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Libraries have been an important part of educational and information sector of any school. The success of any library largely depends on proper management.
Several libraries have suffered failure as a result of inadequate management and incapacitations in handling sensitive information as regards members of the library.
This research therefore, aimed at developing a digital library system, which will help direct and position library to meets its ever increasing demands.
In the course of the development of this new system, the current system was analytically and critically studied or assessed and thus the identified strengths and weaknesses were highlighted and a new system was designed for the weakness.
The present system was analyzed using a standard procedure recognized worldwide for such purpose and this is called Structured System Analysis and Design Methodology (SSADM). The visual basic 6.0 programming language was used to code the program modules developed for the system using some computer aided design tools.
1.1 Background of the Study
The growing of information communication technology has simplified the means of dissemination information and brought about a change from the traditional library to the virtual library. The information are just easily accessed through finger-tip due to the arrival of the computers, table let, mobile phone and communication technology that enable the online retrieval and public access systems that are part of any contemporary library.
Times are fast changing; we now live in a jet age which is mainly characterized by rapid changes in technology, lifestyle and value. This is indeed an age of information explosion.
One of the major inventions that have driven the world to a fast pace of technological advancement is the computer. The computer is primarily an electronic information processor that is rapidly changing the way we acquire, organize, recall, access, analyze, synthesize and apply information. The effectiveness with which the information is generated and communicated determines the rate of progress of a society and the fulfillment of its people. Modern society is information driven and information today is a universal need.
Moreover, computers have affected the ways which people use information. It has changed the rate of work done, the method for accomplishing the work alongside the relationship among the people carrying and using the information. However, computers and libraries are not left out in the utilization of computer to carry out their day-to-day activities especially as it concerns the amount of information generated. Libraries have evolved over the years which gave rise to virtual libraries.
Students and staffs depend on University, use physical library to obtain various services particularly reading materials. Due to lack of funds, University may have one Library with two rooms capable of accommodating less than 90 Students at a time. This phenomenon leaves the students and staffs with no other options but borrowing books once the library is occupied. Shortage of books and the existence of single copies of some books disappoint many of the library users. Added to these problems there are the problems of incorporating library Information and Communication Technologies in MUST. Due to situations like these, there exists a need for implementing a Virtual library system in which according to Ekpe (2014) virtual library is library without walls that students and staffs are able to access digital collections of books, journals and papers from university database without even knowing where the resource actually resides.
The researcher proposed the use of virtual library which would provide the means of accessing books, electronic journals, alerting services, electronic reference, and quality-vetted e-resources. The word electronic library, digital library and virtual library have been used synonymously. However, there exists some basic difference as distinguished by Tennant (1999) who mentions that an electronic library consists of electronic materials and services such as video tapes and CD-ROM, while a digital library consists of digital services and materials that are stored, processed and transferred via digital (binary) devices and networks. The Virtual libraries on the other hand consist of both digital and electronic libraries existing virtually. A virtual library provides remote access to digital collections such as electronic documents, digitized pictures, sound, and video.
MUST Virtual Library system is the modern tool designed and implemented using web based and database technologies to simplify access to relevant library information particularly for teaching, learning research and development. It delivered value-added solutions for the university and facilitates on-line access to massive current volume of academic information.
The newly designed Virtual Library tool comprises with the User interfaces which allow users to be registered in the system, the users have been granted the authority to access materials as long as they provide the authentication credentials. The users can access the material without the necessity of moving to the physical library since the tool is client-server web based system.
The researcher has used to the tool to examine the performance improvement of accessibility of library materials among the University community and the outcome has revealed positive performance in term of material accessibility as compared to the former accessibility method which was more manual and relied on physical contacts with librarians.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There are numerous problems with the traditional libraries. These in-adequacies are enumerated below.
1. The users of the traditional library need to go the library physically which most times could lead to congestion of the library?
2. Inability for the library resources to be accessed 24/7.
3. The library resources cannot be simultaneously used. It is one at a time.
4. Traditional libraries are limited by storage space.
1.3 General Objectives of The Study
The proposed system Vitual Library System has it’s general objectives which it is set out to achieve. They are as follows:
a) To create variety of access services for searching, browsing and discovering resources.
b) To organize and index digital objectives for different purpose which includes cataloging, finding aids and database.
c) Reduction of loan and acquisition through the use of digital library.
d) Comprehensive storage of large repository of data that can be accessed by authorized users.
e) Reduce the cost of maintaining a traditional library.
1.4 Specific Objective of the Study
The objectives of this proposed system has been narrowed. This is geared towards ensuring that the objectives are achieved. They are as follows:
Removal of Physical Bounding: Ensure that the users do not always go to the library physically, but can access library resource once he/she is connected to the server.
Round the Clock Availability: To enable users to be able to gain access 24/7 to the information.
Information Retrieval: To make it easy and convenient for the user to use any search term (Title OR Authors name) to search the entire collection, thus providing user-friendly interfaces, and giving clickable access to its resource.
Preservation and Conservation: Provide access to materials that would otherwise fall to degradation from repeated use.
Multiple Access: Ensure that the same resources can be used simultaneously by a number of persons.
Space: Able to provide storage for information digitally by using little physical space to contain them.
1.5 Significance of the Study
In implementing the objectives of this study, the advantages of a digital library over the traditional library are enormous. Users will be able to access library resource digitally without the inconveniences of users carrying books, journals, magazines etc which could result in rapid wear and tear of this library resource. Besides, it will afford users the opportunity to access digital books simultaneously without waiting for the book to be returned to the library.
The proposed system will provide security to help track library resources through the development of a comprehensive database that will be used to house the library resources. The system will also eliminate some of the routine manual work prevalent in a traditional library.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The findings of this research work for the proposed system (Virtual Library System) was carried out in the National Open University of Nigeria in their Virtual library section. The scope of this study will include the following:
1. Information indexing/cataloguing.
2. Classification of library resource.
3. Searching and retrieval (downloading).
4. Registration of books/uploading of digital resources
5. Registration of users.
6. Database management.
1.7 Limitation of The Study
This proposed system will not take into consideration audio collections. It is web based not a standalone delivery system with its own user file and login ID and password. Also, time constraint during the time for this project work is short. Financial resources is a limitation encountered in the course of this research work.
1.8 Definition of Related Terms
Digital: Relating to or using signals or information represented by discrete values of a physical quantity.
Library: A building or room containing collections of books, periodicals and sometimes films and recorded music for people to read, borrow or refer to.
Virtual Library: Is a type of information retrieval system in which collections are stored in digital format.
Information: This is a collection of facts or data.
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