Pak-LIS News
July 2001, Vol. 1, No.4

 

Contents

Editorial
Knowledge Management : an Opportunity to Expand Markets for Library and Information Services
Article

Trends in Using CD-ROM in Academic Libraries of Three South Asian Countries Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri-Lanka

Professional Activities

Dr. Mumtaz Ali Anwar Delivers a Lecture on "Planning a Library Building: the Experience of the International Islamic University Malaysia"

Professional News

International Conference for Library and Information Science Educators in Asia Pacific Region (ICLISE 2001)

Personal Announcements

Congratulations
Condolence
Mr. Anwar Ejaz Joins UNICEF Pakistan as a Consultant

Guest Editorial

Knowledge Management: An Opportunity To Expand Markets For Library And Information Services

Abdus Sattar Chaudhry, Division of Information Studies, School of Computer Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

The concept of knowledge-based economy has generated tremendous interest in recent years. The recognition of creation and application of knowledge as a key competitive factor for both individuals and organizations in the knowledge based economy has made the emerging discipline of Knowledge Management (KM) very popular. KM has become the focus of attention in a number of disciplinary areas. KM has its roots in initiatives like total quality management, business process re-engineering, and information management.  Knowledge management is about people, processes, and tools, which is basically about sharing information.  Effective exploitation of information appears to be a distinguishing characteristic of the new socio-economic model.  Since the provision of information and knowledge has been one crucial raison d'etre of information institutions, it is imperative that they respond quickly and appropriately to take full advantage of the initiatives of KBE, like e-business, e-learning, and knowledge management.

Librarians have always been facilitating the information exchange and, therefore, they seem to be a perfect fit for knowledge management functions.  They already have many of the required particular skills of knowledge management. But, they need to reposition themselves as knowledge managers by transforming their information management skills and enhancing their knowledge management competencies. Proper understanding of roles and responsibilities and timely initiation and performance of relevant activities will put librarians at the forefront to facilitate knowledge management in different types of organizations.  This will create new opportunities for information professionals beyond the traditional markets. It is high time that appropriate steps are taken to take full advantage of the new opportunities to expand the markets of library and information services sector. Information institutions can find a role in the KBE by adopting new methods and tools, re-marketing and repositioning themselves, furthering their knowledge of customer needs, and embedding themselves in the organization they work for. The following areas are considered important for preparing information institutions to play an effective role toward the knowledge-based economy:

 ·        Organizational restructuring

-        Reorienting the structures according to markets, products or processes

-        Becoming flatter and more flexible

-        Relying more on informal communication

-        Creating flexible work groups and teams

 ·        Expansion in roles and functions

-        It specialists

-        Trainers/educators

-        Negotiators

-        Filters

-        Navigators

-        Knowledge managers

 ·        New initiatives in products and services

-        Development and/or involvement in building web sites,  intranets, and portals

-        Customization and development of databases to develop knowledge repositories

-        Introduction of push technology-based services and products

-        Creating and launching of knowledge products

 ·        Strategic alliances and networking

-        Improving internal communications

-        Enhancing external relations

·        Effective user liaison mechanisms

-        Online surveys

-        Tracking of transaction logs

-        Outreach visits

-        Focus groups

 

·        Creative use of outsourcing of operations

-        Procurement of information materials

-        Processing operations and services

-        Document and information delivery

 Library schools can play a crucial role in realizing the potential of knowledge management by information professionals. Their curricula and teaching ought to focus on how traditional information management skills can be turned into knowledge management competencies. Partnerships and strategic alliances with business and computing schools can also be helpful to run combined programs and courses on knowledge management. Continuing education programs organized in collaboration with professional associations can be effective as a short-term strategy.  Such courses can be built on the already exiting expertise among library and information services professionals. For example, knowledge of classification schemes and controlled vocabularies can be helpful in conducting courses on taxonomies and ontologies, a hot topic in e-business applications. Experience in resource selection and collection development provides a foundation for courses on content development and management, an important component in appropriate development of intranets and enterprise portals. Information professionals' knowledge of using and building databases can be used building knowledge bases and repositories, a crucial area in knowledge management. Likewise, methodologies used for investigations of information seeking behavior, information use and user studies, and citation analyses are relevant to business intelligence and customer relationship work, focus of e-commerce applications of knowledge management.[Contents]

Article

Trends in Using CD-ROM in Academic Libraries of Three South Asian Countries Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri-Lanka

Dr. Shaheen Majid, Associate Professor

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Abstract

High hopes were attached to CD‑ROM technology at its inception in bridging the gap between 'information rich' and 'information poor' countries. However, this technology is entering the libraries of developing countries at a much slower pace than expected. This paper explores the use of CD‑ROM in academic libraries of three South Asian countries, namely Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. A questionnaire was used for data collection and 39 academic libraries participated in the study. It was found that only one‑half of the libraries were using CD‑ROM technology and 65% of these were facing financial difficulties in sustaining it. Two‑thirds of the libraries have only up to two CD‑ROM workstations and, on average, libraries have just over four CD‑ROM titles. Most of the library staff was self‑trained and only a few libraries were undertaking promotional and user education activities. This paper suggests that donor agencies and leading publishers should pool their resources to develop full‑text CD‑ROM products to help sustain the flow of digital information to these countries.

 

Introduction

 

The widening gap between so-called ‘information rich’ and ‘information poor’ countries has been focus of many studies during the last few decades. Most researchers are agreed that a multitude of factors was responsible for it and proposed different solutions for bridging this gap. However, after the introduction of CD-ROM, many of them were convinced that this technology would play a vital role in bridging the divide.

Many authors, during the early days of CD-ROM, had high praise for this technology as an economical alternative to online searching. Keylard (1) considered CD-ROM a useful technology for libraries and information centers located in ‘isolated’ areas. Nicholls and Majid (