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BLI-221: Library, Information and Society

BLI-221: Library, Information and Society

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

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Assignment Code: BLI-221/TMA/Jul.2023/Jan.2024

Course Code: BLI-221

Assignment Name: Library, Information and Society

Year: 2023-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Note: Answer all questions.

I). Answer the following questions in not more than 500 words each. (4X10=40 Marks)

Q1) Define information society. Discuss the different perceptions of information society.

Ans) An information society is a socio-economic framework characterized by the predominant use, generation, and distribution of information and knowledge as key drivers of economic, cultural, and societal activities. In an information society, there is a heightened reliance on advanced information and communication technologies (ICTs) to create, process, store, and transmit data. The economy of such a society is often centred around knowledge-based industries, with a significant portion of the workforce engaged in information-related activities. Information becomes a valuable resource, contributing to innovation, economic growth, and societal development.

The concept emphasizes the transformative role of information technologies in reshaping various aspects of human life, work, and communication. It represents a departure from industrial and manufacturing-focused societies, highlighting the centrality of information in shaping contemporary social structures. The concept of the Information Society can be analysed through various perspectives, each highlighting different aspects of its emergence. Webster distinguishes five key perceptions based on technological, economic, occupational, spatial, and cultural criteria.

Technological Perception: The technological perspective of the Information Society centres on remarkable advancements in information processing, storage, and transmission. This view emphasizes the application of information technology (IT) across all societal domains. It underscores breakthroughs in digital networks, the convergence of computing and telecommunications, and the development of technologies like Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN) and the Internet. While highlighting the potential benefits of information technologies, this perspective tends to isolate the technological infrastructure from broader social, economic, and political attributes, making it limited in providing a comprehensive definition.

Economic Perception: The economic perspective of the Information Society focuses on the growth of the service sector in industrialized nations and the decline of manufacturing employment. Scholars like Machlup initiated this perspective by analysing the "knowledge sector" separately, identifying industries involved in the production and distribution of knowledge. Marc Porat's influential work expanded this view, considering information activities across various sectors of the economy. This perspective argues that an Information Society is characterized by an economy where information-related work contributes significantly to the Gross National Product (GNP) and employs a substantial portion of the labour force.

Occupational Perception: The occupational perspective looks at the Information Society through the lens of changing job distributions. It suggests that an Information Society is marked by a shift where occupations related to teaching, research and development, and creative industries outnumber those in traditional manufacturing. This view correlates with economic measures, and scholars like Marc Porat have used occupational changes to argue for the emergence of an information-based economy.

Spatial Perception: The spatial perspective emphasizes the significance of information networks that connect locations, influencing the organization of time and space. This view considers the centrality of information networks in linking towns, regions, and even continents. The technological basis of these networks is stressed, highlighting the infrastructure that facilitates the processing and distribution of information. This perspective envisions a networked society where information circulates globally along electronic highways.

Cultural Perception: The cultural perspective of the Information Society emphasizes the impact of technological developments on lifestyles. It recognizes the pervasive influence of media technologies like radio, television, and computers, creating a media-saturated environment. This view contends that contemporary culture is heavily information-laden, with life becoming quintessentially about symbolization and the exchange of messages.

Q2) Describe the academic library in your own words. Discuss the various types and functions of an academic library.

Ans) An academic library is a vibrant and dynamic hub within an educational institution, serving as a nexus for learning, research, and intellectual exploration. It is not merely a repository of books but a multifaceted resource centre that caters to the diverse needs of students, faculty, and researchers. At its core, the academic library encapsulates the essence of learning. It provides access to an extensive array of learning materials, including books, journals, multimedia resources, and digital archives. Whether a student is delving into foundational subjects, or a researcher is exploring the frontiers of knowledge, the library is a treasure trove of information.

Beyond its role as a repository, the academic library fosters a collaborative learning environment. It is a space where students gather for group study sessions, discussions, and academic collaborations. The library's physical and digital spaces are designed to encourage interaction, idea exchange, and collective learning experiences.

