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.

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 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.

  • 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’

  • 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    or

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:
Blog Directory . Blog Directory