The introduction and development of e-libraries began in the 2000s. Post 2006 it has been a growing trend in the internet academic circles, since e-libraries are places to access several academic content that helps the academicians study even when they do not have regular access to a library.
The advantages of e-libraries are many, since it allows the people accessing these libraries the ability to study at their own comfort in the boundaries of their home. E-libraries are considered to be the future of the development of books and print media as well, since these spaces also work as alternatives to the mass production of paper.
PROS OF E-LIBRARIES:
- No Physical Boundary:
E-libraries are advantageous since they do not need to be accessed physically. They can be accessed at the comfort of one’s own home, whenever it feels convenient and hence keeps the practice of study regular. This ensures that the people who do not always have access to transport can afford this.
- 24×7 Availability:
The physical libraries are not available 24×7. This is due to the nature of physical libraries which have to be maintained and regulated by librarian who have to keep books in order and help the readers find books as well as keep stock of books and belongings. The e-libraries avoid this problem.
- Multi-User Access:
E-libraries can be accessed by many people at the same time. Hence a group of friends who do not have the means or time to meet physically have the option of choosing to continue with their study over the multiple user access of e-libraries.
E-libraries are usually very detailed and can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection. These libraries also have a wide range of books available based on genre. The E-libraries divide their collection of books through the use of specifically maintained categories of books, something which is not always available very easily in physical libraries.
- Information Access:
The user is able to use any search term bellowing to the word or phrase of the entire collection. Digital library will provide very user friendly interfaces, giving click able access to its resources. The user may also download as many books as they want to from an e-library.
- No Spatial Issues:
E-libraries have do not have to be concerned of spatial issues as books take up very little space and can be stored over a long time on internet databases. This feature cannot be accessed on physical libraries and hence lots of space needs to be acquired before making a physical library.
- Community Forums:
The E-libraries are usually accompanied by spaces which include commentary boxes, review spaces and community forums for people accessing the library having the option of communicating with other readers. This encourages interaction among readers and keeps the act of reading and writing intact with the use of interactive methods.
The cost of maintaining E-libraries is very little and can often be set-up with just a few donations from various spaces. E-libraries have no need for maintenance of books since the books are just files and not physical copies which are susceptible to wear and tear. This makes it very cheap.
The preservation of books is something that need not be worried about when trying to maintain e-libraries. The libraries that need to be maintained and books preserved are the ones which are old and require lots of man power. The e-libraries need no such man power to clean, maintain and regulate the status of the books.
CONS OF E-LIBRARIES:
- Copyright Issues:
A big problem of e-libraries is its lack of safety when it comes to copyright issues. A book which is to be uploaded in the digital form on an e-library must be permitted for re-distribution and copyright laws. Without permission, books will be taken down and the readers will have no access to it.
- Internet Access:
The e-libraries can also be only accessed by people who have internet access 24×7. The libraries cannot be accessed by anyone who does not have a stable internet connection and must use internet from other sources to access the libraries.
- Speed Access:
The E-libraries cannot be accessed if there is not a certain internet speed which is required to access the books and download them. With a very slow band width it is unlikely that the e-libraries can be accessed very easily with slow internet. This causes a problem when compared to physical libraries.
- Initial Cost:
The initial cost of setting up an e-library is quite expensive, since the connection to the internet is required and the connection has to be bought with a stable internet provider. The website domain and hosting also need to be accessed when wanting to make an e-library. This is also costly.
- Band Width:
The internet needed for e-libraries is also quite high when it is used by several members. The e-library will not be accessible to several people if the band width is not high. For this reason it is often the case that e-libraries cannot take up more than a certain amount of traffic.
The ambience of a regular physical library is missed in an e-library. The big halls with several books surrounding you while you read, these are things that the e-library cannot create. This is a problem also for those who like to read in quiet spaces and do not want disturbances.
E-libraries are difficult to sustain since they are not the kind of libraries that will run on its own. Each month the website has to be updated and it requires the kind of maintenance that can be only done by a website developer who also will need to paid. This makes the maintenance a little costly.
E-libraries are just what are needed to conserve the environment and limit the use of paper. Although a relatively new concept, e-libraries can be developed with some minor inconvenience when one put their sharp eye to doing so. The libraries also need innovative development making ease of access even better.