In the contemporary educational landscape, technology integration is pivotal. Academic libraries leverage modern technologies to offer online catalogues, digital resources, and virtual research assistance. This ensures that users can access information seamlessly, transcending physical constraints. For educators, the library is a valuable ally in supporting teaching endeavours. Librarians collaborate with faculty to curate course-specific resources, ensuring that students have access to relevant and up-to-date materials. The library becomes an extension of the classroom, enriching the educational experience. Academic libraries are diverse institutions, adapting to the evolving needs of educational communities. They come in various types, each designed to cater to specific academic levels and purposes.

School Libraries:

Function: School libraries serve as educational support hubs for students at the primary and secondary levels. Librarians often engage in activities that complement classroom teaching, such as storytelling and audio-visual presentations. These libraries provide lending services, reference assistance, and create an environment conducive to fostering a love for reading.

Importance: A well-functioning school library enhances the overall educational experience by promoting literacy, supporting the curriculum, and encouraging students to become lifelong learners.

College Libraries:

Function: College libraries play a crucial role in supplementing classroom teaching in higher education. They aim to give students a deeper understanding of various disciplines, prepare them for advanced studies, and support faculty research. College libraries offer diverse services, including textbook services, interlibrary loan services, and audio-visual facilities.

Importance: In the college environment, where self-learning becomes crucial, libraries serve as centres for research, collaboration, and providing resources essential for academic success.

University Libraries:

Function: University libraries are at the pinnacle of academic libraries, serving as the heart of the institution. They support learning, teaching, and research at advanced levels. University libraries are comprehensive in their collections, housing vast arrays of academic resources, rare manuscripts, and specialized research materials. They contribute to the dissemination of knowledge, conservation of ideas, and extension services.

Importance: The significance of university libraries lies in their role as catalysts for research, innovation, and the generation of new knowledge. They are essential in fostering an academic environment that transcends disciplinary boundaries.

Common Functions Across Academic Libraries:

Learning and Teaching Support: All academic libraries aim to support the learning and teaching objectives of their respective institutions. This includes providing resources for courses, collaborating with faculty, and creating spaces for collaborative learning.

Research Facilitation: Academic libraries, regardless of type, are instrumental in supporting research activities. They acquire, organize, and provide access to scholarly resources, assist researchers in navigating databases, and offer specialized services to support research endeavours.

Cultural and Social Engagement: Libraries often function as cultural hubs, hosting events, book clubs, and literary festivals. They contribute to the intellectual and cultural vibrancy of the academic community.

Q3) What do you mean by the term “resource sharing”? Discuss its need and objectives.

Ans) Resource sharing refers to the collaborative practice of libraries coming together to jointly utilize and distribute their resources, including staff, infrastructure, documents, and services. This approach is rooted in a relationship of reciprocity, where libraries share their resources to mutually benefit each other and, most importantly, meet the demands of a collective user community. Resources in a library context extend beyond physical materials like books to include intellectual resources, such as expertise and knowledge held by the library staff.

Need for Resource Sharing:

Abundance of Information: The proliferation of information resources has made libraries increasingly difficult to navigate. The number of books, journals, and other types of information is enormous and is just going to continue to rise. Sharing library materials helps to guarantee that the library community as a whole has access to a wider variety of resources.

Cost Constraints: Acquiring and maintaining a diverse and extensive collection of resources is costly. Many libraries, especially smaller ones, may have budgetary constraints. Resource sharing allows them to access materials they might not afford individually.

Diverse Formats: Libraries are faced with the issue of maintaining a multitude of format types as a result of the expansion of digital resources such as e-books, online journals, and multimedia information. By pooling their resources, libraries are better able to manage this varied world as a whole.

Space Limitations: The actual filing and storing of records is a difficult task. In many libraries, there simply isn't enough space to accommodate an ever-growing collection. The solution to this problem is resource sharing, which eliminates the need for individual libraries to keep a copy of every item.

Changing User Demands: Users have become increasingly demanding in recent years, looking for services that are both quick and individualised. Sharing resources enables libraries to provide a wider variety of resources and services, which is necessary in order to keep up with the shifting demands placed on them.

Objectives of Resource Sharing:

Enhanced Access: The primary goal is to broaden one's access to a more comprehensive library of resources. Users of one library can benefit from items that are available in another library, which ultimately contributes to an increase in the total amount of information that is accessible.

