Library Network: MYLIBNET
Project Coordinator and Scientist, Computer Centre, Dept of HRD
Central Food Technological Research Institite (CFTRI)
Way back in 1985, NISSAT, DSIR started planning for setting up metropolitan library networks in India to expedite the resource sharing among S&T libraries in order to avoid duplication of acquisition and minimization of cost.
Accordingly, a survey was conducted and metropolitan city networks like Calcutta Library Network (CALIBNET), Delhi Library Network (DELNET _ now Developing Library Network), Bombay Library Network (BONET), Pune Library Network (PUNENET) were established under NISSAT programme. The main objectives of these library networks were to prepare a union catalogue of periodicals, promote inter-library loan, facilitate document delivery services, create centralized database, etc.
Mysore city is unique compared to any other metropolitan city due to the richness in information resources. It is also unique in a way where one can find information on many areas like food science, sericulture, speech & hearing, pharmacy, dentistry, polymer, medicine, archeology, anthropology, Indian languages and engineering at one place. Considering this uniqueness, the Mysore Library Network (MYLIBNET) was established at Mysore city in the year 1995 and the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore, being an active member of Mysore City Library Consortium (MCLC), is hosting this network in its premises.
CFTRI is one of the premier Sectoral Centres of NISSAT in the area of food science and technology. With this added advantage, MYLIBNET is working closely with MCLC to promote information services in Mysore city.
MYLIBNET is also having the same objectives like other library networks in India but with a difference. One of the main objectives of this network is to prepare a union catalogue of periodicals subscribed by the member libraries. Accordingly, most of the library networks have been compiling the catalogue either in hard copy or in electronic form. Due to information technology advancement, this catalogue is now made available on the Internet.
MYLIBNET has also compiled this catalogue in the year 1996 in the machine-readable form and developed a software package (floppy disk version) for searching this catalogue either by institution name, journal title or by keywords. This software was released to its members in July 1996.
In order to have faster communication among libraries, MYLIBNET has been subscribing to electronic mail service of Education and Research Network (ERNET) of Department of Electronics (DoE), Govt. of India. Since the mail hub was located at Bangalore, which is 140 km away from Mysore city, all the members were provided with telephones with STD facility by their parent institutions to access e-mail service. Library and information science professionals from member institutions were trained on e-mail operation.
MYLIBNET is organizing various programmes regularly for the benefit of library and information science professionals. Some of them are:
Workshop on Multimedia Applications in Library and Exhibition of Multimedia Products
Seminar on Bar Code Applications in Library and Demonstration of Bar Code Products
Workshop on Internet Concept and Techniques and Live Demonstration of Internet Access over STD Line
Training Programme on Common Communication Format for the Creation of Databases
Seminar on Digital Library
Technical Seminar on Library Management System
Workshop on Internet and Web Publishing in collaboration with Academy of Information Science.
Workshop on Bandwidth Management
MYLIBNET Web server
MYLIBNET has established its Web server www.mylibnet.org to provide services globally. A radio link with the local earth station of Software Technology Parks of INDIA (STPI) has been established. The union catalogue of periodicals compiled earlier has been ported on this Web server for easy access over network.
MYLIBNET has many achievements to its credit. Some of them are:
First library network to have its own e-mail node under ERNET.
First to introduce Internet technology to the people of Mysore City
First library network to have its own Web server
First library network to have dedicated link with ISP for providing various services on Internet.
Change in the scenario
A new wave has brought into its activity with the hosting of variety of information on the Web in addition to the library networking services:
All issues of Information Today and Tomorrow (from volumes 14 to 20) are now available on our Web site
Information related to food patents, newsletter, NICFOS publications, etc are also available on the Web site.
On-line directory of manufacturers, consultants, professionals, doctors, associations, various service providers, etc. can be accessed on-line through the Web.
Information Portal for Mysore city
Since Mysore city is well-known for its cultural activities and tourist attractions and is a crafts centre, information on these has been compiled and made available on the Web. This section will be updated regularly.
News bulletin will be popped up once the Web site is visited. The Web site contains information about seminars, workshops, short-term courses, camps, competitions, etc. to be held in Mysore city.
Important news like awards, nominations, etc. will be displayed on the main page.
Networking - a reality!
No database will be useful unless it is updated regularly. Initially the data for the union catalogue was collected manually from each of the participating libraries. Now MYLIBNET is bringing reality to its networking activity by providing Web-enabled facility to its member libraries to modify the union catalogue database online. Now member libraries can login to this database sitting in their library by entering their ID and password. Once their identity is authenticated and validated by the server, they can view the records provided by them only. If the record needs any modification, it can be done immediately. Proper authentication has been incorporated so that only a member library can modify their records.
After updating their records, the member library has to send a confirmation message to the database administrator for its implementation. With this facility, libraries from across the country can become a member of MYLIBNET and join their hands to build a national database.
Web-based e-mail facility
One of the objectives of the library network is to provide e-mail facility to its members. A Web interface for the e-mail server has been developed and made available on the Net. A member can login to his mailbox from anywhere in the world using the standard Internet browser like Internet explorer or Netscape.
MYLIBNET is working round the clock to meet the target set by its Advisory Committee. In addition to the above services, MYLIBNET is also providing specialized service whenever the situation arises.
Some examples of this activity are described below.
A request was made by a lady from Texas Woman's University to locate the library which owns the journal Meerut Journal of Comparative Literature and Language. MYLIBNET team did trace this information and handed it over to the concerned person.
A request was received from a Canadian to trace the baptism particulars of his great-great-grandfather who was a retired pensioner and merchant to His Highness The Maharaja of Mysore. The MYLIBNET team was able to trace the place where this merchant was baptized in the year 1835 in the St. Betholmews Church. Finally, the Canadian was able to obtain the details from the Church priest.
0In another instance, an American wanted to trace the address of a freedom fighter. Again MYLIBNET team was able to provide the information.
Information Today & Tomorrow, Vol. 21, No. 1, March 2002, p.13-p.14 & p.30