Many believe, that libraries have fewer readers, because people read less. However, more and more experts agree that less people read books globally, because a lot of them are reading online.
Without a doubt, digital libraries are gaining popularity. Thus, there is a need in creating a national e-library, which would publish local authors along with the world authors.
When will an electronic library be created in Uzbekistan? The director of the National Center for the electronic catalog, Askar Haziyev, shared his forecast.
-Various organizations are attempting to create local, corporate e-libraries. But the problem with all these projects are the limited funds and limited audience. Of course, we need a digital library that would work for the whole country and could meet the demands of a wide range of readers. It is very difficult to say, when this library will appear in Uzbekistan. But the foundation was laid. The process of digitizing publications takes a long time.
Since 2011, we created a single electronic catalog, which will serve as a basis for creation of the electronic library. Today, all libraries and information- resource centers, along with the National Library of Uzbekistan are a part of this project. All of them make records of the books, that are available in their funds.
To give an idea about the volume of work, I will provide some numbers. To date, the funds of the National Library of Uzbekistan have 7 million copies of books, the electronic catalog contains information about less than half a million books. In the regions, the ratio of funds and books on which the data is entered in the catalog is about the same.
One of the important achievements in this direction, was the improvement of the software. In the beginning, our libraries used demo versions of foreign software products. Today, two domestic versions are available. The higher education institutions are working on the basis of the program, proposed by the Tashkent University of Information Technologies. Other libraries use software BePRO, created by young programmers. We are working on improving software systems and filling them with information.
However, the creation of the electronic catalog is not enough. We need to create a full-text database of digitized copies of publications. This is an even more time-consuming and lengthy process.
Many libraries are creating electronic catalogs and at the same time working on creating full-text databases. There is a need to connect the two together.
Information resource centers are purchasing high-speed scanners and modern equipment, in order to speed up the digitization process. In particular, new center will open in the National Library this year. With its launch, digitizing the main library fund will be completed by 2020.
The National Library created a multimedia center for preparation of audiobooks and digitization of records, which will also be posted in the electronic library.