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MLI-001: INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTERS

1) Explain why Linux is becoming a preferred operating system? (15)


Free OS

Linux is almost always a free operating system with multiple sources distribution. In
contrast, Windows and Mac OS X are some of the most expensive operating systems
available. If we want to cut on costs, you can definitely benefit from choosing Linux for your
everyday needs.

Low resource requirements

As the computer gets older, it demands more resources such as RAM eventually
slowing down the system. With Linux’s low-resource approach, we are less likely to
encounter slower load times.

Performance

Unlike Windows, Linux does not easily become bogged down with spyware, viruses,
trojans, etc., which can greatly reduce a computer’s performance. Also, because Linux does
not have a registry like Windows, it is not plagued with registry errors which can slow down
a computer over time. Finally, the hard drives on Windows (especially Windows XP and
older) computers need to be defragmented on a regular basis in order to maintain faster
performance, due to being formatted in NTFS. On the other hand, because Linux is normally
formatted in a different way using ext4 among others, there is no need to defragment a Linux
hard drive.

Low Susceptibility to Virus

The best feature of Linux operating systems is its low susceptibility to virus and
malware infestation. If we have been a Windows user for a long time, we would know how
problematic Windows is when it comes to viruses. With Linux, we are spared from all the
hassle of having to constantly update our anti-virus software or scan our computer every so
often.

One of the key advantages of Linux lies in the way account privileges are assigned. In
Windows, users are generally given administrator access by default, which means they pretty
much have access to everything on the system, even its most crucial parts. It happens in the
case of viruses and malware. It is like giving terrorists high-level government positions.

With Linux, on the other hand, users do not usually have such "root" privileges;
rather, they are typically given lower-level accounts. Hence in a Linux system the virus won't
have the root access it would need to do damage the entire system; more likely, just the user's
local files and programs would be affected.
One nice security feature in Linux is that files must be made to be executable by
someone with administrator privileges, which requires a password. So even if a Linux virus is
loaded on a Linux computer, it will not be able to run without the user who has administrator
privileges intentionally making it executable.

Another important aspect of Linux security is the fact that it is open source. Because
the programing code is available for anyone to view, there are many eyes constantly
examining it, which makes it highly difficult for malware to be hidden within the code. Also,
security patches normally come much quicker to Linux than other operating systems because
so many people are contributing to it.

Stability

Linux operating systems are much more stable than the others. Even if an application
in Linux crashes which is itself very rare, then generally no harm is done to the kernel itself
and the problem can be solved just by re installing that particular application.

Open Source

Linux is an open source platforms with plenty of developers working on applications,


functions, features and add-ons that are guaranteed to improve your user experience. As it is
open source software, code is available to all the users worldwide and we may choose to
debug any problem that we may find out or add any module that is necessary to suit your
specific needs.

Portability

Another area where Linux shines over all other operating systems is in its ability to
migrate an installation from hardware to hardware. Linux has an uncanny ability to be able to
relocate so long as the architecture was the same. We can take certain directories and move
them from machine to machine. This works well with the /home directory. Having the ability
to migrate /home directory from one machine to another can make building machines easily.

Network friendliness

Linux was developed by a group of programmers over the Internet and has therefore
strong support for network functionality; client and server systems can be easily set up on any
computer running Linux. It can perform tasks such as network backups faster and more
reliably than alternative systems.

Flexibility

Linux can be used for high performance server applications, desktop applications, and
embedded systems. We can save disk space by only installing the components needed for a
particular use. We can restrict the use of specific computers by installing for example only
selected office applications instead of the whole suite.
2) Discuss the different uses of computers in libraries (15)
A modern library cannot be imagined without the application of computers.
Computers arebeen used successfully in the following areas of library activities.

A) Library House Keeping Operation

In library housekeeping operation, the computer is used for acquisition of books and
other reading materials, their classification, cataloguing, circulation and serial control.

a) Acquisition

The selection of materials can be made by the computer. Any library which is a part
of online computerized library system has access to catalogue entries and bibliographic data
of all the libraries in the system. These databases can be used as a selection tools to purchase
new books. Other offline databases can also be used as selection tools for noncurrent
documents and sometimes out of print books. For other documents, conventional book
selection methods may be used. The MARC bibliographic record service has opened up a
new vista in both cataloguing and bibliographic database that can be used as a book selection
tool.

