Electronic Resources: History, Scope, and Challenges: An Overview

Electronic Resources: History, Scope, and Challenges: An Overview

Hungwa Shidi (Ministry of Information and Orientation, Nigeria) and Solomon Uganneya (University of Agriculture, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4761-9.ch001
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The chapter addresses some issues with e-resources management in libraries, including the concept of e-resources, scope, and challenges of e-resource management in libraries. It defines e-resources as sources of information that are available and accessible electronically through the use of computers. Using such terms like e-journals, e-books, Websites, File Transfer Protocol (FTP), etc., the chapter defines the scope of e-resources and traces the origin of e-resources in the library environment back to the introduction of the Machine Readable Catalogue (MARC) in the mid-1960s. Infrastructure gaps and other sundry issues like funding, access model, archiving, preservation, ownership versus access, and lack of continuity in publication are some of the challenges highlighted in the management of e-resources in libraries. The chapter finally presents a brief overview of e-resources in the library environment today and maintains that e-resources are a welcome development in the library.
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The term electronic resource is an umbrella term that encompasses such expressions like digital resources and digital collection. While some authorities use the terms interchangeably, others see them as a subset of one another yet others see them as similar with no marked differences between them. In library parlance, Harter (1997) submitted that, terms like electronic library, virtual library, library without walls and bionic library are simply umbrella terms that are coined to refer to digitized libraries.

Also, Reitz (2004) defined digital collection as “materials converted to machine readable format” or “produced in electronic forms” (p.216). In a virtual library and library without walls, the collection is said to exist, not in physical forms like paper and microform but electronically in digital format and accessible via computer networks. Martin (1994) looked at digital library as “information housed electronically, delivered electronically and delivered without regards to location and time” (in Idiegbeyan-Ose & Ukpoghome, 2009, p. 79). Agreeing with this submission, Clifford Lynch stated that, a digital library is an “electronic information access that offers the user a coherent view of an organized, selected and managed body of information” (in Sharifabadi, 2006, p. 40). This therefore gives us an impetus to treat the two concepts of digital and electronic information with an aura of similarity and a consideration of the terms as umbrella terms with a similar connotation.

Remarkable electronic resources of current use in the information world include but not limited to Electronic Journals, Electronic Books, Reference sources in electronic format etc. Their debut in the information society has brought a great boost in the information sector. They have the advantage of speed, transferability, ease of use, capacity to save space, ease of search etc. It is expected that, this chapter will provide an understanding of what electronic resources are, their origin, scope and challenges in provision and management of such resources. This will then lead the reader into a full and better grasp of the content of the book.

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