The impact of cloud computing on the future of academic library practices and services

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Judith Mavodza, Zayed University

Document Type


Source of Publication

New Library World

Publication Date



Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss issues involved in navigating the modern information environment where the relevance of cloud computing is unavoidable. This is a way of shifting from the hardware and software demands of storing and organizing data, to information access concerns. That is because with the exponential growth in information sources and all accompanying complexities, the limited capacity of libraries to host their own in its entirety necessitates opting for alternatives in the cloud. Design/methodology/approach: A review of current literature about the topic was performed Findings: Literature used reveals that currently, libraries are using the cloud for putting together user resources, i.e. using Software as a Service (SaaS), such as in library catalogues, WorldCat, Googledocs, and the aggregated subject gateways like SUMMON, and others; the web Platform as a Service (PaaS) as in the use of GoogleApp Engine; or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) as in the use of D-Space, FEDORA, and others. The cloud is confirmed as a facilitator in storing and accessing information in addition to providing a unified web presence with reduced local storage capacity challenges. Originality/value: The value of these findings is to remind librarians of the shift in focus towards which devices provide the easiest access to data and applications. This is one of the reasons they in many instances are currently having to address issues relating to the use of electronic media tools such as smartphones, iPad, e-book readers, and other handheld devices. The largely borderless information resources also bring to the forefront considerations about digital rights management, fair use, information security, ownership and control of data, privacy, scholarly publishing, copyright guidance, and licensing that the librarian has to be knowledgeable about. It has become necessary for librarians who make use of commercial cloud services to be conversant with the implications on institutional data. To avert the ever present dangers and risks involving cyber-security, it is usually practical for institutions to keep policies, procedures, fiscal, and personnel data in private clouds that have carefully crafted access permissions. Being aware of these implications enables thoughtful, adaptive planning strategies for the future of library practice and service. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.









First Page


Last Page



Library and Information Science


Academic libraries, Cloud computing, IaaS, Interoperability, PaaS, SaaS, Web 2.0

Scopus ID


Indexed in Scopus


Open Access


Open Access Type

Green: A manuscript of this publication is openly available in a repository