Indian Faculty Visits Cornell University under International Library Capacity Building Program
July 15—August 30, 2012 | New York, USA

Dr. A. K. Srivastava, University Librarian, and Professor A. Vaishampayan, Geneticist, UGC Career Awardee (Govt. of India) & Professor In-Charge, Agricultural Library, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), India, visited the Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University, from July 15 to August 30, 2012 at the invitation of Cornell University to take part in Agricultural Innovation Partnership’s training on “International Library Capacity Building Program” from July 15 to August 30, 2012. During this period, they had several interactions with various wings, including research, technical and rare collection sections of Mann Library and many other libraries in the Cornell campus, especially the Olin Library, Uris Library, Adelson Library, Stack-Annex, etc. They were apprised by Dr. Anne Kenney, University Librarian, Cornell University, of the goals of libraries under Cornell University, which center around

  • Ensuring access to the scholarly records for the Cornell community
  • Improving the systems regularly to help the educational community find and use scholarly resources
  • Providing regular services to support the full cycle of research and scholarly exchange
  • Reinforce the impact of library programs for students at all levels
  • Investing in physical and virtual library spaces
  • Expanding the library’s reach through public engagement
  • Promoting an organizational culture that helps library staff to succeed in a changing environment and embrace broader engagement with the Cornell community.

The two librarians from BHU were profoundly impressed with the

  • Full automation of the entire library system
  • Easy availability of print and electronic reading materials (e-books, e-journals & e-magazines) on most of the subjects
  • Use of TEAL in digitization
  • Generation and compilation of advanced information network through Agro-VIVO
  • Use of a fool-proof “Learning Management System”
  • Use of “Premier” software for graphic presentation of “Brail” for the visually impaired students
  • Preservation of the hard copies of the books and research journals (as well as maps and rare documents) in Annex under temperature- and humidity-controlled environment, fully-secured big halls, indexed primarily by their size, though well-cataloged as per specialization
  • Preservation of educational and cultural technology in collaboration with the “non-profit” organizations, e.g., “PORTICO” and “LOCKS”, helping with digitization of e-journals
  • Use of “MARC” format in all books which accept the complete Table of Contents and shares the MARC link, and the open source software “DRUPAL” for Content Management and creation of informative web-pages
  • Use of the open source software “Zotero” and “Mendele” in citation management
  • Development of CuLLAR (Curated List of Library Resources) and Virtual Shelf Browser, considering the needs of closed libraries in the disciplines of Engineering, Physical Sciences, and Entomology
  • DataStar—data storage and preservation for meeting the challenges of sharing, re-using, and preserving research data in information technology

Apart from the above, regular workshops by expert library staff on subjects like

  • Google Map
  • Google Earth
  • Use of “Zotero” software for managing information and note-taking strategies
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Online Social Media, e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Blog, etc.

The technical assets of Mann Library like Power Server, fully-automated teaching classrooms and electronically gazetted practical media laboratories (the audio-visual teaching classrooms, where full automation of double screen, writing boards, sound control, microphone control, along with double projection, using a combination of PCs, media players, CD players, moving & still cameras, and PC-connected electronic epidiascopes do exist) set the benchmark to which the facilities at Banaras Hindu University library could be raised. The BHU librarians were also impressed with the information literacy events, organized by Cornell, meant for creating genuine interest among the new staff and students through cordial orientation and welcome programs.

During their stay at Cornell, Dr. Srivastava and Prof. Vaishampayan were sponsored by Mann Library to visit the New York Public Library, and Columbia University Library for a few days. They were apprised of the millions of old books and rare manuscripts digitized and preserved in the main building of the NY Public Library, as well as the 89 different branches of the Library, dealing with a host of disciplines, including

  • Arts & Literature
  • Cities & Buildings
  • Culture & Society
  • History & Geography
  • Industry & Technology
  • Nature & Science
  • Printing & Graphics

In the New York State Library, there is a strong Meta Data Management System for

  • Overview
  • Descriptions
  • Capture inventory
  • Rights & use purposes

In NY State Library, in order to digitize, cameras, computers and high-definition scanners are used. A large volume of literature in Humanities, Social Sciences, History, Mass Communication and Journalism from all over the world have been scanned and preserved in the PDF format, which are supplied on demand to students for research studies. The quality and quantity of electronic resources (e-books, e-journals & e-magazines) have gone up at the New York Public Library during the last three decades, including e-books and e-journals in the areas of

  • Geneology
  • Historical News Papers
  • Scholarly News Papers
  • American & British History in 28 world languages, in collaboration with the Oxford University Press, Columbia University, New York University, and many other universities in the US

The New York Public Library, present at 89 locations in the US, include four Research Centers focusing on

  • Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Performing Arts
  • Black History & Culture
  • Business & Industry, with a network of neighborhood libraries throughout the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Islands.

At Columbia University Library (Butler Library), Dr. Srivastava and Prof. Vaishampayan witnessed the advances made in the fields of Digital Libraries & Digital Preservation, where they also observed “Fedora Repository”, an outcome of profound researches conducted on four Ingest Services, i.e.,

  • Digitization Projects
  • Institutional Repository Data Sets
  • Archived Web Sites
  • Born-Digital Archives, involved with the generation and remediation of
  • descriptive metadata
  • technical metadata
  • rights metadata
  • structural metadata

Of special interest was the first fully digitized library of Science & Engineering, at Columbia University with over 12,000 e-journals and an extremely large number of e-books & e-magazines, all well-managed, for online study purposes. The preservation centers at Columbia University Library are, in fact, meticulous storehouses of age-old books and manuscripts.

Dr. Srivastava and Prof. Vaishampayan gratefully acknowledged the immense help, cooperation and ingenious guidance rendered by Dr. K. V. Raman, International Coordinator, Agricultural Innovation Partnership; Dr. Mary Ochs, Director, Mann Library; Dr. Joy Paulson, Director, TEEAL Project, Mann Library; and Dr. Jim-Morris, Outreach & Applied Social Sciences Librarian, Mann Library, throughout their visit at Cornell University.

The Plan of Action, proposed by Dr. Srivastava & Prof. Vaishampayan, at BHU, include

  • Computerizing & Implementing Information Literacy Program
  • Digitizing Rare Agricultural Documents and Manuscripts
  • Subscribing to Indian Agricultural Research Journals
  • Organizing an International Seminar on developing Indian Agri-VIVO and substituting for TEEAL for developing a research wing in the Central Library of BHU

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