Luan Ho Trieu <email@example.com>
This world is right in the middle of the information age. Information is one important input for national development, especially in developing countries.
Information, in their raw state or in their transformed state (knowledge) are always sought after, retrieved, stored in a systematic way by librarians who then provide to people of current and many future generations.
In the current information revolution, the development of the Internet has transformed the traditional library. It is not wrong to say that we are witnessing the gradual transformation of the traditional library into the virtual library of the future.
Yet, on this forum, little has been said about the influence of the Internet on the library. The following article is a first step to fill that gap. It is based on a talk given by the chief librarian of a research library . It is intended to serve as a bare bone for further thoughts on the subject, especially those on the software and hardware development that can transform the way a library can carry out its functions and the benefits thereof.
Please join in and contribute to make this pebble become a stone, a part of the matrials that will help to build the house of knowledge in a distant better future of Vietnam.
This article is concerned with the harnessing of the electronic advantage for a research library. It is going to be on 'nuts and bolts' issues - It is about what can be done with the electronic medium
The Internet features a lot in the function of a library, so a major part of this article will look at the use of the Net, a commonly used term to describe the whole network.or the part of it which connects different libraries together.
This article is also intended to inform many librarians who currently do not have access to the Net but are thinking about it. Hopefully, it will encourage them to gain access to the Net. 
It should be stressed here that this article is not a technical one so it will not touch on many technical issues; and the library referred to in this article does not have to be a big one to 'harness the advantage of the Internet'.
The main purpose of a research library is to support the activities of research staff. These researchers are largely publication-driven, which sometimes means deadline-driven. They not only need information and data on a wide variety of topics, they need it quickly and sometimes immediately. Like many other special libraries, a research library has a comparatively small client-base, but a high intensity of use. A research Library is often held in high regard and has to maintain a high degree of visibility for people in the research field
Implicit in the services a research library offers is the need to be as cost- effective as possible. Access to the Net will help to achieve this.
A research library often has the following sections: The Library Management Section, The Systems Librarian/Catalogue Section, The Reference Section, The Acquisitions Section, and The Loans/Inter-Library Loans Section .They are coordinated and work as a big team in a research organisation to provide a high quality service to its researchers. As it is mainly a research library, the collection is driven by the needs of researchers.
Many tertiary institutions are connected as well as government and research organisations to the Net. Membership of the Net is increasing rapidly. There are approximately 80 countries connected to the Net, each with their own or several of their own networks. e.g. the UK network is called Janet.
Using the Net can be a clumsy process which requires some training, especially involving electronic mail and file transfer. A lot of the ease of use of the Net depends on the hardware and software used. Bad choice of these hardware and and software means a lot of the training required later.
The ease of use contributes a large part to the success in using the Net. It is preferable if the computer facilities are powerful, easy to use, and flexible. This means less complex documentation and shorter training periods for the users and library staff.
A list of useful sources on the Net should be made and updated regularly. It will be used to point people in the direction of the main sources rather than having them flounder in a sea of possible choices. One of the dangers with the Net is the vast number of information sources available. It is part of the library task to make available the most suitable resources to clients rather than presenting them with a daunting hodgepodge. This list should be combined with librarian professional expertise to decide which are the most suitable sources or databases to search for a specific inquiry.
Today the Net can be used in several different ways within the Library.
Nowadays, many book suppliers are often accessible via the Net. Routine order of books, chasers, and communications with suppliers' databases can be accomplished on the Net. These services are not only more efficient and faster than using post or telephone, they also recoup a significant proportion of the Net line's or access cost by savings on postage and telecommunication charges.
Electronic mail (e-mail) gives us direct access to domestic and overseas suppliers, publishers, and editors. Serious problems can be sorted out quickly on e-mail . Without e-mail, the traditional method has been sometimes unreliable in the past, very time consuming, inefficient and not satisfactory because it relied on the 'middle person' rather than direct contact with the person who actually dealt with the problems .
Like many libraries, a research library has to verify bibliographic details. A small special library sometimes do not have the major facilities like Books in Print in hard copy for checking or its expensive on-line version. Using the Net we can now verify from other sources of bibliographic data. Verification can now be done from suppliers' databases or other bibliographic databases .
The Net helps to communicate easily and at no extra charge with research colleagues at home and abroad. The Net allows the subscription to mailing lists and discussion groups covering a variety of library information, bibliographic and technical information and relevant research topics  eg.VACETS.
Up to date current research results Another important service a research library can now supply is being able to provide summaries of relevant research publications to its clients. These are important for researchers because the printed version often takes time to reach the library. Electronic summaries of these reports are great for researchers and are a boost for the library's reputation.
Electronic journals are a useful source and will become more so in the near future with their increase in number.
These services from the Net decrease the isolation of a research library. They are very valuable and allow library staff and the researchers they serve to be aware of current issues and problems in the research fields of the organisation's interests.
One of the pleasant surprises of logging into remote library services is the number of services they provide eg.in Denver, Colorado there is a database of US Government Public>