Digital disaster management in libraries in India

Publication Date15 June 2015
Date15 June 2015
AuthorParul Zaveri
SubjectLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,Library technology
Digital disaster management
in libraries in India
Parul Zaveri
SHPT School of Library Science, SNDT Womens University, Mumbai, India
Purpose Disaster management is an issue that has received relatively little attention in libraries,
particularly in India. With the growth in digital resources in libraries, it is necessary for librarians to
understand and apply the ways of protecting digital data and the related equipment from disaster.
The purpose of this paper is to address the issues related to digital data protection in libraries in India.
It aims to investigate the perceptions of librarians about the probability of digital disasters happening
in their libraries, and to assess the level of digital disaster preparedness among libraries.
Design/methodology/approach A questionnaire based survey of 276 libraries in the Western
region of India was conducted to find out the digital data protection measures taken by them.
The paper provides an overview and analysis of the general trends in digital data protection in
these libraries.
Findings The research results indicate that due to lack of knowledge about handling of digital data,
and inadequate digital infrastructure setup in organizations, the chances of loss of digital data are high.
However, common measures like taking backup of data manually are mostly followed by all libraries.
The paper has identified the trends in protection of digital data, as well as the lacunae, in Indian
libraries. Basic guidelines on digital data preservation are also presented in the paper.
Practical implications The guidelines provided in the paper will be useful to any libraries to take
measures for protection of the digital data. The libraries will be able to prepare their digital data
protection plan and train the staff accordingly.
Originality/value This paper is the first to address the issue of digital disaster management in
libraries in India. It provides a detailed analysis of digital data protection measures taken by Indian
libraries currently.
Keywords Data backup, Digital data disaster, Digital data management, Digital data preservation,
Library disasters
Paper type Research paper
Libraries in India today are in a hybrid state, as traditional print-based collections
collected over many years are being supplemented by digital collections which are
being acquired and added into the collections. Libraries are acquiring born digital
materials and also creating in-house digital resources. Further, library collections
include e-books, e-journals, e-theses and dissertations. Many libraries maintain the
institutional repositories of the parent institutions. Information and communication
technologies have completely changed the nature of the collections, the functioning
of libraries and the services offered. Library functions are automated using open
source or commercial software. Libraries are networked and connected through
telecommunication networks. Libraries have uploaded web sites and often created
blogs for users. Web OPACs of many libraries are searchable on the internet. These are
all managed by professionally qualified librarians who may not be IT specialists.
Any neglect, damage or destruction of library resources carries with it grave
consequences for the parent institution and for society at large. It not only results in
economic losses but also affects the cultural identity and legacy for the future, disrupts
the education processes and systems, and sets back knowledge creation. It thus
Library Hi Tech
Vol. 33 No. 2, 2015
pp. 230-244
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/LHT-09-2014-0090
Received 4 April 2014
Revised 10 February 2015
Accepted 21 February 2015
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:

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