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Digital Scientific Resources in the Philippines

The challenge for the librarians and libraries in the era of digitisation is how to make reliable and relevant resources that are available online more accessible to the researchers, and to make what’s available in prints that are not available online be digitised and transformed into formats that are more readily accessible to the users.

“There is no need to compete with an online search as libraries advance and fully digitise themselves, making institutional repositories accessible to target users whenever they want,” says Mary Grace P. Golfo-Barcelona, Dean, School of Library and Information Studies, the University of the Philippines Diliman during the Nutrition Research Information Network’s (NUTRINET) 35th anniversary hosted by the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI).

Knowing that other networks of libraries would continue to do the same, she urged her NUTRINET colleagues to continue working together to create the most comprehensive information repositories that address the needs of their target community of researchers rather than those of all researchers.

The institutions that makeup NUTRINET have connected their libraries and documentation departments to create a specialised information system for food, nutrition, and related topics.

The Network’s goal is to ensure an effective flow of information for its members and the rest of the nation’s scientific community’s research and development projects on nutrition and topics related to it.

Librarians can strive to create the most comprehensive digital collections of resources, specifically chosen to fit the unique research needs of the community of users, within the available resources that member libraries have, with the aid of various library and information networks like NUTRINET.

Former members were questioned about their favourite memories from their time with the NUTRINET. One mentioned how expensive journals in the past made it hard to find specific information.

To create an information network on food and nutrition research and development, NUTRINET was founded in 1987. By facilitating information sharing between various nutrition and related agencies, NUTRIENT hopes to improve the country’s nutrition R&D information flow. From its first 14 members between 1987 and 1999, NUTRINET now has 24.

Meanwhile, datacasting will soon make the DOST’s digital library Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosk Station (STARBOOKS) accessible.

A standalone information source called Starbooks was created to help people who have little or no access to Science and Technology information sources.

The project gives Science, Technology, and Innovation-related content in different formats to students and other people in schools and communities across the country that are geographically isolated or have low incomes.

It has tens of thousands of digitised science and technology resources, such as text, research materials, journals and encyclopaedias, video, audio, and more. These resources are organised in “pods” with an easy-to-use interface.

On the other hand, the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) recently signed a deal to make the portal available in pilot elementary and high schools.

ASTI has been sending educational materials to remote communities by using datacasting, which is the process of sending data over digital television and Low-Earth Orbit satellites.

Datacasting is not a replacement for the internet, but it is a good way to get learning materials to people in faraway places.

The Science Information and Technology Institute (STII) of the DOST, which oversees Starbooks, will make sure that resources are in line with the learning competencies of the Department of Education and the most important learning competencies listed in the agency’s curriculum.

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