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Tuesday 15 August 2023

What is Industrial Revolution?

                                                  By Mukesh Kemrajh and Mfezi Mjwara


The Industrial Revolution was a period of scientific and technological development in the 18th century that transformed largely rural, agrarian societies, such as Europe and North America, into industrialized, urban countries. Goods that had once been painstakingly crafted by hand started to be produced in mass quantities by factory machines, thanks to the introduction of new machines and techniques in textiles, iron making and other industries. https://www.history.com/topics/industrial-revolution/industrial-revolution


Just a few decades ago, when scientists, technologists and engineers explained or predicted what the world would be like from 2010, most people were not convinced enough. However, in today’s digital world, we are seeing rapid changes in the advancements of technology triggered by transitioning from the 3rd to the 4th Industrial Revolution, which began in the early 2000s (21st century)

Technological pioneers continue to surprise us with state-of-the-art technologies in our libraries worldwide through innovations and changes occurring gradually every year. The following table compares the past and present functions or operations in libraries:



Card catalogues                                                                      >

Circulation desks                                                                  

Open shelves for print books                                        >

Board library displays                                                      >

Library with walls                                                               >

Manual system                                                                     >

Resources Print-format                                                   >

A security guard at the entrance                              >


OPAC (Open Public Access Catalogue)

Online library webpage


Digital displays

A library without walls (Online libraries)

Automated system


3M system & CCTV



With the developments and technological advances, academic libraries worldwide enjoy the benefits. We see many positive improvements in academic libraries, namely:

v  Communication - Today, libraries can communicate with patrons, staff, and other libraries (ILL) efficiently, regardless of where they are.

Staff can work from home or anywhere and form meetings via cell phones, internet resources or video conferencing.

v  Safety – Present-day technology has opened room for more safe and secure libraries. We have surveillance cameras surrounding our libraries. We install firewalls to block potential spam or hackers from infiltrating our library systems, databases, etc.

v   Improves productivity – The use of technological processes speeds up productivity in libraries. Remember handling daily operations manually used to be very time-consuming. 

v  Resource sharing & access – Many patrons can now access library resources wherever they are simultaneously.

v  Information storage – Before, we used huge cabinets to store large documents in print format, but today we use electronic databases to manage our library collection.


21st Century Library functions


LIBRARY CATALOGUE                                                                    INFORMATION

https://www.lisedunetwork.com/tag/library-catalogue/                                  https://www.lisedunetwork.com/tag/information/


               BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                                         ICT IN LIBRARIES

https://www.lisedunetwork.com/tag/bibliography/                      https://www.lisedunetwork.com/tag/ict-in-library/


LIBRARY AUTOMATION                                                            LIBRARY RESOURCES

https://www.lisedunetwork.com/tag/library-automation/                                                                    https://www.lisedunetwork.com/tag/library-resources/



RESOURCE SHARING                                                                 LIBRARY MATERIALS

https://www.lisedunetwork.com/tag/resource-sharing/                              https://www.lisedunetwork.com/tag/library-materials/



REFERENCE SERVICE                                                         COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT

https://www.lisedunetwork.com/tag/reference-service/                                                                https://www.lisedunetwork.com/tag/collection-development/







Skills required by a 21st-century librarian/ Library worker

* Adobe                                                        * Computer Networking

* Content Management Systems        * File Management Issues                      

* Image Editing/Scanning                     * Integrated Library Systems-Back End N/A

* Linux/Unix                                              * Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint

* Relational Databases                          * Server Set Up/Maintenance

* Digital Editing                                        * Adobe Flash

* Computer Security                               * Course Management Systems (Blackboard & Moodle)

* Integrated Library Systems              * Video Conferencing


In this “4th Industrial Revolution era”, librarians and patrons need to continuously acquire & upgrade new technological knowledge & skills to keep up with the latest trends. All inventions nowadays come in digital versions or formats. As a society, we need to understand what is known as a paradigm shift, whereby we are moving from a paper-based to a paperless society. This shift has brought many changes in the whole aspect of a library. For example, we now have libraries with no walls (Online Libraries) which facilitates access wherever you are 24/7.

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