Current Awareness Service(CAS)

 What is Current Awareness Service?
Dissemination of information that will keep it users well-informed and up-to-date in their fields of basic interest as well as in related subjects is called Current Awareness Service. It is a system of getting knowledge on recent development, and especially those developments which relate to the special interest of the individual.
CAS is a device of the information system through which the users of information can be informed promptly, as soon as possible after publications but before absorption into the comprehensive secondary sources of current literature on a broad subject field or on a area in which a group of persons are interested, and presented in a manner, volume and rhythm intended to facilitate or cultivate current approach to information.
CAS involves a knowledge of:

  1. – New theoretical ideas and hypotheses.
  2. – New problems to be solved.
  3. – New methods and techniques for solving old and new problems
  4. – New circumstances affecting what people do and how they may do it.

S.R. Ranganathan defines CAS as “Documentation periodical listing the documents appearing during the period covered, and without being selected to suit the requirements of a particular reader or of a specific topic under investigation. It endeavors to keep the clientele informed promptly of all the nascent thought created in their fields of work and related fields.”
B.C. Vickery define “CAS is more frequently and more adequately met by circulation than by retrieval, current journals, newly received book and report, abstract bulletins and the like being fed to and scanned by users.”
Basically, speaking, CAS is a device for alerting specialists towards latest developments and new publications acquired by the libraries/information center.
“The establishment of a system for reviewing/scanning, publications immediately upon receipt, selecting information pertinent to the needs of organization served, and recording/notifying individual items of interest to be brought to the attention of those persons to whose work they are related.”
In view of the above, CAS is a direct link between the user and the communicator through communication system or communication devices. This system or device is called Current Awareness Service.
Types of Current Awareness Service:
Two kinds of Current Awareness Services may be recognized.
  1. a. Those services, which are directed towards individuals or group of users. These may include communication of information to individuals or groups through informal conversation or via telephone, message sent on notification form, SDI, selective of dissemination of documents, routing of periodicals (or automatic loan ) and other documents. In this field, information supplied within the period of one week to one month.
  2. b. Those services, which are directed towards all users of  the services, these may include accession list ( a list of recent acquisitions), bibliography, indexing and abstracting services, bibliographic surveys, literature surveys, table of contents of periodicals received in the library, Current Awareness bulletin, etc.
In this field, information supplied daily or within the period of one week.
Aims and Purposes of Current Awareness Service:
  1. To aware the scientists/users with latest developments in there subject fields.
  2. To keep the clientele well-informed and up-to-date knowledge of latest development in their fields of research.
  3. To fulfill the current demand of the users.
Characteristics of Current Awareness Service:
Characteristics of CAS are enumerated as follows:
  1. Visual channel: There is visual channel for user to know the current developments through:
  1. Information obtained orally from colleagues.
  2. Information received/gathered through the receipt of pre-prints, reprints.
  3. Information gathered through attending meeting and conferences and getting information in both formal and informal way.
  1. Literature channel:
  1. Scanning of current issues of periodicals.
  2. Regular perusal of abstracting and indexing periodicals in one’s subject fields.
  3. In some cases reviews and monographs are also consulted.
iii. Formal channel (Current channel):
  1. Regular perusal of current issues of periodicals.
  2. Current issues of abstracting and individuals periodicals.
  3. Maintaining profiles (personal files of the users).
  1. A CAS is an announcement mechanism usually in documentary form.
  2. It is designed to meet or help cultivate the current approach to information.
  3. Record of answer of any specific query as current approach to information like a panoramic view of current development.
vii. A CAS is mainly addressed to those workers who cannot depend entirely on their own informal channels.
viii. Speed and timeliness is the essence of CAS.
  1. Due to the very nature of current approach, ease of scanning has to be ensured in a Current Awareness bulletin.
  2. CAS is a perishable commodity.
Factors influencing on Current Awareness Service:
  1. Current Approach: It is necessary for every informator to keep himself known with the current literature or the latest development of subject. He must know all the important areas as soon as published or generated.
  2. Continuous need: CAS is very much required where there is continuous need of current affairs and developments by the user. More continuous need, more Current Awareness service.
  3. Direct demand: For many issues the user may not be immediately interested but some of the reference may be demanded by him at any moment. For such needs some of the references are recorded in his diary or personal file kept with the library or informator, so that when to need arises they may be supplied with latest developments.
Steps in Current Awareness Service:
The steps in the provision of CAS are given bellow:
  1. Review or scan documents (some time records of documents) immediately upon receipt.
  2. Select information and record individual documents pertinent to the programme of the individuals or groups of the organization being served. This may be done by comparing the documents/information with the needs of users being served.
  3.  Send notification to the users about items or information of interest to them.