken care by the providers. 
  • No need of procuring high capacity storage server.
  • User does not have to download and install any update on his/her desktop.
  • User does not have to be master of the applications used in ‘cloud computing’

-tive:
  • Security of data is the major concerned.
  • Need high capacity bandwidth while accessing subscribed services.
  • You can lose control on your information or data.
  • What happen when stored data get lost?
Use of cloud computing is depend on person to person and organization to organization. Storing personal data or information on other’s servers may not going to effect anyone else except you but where shifting or storing organizational data on other servers may effect everyone associated with that organization. Library is a service oriented system, which need high speed IN and OUT processing of data. It is good when data from these web based clouds is accessible to users but what will happen when we see any cloud burst?

Now question arises, how do we use and where we use ‘cloud computing’ in libraries, we would discuss the same in our next post.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Trends in E-Publishing

Since few months, I was glued with the thinking to write something for this web space of mine. Though, one or other thing has been keeping me busy in my library. At present, new academic session has just started and visits of various publishers’ representatives are also accelerated. Though, recession has made its impact on every walk of life and publishing industry has not been spared from it. Publishers are always been the front runners to adopt and execute new ideas with state of the art services. They are the trend setters in terms of mode of publications and providing various new services. The new trends are not only helpful for the end user but also are quite interesting too. One can derive easily some lines towards the trend in which this industry has been moving ahead. Here are the few points I would like to discuss, which I feel are setting up new ways of marketing in publishing industry.

Trends in Print Publishing Industry (For Books):
  • Providing complementary copy of latest edition to the concerned faculty members.
  • Providing soft copy of instructor manual (PPT instruction file) to the faculty members. 
  • Customized publishing: Publishers are printing one customized volume for the contents which normally appear in 2-3 different volumes. Yes, involvement of copyright issues is there, so publishers are customizing their own publications. 
  • Expert talks: Publishers are arranging a talk of author, on the book written by him/her. It is a sort of workshop for the readers to introduce them about the book and its features. 
  • Alerting all library professionals and faculty members through mailing lists. 
  • Most of the publishers are coming out with low price edition for their original products, especially in the case of textbooks.

Trends in Print Publishing Industry (Journals/Magazines):
  • Publishers are offering gifts on subscription/renewal. 
  • Bulk purchase on discounted price also being offered.
  • Most of the journals/magazines are offering online access with print.
  • Print versions are generally being replaced with online.
Trends in Electronic Publishing:
E-Publishing has an advantage to disseminate information in various formats and form of documents, viz. e-books, e-journals, e-newsletters and e-reports etc in more dynamic or interactive manner within a fraction of second. This is one of its core advantages, other than the cost saving in publishing and has tremendous capacity of data storage.

Apart from above qualities of e-publishing or e-resources, following practices are also being commonly used by publishers.
  • They are offering Print + electronic format of the subscribed contents. 
  • Article based procurement is also possible. Publisher will charge for the articles downloaded during one year. 
  • Most of the publishers offer ‘COUNTER’ compliance usage statistics for the subscribed products.
  • To facilitate the end user, publishers are offering login IDs and passwords to access the contents from home apart from IP based access. “Athens” and “Shibboleth” services for off campus access are also being offered. 
  • Publishers are making end user aware through various training and awareness programmes. 
  • Provision of consortia based subscription.

E-publishing under Open Access:
Open access comes as a revolution in electronic publishing. Most of the publishers are now participating in this revolution by one or other way.  The few basic reasons to participate in the Open Access are:
  • Publication gets wider reader base as well as publicity.
  • It is also a way of social service. Publishers by offering one or more journal/s as open access, contribute in social development or development of humanity.
  • Authors are also inclined towards writing for open access because of its wider circulation.

Trends in Information Access:
Offline access (Through CD ROMs, etc.) has already been diminished. The benefits of online access are more than the offline, so, publishers are fully concentrating on providing access to end users over the Internet. Few access modes are being discussed below:

Login ID/Password: This access is beneficial for an individual user or within a small group of people. Though, it can be passed on to anyone and usage statistics can not be assessed user wise, in case of more than one user.

IP based access: This mode of access is generally adopted by big institutions. Most of the consortium subscription is based on access through IP range of the institute or member institutions. Analysing usage of member institutions becomes very easy. Though drawback of this mode of access is, users can access subscribed contents within the decided range of IPs only.

