Monday, March 8, 2021

Application of Cloud Computing Technology in Library Services

Cloud computing technologies are very useful for libraries, as they help libraries automate housekeeping operations using third-party services and save costs and make new services available. 

Cloud Computing in Libraries
Cloud Computing Technology in Library Services

Application of Cloud Computing in Libraries

With the development of technologies available through the web - with the advent of Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 and the steady increase in internet speeds available to users, many institutions have tended to make their applications available for use through the Internet in what is known as cloud computing.


Cloud computing technology provides its users with better advantages like saving costs or offering services to a major beneficiary of rising market competition.

Libraries are not far from benefiting from these technologies, so some libraries tend to participate in computing projects that are made available through some institutions that allocate their services to libraries, such as DuraCloud open source projects.


What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a technology that relies on transferring the processing and storage space of the computer to the so-called cloud, which is a server device that is accessed through the Internet.

In this way, IT programs are transformed from products to services. And the infrastructure of cloud computing depends on advanced data centers that provide large storage spaces for users and also provide some programs as services to users, and it depends on the capabilities provided by Web 2.0 technologies.


Cloud computing can also be viewed as a model for delivering information technology - one of the computing methods, in which computing resources are presented as services, and users have access to them via the Web (“the cloud”), without the need to possess knowledge, experience, or even control the infrastructure that supports these services.


Read more:

Understanding the Basics of Cloud Computing

Types of Cloud Computing Services: SaaS, IaaS, PaaS and FaaS


There are many benefits to using cloud computing as well as some challenges related to it.


Benefits of cloud computing:

Cloud computing enables the user to access his files and applications through this cloud without the need for the application to be available on the user's device, thus reducing the security risks and the required hardware resources, and more. For example, the utilization of very large servers to perform complex operations that may require high-specification devices.

Cloud computing saves a lot of money needed to buy the software that the user needs. All he needs is a computer connected to a fast internet line and connected to a site that provides the software he needs.

Cloud computing technology has made easy access to the applications available through any computer connected to the Internet.

The advent of cloud computing technology has created jobs for a variety of workers within the maintenance of the system and software.


Disadvantages of cloud computing:

The problem of Internet availability is one of the main problems, especially in developing countries, where the service requires a permanent Internet connection while using that service.

The problem of protecting intellectual property rights is one of the problems that raises the concerns of the users, there are no guarantees that the intellectual property rights of the users will not be violated.

There is also a problem with information security and privacy, as some users are afraid that other individuals may see their information.


Read Also: What are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Cloud Computing Technology?


Cloud Computing in Libraries

There are some organizations that offer the use of cloud computing platforms for library services. Cloud computing technologies are utilized in libraries to create a digital library and automate housekeeping processes using third-party services.

Cloud computing provides librarians with a way to share distributed resources and services that belong to different organizations or sites.


How Cloud Computing Enhances Library Services?

Cloud computing is increasing the use of the Internet and web technology. Cloud computing technologies are very useful for libraries, especially as they will help libraries save costs and make new services available.

By using cloud computing technologies, libraries can provide more services and resources without the limitation of physical storage.


So far, the number of libraries that benefit from cloud computing technologies is still small. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the library’s move to provide its services through these technologies will lead to a major change in the library’s policy.

In addition, it is not easy to move to the use of new technology with no trained people who are able to deal with these technologies.


Librarians are considering changing the normal system to facilities supported modern technology using cloud computing to provide better service to users on time.


Many librarians argue that they have already benefited from cloud computing applications, maybe even before this idea spread to computer and the Internet users.

Many libraries depend on programs installed on remote servers to carry out all office operations such as indexing, classifying, and providing services to the beneficiaries without the need for the existence of those programs on the computers in the library.


Let's see the most important new applications that appeared after the spread of the concept of cloud computing, and what services can libraries benefit from.


OCLC’s Webscale:

Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) is perfectly using cloud computing technologies for libraries to provide cataloging tools online and share their resources, data, and innovation with ease.

Online Computer Library Center has implemented a Library Management Systems plan that provides its users with better library services, promising to include privacy, security, scalability, and technical support, and offering management of the entire library collection in a cloud-based application.


Ex-Libris Cloud:

Ex-Libris is a leading library software provider from the USA that provides a private cloud for the sole use of the Ex Libris customer community.

Ex-Libris Cloud offers cloud-based solutions to improve library management, mobile campus services, research outcomes, and student engagement.

Ex Libris Alma is the world's only unified library services platform that manage print, electronic and digital materials in a single interface.


Duraspace’s DuraCloud:

DuraCloud is a hosting service that mainly focuses on providing services to libraries. This service uses its own remote computers or servers to supply local services to the libraries participating in the service, which saves on those libraries the expenses of maintaining their devices.

DuraCloud service focuses on providing services for preserving digital collections and accessing them and is not limited to that only, but also allows the possibility of sharing important historical, human and scientific collections with other libraries.


There are many libraries that depend on this service, perhaps the most famous of which are: -

Biodiversity Heritage Library: The Biodiversity Heritage Library is a digital library that cooperates to digitize and make accessible historical periodicals and magazines on biodiversity.

New York Public Library: NYPL is the second-largest public library in the United States and the third-largest in the world that provides its services to all for free. This library benefits from the Dura services in technical support, digital preservation, availability of storage warehouses, and the conversion of a very large group of digital images.


University of Colorado Digital Library (CU-DL)

The University of Colorado Digital Library is a collaborative project which provides faculty, staff, and students with digital content and allows them to create unique digital collections for teaching, learning, and research.

The CU-DL has replaced its own databases designed with Microsoft's accessory software with the Google App Engine service in order to save costs for database maintenance.

The library has transferred its hosting to the Google service, which saves it from purchasing or renting expensive servers.

The library’s website also states that providing its services through the Google service allows better management of periodical collections, improving the library’s collections, and providing opportunities for staff and students in colleges to publish on the library’s website.

The CU-DL uses the Luna Insight software system and ARTstor subscription services.


Conclusion:

The number of libraries that use cloud computing technologies is very few. This is due to the fact that moving the library to provide its services through these technologies will lead to a major change in library policy. But it is expected that in the near future, many libraries may offer their services through cloud computing technologies.

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