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Nation's libraries urged to go digital

Update: August, 27/2013 - 09:58
Public libraries and those at universities and research institutions should focus on digital materials, experts have urged.— Photo cinet
HCM CITY (VNS)— Public libraries and those at universities and research institutions should focus on digital materials, experts have urged.

Speaking at a conference in HCM City last Friday, Nguyen Minh Hiep, chairman of the Vietnamese Library Association of Southern Academic Libraries underlined the importance of digital materials for libraries.

Pham The Khang, chairman of the Viet Nam Library Association, said an important requirement was software to integrate the digital collections of all libraries to help readers easily access materials.

Associate Professor Doctor Vuong Toan, former deputy head of the Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences, took that a step further, saying libraries should share their digital materials, something that has not been done on a large scale yet.

But there needed to be laws to avoid copyright violations because of sharing, he added.

A study by Associate Professor Doctor Tran Thi Quy of the Social Sciences and Humanities University in Ha Noi found there was no emphasis on copyright of digital materials by libraries.

Her research also found the need to provide more efficient and flexible tools to help library users, namely software to manage digital materials.

Dr Vu Duong Thuy Nga, deputy head of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's library department, noted that open-source software such as Greenstone produced by the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato and developed and distributed in co-operation with UNESCO and the Human Infro NGO had been used by many digital libraries in Viet Nam.

The software helped reduce the cost of establishing digital libraries, considered the biggest challenge in turning traditional libraries into digital ones, she added.

Universities had begun co-operating with technology companies to find technologies and software needed for them to develop digital libraries, she said.

Quy said to develop digital libraries, librarians needed knowledge of IT and foreign languages.

Thus univesities' libraries should update their curricula and existing librarians should be facilitated to improve their qualification.

Nga told Viet Nam News that many libraries have attached importance to digital materials.

For instance, the National Library of Viet Nam had more than 3 million digital materials, she said.

The Viet Nam National University-Ha Noi has invested VND32 billion (US$1.5 million) in an e-book that could help digitise its materials. — VNS

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