2.1 Introduction
The advancement of the technology has gone to such an extent that the adoption of these in Libraries has become essential, for the socio-economic development of the country. The resources which are available in digital form are considered as the backbone of any Academic or Research Institutions / Corporate Bodies, than those of traditional resources. But, the scenario in Indian Universities / Research Institutions is quite different from that of their counterparts in the West. The intensity of using Electronic resourcesare more in the Western Countries than in India. There are various reasons for lagging behind. At this juncture, by recognizing the importance of research in the academic field, the Government and the UGC set up many organizations. This has come at a right time. Some of these organizations are involved in the preservation of fragile documents by digitization and some are involved in catering to the information needs of the Academic Community in the country, by providing the full-text Electronic resources, which otherwise would be difficult to access. But, inspite of switching over to Electronic resources, these Universities / Research Institutes are facing some serious problems and challenges.
2.2 Definition of Electronic Resources
An “electronic resource” is defined as any work encoded and made available for access through the use of a computer. It includes both online data and electronic data physical formats (e.g. CD-ROM). The term “acquire” refers to any electronic resource, online or physical, which the Library receives through its various, typical acquisitions processes, or which the Library provides access through official contractual, licensed or other agreements; any of these electronic resources may or may not be owned by or housed at the Library. “Collect” refers to electronic resources owned by the Library and selected for the permanent collection, including works created by the Library. It may also include works stored elsewhere for which the library has permanent ownership rights. “Link” refers to pointers from the library’s internet resources or bibliographic records to the Library and non-library electronic resources, created and maintained by library staff for a variety of purposes; “link” is not an act of acquiring and electronic resources linked do not necessarily constitute an acquisition by the Library.
2.3 Role of Electronic resources in Libraries
Electronic format materials are bring a new delivery concept of LIS professionals. It is an electronic delivery for information requisites. Electronic resources removed several divides such as (a) reduce the space, (b) save the timing (both professional and user), (c) Geographical boundaries and (d) equity (Rural and urban) information access, multiple usage etc.
E-sources are redefining access to information and its usage habits; now-a-days E- resources comes to several formats, they can be easily downloaded. Accesses to these Electronic resources are increasing day by day, so users confidence is also growing. E-resource makes to greatest revolution in knowledge communication. The emerging information and communication technologies (ICT), especially the interactive digital devices will drive the information future. It is a strong force, but it is not an independent agent. It helps in providing efficient and effective services to the users.
2.4 Growth of Electronic resources:
If we trace man’s history with regard to the documentation and communication of his knowledge, one can notice his effort, over the centuries, to record it in one form or the other, which were available at that time, for posterity. Now, they have come a very long way since their first attempt of recording and communication. The recording materials have changed, for better results, depending on one’s necessity and convenience.
In the earlier days, though the recordings were found on walls and boulders, in the later centuries most of the writing were found on Clay Tablet, Palm Leaves, etc., which were abundantly available, in their surroundings. But later, due to the development of paper and printing technology, the quantity of writing and publishing increased leaps and bounds. Until the last century, the same trend was maintained.
Now, it is a transition period for the Libraries, since they are going from traditional printed materials collections to the Libraries with Electronic resources. With the research and advancement of new technology (whether it may be Computers, Networking, Communication or Internet, shortly ICT) and by adopting the same, the publishing industry and the Libraries have entered a fascinating period. The collections are in the electronic form and the information areretrieved over networks. All types of traditional resources, to much extent, are giving way for resources in electronic form. The Libraries are striving towards giving large-scale, better services to their patrons. With the effort of the Government, UGC and other higher academic bodies, it is now possible for the academic institutions to have access for Electronic resources, especially E-Journals, for the development of their academic fraternity, which would help them in expanding their knowledge.
2.5 Why Collect Electronic resources
Electronic resources are nothing but the traditional resources materials which are in the electronic form. These resources are stored on magnetic or optical media such as CDs or DVDs. Significant proportion of these Electronic resources are available in machine-readable format (as opposed to that of print), accessible by means of computers. The digital content may be locally held or accessed remotely via computer networks or also through the web.
The Libraries which are maintaining only these Electronic resources are called “digital Libraries”. However, the Libraries which are maintaining both Traditional and Digital Resources are called as “Hybrid Libraries”.
2.6 Selection of Electronic resources
The selection process should be done in relevant with the demands of users, committee, focus group, users recommendation, etc. Apart from this, it should be taken into consideration the following steps:
• To identify library needs;
• To identify content and scope of the Electronic resources;
• To evaluate quality of that particular resources and search capabilities;
• To estimate the cost
• To check either subscription based or web based when acquiring;
• To evaluate the systems and technical support;
• To review licensing agreements;
• To evaluate application software and installation, updated sporadically or in regular schedule;
• And to check the facilities for educational support and training