Developing Library Network (DELNET)

Developing Library Network (DELNET): DELNET <> stands for Developing Library Network (formerly Delhi Library Network). It is the first operational library network in India. It was started as a project of the India International Centre in January 1988 with the initial, financial and technical assistance by National Information System for Science and Technology (NISSAT), Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Govt. of India. It was registered as a society in June 1992 under the Societies Registration Act of 1860 and is currently being promoted by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), Planning Commission, Govt. of India and India International Centre, New Delhi.

a) Objectives: The main objectives of DELNET are -

a) To promote sharing of resources among the libraries by developing a network of libraries, by collecting, storing and disseminating information and by offering computerized services to the users.

b) To offer guidance to the member libraries on cataloguing database services, circulation, acquisition, serials control, online services, selection of hardware and software, etc.

c) To coordinate efforts for suitable collection development and for reducing unnecessary duplication wherever possible.

d) To establish a referral centre, to monitor and/or facilitate catalogue search and maintain a central online union catalogue of books, serials, and non-book materials of all the participating libraries.

e) To facilitate and promote delivery of documents manually and mechanically.

f) To develop specialist bibliographic database of books, serials and non-book materials.

g) To develop a database of projects, specialists and institutions.

h) To possess and maintain electronic and mechanical equipment for the fast communication of information and delivery of electronic mail.

i) To coordinate with other regional, national and international networks for exchange of information and documents.

j) To undertake, facilitate and provide for the publication of newsletters/journals devoted to networking and sharing of resources.

b) Membership: Till 2001, DELNET had two hundred and forty three libraries as its members, including both institutional and associate-institutional members which are 235 in India and 8 outside India.

c) Functions and Activities: The main functions and activities of DELNET are -

i) Resource Sharing: DELNET saved foreign exchange worth Rs. 10 million by rationalizing subscriptions to foreign periodicals during 1991, 1992 and 1993 through resource sharing. This was mainly achieved in the fields of physical science, medical science and agricultural sciences.

ii) Online Databases: DELNET has around twenty databases available online for their users which include Union Catalogue of Books (in member libraries), Union List of Current Periodicals, Union Catalogue of Periodicals, database of Indian Specialist (Who’s who), multilingual Book Database, etc.

iii) DDS: DELNET members can place their inter-library loan requests through their ILL online facility, which is available on the union catalogue of books database. In 1991, a courier service was started on contract basis with a private agency for inter library lending among the participating libraries but it was not very effective. Later, DELNET introduced its own courier service with the financial help of NIC. The service is well used.

iv) Development of Software: Earlier DELNET provided CDS/ISIS software for storage and retrival purpose, developed by UNESCO through NISSAT, but presently it is distributing its own software DELSIS. It has also created software, viz. DELDOS and DEL-WINDOWS for creating MARC records.

v) Standardization: A standardization committee of DELNET has been meeting from time to time. DELNET uses CCF for interlibrary exchange of bibliographic data, accept AACR-II for cataloguing and LCSH is recommended for thesaurus.

vi) Seminars, Conferences, Workshops and Training: DELNET also organizes national workshops, seminars and meets on library networking from time to time. DELNET has been organizing National Annual convention on Library and Information Networking (NACLIN) regularly.

With the assistance of NISSAT and NIC it regularly conducts training programme on DELNET services, software, e-mail, subject heading of library of congress, AACR II, Internet, etc.

vii) Publications: DELNET has been publishing a newsletter since January 1994 in order to spread the message and to increase awareness about library networking in India. It also publishes NACLIN Proceedings, Director’s Report, etc. regularly.

viii) Mailing Lists and Forum: DELNET has created a Listserv service called DEL-LISTSERV to provide the current awareness service to the users and allow the member libraries to receive the latest daily information from the internet automatically in the form of electronic mail. It also maintains other Listserv service such as Net-happenings, Med-clips, IFLA, LIBJOBS, etc.

ix) Others: DELNET System for Information Services (DELSIS) is a powerful library networking software developed by DELNET. DELSEARCH, is again, a database access mechanism developed by DELNET.

DELNET is the first network which provides Email service in this country that was started in 1991. It provides this service through National Information Centre (NIC). The future of DELNET is very promising. Its membership with India and outside India is going to take a quantum jump. The DELNET databases are growing in number and size and as a variety of information on South Asia these are becoming available through DELNET. It is expected that all institutions outside India specializing in South Asian studies will take DELNET membership.