The advancement of technology and the rapid implementation of advanced technology have made many physical walls and boundaries of insignificant effect. Online E-Library (Electronic Library) is a wall breaking and boundaries cutting technology that allows users to have access to information resources electronically and conduct research anywhere they are and want without actually stepping into a library using the internet service. This applies rapidly advancing data processing technology as well as networking technology with an expectation to be highly convenient. ONLINE E-LIBRARY SYSTEM is web-based; MS Visual Studio 2008 and MS SQL Management Studio 2005 were used for its front end and back end design respectively. This system (the proposed model) automates the primarily aspect of manual library advantageously by the implementation of a search module amongst others. The Structured System Analysis and Design Methodology (SSADM) is use for the implementation of this project.
A literal definition of a system is an assembly of hardware and software components together. Though, system is defined in many ways by diver authorities.
A set of components that interact together to achieve a common goal cum end is called a system by Stella C. Chiemeke. Also, a system is a group of interrelated, intersecting and interconnecting elements forming a unified whole.
The existence of computer in this age cannot be argued to be of great importance to humanity, though the computer illiterates are pushed to the wall cum left in the dark. Hence, critics of information technology express their fear on the displacement of the ICT (Information Communication Technology) illiterate resulting to unemployment.
The presence of computer on virtually every field of today’s fast life has proved the critic wrong as the invention of computers and new technologies continues to create additional jobs for those who identify themselves with computers and new technologies. This make computes partner to human beings in any fields of human endeavor.
According to Uzoka in Hampo, J.A. (2011), “Decisions are largely based on principles and experience. In recent times, efforts are being made to build intelligence into computer system, whereby the computer can be used to process large volume of structured and unstructured information for decision making.”
E-libraries (Electronic Libraries) are an outcome of the revolution in computing, telecommunications and information systems that began almost 50 years ago, around 1965. The ‘online’ in this research indicates that the electronic library is a web based electronic library and not an electronic library that is an application or software like Encarta encyclopedia (Encarta encyclopedia is not an electronic library).
Online e-library system is a web based system, which computerized the information resources in a manual library electronically. These resources differs according to the manual of the library notably, a medical library will have most or all resources on medical science. Like the case of a manual library, this system will effectively give resources like, e-books, e- journals, videos, audios and quizzes.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In the previous years before the advent of the internet, intellectual resources were not available everywhere at any time. They had restricted access which is not only due to the laws but one might satisfy all laws and still be restricted due to boundaries. Without stepping into the library, digital or electronic library provides services that allow users to read library books and conduct research at home, in the office, or at school, using the Internet (this is not a must though as they can also have their own network like LAN – Local Area Network and MAN – Metropolis Area Network). Service which enables users to effectively employ electronic data by using an in-library network is also referred to as an “Electronic Library Service.”
Not a few researchers and institution worldwide conduct research on electronic library, seeing it as simply a library service that that provides comprehensive information. There are numerous definitions of the term ‘Digital Diary’ but at the National Diet Library, it is defined in the Electronic library Concept a library which provides primary and secondary information electronically through communications networks and the basis for this purpose.” Putting emphasis on the library as a mode of service, electronic library service, including in-library services, is broadly defined as “service which enables library users to directly access electronic data via telecommunications networks.” (source:http://www.ndl-go.jp/en/aboutus/elib-project.html, accessed 21/09/2015 )
There are many misconceptions about electronic library, especially the one that ‘a user can access all books in an electronic library’ but this is not true as it only the materials (books and others) that have been digitalized that can be accessed. More so, most manual books that exist have copyright laws preventing digitalizing by anyone. This is a big set back to the digitalization and collection of digitalized materials/resources.
According to Marchionini, 1998 in the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, digital libraries are the logical extensions and augmentations of the physical libraries in the electronic information society. From his definition, ‘extension’ amplifies the existing resources and services why ‘augmentation’ enables new human problem solving and expression. To the physical libraries, a librarian is one that works in the library but in an electronic library, it has more to it because the librarian functions also like the administrator of the system. The central issues in an electronic library are digitization of the materials owned by the library and electronic provision of the same. This is referred to as building digital collection.
