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Telematics for Libraries - Projects


Updated: 02 JUL 98

Project Number and Title
3093 - System for Electronic Support of Academic Material
Programme/Action line Call Topic(s) Start End Project Duration
in Months
FP 3/ IV Theme 16 bis March 1995 June 1997 28
OPAC; SR/Z39.50; electronic documents

blue bullet Additional information is available from the SESAM website (

Interfacing in library systems via client-server models such as for library housekeeping functions such as circulation control and for developing new clients interfacing to traditional (e.g. OPAC) and innovative (e.g. electronic documents) library services (Theme: 16 bis)
Project description
The project intended to implement a client server application that enables 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 allows 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 was 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 has linked the client tasks to the actual library management system and OPAC. Document availability has been managed by magneto/optic systems.
The academic libraries have given 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.
Technical approach
The project was 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) has been developed to interconnect to the distributed information sources. Existing technologies and standards have been 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 was via conferences and other events, articles in national and international reviews and Internet discussion fora. A big conference was organised in Rome at the end of the project.
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.
Impact and results
The expected result has been 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.
The main deliverable has been the demonstrable prototype installed at the partner premises. Certain specifications and technical reports are confidential, but in the public domain are:
  • Evaluation of tools and context;
  • Database specification.
  • Hypertext links report;
  • Testing report;
  • Administrator and user guides;
  • Final report.
Further information is available from the contact below or from .


Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
Istituto di Studi sulla Ricerca e Documentazione Scientifica I-00185 ROMA IT
Title, First Name, Name Dr. Augusta Maria PACI Address: Via C. de Lollis 12
Tel: +39-06 44 87 91 Fax: +39-06 44 63 836
E-mail 1: E-mail 2:

Other Partners

Name of Institution/Organisation Country Role
3D Informatica IT P
University of Central Lancashire UK P
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven BE P
Universita de Roma La Sapienza IT P

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