Library automation is using information, communication and networking technologies in library activities that previously were done manually. This includes the automation of library circulation and cataloging systems. Automating a library offers significant benefits to library users as well as library staff. Many libraries have adopted automation so they can offer more effective services.
Automation improves library services in line with changing education paradigms. As more people engage in new forms of learning, such as e-learning and distance education, a centralized, automated circulation-control system enables libraries to fulfill their functions in these arenas. Libraries must be able to satisfy demand for ready information or face the possibility of being obsolete. Automation speeds access.
Factoring in the cost of card-catalog cabinets, the cards themselves and all the paper forms for record-keeping and various transactions, a manually run library can be costlier to maintain than an automated one in the long run. The tedious processes of manually fulfilling requests, tracking circulation, recording and keeping inventory also entail staffing costs that increase with the growth of the library collection.
Automated libraries enable faster, more efficient and more comprehensive searches. Even the basic electronic catalog system is capable of sorting search results according to title, author and publication date through simple mouse clicks. With more information on the materials, such as summaries, notes and key words entered and indexed in the electronic catalog, more points of access for searching specific materials are presented. Posting the electronic catalog on the Internet enables library patrons to conduct searches without having to go to the library.
Improve Control and Management
Automation enables library staff to circulate materials with ease, accurately track individual users' transactions, immediately classify new acquisitions with a few key strokes or by simply scanning bar codes. Automation also enables periodic stock inventories without having to suspend library operations.
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