Libro Futuro

Electronic resources, social networks and health informatics. Mario Coffa interviews Mayank Trivedi

Intervista in italiano

Mayank Trivedi is presently the University Librarian (Professor Grade) and a Senate Member at Smt. Hansa Mehta Library, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara. As a University Librarian of the MSU, Dr. Trivedi contributed immensely to its overall development. The H M Library was ranked among the top 20 libraries across India (INFLIBNET 2013). Smt. Hansa Mehta Library was ranked among the top ten best libraries across the nation in India Today – Nielson Survey (2016). He has initiated the development of the Open Knowledge Gateway (OKG) and IR @ MSU. He has been instrumental in establishing a new Medical Library from grass root level at CU Shah Medical College as per the MCI norms. He got nurtured at Pramukhswami Medical College, Karamsad, Government Dental College & Hospital and M P Shah Medical College, Jamnagar.His current research interests include Digital Libraries, Open Educational Resources, Web-based Learning and Education, Health Informatics, Web 2.0, Knowledge Management, Virtual Library, Re-engineering of Libraries, and Open Access Publishing.

To start, what do you think it means to be a librarian in India?

To be a Librarian in India is very challenging, as the population of India is higher than the European Union population, and more population means more Challenges. Further, there is vast diversity in terms of religion, language, medium of imparting education etc. that is why India is struggling for “One nation one Consortia” even after 75 years of Independence. There are 1000+ Universities and 42000+ colleges imparting higher education in India, LIS professionals are like a Catalyst for Information Dissemination, especially post-Covid Scenario, Compelled Higher Education Institutes(HEIs) to go for e-only learning resources. Hence, the issues are different in E-resources when you compare it with print resources. Moreover, University Grants Commission(UGC) is also encouraging HEIs for blended learning. Till date, there is no mandate from government of India for Open Access and it is very much difficult to implement any policy without mandate. To be a Librarian in India, is a great responsibility and one has to remain updated with all new technologies in practice, which may take too much time to be a part of Curriculum. So, Librarians are like practicing Doctors, who adopts all innovative technology as per the need of the Industry/Profession. Recently, I have been elected as Vice- President (West Zone), Indian Library Association(ILA) – the oldest Library Association of India. Further, librarians have to compete with Google. So, Librarians have to cope up themselves with all new technology.

Is there a recognition of the profession? And what is the academic or educational path to become a librarian?

Yes, profession is very well recognized. However, the status of Librarian varies from state to state. Librarian is instrumental in enhancing research output of any academic Institute. Librarians are practically supporting in teaching, learning and research. Few LIS professionals are choosing path of teacher in Library and Information Science. It is always desired to have a strong collaboration from between Library and Library Science Department without which profession can never progress. Libraries are the experimental laboratories for LIS Students and these laboratories must be used in an optimum way. Associative are doing their best efforts for the recognition of profession, still very things yet to be done. Still Accreditation system is missing till date, ILA can do very good work in this direction.

You are well versed in electronic resources and digital libraries. Especially after the experience of the pandemic, how do you think these tools can contribute to the future path of our libraries?

Knowledge is a public good, it should be accessible, equitable and inclusive. Librarians are instrumental in democratizing knowledge. The ultimate essence of the profession is “Knowledge for Information for all”. I have started “Daily Information Dose” during COVID-2019 and it is a consistent services since last two years on all Social Media Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and on our Library Pages on all Social networking tools. etc. It also shared regularly on daily basis by a well known Gujarati Magazine, Chitralekha in Gujarati language. If you look at the terminology of Library and Information Science, Information is a apart of Library and in re-engineering and repackaging of Information, librarian is very much crucial. Information technology and online libraries play an increasing role in creating creative spaces for distance learning. In fact, digital transformation and e-resources will solve many library related problems i.e. Chronic Scarcity of funds, lack of space, lack of professionally trained staff, etc. Due to post-Covid situation, profession has to be redefined. A model for the supervision and administration of digital services/distance learning library services should be developed. Competency improvement program for distance learning libraries should be developed.

Social Network. A problem or can they contribute to the endowment of the technical skills of a librarian? Can they be a means of getting closer to the community and especially to young people (and not only)? 

