Introduction to Resource Sharing Network
The term 'network' always has a wide range of meanings in everyday life and this situation is further complicated because it has two very specific meanings within the library world: bibliographic networks and resource sharing networks. Now we need to extend the phrase to include "information networking". In other words, we have "library and information networking".
Library-networking is the use of computer-networking to support all forms of communication between libraries, and their users and between libraries and libraries. On the other hand, information networking is concerned with end-user communication and access to networked information services not in any way mediated by the library. It is an information dissemination and gathering activity enabled solely by the presence of the network.
Information networking is not a new activity. The exchange and interchange of information between individuals and peer groups is a common feature of the human condition. Computer -supported information networking places this activity in an entirely new context and requires understanding of issues in the development of computer mediated communications.
For a decade or so now, few libraries have been able to collect individually the full range and quantity of materials demanded by their users. They have, by necessity, become heavily dependent upon external sources of materials to supplement the materials held in their own collections to service their clientele. The demand for inter-library lending (ILL) and document delivery service has increased significantly since the 1980s.
This is due to many reasons some of which are: growth in quantity and complexity associated with knowledge and the resultant proliferation of documents of different variety, the increase in the number and cost of periodicals, the shrinking library budgets and the maintenance costs associated with library collections. All these aspects have made it imperative that libraries should cooperate and share their resources with the objective of providing effective library services to their users. Networks enable librarians, faced with client's information needs beyond their local resources, to identify and obtain materials and services for those clients.
The concept of 'access' to information resources is nothing but a part of the wider philosophy concerned with resource sharing in libraries. It may be stated that access is facilitated by means of cooperative collection development and inter-library loan activities. Network access is an enfranchising mechanism that cannot be viewed as a luxury. One of the significant points that needs to be emphasised is that resource sharing activity is based on the concept of equivalence. In other-words, libraries should not only receive but should also give. In order to facilitate such arrangements, all the participants must know what each of the member libraries has and what resources it will be acquiring in future.
The development of inter-connected computer networking involves formulation and agreement of standards for the exchange of bibliographic data between computer systems and network types through a common interface. This effort is very essential for the successful functioning of resource-sharing library networks. An attempt is made in this unit, to furnish basic know-how relating to resource sharing library networks. It is hoped that the important aspects described and discussed in this unit will facilitate you to properly comprehend the concept of networked resources and their use to satisfy the diverse information needs of the end-users. As we move increasingly into electronic-based information, we can see technology and networks working together to reduce the physical movement of materials from location to location.