Saturday September 11, 2010

digital + library =

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When passing through Seoul, a visit to the National Digital Library of Korea was the first stop on my mind. They have a page that outlines the services and facilities but little else has been posted on the web in English. I was curious to see the Dibrary in action.

Entering from the road, you’re in a well-lit space with open access to large touch-screens with current newspapers and videos, TV viewing stations for world news, speed search terminals, along with seating and exhibition areas.

Access to the main floor requires a card. You register online (at one of 3 PCs beside the ground floor desk if necessary) and a smart card is issued in minutes. The card seems to work across all services, from the lockers to the touch-screens in the media zone where you call up DVDs and other digital content.

If you bring your own laptop there is a dedicated zone with tables and powerpoints. Otherwise there are hundreds of PCs, some with very large screens, and others with editing software, like Adobe Premiere, Photoshop and Illustrator. There are a number of rooms and semi-enclosed spaces for collaborative work. All information screens are large touch-screen interfaces like giant iPads (these screens are ubiquitous across Seoul in subway stations and beside bus stops, in stores and public spaces). The studios for recording audio and video are probably a world-first for the Dibrary, and a great idea. Wi-Fi is free and fast across the whole building.

Language proved a barrier to learning more about the electronic resources available but these seem to include many well-known commercial database services as well as resources from many universities and research organisations. It’d be interesting to know more about remote access. In the exhibition downstairs, historic texts were available to browse digitally on the large touch-screen tables.

When you’re in Seoul, the Dibrary is well worth a visit.

— Posted by Bernard D, Internet Coordinator in  |  Permalink

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