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Telematics for Libraries - Project


Updated 02 OCT 97
Project Number and Title
2050 - Extending European information access through mobile libraries
Programme/Action line Call Topic(s) Start End Project Duration
in Months
FP 3/ III Theme 14 January 1994 May 1997 40
public library services; mobile libraries; document delivery

blue bullet Additional information is available from the MOBILE web site . (

Access to and/or delivery of documents (Theme: 14)
Project description
MOBILE identified target user groups and their information needs in remote communities or other regions where public library services are currently unable to stimulate or meet demand for information. The technical feasibility of introducing a range of information and document delivery services into existing public library networks, through the exploitation of information and communication technology, have been investigated. Prototype, multi-functional mobile library and information point have been specified, procured and introduced into three different public library environments. Field trials of the fully-equipped library vehicles of up to 18 months duration have been undertaken in these environments. They have been carefully monitored in order to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of mobile library services under the special conditions of each of the three areas.
Technical approach
The project had nine workpackages:
  • User survey
    • Study of existing services;
    • Design of survey;
    • Field survey in 3 countries;
    • Analysis of results;
  • Sources and resources
    • Technologies and suppliers;
    • Specification of design or renovation;
    • Specification of stock, staff, support and maintenance;
    • Budgets: staff, capital and running costs;
  • Vehicle procurement/renovation
    • Select suppliers;
    • Order vehicles and durable equipment;
    • Procurement and delivery;
  • Evaluation preparation
    • Performance measures, instruments and methodology;
    • Baseline evaluation;
  • Field trial preparation
    • Design of training courses;
    • Promotion of new services;
    • Testing of vehicles, equipment and communications;
    • Staff training;
  • Field trials
    • Data gathering;
    • Interim and final evaluations;
  • Results
    • Statistical/technical, performance, cost analyses: services, equipment, vehicles;
  • Information dissemination
    • Publicity campaigns in field trial countries;
    • Media presentations;
    • Conferences and events.
Key issues
MOBILE has concentrated particularly on researching the following issues:
  • cost-effective and affordable alternatives to static service points for information access and delivery to remote communities or to meet needs of people in less favourable social, economic, educational or physical circumstances;
  • developmental 'leapfrogging' - effective mobile library and information developed in Southern European countries without the concomitant public library infrastructure to provide support;
  • potential of mobile library services in promoting cross-border European information exchange and library networking.
Impact and results
The outcomes of the MOBILE project include:
  • an assessment of the cost-benefits of further investment in the replication of such mobile information services by other Member governments;
  • the identification of appropriate products and potential risks and benefits;
  • the development of tested specifications for new mobile library vehicle design and for information technology products for use in a mobile library environment;
  • detailed and evaluative analyses of the outcomes of the field trials.
The main - and very evident - deliverable are fully equipped field trial mobile library vehicles. Classified as restricted are the specification of resources, equipment and vehicle design and the evaluations. In the public domain are:
  • User surveys and field trial services;
  • Training materials and courses for staff;
  • Final Report.
A number of articles and papers from dissemination activities are available.


Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
Carpenter Davies Associates UK - OXFORD OX4 4BH UK
Title, First Name, Name Ms. Julie CARPENTER Address: 33 Arnold Road
Tel: +44-1865-72 24 32 Fax: +44-1865-72 24 32
E-mail 1: (email removed) E-mail 2:

Other Partners

Name of Institution/Organisation Country Role
Stichting Centrale Bibliotheekdienst voor Friesland NL P
Borders Regional Council, Selkirk UK P
Veria Public Library GR P
Nederlands Bibliotheek en Lektuur Centrum NL P

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