But for the UGC-INFONET Digital Library Consortium, library expenses in the country would have exceeded several hundred crores of rupees, according to Jagdish Arora, Director, INFLIBNET Centre, Ahmedabad.

Mr. Arora was at the inauguration of a two-day workshop on “User awareness on access to e-resources and the N-LIST programme” organised by the Mangalore University here on Saturday. The Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET) Centre was set up by the University Grants Commission in 1996 to promote networking of university campuses and internet connectivity (UGC-Infonet Connectivity Programme) and to provide access to electronic journals and databases in different disciplines (UGC-Infonet Digital Library Consortium, started in 2003).

Mr. Arora said that the economics of the consortium were such that the consortium saved over Rs. 300 crore in 2007. The average cost of research articles purchased by the consortium in 2008 was at a fraction of actual cost, leading to savings of Rs. 200 crore, he said.The INFLIBNET centre had initiated new services such as ShodhGanga, a digital repository for doctoral theses and dissertations submitted in various universities, and making them available online through the INFLIBNET centre.

The centre had set up working groups to contribute to the development of open source software in the field of library and information science, he added.

The consortium offers varying degree of access to 182 universities in the country, including access to 1.17 crore bibliographic records from 123 university libraries, with 38 lakh unique records; 2.14 doctoral theses submitted to 238 universities.

Vice-Chancellor T.C. Shivashankar Murthy delivered the presidential address.