STARBOOKS, a digital science library developed by the Department of Science and Technology’s Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII) made its touchdown in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Masbate, Negros Oriental, and Romblon last March and April 2013 when the cutting-edge units – the first of its kind digital library in the Philippines -- were installed for free in the four provinces.

STARBOOKS, or the Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosk Station, is a stand-alone research kiosk which may be accessed even in the absence of internet connection. DOST officials consider it as a “library in a box.”

With fresh and relevant S&T information in thousands of digitized materials in text, video, and audio formats, STARBOOKS is an excellent research medium for students, teachers, journalists, and other interested individuals. The collection includes such diverse topics and resources as food and nutrition, health and medicine, emerging technologies, energy, environment, livelihood technologies, investigatory projects and theses in different fields.

In DOST-CAR, Assistant Regional Dir. Maria Rowena Madarang turned over three STARBOOKS to the provinces of Kalinga, Apayao and Abra represented by their respective science and technology officers at the DOST –CAR Regional Office.

In Masbate, DOST Regional Director Tomas Briñas led the turn-over ceremonies for the groundbreaking research platform. The beneficiaries were the Masbate National Comprehensive High School, Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture, and the local government of Aroroy.

In Negros Oriental, the Dumaguete City Public Library as well as the local government units (LGUs) of Bayawan and Mabinay were added to the list of beneficiaries after DOST-Negros Oriental officials and LGU representatives signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

Meanwhile, around 70 representatives from different educational institutions, government offices and the media attended the STARBOOKS launching at the Provincial Science and Technology Center in Romblon.

Each beneficiary received a server, uninterrupted power supply, and a pod.

With just a few clicks on the keyboard, STARBOOKS can aid students in their studies and research and thus increase their chances of availing scholarships in S&T schools. At the same time, the stand-alone kiosk is also seen to promote greater S&T interest and awareness in the country and encourage more students to take up S&T related courses. The digital library also contains materials useful for entrepreneurs, farmers and other players in the agricultural industry, as well as other S&T related sectors.

According to Annie Lyn Bacani, administrative coordinator of the project, STII chooses recipients from the top 20 poorest provinces in the country based on the survey of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NCSB).

However, the DOST agency may also provide STARBOOKS kiosks to provinces with limited internet connections and those requesting for their installation. Local government units, non-government organizations, and educational institutions are qualified to avail of the technology.

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