Information in the Digital Era

JU News Desk
Published: April 2015

National Seminar on Web Scale Discovery brings forth the latest developments in the field of Information and Library Sciences

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Jain University, Pro Quest and SLA Asian Chapter came together to organise a national level seminar on Enhancing Access to Library Resources: A Critical Discussion, Examination and Evaluation of Web-Scale Discovery Services. The seminar was organised at the School of Graduate Studies of the University.

SLA is one of the oldest library networks based in the United States and has a strong presence in several countries. It is engaged in conducting workshops, seminars and webinars for information professionals and researching newer ways to make information more accessible and user friendly. Pro Quest is one of the biggest database providers based in United States making information available to the libraries, researchers and students.

The seminar commenced with an invocation and proceeded to various sessions meant to educate the participants on the emerging technology of Web Scale. Ms. Chitra, Librarian for the School of Graduate Studies welcomed the gathering and gave a brief insight into the seminar. “Decision making process is based on information. It falls to the lot of the library professionals to make this information available in an effective and timely manner. Equipping library professionals with the right skills to do this becomes important and it is the major objective of this seminar.”

eruditeDr. N. Sundararajan, Vice Chancellor, Jain University and Dr. Shanti Iyer, Director, SGS were also present on the occasion. “Higher education institutions need to be abreast with the latest technological advancements. Learning resources and libraries play a significant role in advancing teaching and research. ICT needs to be combined with these resources to ensure their accessibility in the most user friendly format,” said Dr. Sundararajan.

Dr. S. Satish Kumar, Director of Public Libraries, Karnataka gave an overview of steps being taken by Karnataka State Library Association (KALA) to promote the availability of books, journals and other sources of information for the public. “We are introducing 12 digital libraries in Karnataka. Also, provisions are being made for braille library. KALA has been organised in conducting a number of seminars across the State to make information professionals aware of various facets of digital libraries.

Also present on the occasion were Dr. Medha Joshi, Immediate Past President, SLA Asia Chapter Dr. Tariq Ashraf, Deputy Librarian, University of Delhi and Treasurer, SLA Asia Chapter. Dr. Ashraf shared that with the advent of ICT, users face an information overload. “Google is also one of the challenges. No search engine can give accurate results without human intervention. Herein comes the role of the libraries as to what kind of information we can provide to put things into perspective,” he added.

The seminar became a platform for discussions, knowledge sharing and live demonstration of Web Scaling technology. Web Scale Discovery is a transformative technology that allows Library patrons to search seamlessly across a vast range of local and remote pre-harvested and indexed content, receiving results that are ranked on the basis of relevance with an intuitive interface facilitating access to resources in the modern context.

The Web Scale Discovery works based on the pre-indexed metadata and full indexed documents. It provides a single entry point making it easier to seek the required data.
The objective was to throw light on the Discovery services and their role in a library’s strategic infrastructure. Discussion points included tools of discovery and evaluation criteria such as the licensed content, item types important to a particular library and full text indexing. Discussions also revolved around Discovery Layer comprising search and discovery tools, end user features and controls, interface customizations, relevancy ranking and enrichment of results.

Experts made presentations pertaining to different aspects of Web Scale Discovery, especially indexing and discovery tools. Case studies were also presented by librarians using web and electronic libraries. The seminar was aimed at Library and Information Science Professionals and scholars, IT professionals, knowledge workers, policy makers, academicians, content and knowledge managers, library managers and e-learning communities. Information influx has gone through a tremendous escalation over the years. With more and more data available, the users require a more organised system to search for resources and access the right information. This seminar helped the participants understand how they can use technology to manage data to bring to the users the vast learning resources that are available.