The ordering and acquisition are the routine jobs in the library and for a single time
ordering it requires repetitive operation by different sections. These repetitive operations and
the requisite checking can very well be done by the application of the computer system. Both
offline and online acquisition can be performed by the use of computers.

b) Classification

A computer based classification system is being experimented at the Documentation


Research and Training Centre, Bangalore. It is based on Colon Classification System.

c) Cataloguing

The computerized cataloguing system operates with high speed for performing routine
and repetitive jobs. Besides, in the cataloguing unit, computer can also be used in various
other ways such as producing book plates, book pockets, book cards, spine labels, etc. It can
also produce a variety of records, card catalogues in the book form, printed catalogue, etc. as
byproducts.

d) Serial Control

Serials are continuing publication having reasonably permanent titles and appearing
usually at regular intervals. Their contents usually vary from issue to issue. An article as a
single bibliographic unit may be published in more than one issue and even in more than one
volume. Obviously, the users may be interested in an issue of a serial as a bibliographic unit,
or an article spread over a number of issues as a bibliographic unit. So, serial control
comprises complex operations of library activities because of the varying nature and
characteristics of Serial as library material.
In case of Serial, the current issues, the retrospective or immediate back issues and
bound volumes under every year of publication is an ongoing process. In this case, the library
should encounter the search problem because of the conflict between the title and the
corporate body, the old titles and the changed titles, nature of irregularity in publication
(more than one issue in a single publication and the like). These situations pose the problem
of listing, acquisition, accessioning, cataloguing and creation of records in the desired format.

e) Circulation

The circulation activities are the life-stream of the library services. The library
documents are for use and are intended for the users. At various points, documents are to be
trapped for the users who have recorded their priority in using such documents. The
circulation is a flow of document, but the flow should be controlled by library operations so
as to serve the users in the best possible way with the available materials in the library.

B) Library Administrations
In case of library administration, the library automation helps in

a) Providing Access Right to Staff Members

b) Providing Access Right to Library Users

c) Exception Reporting

d) Generation of Library Statistics / Report

C) Information Retrieval

Today, Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) or sometimes Web OPAC facility
provided by the library and information centres helps in easy retrieval of information.
Computers are also used for searching Library Database: eg. International Nuclear
Information System.

D) Building Digital / Virtual Libraries Collection

Computers can also be used to build digital or virtual collection or for institutional
repository of the library.

E) Resource Sharing
In order to facilitate the provision of material request on inter library loan basis, the
use of computers and other latest telecommunication devices is being put to use in almost all
the countries of the world. The Online Union catalogue is also a product of computer
application in library.
F) Library Network

INFLIBNET, Developing Library Network (DELNET) is the example of taking


library automation as its first step or base structure.

G) Information System

World Science Information System (UNISIST), Medical Literature Analysis and


Retrieval System (MEDLARS), illustrate the advanced stage of library automation.

H) User Services
The library automation also helps to provide Current Awareness Service (CAS),
Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) Services, Indexing and Abstracting Service,
Web Based Translation Services, Computer Based Indexing and Abstracting Services, and so
on.

Today, the computers have entered each and every area of a library. The library
automation is the application of modern technologies including the application of computer
hardware and software, different storage medias, telecommunications, etc. which help the
mechanization of any activity in the library. To implement the computer in the library, the
selection of proper hardware and software forms an essential part. If proper software is
selected, it will automatically generate or create Online Public Access Catalog which will
replace the traditional card catalogue of the library. The feature-rich software will also have
the provision of retrospective conversion. It will help the library to enter minimum of details
about the document in their collection in the database of some other libraries and will help in
getting the full bibliographic record of the document that can be embedded in the local
database.

