Science and Technology Academic-Research Based Openly Operated KioskS (STARBOOKS)
Department of Science and Technology - Science and Technology Information Institute

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The advancement of technologies was beneficial to mankind, as it provided convenience in the access of information. These transformations allowed people to get hold of information within their touch, which decreased their need to go to libraries to search for physical references. In 2011 there was a decrease in library users of the Department of Science and Technology-Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII) Library. The Library has a huge collection of Science and Technology (S&T) information and other general references that caters to students, teachers, and other professionals. A factor in the decline of the library users is its inaccessible location as most users are usually just from nearby areas – Taguig City, and Paranaque City in Metro Manila, Philippines. A gap is also present in those areas these technologies cannot reach. A survey conducted in 2012 revealed that 88 percent of elementary and secondary schools in the country have little or no access to the information highway. Most of the time, it is the location of the schools that limits it from the reach of electricity and/or internet connection. Citizens, especially students, from far-flung places have difficulties in acquiring the information they need, and can only rely on the limited resources their community or school provides. The lack of research facilities, mostly in schools, creates a digital divide between those who have and who do not have access to timely and relevant S&T information.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
To bridge this gap, DOST-STII launched the Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly-Operated KioskS or STARBOOKS, inspired by the saying “If Muhammad will not go to the mountain, the mountain must come to Muhammad.” The general idea for the project was to bring the information to those without access to it. STARBOOKS was carefully designed to be a library in a box, which can be easily transported and used without Internet connection.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
STARBOOKS, the first digital science library in the Philippines, is a stand-alone information source designed to reach those with limited or no access to information. The project aims to provide S&T based educational and learning resources in various formats to geographically-isolated and economically-challenged schools and local government units (LGUs) throughout the country, as well as to enhance the educational competence of students in beneficiary schools. It was also designed to further implement the mandate of DOST-STII to provide S&T information to its stakeholders as well as stimulate interest of the public to science and technology. Every STARBOOKS unit houses a wide range of information that can be utilized by its users. It is easy to transfer and install, and has a user-friendly interface that it can be used by audience of all ages. It works offline, and enables those without internet connection to still have access to S&T information. The continuous update of its contents, allows the project to provide a wide range of information and learning materials to larger audiences, especially those who live on the outliers of urban areas, those who do not enjoy the material benefits and information access of city dwellers. Aside from students and teachers who can access educational materials, the project also serves aspiring entrepreneurs or housewives, who can obtain livelihood modules and training videos. It can also accommodate the needs of LGUs on disaster risks management, and other resources that can help in policy decision-making.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
DOST-STII digitized the content of its library as well as other reference materials to bring the features of the library to the users who need it regardless of their location. Library in a box, as it was described, was designed for easy deployment, installation and use. It uses an offline system to address those areas with limited or no access to the internet. Through the partnership with other agencies, STARBOOKS was able to acquire more resources and deliver new references to its audiences. These include their special collections on Nuclear technology, Math and Science Courseware, Livelihood videos, disaster preparedness and mitigation materials, profiles of Philippine Man and Women of Science and various reference resources in fulltext and video formats. Another feature of the system is the documentation of its client usage. It can record subject access, search history, most viewed videos, most used articles, and list of zero results. The data gathered is used as a basis for content build up and information needs assessment of users.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
DOST-STII, with the assistance of the DOST Regional offices, facilitates the implementation of the initiative. DOST-STII oversees the acquisition and update of the content, monitoring, and evaluation, while the regional offices assist in the deployment and installation of the units. To ensure proper installation and use of the units, DOST-STII conducts trainings to the regional officers and beneficiaries, and meetings to gather feedback from the coordinator for the further improvement of the project. As of February 2017, there are 1,309 STARBOOKS sites in the Philippines: 85% are located at schools, college and universities; 8% are at Local Government Unit; 6% are at other government agencies and; 1% is Non-Government Organizations. DOST-STII is continuously working to double the number of STARBOOKS sites in 2017, to reach more communities, and address the existing information gap.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