Cost-Efficiency: Libraries are able to make better financial use of their resources when they collaborate. They can save money by pooling their resources and investing in a wider variety of materials rather than buying each resource singly. This will allow them to make the most efficient use of the monies at their disposal.

Space Optimization: The sharing of resources lets libraries get beyond the issue of limited space. It is possible for the libraries to divide up the job of holding and preserving particular materials so that they do not each have to house every item.

Collaborative Services: Interlibrary loans are one type of service that can be provided through cooperative efforts between libraries. These loans enable patrons to request and receive materials from other libraries, thereby broadening the types of resources that are available to them.

User Satisfaction: The needs of the users should be met as quickly as possible. By pooling their resources, libraries are better able to respond quickly to the needs of their patrons and offer a more individualised and all-encompassing service.

Q4) Discuss the concept of professional ethics. Explain code of ethics for LIS professionals.

Ans) Professional ethics in the context of Library and Information Science (LIS) encompasses a set of principles and standards that guide the conduct and responsibilities of professionals in the field. These ethical guidelines are designed to ensure the integrity, trustworthiness, and responsible behaviour of LIS professionals as they serve diverse communities and manage information resources. The American Library Association (ALA) and other international library associations have developed codes of ethics that provide a framework for ethical decision-making in the field.

Johan Bekker, a prominent authority on ethics in librarianship, emphasizes that a code of ethics should reflect the ethos of the occupation, encapsulating the core values associated with it. It should convey the essence of the profession, the sentiments of its practitioners, and their societal role. Bekker asserts that the code should articulate what makes the profession distinctive and underscore its position in society. Furthermore, he suggests that it should illuminate the nature of libraries and similar agencies as functioning systems within the broader societal context.

The concept of ethics in librarianship gained prominence in 1908 during a discussion in Boston, leading to the formulation of the "Librarian's Canons of Ethics" in 1909, which marked the inception of a code of ethics in the United States. Over time, ethical codes have evolved to address the changing nature of the profession and its societal context. The American Library Association (ALA) Code of Ethics, first prepared in 1938 by Flora B Ledington and subsequently revised, serves as a benchmark for ethical conduct in the field.

The ALA Code of Ethics addresses various relationships, including those with governing authorities, constituents, fellow employees, the profession, and society. The code outlines fundamental principles that guide librarians in their actions:

Service Excellence: Librarians commit to providing the highest level of service through organized resources, equitable service policies, and accurate and courteous responses to user requests.

Intellectual Freedom: Librarians uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist censorship, ensuring access to a diverse range of materials.

Privacy Protection: Librarians safeguard users' right to privacy and confidentiality concerning information sought or received, as well as resources consulted, borrowed, acquired, or transmitted.

Intellectual Property Rights: Librarians respect intellectual property rights, advocating for a balance between the interests of information users and rights holders.

Respectful Workplace: Librarians treat co-workers and colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, promoting conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees.

Avoidance of Conflicts: Librarians do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or their employing institutions.

Professional Development: Librarians strive for excellence by continually enhancing their knowledge and skills, encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.

The ALA Code of Ethics, adopted on June 28, 1997, and subsequently amended in 2008, serves as a comprehensive guide for ethical behaviour in librarianship. The Library Association (UK) also developed a Code of Professional Conduct in 1978. This code outlines the standards of behaviour expected from its members, providing a reference point for disciplinary procedures, and emphasizing the protection of the profession, individual practitioners, and their clients. It establishes standards and duties expected of professionals and addresses issues of professional misconduct.

II). Answer the following questions in not more than 250 words each. (6X5=30 Marks)

Q1) Discuss the implication of fifth law of library science.

Ans) The fifth law of library science posits that a library is a growing organism, drawing an analogy with the growth patterns observed in living organisms, distinguishing between child growth, marked by visible increases in physical dimensions, and adult growth, characterized by internal qualitative changes. Applied to libraries, this law emphasizes the dynamic and evolving nature of libraries as opposed to static entities.

Book Stock: In the initial stages, the book stock, including periodicals, grows rapidly, impacting the physical infrastructure. Regular relabelling of shelves becomes necessary to reflect the correct arrangement for easy retrieval.

Readers: With the library functioning effectively, the number of readers grows, necessitating the provision of adequate facilities and the organization of new services to cater to evolving needs.

