The Role of E-Services in the Library Virtualization Process

The Role of E-Services in the Library Virtualization Process

Ada Scupola (Roskilde University, Denmark)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch529
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Abstract

The networked ICT technologies (such as the Internet) are having a dramatic effect on how services and especially knowledge services are innovated, designed, produced and distributed. In addition ICT-networks such as the Internet have created the basis for the development of new types of services. E-services are defined here as services that are produced, provided and/or consumed through the use of ICT-networks such as for example Internet-based systems and mobile solutions. E-services can be used by both consumers and businesses, and can be accessed via a wide range of information appliances (Hoffman, 2003, p.53). E-services include also selling of physical goods on the Internet as for example an airline ticket that is purchased online, but delivered by surface mail to the buyers or government services offered on the Internet or e-government. There are three main characteristics of e-services: • The service is accessible across the Internet or other electronic networks • The service is consumed by a person across the Internet or other electronic networks • There might be a fee that the consumer pays the provider for using the e-service, but that might not always be the case as for example in some e-services offered by the government. Normally the production, provision or consumption of a service requires the interaction between the service provider and the user of the service. Traditionally this has been based on personal interactions, most often face-to-face interactions. In e-services, the production, consumption and/or provision of services takes place through the intermediation of an ICT-network such as Internet-based systems or mobile solutions. Examples of e-services are e-banking, e-library services, e-publishing, airline tickets, e-government, information and location services. The advent of e-commerce and e-services has raised a number of challenges for knowledge intensive service organizations such as consulting companies, libraries and publishers, as well as for companies selling physical goods. The purpose of this study is to investigate the challenges that e-services are posing and will pose for research or academic libraries. The study has focused on the issues that Roskilde University Library (RUB) has had to deal with as a result of e-services adoption as well as the future challenges that e-services provide for RUB. The study is based on a number of interviews with RUB management, other secondary material provided by Roskilde University library and information provided on the Web page.
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Introduction

The networked ICT technologies (such as the Internet) are having a dramatic effect on how services and especially knowledge services are innovated, designed, produced and distributed. In addition ICT-networks such as the Internet have created the basis for the development of new types of services. E-services are defined here as services that are produced, provided and/or consumed through the use of ICT-networks such as for example Internet-based systems and mobile solutions. E-services can be used by both consumers and businesses, and can be accessed via a wide range of information appliances (Hoffman, 2003, p.53). E-services include also selling of physical goods on the Internet as for example an airline ticket that is purchased online, but delivered by surface mail to the buyers or government services offered on the Internet or e-government. There are three main characteristics of e-services:

  • The service is accessible across the Internet or other electronic networks

  • The service is consumed by a person across the Internet or other electronic networks

  • There might be a fee that the consumer pays the provider for using the e-service, but that might not always be the case as for example in some e-services offered by the government.

Normally the production, provision or consumption of a service requires the interaction between the service provider and the user of the service. Traditionally this has been based on personal interactions, most often face-to-face interactions. In e-services, the production, consumption and/or provision of services takes place through the intermediation of an ICT-network such as Internet-based systems or mobile solutions. Examples of e-services are e-banking, e-library services, e-publishing, airline tickets, e-government, information and location services. The advent of e-commerce and e-services has raised a number of challenges for knowledge intensive service organizations such as consulting companies, libraries and publishers, as well as for companies selling physical goods.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the challenges that e-services are posing and will pose for research or academic libraries. The study has focused on the issues that Roskilde University Library (RUB) has had to deal with as a result of e-services adoption as well as the future challenges that e-services provide for RUB. The study is based on a number of interviews with RUB management, other secondary material provided by Roskilde University library and information provided on the Web page.

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Background

In order to understand how digitalization and e-services are changing the library and its activities it is important to understand what a library is, and what its major roles in learning are. Libraries can be defined as “an organized set of resources, which includes human services as well as the entire spectrum of media” (e.g. text, video, and hypermedia). Libraries have physical components, such as space, equipment, and storage media; intellectual components such as collection policies that determine what materials will be included and organizational schemes that determine how the collection is accessed; and people, who manage the physical and intellectual components and interact with users to solve information problems” (Marchionini & Maurer, 1995, p. 68). Marchionini and Maurer (1995) distinguish three major roles that academic and research libraries serve in learning. The first role is sharing expensive resources. These resources are physical resources such as books, periodicals, media, and human resources such as the librarians that provide a number of responsive and proactive services. The second role that libraries serve is a cultural role in preserving and organizing artefacts and ideas. Libraries have historically had the role of preserving material to make it accessible to future learners in addition to ensuring access to materials trough indexes, catalogues and other aids that allow users to find what they need. The third role of the library is that of serving as a physical knowledge space, where people meet to study and read and often to exchange ideas.

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Services: Are defined as services that are produced, provided, and/or consumed through the use of ICT-networks such as for example Internet-based systems and mobile solutions.

Knowledge Intensive Service Organizations: Are service organizations whose core product is knowledge such as consulting companies.

Danish Research Library: Has the purpose to give teachers and students access to information and materials that are necessary for research and teaching, as well as ensure information on and access to the university’s teachers and students’ research.

IT-Driven Innovation: It is defined as any innovation the creation of which is based on information technology.

Innovation: Is defined as a new idea, a new product, a new process or an organizational form. It is characterized by three stages: invention, innovation, and diffusion. An invention is a new idea or product, which becomes which becomes an innovation when it starts diffusing in the society or move into a usable form.

Adoption: E-services adoption is here defined as the decision to make use of e-services in the daily operations of the library.

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