RealTime IT News

Singapore University Library Accessible Over Internet

A S$9 million (US$5.3 million) project transforms the way people in Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore study with the introduction of a 24-hour integrated digital library system that has access to an international federation, the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD).

With this 24-hour digital library system, called Gateway to Electronic Media Services (GEMS), users can access the NTU library directly from home via a modem and a telephone line over the Internet. Through this single access point and a common graphical user interface (GUI), users can also tap a variety of information without having to access multiple sources and platforms.

For example, users can access networkable CD-ROMs, online databases, audio-video resources, and OPAC from the library. For those who has access to the SingaporeONE network, they can receive high quality audio and video-on-demand.

Users can also check their examinations timetable, lecture notes, and personalized information such as academic units accumulated through GEMS. They are authenticated by a login name and a password.

Personalization is achieved with the incorporation of Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI).

GEMS also pushes information to users. For example, a user can specify a particular topic he is researching and be notified of the latest titles or books available in the library.

Through GEMS, the NTU library is linked with NDLTD formed by 60 member institutions worldwide including universities in Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the US, as well as institutions such as United Nations Educational & Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the National Library of Portugal.

Thus students and teachers have easy access to databases from these institutions.

Another milestone achieved with GEMS is the electronic submission, storage, and retrieval of thesis and scholarly publications in digital form. These materials are made available to the worldwide community of NDLTD member institutions over the Internet.

The aim of such a link to NDLTD is to build a global connection of research materials, said Dr Lim Ee Peng, assistant professor of the Division of Software Systems in the School of Applied Science in NTU.

He said NTU is the first institution in Singapore to link to NDLTD.

The digital library at NTU was developed by home-grown Adroit Innovations Pte Ltd. together with NTU on Compaq hardware using Microsoft solutions.

"With this expertise, educational institutions overseas, such as in Hong Kong and the USA, are now showing interest in the initiatives we have made in Singapore," said Lim Jui Khiang, managing director of Adroit Innovations.

"The digital library epitomizes Microsoft's vision of creating and organizational Digital Nervous System where relevant information is available where it is needed," said Saw Ken Wye, managing director of Microsoft Singapore. "It is also a demonstration that learning no longer needs to be limited by the usual barriers such as time, distance, and access."