Objectives of INFLIBNET
The main objectives INFLIENET are as under:
- To evolve a national network of libraries and information centres in the country and to improve information handling capability;
- To provide reliable access to document collection through online union catalogue;
- To provide better access to bibliographic information sources with citation and abstracts through online accessing of international databases held by international information networks and centres;
- To provide document services by establishing resource centres around libraries having a rich collection of documents;
- To promote information resource utilisation through shared cataloguing inter-library loan service;
- To computerise operations of libraries and information centres in the country following a uniform standard;
- To facilitate communication among scientists, engineers, researchers social-scientists, academics, faculties, and students through electronic-mail,
- To enable users regarding of location and distance to access information;
- To create online information service and
- To encourage cooperation among libraries.
As one of the steps towards achieving the laudable objectives mentioned above, the INFLIBNET has initiated the automation process by funding 54 university libraries. It appears that only 17 of these libraries which received financial assistance from INFLIBNET have so far acquired the hardware to commence the automation activity. Even the progress in respect of resource sharing during the period is stated to be rather slow.
INFLIBNET has also taken a number of other measures which facilitate the realisation of its objectives some of the significant steps in this direction are: i) for the purposes of promoting resource sharing activity, it has already created a union catalogue of 50,000 records. It may mentioned here that union catalogue is one of the important tools which facilitates the resource identification, location and sharing aspects of resource sharing activity as a whole among members of the network; ii) INFLIBNET has also took great initiative the creation of databases containing 65,000 records of theses/dissertations and also a periodicals database having 30,000 records. These are some of pioneering efforts undertaken by-INFLIBNET to realise its basic objectives. It is making some efforts in software development and also for the creation of suitable manpower necessary for the purpose.
If we critically examine the achievements of INFLIBNET as given in the Review Committee Report, 1996 and try to compare these with the original targets contained in original report of 1988, prepared by the Inter-agency Working Group, we notice that the achievements fall short of expectations of Inter-agency Working Group. For instance, some of the targets mentioned in the INFLIBNET report were:
- compilation of union catalogue of 9 million unique records of retrospective collections of 179 university libraries as against 50,000 records as mentioned above
- at least 200 research and development (R& D) organisations were to be linked to INFLIBNET. (Even this target does not seen to be realised till now)
- Support would be given to 170 universities and 500 college libraries for library automation (this also remains to be achieved).
It may be stated here that UGC has drafted a new Memorandum of Association and Rules and registered the INFLIBNET Society in the year 1996. The objectives included in this Memorandum of Association are different from those recommended in the working Group Report of 1988. However, it may be noted here that the INFLIBNET Review Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. S. Venkateswaran in its report, submitted in 1996, also recommended revision of the objectives for INFLIBNET. INFLIBNET is also engaged in the manpower development activity by undertaking some short term training programmes and workshops. These are very meagre efforts. The network must attempt to develop some standarised software, which it appears, it has not yet succeeded in achieving. Much is expected of this network. It must however be mentioned that the human resources presently engaged in this work appears to be rather inadequate if INFLIBNET is to realise its stated objectives in the near future.