Resource-sharing is a common practice in libraries across the globe. The concept vaguely started in the late 18th century with the founding of American Library Association (1876) and slowly gained momentum in the coming decades.
Hence, in the mid-’70s, the exponential growth in the number of publications and the shrinking library budgets due to the financial crisis gave way to the concept of Resource-sharing
This led to the formation of Library Networks, Forums, and consortia at all levels and helped the development of the infrastructure for resource-sharing by introducing the development of Union catalogs, union lists of serials and refining and formalizing the Inter-library Loan Systems (ILLs)
Reasons for resource-sharing are diverse
1. To avoid duplication of effort involved in the time consuming and challenging jobs of original cataloging and indexing.
2. To solve the financial problems due to the continued rise in the prices of information resources.
3. To provide library users, broader access to information, beyond the limits and limitations of one library.
The time of traditional library resource sharing networks is now over. Now in the current age surrounded by the new developments of information technology; the Internet, e-mail, high-speed data networks, web catalogs, Blogs, and digital libraries
The technological developments within the past two decades have revolutionized the libraries’ abilities to provide bibliographic access. Even if these developments did not arise to serve the needs of resource sharing, they have significantly increased the possibilities for resource sharing and changed the shape of resource sharing activities, introducing new challenges for the librarians.
Information in the Digital Form
The fact that more information is now available in the digital form, which is accessible online in extensive amount, easily retrievable through powerful online search engines and shared with users located over long distances through high-speed networks in virtually real time has introduced new forms of resource sharing among the libraries.
More so, digital information resources are not only costly, but the publishers impose several restrictions on “sharing” of their information. In some instances, the libraries only buy access to the resources but not the ownership. This has given way to a unique form of Library Consortia where libraries get together to negotiate better terms from the publishers at a lower (shared) cost to each sharing institution.
As it is well known that, students and researchers in the academic and research institutions are the leading producers of primary research. Publishing the result of their research and sharing it with the peers is the most challenging issue for most of the researchers and most people use VPN for optimum accessibility.
Traditionally, the scholarly publishers and academic libraries have been playing complementary roles to facilitate the scholarly communication cycle; from publishing and distribution (by publisher) to management and archival preservation (by institutional libraries).
Due to several factors, the publisher-library market relationships have begun to shift to the institutional digital libraries. The digital library technology can complement to the existing scholarly publishing model with an innovative publishing structure with faster online distribution facility as well as the systematic documents management and long-term preservation.
The advanced digital technological condition has encouraged asset sharing by breaking the time and distance hindrances to effective document sharing even when your internet is disconnect from VPN.
However, for librarians, this marvel has brought about challenging technological and innovative issues requesting for the addition of more information and abilities to learn new measures. Conclusively, the overwhelming pace and the developing rate of advanced digital information are currently getting to be unfit to secure and manage by single libraries, and resource sharing, which used to be a side business in the librarianship exchange, is presently turning into the lead actor in the library ventures.