A digital collection does not only consist of electronic books (e-books) but also audios, videos and even metadata like hyperlinks, cross referencing and imported search results. Cataloguing is also done in an electronic library as in the case of the physical libraries. The cataloguing in an electronic library is done in such a way to support the objective of the system (the electronic library). One who catalogues is called a Cataloguer.
An electronic library is not an online archive though; an electronic library most times functions as an online repository system. Wikipedia said, ‘A Digital Library (also referred to as digital library or digital repository) is a special library with a focused collection of digital objects that can include text, visual material, audio material, video material, stored as electronic media formats (as opposed to print, microform, or other media), along with means for organizing, storing, and retrieving the files and media contained in the library collection.’ There is a vast variance in the size and scope of an electronic library which can be maintained by individuals, organizations, or affiliated with established physical library buildings or institutions, or with academic institutions. The electronic content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely via computer networks. An electronic library is a type of information retrieval system.
Digital or electronic library has been a dream until 1991 or there about when the National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored a series of workshop on making the idea of digital library a reality. This section frames the emergence of digital libraries as a recognized field of endeavor in terms of four requirements for viability and growth: a compelling vision, strong motivating factors, technology and funding. These four terms will be discussed in chapter two.
Electronic Library or digital library has mistaken for different things and concepts like virtual library, digitalized archive system and an online repository system. A virtual library is primarily used for libraries that are virtual in other senses such as libraries with aggregate distributed content. Online repository system as well as online archive system will be discussed in chapter.
Researchers and practitioners of electronic libraries and software developer, produced a Digital Library Reference Model which defines a digital library as: “A potentially virtual organization, that comprehensively collects, manages and preserves for the long depth of time rich digital content, and offers to its targeted user communities specialized functionality on that content, of defined quality and according to comprehensive codified policies.”
There is a distinction on contents which were born/created in a digital format known as born-digital from those that has been converted from notably paper (a physical medium) through digitalization. Not all electronic content are in digital data format; this is to be noted also.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Physical libraries are mostly found in as well as owned by educational and research institutions, government bodies and private bodies. This is so few that they aren’t everywhere. For instance, the university library is not located on each of its campuses/sites rather at a place.
Also, these physical libraries that exist though few, they cannot operate at night. That is to say, they are timed-based in their operations which hinder the enthusiasm of researchers and readers to boost their knowledge.
These issues have been addressed with the advancement of technology, hence the emergence of technology.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objective of this research is as follows:
- To design an online e-library (electronic library). This is a web based system designed with vb.net and SQL server both owned by Microsoft, as its front end and back end respectively. This library system will:
- Eradicate paper based books and resources. They will be created in digital format or will be digitalized.
- Provide ease of access. One can access ebooks upon satisfying the conditions like being a member, irrespective of the location.
- Provides multiple accessibility; unlike the manual library that once a resource and/or its copies are being used by someone, the others will wait.
- Maintain and promote durability of the system’s resources.
- Ease research and acquisition of knowledge.
- To clarify the term electronic library, its forms and importance to human
- To list the advantages of electronic library over the physical libraries as well as the disadvantages and setbacks.
- To clear the ambiguity of electronic libraries with some terms.
- To demonstrate the interactivity of electronic libraries over the physical/manual libraries.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The constant boundary limitation amongst others, posed to the accessibility of intellectual resources and the quest for easy conduct of research led to the consideration and pursuit of this research.
Moreover, the combination of intellectual resources all in an anytime available spot, ease of use, and speedy search of information also triggered this momentous work.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Electronic libraries vary in scope, size and resources lust like the physical libraries too. The scope of this research is centered on the academic electronic library using computer science department of Ebonyi State University as a case study. The resources of this library will be mainly ebooks, with some audio and video resources if need be.