Third party access mode: This mode of access gives flexibility to access the contents from anywhere over the Internet. In this, a unique ID and password is given to every authorized user. Usage statistics can be obtained easily for every ID independently. These days, services of Athens and Shibboleth are commonly used for this specific purpose.

There are various other issues related to e-publishing are need to be discussed, like copyright issues, technical aspect of e-publishing, Economics of e-publishing etc. The discussion on these will be taken care in due course of time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Access to Indian Electronic Theses and Dissertations (Indian ETDs)

Shodhganga: a Reservoir of Indian Theses - An Initiative of INFLIBNET

National research output is for the use of the nation irrespective of cast, creed and location of the end user. With this objective, some of the countries have already started giving open access to their Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) over the Internet for the use of academic community around the globe. ETDs help in minimizing duplication of research work, minimizing plagiarism, giving visibility and world-wide access to the research work.

INFLIBNET is on Role:
In India, the UGC, through its notification (Minimum Standards & Procedure for Award of M.Phil./ Ph.D Degree, Regulation, 2009 of dated 1st June 2009), has entrusted INFLIBNET Centre the task of implementing and executing Indian ETDs on public domain with state-of-the-art technologies. This notification is for submission of electronic version of theses and dissertations to INFLIBNET with an aim to facilitate open access to Indian theses and dissertation to the academic community world-wide.

Subsequently, to accomplish this ambitious project, INFLIBNET set-up Shodhganga@INFLIBNET (Shodhganga: a reservoir of Indian Theses) by using DSpace, an open source digital repository software developed by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in partnership between Hewlett-Packard (HP).

Shodhganga@INFLIBNET provides a platform for research students to deposit their Ph.D. theses and make it available to the entire scholarly community in open access. However, it is possible to impose restrictions on access as a special case, if so desired by the university / research scholar. The repository has the ability to capture, index, store, disseminate and preserve ETDs submitted by the researchers. Universities are required to sign an MoU with the INFLIBNET Centre to participate in the Shodhganga project.

Shodhganga can be accessed at http://ietd.inflibnet.ac.in/    or    http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/


Following is the National Committee for Implementation of Submission and Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations in Universities in India.

Dr. Jagdish Arora, Director, INFLIBNET Centre Chairman (ex-officio)
Dr. Renu Batra, Joint Secretary (IUC), UGC Member
Dr. S. Majumdar, Librarian, Delhi University Member
Prof. I.V. Malhan, DLIS, Jammu University Member
Dr. Pawan Gupta, Dy. Librarian, Rajasthan University Member
Prof. Raman Nair, Librarian, M G Univ. Member
Prof. S.P.Thyagarajan, Former Vice-Chancellor, Madras University Member
Prof. V D Srivastav, Librarian, IIT Kanpur Member
Dr. S. Venkadesan, Librarian, IISc, Bangalore Member
Dr. R. Samyukha Ravi, Librarian, Pondicherry University Member
Prof. A R D Prasad, DRTC, Bangalore Member
Shri Yatrik Patel, Scientist-C (CS), INFLIBNET Centre Member
Mr. Manoj Kumar K, Scientist-D (CS), INFLIBNET Convener


For more detail please visit: http://ietd.inflibnet.ac.in/

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

LIBRARY 4.0

ICT with various newly emerged technologies, artificial intelligence of semantic and controlled Web would bridge all communication barriers of a person in every walk of life. Web 4.0 will comprise all services and tools of web 3.0 supported with artificial intelligence. In this, web itself analyse the information and will generate new ideas and theories which would be communicated to the people of the same subject areas.

Web 4.0 would be a different world for an individual and it will bring like minded people together despite of different locations. It will notify the researchers with the relevant information over PC or mobile about the ongoing research or discussion on the same topic on which s/he is working for.

Library 4.0:
Whole web will be known as library and will be called as learning web. Everything placed on the web will get a unique location and web itself synthesis and analyse every part of the published content. Open Access system gets more encouragement and library 4.0 will divide the web into two parts “learning web” and “Spamming or Trashing web”. In this, ‘learning web’ will work as a ‘gigantic open virtual library’ with higher precision value and academicians will go with this. ‘Spamming or Trashing Web’, will be for the whole garbage available over the Internet which would cover recreational part of Internet. Libraries need to work in network or in collaboration with various professional networks. None of the individual library will survive in the 4.0 generation of web.

Role of a Librarian:
It is understood librarians have to be essentially techno savvy in 4th generation of web but they need to have expertisation on analysing the relevant information demanded by their users. Apart from tracking latest happenings in core areas of their users they would need to keep track on user’s online visits over the Internet which s/he will perform for the sake of learning. User’s visits over the web would lead the librarians to negotiate with information agencies and commercial publishers about the used information but after the information used by the users.

