A library is not just a repository of books, but a focus of useful and interesting knowledge. In the age of information technology, classical libraries acquire computers, and the term “electronic library” is becoming quite familiar in modern life.
In order to learn in more detail how the electronic system of access to books works, I went to the State Library of the State Cultural Center of Turkmenistan, the fund of which totals more than 6 million books, annually replenished with a huge number of novelties of printed materials.
A single electronic system of central libraries subordinate to the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan was introduced in 2016. The principle of its work is to pool the funds of 76 central libraries of the country into a single electronic catalog. Thus, the reader, being anywhere in Turkmenistan, has the opportunity to access any book through a search query.
This is very convenient,” says the Director of the State Library Baghdagul Samedova. – Specialized software allows you to carry out two types of searches – fast and advanced. The library subscriber spends the minimum amount of time to obtain information about the necessary literature. And if the requested book is digitized, the reader, regardless of his place of location, can open and read the electronic version of the publication.
The process of transferring books to digital format is divided into several stages. Initially, in a specialized laboratory, a book copy is scanned in batch mode. Then the scanned images are cropped, eliminating distortion and aligning the text. Some older publications require working with a graphic editor such as Photoshop, with which damaged sections of a book are corrected.
“A book of 200 pages is scanned in 30 minutes on an automatic machine or for about an hour on a manual robot scanner,” says Kerim Agakhanov, a leading specialist in the library. – After that, there is an automatic text recognition, which also requires a certain amount of time, then the scanned images are transferred to the electronic version. Computer programs have inaccuracies and errors, so the process of high-quality digitization takes quite a long time.
But thanks to this, the electronic library expands the possibilities of organized storage of a large volume of literature. Several thousand books can be stored in one electronic device, and most importantly – you don’t need to look for anything for a long time, now the needed publications are always “at hand”.
“The process of digitizing books is ongoing, our library has a lot of diverse literature and it takes time to translate it into electronic format,” continues Bagdagul Saidova. – First of all, we are engaged in the most popular and rare items: fiction, dictionaries, textbooks, teaching aids. In the near future – the organization of even more convenient access to the richest collection of libraries in our country.
Today’s pace of development of information technology exceeds the wildest expectations and the electronic library is the result of this technological evolution. Careful cataloging, high-quality digitization of literature contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage and provide free access to an inexhaustible source of knowledge to the widest sections of the population.