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Telematics for Libraries - Project


Updated: 08 JUN 98
Project Number and Title
2078 - Libraries without Walls: the Delivery of Library Services to Distant Users
Programme/Action line Call Topic(s) Start End Project Duration
in Months
FP 3/ III Theme 14 February 1994 November 1995 22
Distance learning; Document access/delivery (electronic); Remote library services

blue bullet Additional information is available from the BIBDEL website . (
blue bullet Deliverables of the project are also available

Access to and/or delivery of documents (Theme 14)
Project description
The Project was designed to explore, identify and improve the availability and accessibility to the remote user of the services provided by modern library services by demonstrating that library services can be delivered to users at a distance instead of users being required to visit libraries. It recognises that many users who need to study do not have access to the library services they need.
Information technology affords an opportunity to make service delivery both practical and cost-effective, but experience of IT utilisation by libraries is spread very unevenly across the EU. The Project brought together three very different models of provision through the medium of three universities. It demonstrated how technology and expertise can be transferred between libraries in different states and adapted to the needs of each. It did not aim to produce a single solution for EU-wide adoption but rather a series of solutions each of which will find application in different geographical areas of different Member States.
Technical approach
The project was structured into ten progressive workpackages:
  • Remote Access to Library Services , which identified strategies for remote user access to library catalogues, databases, enquiry services and documents;
  • Design of Demonstration Projects , providing specifications for three projects - one per partner;
  • Demonstration Projects - each partner constructing a working system connecting remote users;
  • Service Delivery to the Home investigated the applicability of the systems to home-based users;
  • User Training Requirements , to determine the training needs of remote users;
  • Management of Remote Services was concerned with administration and organisational issues. It included a review of the role of mobile libraries;
  • Cost Issues , in terms of both direct benefits and effectiveness;
  • Library Training , to determine staff training needs;
  • Co-operation Issues , to examine the implications of collaboration between several libraries;
  • Awareness Raising with information dissemination, including a specially convened conference.
Key issues
  • design and development of the demonstration models;
  • management of delivery services for remote users;
  • user and library staff training;
  • cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness issues;
  • scope for cooperation between libraries in delivering services;
  • use of mobile libraries for delivery of services to remote users;
  • copyright.
Impact and results
A large number of Community citizens would benefit from IT-related remote library services (over 1 million are currently involved in distance education, with many more studying at universities with distributed sites).
The three demonstration systems have shown, in three different countries and three different sets of circumstances, the potential for technology-based means of access by remote users to a full range of library services.
BIBDEL's key deliverable, the toolkit of techniques, provides a practical and cost-effective guide for distance learners throughout Europe.
As deliverables, the demonstration systems have shown the feasibility of applying technology to distance education.
In addition four reports and the final report are now in the public domain:
  • Access to campus library and information services by distant users: preliminary studies;
  • Access to campus library and information services by distant users: the design of three demonstration experiments;
  • Access to campus library and information services by distant users: evaluation of three demonstration experiments;
  • Access to campus library and information services: home, mobile library, management, training, cost-benefit and cooperation issues
The demonstration projects were implemented at the three sites.
The main deliverables have been commercially published.


Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
University of Central Lancashire UK - PRESTON PR1 2HE UK
Title, First Name, Name Project BIBDEL Address: The Library
E-mail 1:
E-mail 2:

Other Contact:

Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
Manchester Metropolitan University UK - MANCHESTER MI5 6LL UK UK
Title, First Name, Name Prof. Peter BROPHY Address: Department of Communication and Information
Tel: +44-161-247 6153 Fax: +44-161 247 6351
E-mail 1: (email removed) E-mail 2:

Other Partners

Name of Institution/Organisation Country Role
Dublin City University IRL P
University of the Aegean GR P

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