The way I see it all depends on how these sites are being used. However, the power of Social Network is probably greater than the power of any person, any novel, any ruler, or any Country. But whether that incredible power is a blessing or curse is also debatable. The Internet’s far reaching speed has made possible to exchange information in a fastest way globally. It all depends on the wisdom of the user. Social Networking can operate as both curse and blessings in the present society. The difference between it as a curse and blessing all hangs on the shoulders of its users. One may choose to abuse the potential of Facebook or to change the world with Twitter. The difference in your actions may be small but the end result varies greatly. So, librarians have to take advantage of Social Network like marketing of Information services in a faster way across the globe. With the help of it, librarian can get closer to the community especially young and kids. Of course, as a Librarian misinformation should be controlled. So, like it or hate it, Social network will always be there. Therefore wouldn’t it be wise to adopt it? And need to think how more effectively it can be employed. If you look at the SDG4 – Quality education and in line of that, 6 th pillar of Digital India – Information for all, Social Network is essential. And the Library World Tour is a wonderful project in that direction. I appreciate it.

You are an expert in health informatics. What do you specifically do? What is it about?

First of all, let me clear that I am not an expert in health Information, but I am trying to give my best to the community. If you look at HIFA(Health Care Information for all), is global Social movement to improve availability and use of reliable healthcare information and reduce the hand of misinformation, which we have observed during pandemic. It is working closely with World health Organization(WHO). By providing authentic healthcare Information, libraries can help to achieve SDG3. If I talk about my contribution towards Health Informatics, I had worked almost 17+ years at various Medical Colleges of India. Since last 11 years, I am catering to the need of Information at The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda(MSU), which is a Unique residential University in Gujarat, offering courses from KG to PhD. Our Library Shrimati Hansa Mehta Library is the second largest (in terms of Collection) library in India, after Banaras Hindu University Library. I am also happy to share with you that the Library Movement in India was started by the Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad in 1911 from Baroda princely state. William Alanson Borden((1853-1931), who was a disciple

of Melvil Dewey, was invited to Baroda princely State by The Maharaja Gaekwad. Borden was highly honored as the harbinger of American library heritage in Baroda and beyond and is remembered as "An Apostle of International Librarianship." In Health Informatics, when I was in Pramukh Swami Medical college(PSMC), Problem Based Learning (PBL) was started. PBL is like a little bit of creativity and same critical thinking. It is teachings style that pushes students to become drivers of their learning education. They can tap into online resources, use their previously taught knowledge and ask critical questions to brainstorm and present a solid solution. Another initiative was Evidence Based Librarianship(EBL), it refers scientific evidence about a group of individuals when applying a determined health care program and implementing policies related to health and safety initiatives. As a Librarian, I was actively involved in both PBL and EBL.

What would you recommend to a young student who wants to become a librarian one day?

My recommendation to future librarians, The future of library Science professionals must focus on:

– The value of attitude

– Skills and

– Knowledge

Future young to be librarians must be a lifelong learner. They need to be connected to online tools, always eager to learn how to get things done, need to learn available services too. Library and Information Science is the noblest profession for someone who enjoys sharing knowledge with others. Librarianship is both a service and a leadership profession, offering many opportunities to both assist the community and its members by meeting information needs and to shape and guide the community. Libraries are not going anywhere, in fact libraries are evolving. There will always be a need to find, evaluate and organize information so that it can be accessed and used by others. In present era of Information explosion the need of librarian will be much more in future. Librarians have to play a multifaceted role with immeasurable value like, researcher, data analyst, information analyst, database manager, social media managers etc. So my best wishes to young buddy future librarians. All the best of luck!



Mario Coffa
Mario Coffa
Mario Coffa archivista e bibliotecario, laureato in Conservazione dei Beni Culturali presso l’Università degli Studi di Perugia (2005) e diplomato in Archivistica e Paleografia presso la Scuola di Archivistica dell’Archivio Segreto Vaticano (2010). Dal 2010 Lavora per CAeB (Cooperativa Archivistica e Bibliotecaria) presso le biblioteche dell’Università di Perugia come bibliotecario e come archivista presso l'Archivio Storico del Comune di Gubbio. Si occupa di Biblioteche Digitali e formazione in ambito di biblioteconomia digitale. Nel 2014 membro del Comitato Esecutivo Regionale dell’Associazione Italiana Biblioteche (AIB) sezione Umbria, membro del gruppo AIB sul portfolio professionale e nel triennio 2017-2020 Presidente eletto di AIB Umbria. Dal 2020 membro dell'Osservatorio Formazione dell'Associazione Italiana Biblioteche. Autore di diversi articoli e interviste per Insula Europea sul tema degli archivi, delle biblioteche e del digital lending.