In its launch in 2011, STARBOOKS rolled out its first units in the elementary and secondary schools in Region VIII (Eastern Visayas) and IX (Zamboanga Peninsula). After its first deployment, other regions started acquiring STARBOOKS. This prompts DOST-STII to mobilize the DOST Regional Offices to make the distribution easier. During the initial implementation, there is no direct funding for the project. Despite this, an in-house team worked together and created a system using open source technologies, to package digitized S&T materials in a portable system that can operate offline. The system only requires a computer unit, and trained personnel for those who wish to avail STARBOOKS. The recipient only needs to request a unit to DOST-STII, and if the facilities fit the recommended specification of the system, it will then be deployed and used. This simple process encouraged public institutions, LGUs and schools to procure the system.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
DOST-STII was the main proponent of the initiative as it hoped to address the information gap of S&T materials to those in far-flung areas. DOST-STII is the information and marketing arm of the Department of Science and Technology, responsible for the establishment of S&T databank and library, dissemination of S&T information to its intended audience, and conduct of trainings on S&T information. The DOST Regional Offices assist DOST-STII in the distribution and installation of STARBOOKS. This simplifies the process in acquiring the system. DOST-STII partnered with other government agencies such as the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) to improve and provide more relevant content for the intended audiences.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
STARBOOKS received many recognitions in local and foreign institutions. It was presented in the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress held in Lyon, France in 2014. In 2015, it was one of the four recipients of the American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Citation for innovative international Library Projects. It was also awarded the Outstanding Library Program of the Year by the Philippine Association of Academic and Research Librarians during their 43rd Annual General Assembly. In 2017, STARBOOKS will once again be honored at the Anvil Awards of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines, a prestigious awarding event to give recognition to outstanding public relations programs, tools, and personalities. As of February 2017, STARBOOKS has already deployed 1,292 units all over the country, 85 percent of these units were distributed to schools and universities, while others are dispersed in LGUs, other government agencies, non government organizations, and private institutions. STARBOOKS also went lengths to distribute its units to two indigenous people communities.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main challenge the project has encountered was its lack of funding. When it was launched in 2011, STARBOOKS overcame this obstacle by seeking sponsorships from other agencies. Another obstacle was the lack of human resources to facilitate the deployment of the units. This prompt DOST-STII to seek assistance from the DOST Regional Offices for the deployment of the units to its beneficiaries. Lastly, to be able to be utilized by a larger audience, STARBOOKS needed more diverse content, thus it partnered with different government agencies that provided modules that can be used by different types of audiences.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
STARBOOKS provides an easy and instant access of information to its users. The availability of the S&T information, especially in schools, adds a wide range of references that the students and teachers can use in their learning. Its convenient interface enables its users to gather information with just a single click. Since it is a database of information stored in a computer unit, it aids the country’s problem in providing research facilities to the schools, as it is easy to deploy and free of charge. More importantly, with the convenience of STARBOOKS allows its users to have higher information literacy and affinity for learning. This is because the information can immediately reach the audience . For LGUs and Non Government Organizations (NGOs), STARBOOKS are utilized by aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as housewives who wished to have extra income to support their everyday living. DOST-STII continues to partner with other agencies to give more modules on livelihood and offer options to its users on the ventures they want to take part in. STARBOOKS are also used by the local government officials, especially in disaster risk management. The materials on disaster risk management guides the officials to make informed choices on disaster preparedness, especially since the country is prone to natural calamites. With knowing how these calamities work and how to prepare for such to happen, LGUs can take action to lessen casualties and damages.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Department of Science and Technology - Science and Technology Information Institute
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Alan Taule
Title:   Mr.  
Telephone/ Fax:   837-7518
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   dost.starbooks@gmail.com  
Address:   Gen. Santos Ave., Upper Bicutan
Postal Code:   1631
City:   Taguig City
State/Province:   Metro Manila
Country:  

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