3) Describe the concept of information society. Discuss the factors that led to the
arrival of ‘Information Society’. (15)

Pg 330 to 334
II)

1) Explain why client-server model is more used in operating systems? (5)

2) What do you understand by memory hierarchy? (5)


The CPU can only directly fetch instructions and data from cache memory, located
directly on the processor chip. Cache memory must be loaded in from the main system
memory (the Random Access Memory, or RAM). RAM however, only retains its contents
when the power is on, so needs to be stored on more permanent storage.

We call these layers of memory the memory hierarchy.

Memory Description
Cache memory is memory actually embedded inside the CPU. Cache memory is
very fast, typically taking only once cycle to access, but since it is embedded
Cache directly into the CPU there is a limit to how big it can be. In fact, there are several
sub-levels of cache memory (termed L1, L2, L3) all with slightly increasing
speeds.
All instructions and storage addresses for the processor must come from RAM.
Although RAM is very fast, there is still some significant time taken for the CPU
RAM
to access it (this is termed latency). RAM is stored in separate, dedicated chips
attached to the motherboard, meaning it is much larger than cache memory.
We are all familiar with software arriving on a floppy disk or CDROM, and saving
our files to the hard disk. We are also familiar with the long time a program can
Disk take to load from the hard disk - having physical mechanisms such as spinning
disks and moving heads means disks are the slowest form of storage. But they are
the largest form of storage.

The important point to know about the memory hierarchy is the tradeoffs between
speed and size - the faster the memory the smaller it is.

The reason caches are effective is because computer code generally exhibits two
forms of locality:

1. Spatial locality suggests that data within blocks is likely to be accessed together.
2. Temporal locality suggests that data that was used recently will likely be used again
shortly.

This means that benefits are gained by implementing as much quickly accessible memory
(temporal) storing small blocks of relevant information (spatial) as practically possible.
Cache Memory

Cache is one of the most important elements of the CPU architecture. To write
efficient code developers need to have an understanding of how the cache in their systems
works.

The cache is a very fast copy of the slower main system memory. Cache is much
smaller than main memories because it is included inside the processor chip alongside the
registers and processor logic. This is prime real estate in computing terms, and there are both
economic and physical limits to its maximum size. As manufacturers find more and more
ways to cram more and more transistors onto a chip cache sizes grow considerably, but even
the largest caches are tens of megabytes, rather than the gigabytes of main memory or
terrabytes of hard disk otherwise common.

The cache is made up of small chunks of mirrored main memory. The size of these
chunks is called the line size, and is typically something like 32 or 64 bytes. When talking
about cache, it is very common to talk about the line size, or a cache line, which refers to one
chunk of mirrored main memory. The cache can only load and store memory in sizes a
multiple of a cache line.

Caches have their own hierarchy, commonly termed L1, L2 and L3. L1 cache is the
fastest and smallest; L2 is bigger and slower, and L3 more so.

3) Explain why library automation is essential in present day context. (5)

Since the computer can be used in performing the various activities of the library,
library automation can serve as a remedy to all the existing ills of libraries.

Self-Survival in the New Environment

The user of any library nowadays expects to use their computer literacy in the library
environment. If the library does not go for automation it is felt that it will not be able to cope
with this new generation of users. The application of computer in libraries thus hopes to make
a positive change towards this end.

Speeding up the Operation

The use of computer almost invariably speeds up the flow of work within the system.
New books, reports and other materials can therefore be released sooner to the waiting reader.
It will help the inputting of data only for a single time as the integrated nature of software
helps for its subsequent use for other purposes, and reduces duplication of the efforts or work.
The searching of information can also be performed speedily, which will save time of the
library staff and the user.

Accuracy and Reliability


Automation significantly increases the accuracy of files and records. Processing rules
may be standardized and given to the computer in the form of a program which can be used
to verify the rules for the new data are being followed. If inputs are edited by a computer,
errors can be deleted before the information is entered into the files and processed.
Computers are also more reliable in the sense of breakdown, vacation, etc. and can work
longer than human beings.

Retrieval and Protection of Information


Libraries are a growing organization. The retrieval information will be relevant, fast
and specific. It will make the ease and economy of producing and distributing multiple copies
of cataloguing files and, thus, will provide greater protection against the loss of the catalogue
by fire, earthquake and other natural disasters.

