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Digital knowledge for a smart university

Doctor Nguyen Hoang Son, director of the Centre for Information and Libraries at the Hanoi National University of Education, and Vice President of the Vietnam Libraries Association, talks about the development of a digital centre 

for an intelligent university in Vietnam.

Students of the National University of Hanoi work in a group at the university's library. — Photo

What contributions has the Centre for Information and Libraries made to the national education sector?

After 20 years of operation and development, the centre has become a leading library in the country with almost 45,000 textbooks and reference materials which are all in digital format, plus some 33,000 theses and scientific research papers kept available in an open digital format and some 4,100 online electronic magazines. The centre has published 114,000 books and 400 magazines. And what’s more important is the library is now automated and open 24 hours a day. Worthy of note, in May 2020 the library was ranked the 75th leading university library in the world.

Can you tell us about the knowledge that Vietnamese students have acquired from the centre?

In late 2019, the centre conducted a survey of 4,000 school pupils and university students about what they had gained through reading books from the library. They said that they had gained 49 per cent of their knowledge from reading books from the library, 40 per cent from teachers/lecturers, and 11 per cent from other sources. It is reported that in 2019 some 6.6 million people had used library services – an increase of 74 per cent against 2018 and an increase of 717 per cent compared with 2015.

A questionnaire conducted among library users found that more than 90 per cent were satisfied with library services.

What about the digital application of library services?

To meet the demand of over 40,000 students and university staff, there is no other way better for the library than to use digital technology. The centre has set a road map to digitalise all the library data to give users better access to the information they are searching for. In addition, advanced technology has been introduced to help users access most of the books/materials they want through the use of Webometrics or electronic books ScienceDirect, Springer Nature and others. Furthermore, the centre has created an Open Access database free of charge for anyone who wants to retrieve data or information from the Hanoi National University.

Will you please tell us a bit more about the Hanoi National University’s plan to build an intelligent information centre in the Lang Hoa Lac hi-tech zone?

From 2020-2025, the Library Centre will be developed into a centre for digital knowledge, or VNU-LIC. Once the VNU-LIC is in operation, digital knowledge will be available for all readers. If things go smoothly, by 2024 the VNU-LIC in the Lang Hoa Lac hi-tech zone will be put into operation and everything in there will be totally digitalised with Blockchain technology applied in the library. VNS


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