Visitors to the upcoming 11th National Biotechnology Week (NBW), slated from November 23-28, 2015 at  SM City Dasma in Cavite,  can learn more about biotechnology with the help of the internationally acclaimed STARBOOKS or Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosks, a digital science library developed by the Department of Science and Technology-Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII).

STARBOOKS, dubbed “library in a box,” will be among the technologies to be featured during the event, with STII personnel on hand to assist individuals willing to try the research tool.

The Philippines’ first digital science library, STARBOOKS is a standalone information source containing thousands of local and foreign science and technology resources in various formats, with user-friendly interface placed in specially designed pods. It contains books, magazines, journals, scientific and research papers, livelihood videos, and Britannica Ultimate Encyclopedia covering topics on food and nutrition, health and medicine, energy, environment, livelihood technologies, biotechnology, among others.

Not your ordinary digital library, STARBOOKS was recognized by the international community as it was awarded with the American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects last June 29, 2015 at the San Francisco Library in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. According to ALA, STARBOOKS was acknowledged for “making science and technology materials available to the general public in remote areas that have few information resources, no libraries and little or no internet connectivity”.

Just recently, STARBOOKS was one of the many product technologies from the ASEAN region exhibited during the Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair (KLESF) last October 30- November 1, 2015 at the MINES International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Malaysia. The KLESF is an initiative aimed to promote interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among primary and secondary school students.

As of October 2015, 749 units of STARBOOKS have already been deployed in all regions of the country since its launching in 2011, benefitting not only students, but also science professionals, S&T aficionados, researchers, technopreneurs, and other people who want to learn more about S&T.

Aside from the actual kiosks, STARBOOKS is also available online.

The 11th NBW is an annual event providing a platform for scientists, policymakers, the private sector, and students to come together and share stories on how innovations on biotechnology have benefitted their lives. It bears the theme “Bioteknolohiya: Kaagapay ng Mamamayan sa Pambansang Kaunlaran” and the tagline “Angat tayo sa Bioteknolohiya.” It is co-organized by DOST along with the DOH, DA, DENR, DILG, DTI, DepEd, CHED, and the Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines.

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