Staff: As both quantitative and qualitative growth is essential, the staff must increase commensurately. Ongoing professional development, training, and updating of skills are crucial to render efficient services.

Classification and Catalogue: The growth in diverse subjects requires a flexible classification scheme that accommodates new subjects. The card catalogue must be built on sound principles, facilitating easy retrieval and interpolation of entries. Computerization is recommended for larger libraries to enhance efficiency.

Library Building: The design and planning of a library building should account for horizontal and vertical expansion to meet the growing spatial needs of the library.

Weeding of Books: Development plans should include provisions for weeding out obsolete books and adding relevant ones. Cooperation between libraries for centralized storage of weeded-out books can ensure accessibility for occasional use.

Q2) Explain the concept of Right to information Act and its utility in libraries.

Ans) The Right to Information (RTI) Act of 2005 defines the right to information as a fundamental human right encompassing the citizen's right to request information from the government and, in some cases, private bodies. It establishes the government's duty to provide requested information and proactively disclose information of public interest. Although the Indian Constitution is silent on RTI, the Supreme Court recognizes it as a fundamental right integral to freedom of speech, expression, and the right to life.

The essence of the right to access information lies in the fact that government information is owned by the people, generated with public funds, and held by public bodies. Citizens have the right to access information related to government policies, decisions, actions, and decision-making processes, extending even to information held by private bodies in specific cases. However, this right is not absolute, and certain information cannot be disclosed, as outlined in Section 8 of the Act.

The RTI Act serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it acts as a reference source and, secondly, as a guide to determine what information can be disclosed to citizens. Libraries can use the Act to understand the boundaries of information disclosure.

Section 8 of the Act identifies non-disclosable information, including matters that may affect sovereignty, integrity, security, or economic interests, as well as information related to court orders, parliamentary privilege, commercial confidence, and personal privacy. The Act emphasizes that public interest in disclosure should outweigh harm to protected interests, and certain categories of information must be made public after a decision is complete.

Q3) Discuss the objectives and activities of (CeRA) Consortium for e-resources in Agriculture in brief.

Ans) The Consortium for e-Resources in Agriculture, or CeRA for short, is a group effort whose primary objective is to broaden users' access to electronic resources relevant to the agricultural industry. The provision of digital access to a wide variety of scholarly resources for the purpose of fostering research, education, and innovation in the agricultural sector is one of its core goals. This access will be made available to agricultural professionals, academicians, and researchers.

The Objectives of Cera Include:

Enhanced Access: CeRA strives to improve access to electronic resources, including journals, databases, and other research materials, related to agriculture and allied fields.

Research Support: The consortium aims to support agricultural research by providing a platform for accessing up-to-date and relevant information, fostering innovation and advancements in the field.

Collaboration: CeRA encourages collaboration among various institutions, universities, and organizations involved in agriculture by creating a shared platform for accessing e-resources.

Cost-Effective Solutions: The consortium seeks to optimize costs associated with accessing electronic resources by negotiating bulk subscriptions and licenses, making these resources more affordable for participating institutions.

Information Dissemination: CeRA facilitates the dissemination of information and knowledge by providing a centralized platform for accessing a diverse range of e-resources.

The operations that are carried out by CeRA include negotiating favourable terms with publishers and content providers, coordinating efforts related to subscriptions, and guaranteeing that member institutions have uninterrupted access to electronic resources. CeRA supports to the development of a comprehensive digital infrastructure for agricultural research and education in member institutions by pooling resources, using collective bargaining power, and leveraging collective bargaining power.

Q4) Define library legislation. Discuss the various components of library legislation.

Ans) Library legislation refers to the legal framework that governs and regulates the establishment, management, and operation of libraries. It comprises a set of laws, statutes, and regulations that define the rights and responsibilities of libraries, librarians, and users. The primary purpose of library legislation is to ensure the effective functioning of libraries, protect intellectual freedom, and promote equitable access to information.

Various Components Are Integral to Library Legislation:

Intellectual Freedom: Library legislation often includes provisions safeguarding intellectual freedom, ensuring that libraries remain spaces where individuals can access a wide range of information without censorship or restriction.