Nutshell:
Web 4.0 or Library 4.0 is yet in imaginations, which is getting developed day by day with the acceleration of ICT. Emergence of new technologies will demand librarianship with virtue of systematic and dedicated practices. Library 4.0 will accommodate (club) many of the services which are today, working in separate or independent domains. No doubt this generation of libraries will face lot of challenges from the users as well as technologies because whole web will give a desired virtual library system.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Library 3.0

(We are approaching web 3.0 very fast, the desires and expectations from the ICT have already started giving shape to this generation of web. Consequently Library 3.0 envelops lot of challenges to the librarians as well as new dimensions to the profession. In this post we tried to put our views on the Web 3.0 and Library 3.0, which may not be accepted by many of the professionals. The discussion we are keeping open for all professionals or individuals and request them to put across their comments and views on the discussion, if they have any. )


We have talked about Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 in our earlier posts. The web generations which have given the existence to library 1.0 and library 2.0. Nowadays we can see discussions about web 3.0 are mushrooming in various discussion groups and forums. Before moving to library 3.0, lets share few words about Web 3.0 and what does it mean to us?

We have been experiencing applications of vibrant and dynamic technologies in Web 2.0 generation which stimulated our expectations and demanding more computing and analyzing intelligence from next generation of the Web. Since, Web 2.0 has been working with the aim to give social synchronization through groups, wikis, blogs, communities, forums and social networks. It brings individual whether a professional or general in contact with known and unknown people. In this people are sharing their thoughts, comments, feedbacks and scraps to be remained in touch with each others. Therefore, in broader sense we can say that Web 2.0 is bringing Individual together and information scattered all over the web. Whereas it is being expected that Web 3.0 will bring information together. Application of mashup technologies will give us the virtual world of Information in which web will be strengthen with more computing and analyzing powers through artificial intelligence. In Web 3.0 all created profiles and browsing history of an individual put together, on basis of analyzing the contents, computer will come out with the result needed by that particular individual. In this sense, two individuals will get different output while searching on a same query. Web will produce the result by knowing searcher’s flavor of information through analyzing his/her profiles and browsing history. Web 3.0 will work with more web semantic technologies, today hidden web or invisible web is a matter of concern and it is also being expected that it will not be there in Web 3.0.

Definition about Web 3.0 is in discussions these days, whereas a valid definition is yet to be established. Though, Web 3.0 set up the linking between data, various devices to exchange, analyse and find the data and finally establishes the linking between all users of web. This is quite an interesting debate that how web 3.0 is going to be implemented in libraries? To understand this we can say, Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 are completely based on the computer experts who showed these generations of web to all of us. Use of dynamic contents, blogs, social networks, tagging, wikis, podcasts and mashup technologies on web is a common application but information is scattered and unorganized all over the web. Now, Web 3.0 will prominently be based up on the librarians, for organizing this scattered or unorganized information. The application of semantic technologies and ontologies will be the key aspects in this generation of web.

Applications of Web 3.0 in Libraries

Since, features of web 3.0 are little hazy but being a user and organizer of information, speed, accuracy, precision and systematic organization of information available on the web are the most desirable elements of Library 3.0. Below, we are describing few of the prominent features or aspects of library 3.0 generation in brief:

Semantic Web: Semantic web will provide us with the option to share, unite, search and organize the web information in easy manner. Sharing and organizing information available in every corner of the web, which is the main aim of this generation and expected to be achieved with the help of semantic web technologies.

OPAC: In library 3.0, Web OPACs of various libraries which are forming a part of visible or invisible web would be brought together. Metadata of contents (contents in any format) would seamlessly accessible and searchable from single user friendly interface, just the way a ‘Portal’ provides one stop shop for various contents in present generation.

Ontologies: These are the techniques to give richer semantic relationships between terms and thoughts of knowledge. These give more standardization in managing the web contents instead of merely indexing the terms. Ontology aims at how the information is organized rather than organizing the information. Librarians can adopt various ontological techniques to define the web contents in more professional as well as personal manner.

Ubiquitous contents: The ubiquitous computing offers various contents which can be used or re-used frequently and will also not get absolute in near future. The contents of this generation need to be created in various formats and can also be easily shared, transferred and accessible through all modes of communication. Ubiquitous contents are the personal contents of the people persistently stored on the web in form of movies, blog posts, RSS feeds, wikis, stories, articles, music, games, etc. These are always there on the web and accessible from everywhere over the Internet through all mobile and Internet accessible devices.