Exception Reporting and New Services


Automated system automatically provides overdue notice, follow up notice, location
of order, editing of cataloguing activity, etc. The use of computer will also help us to provide
new services such as CAS / SDI, special purpose catalogue, new holding announcement
service, etc.

Automatic Statistics Generation


The use of computer in libraries helps us to generate different kinds of statistics and
reports within a minute itself. The statistics are automatically prepared by the computers and
are more accurate and reliable than the manually generated one. It will improve the control
over the whole system.

OPAC
The library catalogue forms the base of most of the library activities such as
circulation, reference service and literature search. The introduction of library automation
brings OPAC facility to the library. The library staff also gets relief from the cumbersome
jobs of writing and preparing card catalogues and their subsequent filling.

Stock Taking
Stock taking is an inspection to check what is in the stock in relation to what it should
be. In this process the current file is compared with the inventory file (the old list of
documents possessed by the library) and the unmatched records in the inventory files are
listed out. This list constitutes the untraceable or lost document.
4) Describe the importance of barcode as an input device in libraries. (5)

Two important reasons for bar coding a library are:


a) Control of circulation
b) Inventory control
Benefits of using barcode as input device are:

 The data conversion through the barcode is much faster than data entry through
the keyboard by human being. Adopting barcode technology will improve input
by factor of 10,000 times.
 Since barcode is in a machine readable format, data entry is always free from error
or at least the error rate is minimal. In other words, accuracy can be maintained.
Human operator will commit undetected error for every 300 input.
 Data collection through barcode technique is much cheaper, faster and
commercially viable.
 User friendly operation and easily connected to wide range of computers and
control equipment.

Functions and Application of Barcode Technology for Library Systems


(a) Checking System at the Gate
This is the checking system when a user leaves the library with the issued document.
For this purpose, barcode technology can be effectively used and a terminal can be installed
on the gate. Since charging/discharging is done online, the whole database is automatically
updated. When borrower leaves the library, accession number of the document carried by the
user will again be scanned at the gate. In case of issued document the computer will approve
the exit. But, in case, someone is carrying a document that has not been issued, the computer
will give an alarm and a message to the immediate effect.

(b) Identification of membership


We know very well that in libraries entry is restricted to their members only. Thus a
person is deputed on the gate as gateman or security guard to check identity cards of each
person entering the library. If the members are provided barcoded identity cards, then this
checking becomes very easy. A barcode scanner is installed at the gate of the library and
every person entering the library has to place his/her identity card on the scanner. If the
person is not a member of the library, the computer will give the alarm and thus restrict the
entry and the identification of unauthorized entry will be made.

(c) User Statistics


Under the manual system most of the libraries maintain gate register wherein
members are requested to enter his/her details and mark their signature as a proof of their
visit to the library. It is time consuming and users show indifference towards entering their
particulars. With the help of this register time series and classified statistics cannot be given
instantly. When users are provided with barcoded identity cards, it is possible to overcome all
these difficulties. Thus user statistics are useful for various purposes, particularly for
improvement in library services and control.

(d) Charging and Discharging of Books


Due to normal distribution system the charging and discharging of books is a time
consuming process, as stamping of due dates and other data entry work have to be carried
out. But in barcoded environment, when a user goes to the circulation counter, the counter
staff scans his/her identity card and activates the borrowing status. If the computer permits
the borrowing facility, the document is scanned for accession number and is issued to the user
without any delay.

(e) Issue of No Dues Certificate


No dues certificate is issued when any member leaves the organistation/institution and
his/her membership is cancelled and the library issues no dues certificate. This process is
time consuming and error prone in a manual system. In an automated system using barcode
technology the member surrenders his/her identity card and the counter staff scan it. The
automation package will search the database for any document issued in his/her name. If
nothing is due, no dues certificate will be printed. Otherwise, the related list of documents
issued in the name the member.

(f) Stock Verification & Cross-checking


Stock verification and cross checking is a very tedious and time-consuming job in
libraries and during stock verification & cross checking the users are restricted to use the
library facility. Here barcode technologies used very effectively, and it is quicker and error
free. Under this process, all the documents in the library are scanned and data is gathered in
the hand held terminal. When it is about to full the data is downloaded in the host computer.
Once all the documents in the library are scanned, it is compared with the database of the
total documents. If it does not tally, it will give the details of documents of which accession
number has not been scanned.