Access to Information: Laws outline the public's right to access information and the role of libraries in facilitating this access. They may specify the types of materials that libraries should provide and the conditions under which access is granted.

Privacy: Legislation often includes provisions to protect the privacy of library users, ensuring that their borrowing records and personal information are kept confidential.

Copyright: Library legislation addresses copyright issues, including the legal use and reproduction of copyrighted materials within the library's operations.

Funding and Governance: Laws may outline how libraries are funded, whether through public funding, donations, or other means. Governance structures and the appointment of library boards or directors may also be addressed.

Library Services: Legislation may specify the types of services libraries are expected to offer, such as educational programs, community outreach, and technological access.

Collection Development: Laws may outline principles for collection development, including guidelines for acquiring, maintaining, and weeding library materials.

Collaboration and Networks: Legislation may encourage libraries to collaborate, share resources, and participate in library networks to enhance services and efficiency.

Q5) Discuss the objectives and functions of RRRLF.

Ans) The Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF) is an autonomous organisation that was created in 1972 and falls under the purview of the Ministry of Culture of the Government of India. It plays an important part in encouraging library development and library services across the entire country of India.

The Objectives and Functions of RRRLF Include:

Promotion of Libraries: RRRLF aims to promote the development of libraries by providing financial assistance and support for the modernization, expansion, and improvement of existing libraries.

Financial Assistance: One of the key functions is to offer financial assistance to various types of libraries, including public libraries, state central libraries, and district libraries. This assistance is directed towards enhancing library infrastructure, collection development, and services.

Capacity Building: RRRLF works towards the capacity building of library professionals by organizing training programs, workshops, and seminars. It seeks to enhance the skills and knowledge of librarians to keep pace with evolving technologies and changing information needs.

Support for Innovative Projects: The foundation encourages and supports innovative library projects that aim to improve the quality of library services, promote reading habits, and contribute to the overall growth of the library sector.

Research and Surveys: RRRLF conducts research and surveys related to library development and services. This includes studying the impact of libraries on society, assessing information needs, and identifying areas for improvement.

Publication of Reading Material: RRRLF publishes reading material, including bibliographies, indexes, and other resources, to support libraries and researchers. This contributes to the dissemination of knowledge and the overall enrichment of library collections.

Preservation of Manuscripts: The foundation participates in the preservation and conservation of manuscripts and rare documents, contributing to the safeguarding of cultural heritage.

International Cooperation: RRRLF collaborates with international organizations and institutions to stay updated on global library trends and best practices. This collaboration facilitates the exchange of knowledge and expertise.

Q6) Explain the objectives of ILA.

Ans) The objectives of ILA are the following:

Advocacy for Literacy: ILA serves as a powerful advocate for literacy, promoting awareness of the importance of literacy skills in personal, social, and economic development. It engages with policymakers and stakeholders to influence literacy-related policies and initiatives.

  1. Professional Development: ILA is dedicated to enhancing the expertise of educators, researchers, and professionals in the field of literacy. It provides opportunities for ongoing professional development through conferences, workshops, publications, and collaborative networks.

  2. Research and Innovation: ILA supports and promotes research in literacy education. It encourages the development and dissemination of innovative practices, strategies, and technologies that enhance literacy instruction and learning outcomes.

  3. Global Collaboration: Recognizing the global nature of literacy challenges, ILA fosters collaboration among educators, policymakers, and organizations worldwide. It facilitates the exchange of ideas, experiences, and best practices to address diverse literacy needs.

  4. Resource Development: ILA contributes to the creation and dissemination of high-quality resources, including publications, guidelines, and toolkits, to support literacy educators and learners. These resources aim to address the evolving landscape of literacy education.

  5. Community Engagement: ILA actively engages with communities to promote a culture of literacy. It supports initiatives that involve families, local institutions, and community leaders in fostering literacy skills among learners of all ages.

  6. Equity and Inclusion: ILA is committed to promoting literacy as a fundamental human right. It works toward ensuring equitable access to quality literacy education for individuals of diverse backgrounds, including those facing socio-economic challenges.

  7. Policy Influence: ILA seeks to influence education policies at local, national, and international levels. By providing evidence-based recommendations and advocating for literacy-friendly policies, ILA aims to create an enabling environment for literacy development.

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