GeoTagging: This helps users to find specific information located at specific location. It is simply a marking of various media or digital contents like images, photographs, video, websites or RSS feed etc. Most of the cellphones and mobile devices have GPS (Global Positioning System) facilities, which allowing users to add metadata exactly where the data or image or video was created. So tagging helps users to mark their information in which they are interested for.

Virtual Reference Service: Since technology is developing very fast in all domains, librarians are more determined to serve the users who are away from the libraries. In virtual reference service, apart from helping the users in personal or telephonic way, librarians are now developing the contents which can easily be transferable and readable in cellphones and other mobile devices to help the users at any point of time.

Librarians: In Library 3.0 is not only to provide the service to the people but it is serving the user with various services. They should know how to get the requested information and make it available to the user without concerning about the location. They should also help the users to make use of the given information. Librarians will have to work on the alternative way of providing information if one mode of communication gets failed.

In Nutshell: We are in the unorganized set of web contents these days but in library 3.0 to establish these unorganized web contents into a systematic and organized way. The most important sphere of library 3.0 is to establish a semantic relationship between all available web contents to ensure seamless accessibility, search-ability, availability and usability. Librarians need to be more inclined towards the use of latest tools and technology to create virtual library system. But basic aim remains the same i.e. ‘right information to the right user at the right time’.

Friday, July 31, 2009

LIBRARY 2.0

In simple words, application of Web 2.0 in libraries is known as Library2.0 or L2. Therefore, it is important to have a discussion on Web2.0 at first before moving further. During the year 2000, when web under ‘dot com’ was getting crumbled up with the concept and general consideration that web is for publishing only. Even in this situation O’Reilly Media Inc. under the leadership of its founder Tim O’Reilly come out as strong believer of web. This group has highlighted the web as dynamic platform for productive communication, especially in the area of business and marketing. Web 2.0 is a term originally coined by Dale Daugherty and Tim O’Reily in the year 2004 during a brainstorming session of a special conference organized to discuss the future of web and emerging techniques.

Web2.0 is being defined differently by the experts, few say it is a technology which provides lively experience to the users while using the Internet and few say it is an advance stage of Internet. Other say it is optimum use of technologies over the Internet and few considered it as propaganda for Internet marketing. Though, web 2.0 is a user-centred web, where blogs, wikis, social networks, multimedia applications, dynamic programming scripts are being used for collection, contribution and collaboration concepts on the web.

Library 2.0
The term Library 2.0 is coined by Michael Casey in 2006. Various library professionals have defined the term differently but in general we can say that application of web 2.0 in libraries is known as Library 2.0. Now question arises how libraries have come into Web 2.0 business and this question is being discussed in many professional platforms. To answer this question, Five Laws of Library Science given by Dr. S R Ranganathan about a century ago are absolutely valid to justify transformation of libraries into Library 2.0. The laws are:
  1. Information is for use (Books are for use)
  2. Every user his/her information (Every reader his/her book)
  3. Every information its user (Every book its reader)
  4. Save the time of the user (Save time of the user)
  5. The library is a growing organism (The library is a growing organism)

These laws are strictly showing users as centric force of any library system. First law recommends proper use of information. Second and third laws address right information to the right user and also about alert services. Forth law is asking to use new tools and technologies so librarians can save the time of user as well as library staff. Fifth law shows the broad spectrum of library system which is infinitive in nature and also recommending use of latest technologies, tools, services and methods as required to give vibrant and dynamic shape to the library system.


Web 2.0 in the libraries

Library website: Library 2.0 is offering dynamic websites for the libraries which embedded with semantic web and interoperability of various tools and techniques. Few of them are as:

  • Streaming media: Streaming technology takes care of multimedia files over the Internet. It is the streaming of video and audio media that incorporate more interactive, media-rich facets. With the help of streaming media users can interact with library staff or their teachers as they interact in classrooms or instruction labs.

  • Mashups: Mashup is a hybrid application of the web which integrates information from different sources at one platform. In simple words it is an application that combines data or functionality from two or more external sources to create a new service. Mashup is the technology which integrates all applications of web 2.0 at single platform.

  • Podcast: Padcast defined as “a digital media file or collection of files that is distributed over the Internet periodically and made available for download by means of web syndication”. The files can be played back on a computer or personal player i.e. Ipod or mobile etc.

