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Telematics for Libraries - Projects


Updated 07 SEP 98

Project Number and Title
3122 - Residential Access to Information via Everyday Telecommunication Tools
Programme/Action line Call Topic(s) Start End Project Duration
in Months
FP 3/ III Theme 15 bis February 1995 May 1997 27
public library services; videotext broadcast; voice recognition; speech synthesis; CATV; library staff training

blue bullet Additional information is available from the REACTIVE web site (

Library services using new information products (Theme 15 bis)
Project description
The main objective of this project has been to develop a new public library service which is easily accessible from every home via telephone and (cable) television.
This service consists in providing:
  • community and library information;
  • educational packages, in particular on the use of information and communication technologies, suitable for adult independent learners and library staff alike;
  • information on EU matters.
Technical approach
The project had four workpackages:
  • System design comprising, firstly research/analysis of user requirements and operational needs, secondly a functional design, to form the basis, with hardware and software considerations, of, thirdly, the technical design;
  • Prototype building converts the system design into an operational prototype, to be installed at selected partner library sites nominated as service providers;
  • Testing and evaluation not only of system performance and efficacy, but also market acceptance. End-user comments will be structured for optimum feed-back and consequent modifications and a maintenance function provided. This stage will result in an evaluation report and demonstration;
  • System launch starting with an implementation strategy to set the conditions for negotiations with cable television organisations by the consortium and local library systems. Dissemination of project results will introduce the product to the public library community.
The REACTIVE TELECOM service has been implemented by combining the ubiquitous telephone and television technologies. Information requests submitted by phone are processed by a speech recognition device and translated into database queries. The results of these queries are formatted as (broadcast) videotext pages which are then transmitted via the cable TV network to the client's home. Clients are automatically notified of videotext page numbers by synthesised speech messages. The approach is independent of language, speaker and telephone interface and may accommodate any manufacturer's equipment. REACTIVE TELECOM reused and further developed techniques provided by projects such as SPRINTEL and TELEMARKETPLACE. Prospective users need not make any investment in order to benefit from this new service.
Key issues
REACTIVE TELECOM has built on and further elaborated previous research into the information needs of (public library) users. It has developed tools that permit library staff to create and maintain the databases to be accessed via the above-mentioned networks.
Impact and results
This project contributes towards enhancing the role of public libraries as providers of information for the general public. It developed new ways of rendering traditional and innovative services more cost-effectively and more conveniently.
The main deliverable is the fully developed and tested prototype system at sites in Belgium and the UK. Research results, analyses, designs, specifications, test evaluations, and technical documentation are all classified as confidential. Within the public domain are :
  • Documentation for marketing actions;
  • Guidelines on marketing and on using the educational package;
  • Report on marketing actions targeted at the general public;
  • Final report.


Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
Centrale Openbare Bibliotheek Leuven B-3000 LEUVEN BE
Title, First Name, Name Mr. Jan VAN VAERENBERGH
Address: Vanderkelenstraat 28
Tel: +32-16-22 87 36 Fax: +32-16-23 40 06
E-mail 1: E-mail 2:

Other Partners

Name of Institution/Organisation Country Role
Borough Council of Gateshead UK P
Royal County of Berkshire, Library and Information Service UK P
Clwyd County Council, Library and Information Service UK P
Voxtron Europe N.V. BE P

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