Workshop on Digital Libraries, 14 –18 December 2002, Khartoum, Sudan, by Sudan British Council with collaboration with Documentation and Information Centre of National Centre for Research and Sudatel Training Centre: THE IMPACT OF NCR-DIC READINESS IN REALIZING SUDAN DIGITAL LIBRARY / By Rafaa Ashmallah Ghobrial||
7. NCR-DIC and TECHNOLOGY
NCR-DIC designed the National Documentation and Information System, which is a repository for Sudanese documents based on the following technologies.
NCR-DIC set up Microfiche in 1990 with funding from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada. The aim was to facilitate the acquisition of documents related to Sudan, which cannot be easily obtained in hard copy. These include government document, theses, existing special library Collections of older documents now out of print, and the documents from Libraries outside Khartoum such as Gezira. Its system fits into the computerized cataloguing system very easily through the microfiche accessioning system. Each document on the fiche is given an accession number and this is added to the Catalogue record on the computer when the document is catalogued. If an online search identifies references on the fiche can be retrieved from the Storage cabinet by using the accession number, as the fiches are stored in accession number sequence
7.2.a CDS/ISIS-BASED LIBRARY SYSTEM
Micro CDS/ISIS is advanced non-numerical information storage and retrieval software developed by UNESCO since 1985. CDS/ISIS is an integrated and Multilanguage package offering all the basic features demanded for a database management system including: database definition; data entry; indexing; retrieval; printing, some utilities; database management and data exchange
CDS/ISIS has become the software of choice for the developing world, but it also enjoys extensive use in Canada, Australia, and Western European countries. Cuba, Vietnam, and China have also used and developed the software for their national libraries and archives. Some of Library institutions of UNSECO members have succeeded in encountering CDS/ISIS databases on the Web.
This paper describes the development of a microcomputer-based system using the Micro CDS/ISIS (English and Arabic versions). It comprises the application interfaces for creating a machine-readable catalogue and for information retrieval. The CDS/ISIS software is distributed free to libraries and information centers all over the world by UNESCO in Sudan, Documentation and Information Centre formerly National Documentation Centre) coordinates the distribution of the software and provides training on it. CDS/ISIS has wide application as an indexing tool but its flexibility has extended its use to library automation applications like cataloguing and information retrieval. This is because CDS/ISIS comes with a built-in subset of the Pascal language that allows local customization and development of user applications and interfaces. Many such customized applications have been reported in the literature (Ghobrial, 1992). Some good interfaces have also been developed to complement the information retrieval capability in CDS/ISIS.
NCR-DIC system developed allows libraries to create machine-readable catalogue based on the standard Common Communication Format (CCF). It is complemented with the information retrieval interface, which has full search and retrieval functions, including keyword searching. The electronic catalogue created form the resource database that can be used to teach and give hands-on experience on on-line information retrieval.
Conversion of record formats of other databases, which are either on CD-ROM or floppy disks to NCR-DIC databases, which is accomplished through conversion programs. Such type of conversion is very limited as compared to keying from keyboard including data elements not available in the imported databases. Generally conversion of original records can be made to suit NCR-DIC database format, which is ISO 2709.
Where as in commercial non-bibliographic databases, such as Access, FoxPro, and DBASE, the fields are defined to some fixed-length, with no sub-fields or repeatable fields. Which is why they are so unsuitable to bibliographic work where there may be many authors, sub-fields, and fields who length cannot be determined before hand. CDS/ISIS is designed for bibliographic record keeping with great flexibility in database design. The only thing that I found missing were templates to pick fields from that match major international standards, such as, US MARC and ISO-2709. Currently, you need to know before hand what Tag numbers to assign and how to name the corresponding field for the desired standard. You can, however, reformat your data in an import or export operation to match a desired standard.
The development of the Windows version was the result of a strategic development policy decision aiming at maintaining the leading role CDS/ISIS has played and is still playing on the international scene, which resulted:
· In the complete rewriting of the software in C++, in order to provide a common standardized language for all the versions (MS-DOS, WINDOWS, and UNIX), thus reducing maintenance costs;
· In the adoption of a multi-platform software development system in order to increase the level of portability to different hardware and operating systems (covering therefore a whole range of computers from stand alone PC's to powerful mini-computers);
· In the implementation of a client-server architecture using market-standard interfaces.
7.2.d Compatibility between the DOS and Windows versions
No conversion is needed when moving from CDS/ISIS DOS to CDS/ISIS for Windows. However, formatting language functions are just 95% compatible. In some cases you may find some syntax errors appearing: you may have to adapt your display format to the new one. In terms of search engine, the two versions are totally compatible: both can use the same I/F (inverted file). The data entry worksheet is also compatible but the screens will appear different.
CDS/ISIS for Windows (WinIsis) is 100% compatible with all Windows Operating Systems
7.2.e CDS/ISIS Application Development Tools
The Windows version of CDS/ISIS can also be used as a platform for developing simple applications using its powerful formatting language. New commands for handling nice presentations are now available as well as hypertext capabilities
7.2.f. Internet tools
A number of tools for making CDS/ISIS databases on the Internet are available. Some of the tools are distributed free-of-charge and available for downloading e.g.
· JavaISIS 3.0 Client/Server suite for CDS/ISIS databases (UNESCO) databases on the Internet. It provides its clients with advanced remote database management functions such as: browse, query, data entry, export and print.
· The WWWISIS server, versions 3 and 4
· ISIAM, publication on NT servers - free (built with ISIS_DLL)