OPAC:

  • Tagging: This makes information searching easier on the Internet. In which users can create and change the metadata, especially subject headings to the contents. This acts like an open catalogue to the information. In this users can give subject headings to their interested documents/ contents and also write reviews of the contents. In web OPAC system users can tag their interested documents and also write comments and reviews on interested documents.

Alert Services:

  • Instant Messaging: In simple words it is known as “Chat”, through this chat reference library users can interact with librarians on library related issues as they would interacting face to face. Instant messaging reference service is being used successfully and expertly in libraries.

  • Social Networks: Social networking is the most promising and most talked technology of present days. This allows people to create virtual communities (personal or professional) over the internet for interaction. Social Networks are online communities where people meet, socialize, exchange digital files, etc. Facebook, MySpace, Orkut and Flickr are few popular examples of Social Networks. Libraries can also start their social network about latest books or documents in the libraries where users can discuss or comments on the contents being contained by these books or documents. This can not be only restricted to books or other documents even library services and activities can also be discussed through this.

Publishing:

  • Blog: Jorn Barger coined ‘Blog’ in the year 1997 and blogs are being considered as a great milestone in the history of web publishing. This is a sort of personal web site featuring diary-type commentary, simple web posts and links to articles or other web sites. This is being frequently updated and gives chronological arrangement of the posts. For easy search each entry or post can be tagged with keyword and description. Libraries can start their blogs to encourage interactions amongst users and library staff. Blog can also be used for promoting activities and services of the libraries. It allows two ways interaction where users can also make comment on the posted information.

  • Wikis: This is like an open web page and who have access permission can publish or edit the information on these wabpages by using their browsers. Professional communities are using wikis as reference guides that reflect the collective knowledge of the community. Wikipedia is the excellent example of this service. Libraries can open their webpages in the wikis and can promote social interaction among librarians and library users.

Notices:

  • RSS Feeds: RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is the technology which facilitates users to keep track of new updates on selected websites. This technology normally is being seen in blogs and wikis but now almost all the websites are using this technology. To facilitate the users, libraries have already started using this technology to keep them up to date with the latest happening in chosen websites. It enables users to have customized personal pages that contain contents of various other websites which would of their use.

In nutshell:
Application of Web 2.0 in libraries has taken the libraries into next generation. Library 2.0 is completely user centric which provokes libraries to share the resources collectively. It is important for the librarians to experience Web 2.0 tools from a user’s perspective and use these tools in modernizing library services. Therefore, librarians have to techno-savvy in today’s world of information and technology.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Library 1.0

When O’Reilly Media coined the web2.0 term, then only we come to know about existence of web1.0 in the cyber world. In this post, we would not directly put ourselves into web2.0 instead we discuss about web1.0 which had given the base to library1.0 concept in the libraries.

The first phase of WWW (World Wide Web) is called web1.0. In general, term web1.0 comes into the picture after the emergence of web2.0. It could be defined as one-way communication over the Internet. In which static web pages were used with the help of basic form of HTML. It was commonly used for publishing basic information, introduction and activities of any organization, institute or other systems. User can read this information but had to use e-mail or other mediums to react on the contents written over these static web pages, that means there was not any direct user interaction on published contents or information.

Application of web1.0 in the libraries is known as library1.0. Librarians started applying web1.0 to inform its user about the library, its services and activities. Gradually, use of web1.0 in the library got boost with the interoperability of library automation system. Optimum and extensive use of web in library services later on framed the thought of virtual library system.


Following are the activities of library1.0

Library web-page/site: Libraries started creating websites to inform users about the library, library rules & regulations, procedures, user privileges and services which are being rendered.

OPAC: Use of integrated library management software offered access to catalogue of the library at local area network.

Alert Services: New arrivals and other documentation services were also offered through simply publishing a list on the website on routine basis.

Publishing: Libraries were publishing annual reports, reports and analysis on library usage etc on the web.

Notice: Notices for users in static form were also incorporated through the website. The use of HTML basic tags like 'blink' and 'marquee' etc. were quite prominent for highlighting notices and alert services.

In nutshell, library1.0 was simply the way of publishing library related information to the users with the help of basic HTML. In library1.0 generation library users were unable to do anything except reading out and managing print copies of those pages. User interaction part was not there in this generation. But cutting edge technology replaced the web1.0 with web2.0 for dynamic and interactive discussion between information provider and information seeker. Finally web2.0 emerged that changed access of information from the library blocks to user’s desktops.

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