University of Pittsburgh
October 6, 1998

PITT AWARDED NATIONAL GRANT FOR FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND ELECTRONIC DOCUMENT DELIVERY SYSTEM

Contact: 

Sharon Blake

412-624-4364

Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 7 -- The University of Pittsburgh Library System has received a prestigious grant in a pioneering effort to deliver digital copies of Chinese-language academic journal publications from four Chinese research libraries via the Internet to scholars throughout the United States. It is the only document exchange program of its kind in the country.

Pitt's Library System is one of 41 recipients across the country of the first ever National Leadership Grant Awards from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal grant making agency in Washington, D.C.

Pitt will use the $189,000 award to continue a pilot project that establishes a gateway service for U.S. scholars to access, free of charge, hard-to-find Chinese language journal publications located in libraries in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In turn, the system will allow Chinese scholars to access U.S. documents. Pitt's East Asian Library has developed a broad consortium agreement with some of the largest Chinese research libraries -- the Peking University Library, Shanghai Jiaotong University Library, the Chinese University of Hong Kong Library and Fu Ssu-nien Library in Academia Sinica in Taiwan.

"This document delivery system will serve as a model for other libraries around the world," said University Library System Director Rush Miller. "It's really a first step toward a global virtual library, a long-time dream of research libraries everywhere."

"China and other countries of East and Southeast Asia are playing more prominent roles in the world today, " added Peter Zhou, head of Pitt's East Asian Library. "Now scholars in this country can access collections on the other side of the Pacific Ocean as easily as the one down the street."

This unprecedented arrangement will create the largest virtual library of Chinese journal publications and a document delivery system for such publications that are not available in the United States research libraries' collections. Digital copies of Chinese journal articles will be delivered from China, Hong Kong or Taiwan to Pittsburgh, and then sent to the library patrons anywhere in the United States in a fast and economical manner at no cost to the patron.

According to Zhou, this electronic document delivery service with the four academic libraries will provide a viable solution on how to access foreign language journal publications and information from other regions of the world. In an era when many research libraries in the United States are cutting foreign journal subscriptions, this use of technology creates an exciting opportunity for the academic community to enjoy a broad range of library resources outside the United States.

The Institute of Museum and Library Sciences fosters leadership, innovation, and a lifetime of learning by supporting museums and libraries. The Institute's programs help libraries use new technology to identify, preserve and share resources across institutional local, state and now global boundaries.

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NOTE: Directors Miller and Zhou are leaving for China on Friday, Oct. 9, and will be gone several weeks, so please call Sharon Blake immediately to schedule an interview.