5) Differentiate between multitasking and multiuser operating system. (5)

A running stale of a program is called a process or a task. A multitasking operating


system (also called multiprocessing operating system) supports two or more active processes
simultaneously. Multiprogramming operating system is operating system which, in addition
to supporting multiple concurrent processes (several processes in execution states
simultaneously) allows the instruction and data from two or more separate processes to reside
in primary memory simultaneously.

Multiprogramming implies multiprocessing or multitasking operation, but


multiprocessing operation (or multitasking) does not imply multiprogramming. Therefore,
multitasking operation is one of the mechanism that multiprogramming operating system
employs in managing the totality of computer related resources like CPU, memory and I/O
devices.
The simplest form of multitasking is called serial multitasking or context switching.
This is nothing just stopping one temporarily to work on another. While a program is
running, you decide that you want to use the calculator, so you pop it and use it. When you
stop using the calculator, the Program continues running.

Multiuser operating system allows simultaneous access to a computer system through


or more terminals. Although frequently associated with multiprogramming, multiuser
operating system does not imply multiprogramming or multitasking. A dedicated transaction
processing system such as railway reservation system that hundreds of terminals under
control of a single program is an example of multiuser operating system. On the other hand,
general purpose time sharing systems incorporate features of both multiuser and
multiprogramming operating system.

6) Discuss the latest trends in the area of wireless communication. (5)

5G
As the next step in the continuous innovation and evolution of the mobile industry,
5G will not only be about a new air interface with faster speeds, but it will also address
network congestion, energy efficiency, cost, reliability, and connection to billions of people
and devices. With a 2020 commercialization horizon, 2015 be the year when we move from
these concepts to technology trials and standards development.

Fiber Everywhere

2014 was the year of “fiber everywhere” propelled by efforts to improve connectivity
and address demand increases from the use of high definition video, 3G/4G, streaming,
podcast and other broadband services. This increased demand exposed existing bottlenecks in
the communications infrastructure.

Cognitive Networks, Big Data

Communication systems handle volumes of data generated by embedded devices,


mobile users, enterprises, contextual information, network protocols, location information
and such. It is a vast amount of information: A global IP backbone generates over 20 billion
records per day, amounting to over 1 TB per day! Processing and analyzing this “big data”
and presenting insights in a timely fashion are becoming a reality with advanced analytics to
understand the environment, to interpret events, and to act on them. This is a positive
development that helps unleash the intelligence in communication systems.

Cyber Security

2014 was most remarkable for demonstrating that everything connected to the Internet
and are hacked. On daily basis we are hearing that retailers, financial institutions and
technology companies are being hacked. No one is cyber-safe and the road to the future leads
through new cyber security technologies beyond current perimeter firewall-like defenses.

Green Communications
It is being reported that communication technologies are responsible for about 2-4%
of all of carbon footprint generated by human activity. This highlights the need to focus on
managing these numbers and Green communications is doing just that. The trend is tackling
first mobile networks because of their high energy use. Base stations and switching centers
could count for between 60% and 85% of the energy used by an entire communication
system. Environmentally friendly batteries, renewable energy sources, and intelligent
management of the power systems are some of the proposed solutions.
Smarter Smartphones, Connected Sensors

The size, shape, and capabilities of these ubiquitous communication devices continue
evolving, and so are prices which, driven by cost and performance improvements in digital
technologies are falling rapidly. Beyond smartphones, tablets, connected sensors and body-
worn wearables will also make headlines. Connected sensors will find their way into vehicles
(smartcards), into urban areas (smartcies) and into our infrastructure (smartgrid).

Molecular Communications

Molecular communication is an emerging paradigm where bio-nanomachines (e.g.,


artificial cells, genetically engineered cells) communicate to perform coordinated actions.
Unlike traditional communication systems which utilize electromagnetic waves, molecular
communications utilize biological molecules both as carriers and as information. The
advantages provided by this “molecular” approach to communications are size,
biocompatibility, and biostability.