Online library systems are now installed in most libraries across the world. They enable users to search for books to see if the library has them in stock, reserve or request books as well as use some online research facilities. Many debate the advantages and disadvantages of these online library systems but most will agree that the advantages are more prevailing.
Some of the advantages of an online library system include:
- Round the clock availability and multiple access.
An online library system, in particular one that can be accessed at home, enables library users to search the library system at any time of day and night. It also means that several people can use the system at once. This is comparable to an offline system that would require users to queue to speak to a librarian.
- Ease of information retrieval.
Data about books can be stored with keywords, dates and additional information. This means that users can search for books that were published in a certain year, contain information about a certain topic or fall within a certain genre with ease. It also allows them to browse and compare similar books or in some cases even find suggested recommendations.
The main disadvantage that may be involved with an online library system is:
An online library system for a very large library will be difficult to update. Sometimes records are inaccurate and can cause confusion for users. Books that are lost or stolen from the library may still appear as online on the system. Users who have reserved a book online may become frustrated to travel there and discover it is not in stock.
While there are many other advantages and disadvantages that could be related to an online library system, these are a few of the most significant. As a general statement, online library systems are extremely advantageous and useful.