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System for Electronic Support of Academic Material

Objective

The project intends to implement a client server application that will enable academic libraries able to create an innovative service related to the university educational activities and designed to improve the flow of information from academic staff to the library and to the students.

The application will allow access in a wide area network to the Programmes of Study and reading lists linked to the data and images of principally non conventional documents.

The prototype will be a multimedia system able to map remote data, text, images and thesaurus and to manage the communication to clients. By means of a client server engine and a programmable terminal emulator gateway it will link the client tasks to the actual library management system and OPAC. Document availability will be managed by magneto/optic systems.

The academic libraries will give their contribution in the definition of the database, in the loading process (data, texts and images), in the testing phase and in the final service.
Impact and expected results:

The expected result will be a commercial product that enables the academic library to broaden its service significantly. Integration of the diffuse sources and linking them to the programmes of study and the reading lists, accessible via the university network, means extension of the existing library service as well a new service concept.

Deliverables

The main deliverable will be the demonstrable prototype installed at the partner premises. Certain specifications and technical reports are confidential, but currently in the public domain are:

Evaluation of tools and context;
Database specification.

To be publicly available, in line with project progress, will be:

Hypertext links report;
Testing report;
Administrator and user guides;
Final report.
Technical approach:

The project is structured into twelve workpackages:

Tools and context evaluation: analysis of configuration, network protocols and transactions;
Service requirements definition: analysis of system architecture; interaction with existing systems;
Database definition: analysis of structure, contents, format and index;
Terminal emulator gateway: evaluation of known emulators and design of a gateway;
Server modules: procurement of gateway; database modification for compatibility; software for off-line loading of existing data;
Production of programmes of study and reading list: additional server functionality;
Interface specification, with dialogue functions, GUI, icono-graphic approach;
Images: scanning of non-conventional document images and loading of table of contents;
Interface (English/Italian) integration with database and existing Library Management System;
Hypertext links;
Testing, with connection to existing services;
Documentation for system administrators and users.

A client-server system (TCP/IP, Z39.50) will be developed to interconnect to the distributed information sources. Existing technologies and standards will be used and where applicable extended, such as HIGWAY for information storage and retrieval, Group III/IV compression, Ethernet networking and dial-up modems, optical scanning (TWAIN), SGML for all full text documents and hypertext links.

Information dissemination will be via conferences and other events, articles in national and international reviews and Internet discussion fora.

Key issues:

- Analysis of user requirements and the local library systems;
- Core system development (client and servers) and input of study;
- programmes and reading lists;
- Interface design and implementation in two languages (IT and EN);
- Scanning of non-conventional documents;
- Definition of hypermedia links;
- Testing of the fully integrated system.

Coordinator

Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)
Address
Via Cesare De Lollis 12
00185 Roma
Italy

Participants (2)

3D Informatica Srl
Italy
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI ROMA TOR VERGATA
Italy
Address
Via Orazio Raimondo 18