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Phygital Model Will Drive the Future of Libraries

Over the course of history, libraries have evolved into essential institutions driving academic advancement in contemporary society. The introduction of digital technologies has instigated a profound shift in the dissemination of information. Furthermore, these technologies propel libraries into a new era characterized by hybrid models blending physical and digital elements. This “phygital” paradigm aims to make libraries more accessible to learners worldwide, transcending geographical boundaries.

In a recent exchange with The Interview World, Dr. Rajesh Singh, University Librarian & Head of DULS at the University of Delhi, emphasized the transformative potential of digitization in libraries, highlighting its ability to facilitate faster access to resources. Furthermore, Dr. Singh underscored the importance of leveraging technology to bolster the security of library assets. Unequivocally, he advocated for a hybrid model that caters to the diverse needs of readers.

Additionally, he shed light on the invaluable role of assistive technologies in enabling seamless library access for individuals with disabilities. Dr. Singh’s insights underscore the evolving landscape of libraries in the digital age, emphasizing inclusivity and accessibility as guiding principles. Here are the key takeaways from his interview.

Q: How is rapid digitization impacting trends within library spaces?

A: The swift digitalization of human knowledge has ushered in an era where an overwhelming abundance of digital information, varying in quality and presentation, is readily available. This wealth of data presents both opportunities and challenges for users seeking to navigate it effectively.

In response, libraries have diligently upgraded their information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure. Furthermore, they are striving for continual advancements to ensure seamless access to a vast network of global digital resources. Through Information Literacy initiatives, libraries are actively engaged in equipping users with the essential skills needed to harness the full potential of this digital landscape.

These activities encompass educating users on how to articulate their information needs with precision, adeptly locate pertinent information amidst the vast sea of data, critically evaluate the authenticity and reliability of sources, and responsibly utilize information for their intended purposes. By empowering users with these capabilities, libraries play a pivotal role in facilitating informed decision-making and promoting lifelong learning in the digital age.

Q: Which aspects of physical library narratives are being influenced by technology?

A: Technology has revolutionized the management of digital information, proving crucial for libraries in navigating the ever-expanding data landscape. Without technological support, providing access to such vast repositories of digital content would be unfeasible. The transition from traditional methods to technology-driven solutions has streamlined numerous aspects of library operations. In particular, the cumbersome task of maintaining physical card catalogs has been replaced by efficient computerized systems.

Furthermore, technology facilitates the simplification of tasks such as physical book verification, now made more manageable through automation. Moreover, technological advancements have significantly bolstered security measures within libraries, mitigating the risk of book theft and ensuring the protection of valuable resources. Thus, technology stands as an indispensable ally in the modern library’s quest to effectively manage and disseminate information.

Q: What benefits could a hybrid phygital library model offer to readers?

A: Phygital libraries have emerged as an undeniable reality in contemporary times. The cherished physical collections within libraries, painstakingly curated over the years, retain their relevance and utility. Even as digital collections continue to grow, the physical realm persists, serving as a vital component of the library experience. This coexistence offers a multitude of benefits to end users, accommodating the diverse preferences of readers who favor traditional paper formats as well as those who prefer digital screens. It ensures inclusivity and accessibility, catering to a wide spectrum of readers and their varying needs, thereby enriching the overall library ecosystem.

Q: How are assistive technologies empowering individuals with disabilities?

A: Various assistive technologies empower people with different abilities. In libraries, these technologies also facilitate visually impaired students and teachers in accessing information more effectively. Among these tools are screen readers, structured audio books, and Braille embossers.

At the University of Delhi, we host a specialized Braille Library tailored to support visually impaired learners. It boasts three soundproof studios for audio book recording, a dedicated team of audio book editors, a state-of-the-art V4 Braille Box Embosser, and an extensive online collection of audio books and e-texts. Additionally, it houses a meticulously organized array of reference and classical books in Braille format.

The Braille Library’s online collection is developed in-house and accessible within the university’s IP range, requiring authentication via ID and password. Moreover, this service, unique to the University of Delhi, allows visually impaired students and faculty across Delhi’s campuses and colleges to easily search for and download the necessary accessible documents.

Q: What advancements and transformations do you anticipate for digital libraries over the next five years?

A: Undoubtedly, digital libraries emerge as indispensable entities in the future. The exponential growth of information surpasses the limitations of print and physical libraries. In the next five years, libraries will revolutionize access, offering round-the-clock availability to their digital collections. Streamlining searches with single-window search functionalities will enhance user efficiency and experience. Moreover, the integration of mobile apps into library services will provide unparalleled convenience and accessibility.

Envisioning further, digital libraries are poised to transform study practices, introducing virtual workspaces where patrons can seamlessly create, organize, and store their notes and study materials. This evolution not only adapts to the digital age but also anticipates the diverse needs of modern learners, ensuring that libraries remain vibrant hubs of knowledge and innovation.

Seamless Learning - Exploring the Next Frontier of Study Spaces in Digital Libraries
Seamless Learning – Exploring the Next Frontier of Study Spaces in Digital Libraries
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