Joint Project will give Ohio Higher Education New Edge in Access to and Delivery of Electronic Information and Data

Columbus, Ohio -- March 10, 1997 -- A new project now underway will provide Ohio's public college nd university students and faculty, a growing number of the state's private colleges, and the State Library of Ohio with instantaneous electronic access to a range of valuable materials, information and data which are currently hard-to-find and/or available in non-circulating form only. Thanks to a new partnership between the Ohio Library and Information network (OhioLINK) and the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC), state-funded entities established under the sponsorship of the Ohio Board of Regents to support higher education instruction and research programs in the age of technology, electronic versions of materials such as complex satellite images, pictures of artifacts and paintings, maps, and numeric data from the United States government will be soon accessible via the Internet.

"Because the state's elected officials decided in previous budget periods to invest what was needed to create and sustain OhioLINK and the Ohio Supercomputer Center, Ohio is today a national leader in providing its colleges and universities shared, cost-effective access to high-speed computing, academic library holdings, and information databases," said Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Elaine H. Hairston. "This new project will further strengthen Ohio's leadership edge, and it exemplifies higher education's commitment to improving quality through sound resource management."

Over the next several years, OhioLINK and OSC will create a central access system for digital images, as well as geographic and numeric data. OhioLINK and its participating libraries will collect the information; OSC will serve as a large-scale electronic storage facility, and will provide a high-speed connection to the Internet through its networking initiative. The Ohio Supercomputer Center has multi-terabyte storage capacity, with each terabyte representing the equivalent of approximately 138 million typed pages.

OSC and OhioLINK will begin installing the computer system for the project this summer. Patrons will begin to have access to some data collections starting this fall, with more information becoming available as specific projects are added to the system.

"This collaboration takes advantage of OSC's strength in high-end, leading-edge computing technologies and OhioLINK's ability to provide statewide information resources," said Ohio Supercomputer Center Director Charlie Bender. "Resource-sharing projects like these enable us to position Ohio colleges and universities at the forefront of technology-based education."

OhioLINK Executive Director Tom Sanville agreed. "This is the most cost-effective means for OhioLINK to fulfill its mission of enriching the quality of higher education throughout the state by providing access to resources normally not affordable or manageable by individual libraries," Sanville said.

Not only will the images, geographic and numeric data aid students' research, the system will allow instructors to create unique reserve collections of images or data sets for use in classroom instruction, and provide an outlet for them to publish their own research. The system itself will serve as a source for research opportunities for students and faculty in computer science and related disciplines.

Information owned by OhioLINK-participating libraries that becomes part of this new system can eventually be made available statewide beyond the academic community, aiding K-12 education and broadening access to Ohio residents, much as the Central Catalog has done for the last five years.  

OhioLINK is a consortium of 54 libraries from Ohio universities, colleges, community colleges and the State Library of Ohio. The Ohio Board of Regents determined the need for a network of libraries in 1989. In 1992, the system went online with a central union catalog of six university libraries. Now more than 500,000 students, faculty and staff have access to OhioLINK's integrated local and central catalogs, an online borrowing system, 57 research databases and document delivery services. For more information about OhioLINK, visit the WWW site at http://www.ohiolink.eduor call (614) 728-3600 ext. 329.

 The Ohio Supercomputer Center is a state-funded center serving Ohio's higher education community. OSC's peer-review process offers computing resources to more than 1,250 faculty and student researchers seeking answers to cutting-edge problems or for classroom instruction. The Center's high performance computing and visualization equipment includes a Cray Y-MP, T3D, DEC Alpha cluster, IBM SP2, Convex Exemplar and SGI Power Challenge. OSC Networking provides Internet service to all of higher education, state government, many K-12 schools and commercial clients. For more information about OSC visit http://www.osc.edu or call (614) 292-6067.

For more information, contact:
Tara Porczak
Communications Manager
OhioLINK
tara@ohiolink.edu
phone: (614) 728-3600, ext. 329

PROJECT FACT SHEET

More information on the three components of OhioLINK new services:

Digital Images
Images will be viewed through the World Wide Web interface individually or as part of a collection. By using scanners, OhioLINK participating institutions will be able to contribute images to the system, making parts of their collections available statewide that were previously unavailable except for in-library use, such as maps, slides and archival materials. OhioLINK also will purchase image collections from commercial sources to deepen the breadth of material available.

Scientific and Social Science Numeric Data
Most of the numeric information will fall into two categories: social sciences, such as government, and scientific data. Government information, for example the census, always has been free and available to everyone, but being organized through this new system, the information will be much more accessible and pliable. Much scientific information, such as chemical data, is currently not uniformly available statewide; mounting the information centrally will allow all OhioLINK patrons access to detailed data. Students at both four-year and two-year colleges need access to numeric data. Users will be able to get theanswer to a specific question, "What is the population of Peru?" or obtain a data set to analyze in detail, such as the monthly temperature measurements for all of the weather stations in Northern California.

Geographic Data
U.S. government geographical data currently available at OhioLINK institutions represents only a tiny fraction of the total data available. With more and more data being created, there needs to be an effective way to manage the deluge and turn it into useful information. Up to now, these geographic data files have been made available by various individual libraries efforts. The data varies from institution to institution and the efforts required to mount the information are being duplicated. Central access means that the work must be done only once, providing wider set of information to all patrons statewide. Through OhioLINK, users will be able to find, select and retrieve portions or all of a geographic data collection. The answer to "Where is a place with a median rainfall below 10 inches?" becomes not just a listing, but a three-dimensional map of each location for the user to study.

LIBRARIES FROM THE FOLLOWING INSTITUTIONS ARE PARTICIPANTS IN OHIOLINK (AS OF 3/10/97):

University of Akron
Belmont Technical College
Bowling Green State University
Capital University
Case Western Reserve University
Cedarville College
Central Ohio Technical College
Central State University
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati State Tech. & Community College
Clark State Community College
Cleveland State University
Columbus State Community College
Cuyahoga Community College
University of Dayton
Denison University
Edison Community College
Hocking College
Jefferson Community College
Kent State University
Kenyon College
Lakeland Community College
Lima Technical College
Lorain County Community College
Marion Technical College
Medical College of Ohio
Miami University
College of Mount St. Joseph
Mount Vernon Nazarene College
Muskingum Technical College
North Central Technical College
Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine
Northwest State Community College
Oberlin College
Ohio Dominican College
Ohio Northern University
The Ohio State University
Ohio University
Ohio Wesleyan University
Owens Community College
Rio Grande Community College/University
Shawnee State University
Sinclair Community College
Southern State Community College
Stark Technical College
State Library of Ohio
Terra Community College
University of Toledo
Ursuline College
Washington State Community College
College of Wooster
Wright State University
Xavier University
Youngstown State University