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SG PETANI, 1 October 2018 – Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) today obtained a Gold Medal at the 3rd International Innovation & Design in Library & Information Science Competition (InDeLib) held recently at UiTM Kedah here.

Competing in the Innovation category (professional/researcher) alongside other 38 teams, the USM team which comprised of staff members from the Advanced Medical and Dental Institute (IPPT), Centre for Knowledge, Communication & Technology (PPKT) and Hamzah Sendut Library shines with their project called “Touch Lib”.

The USM team was made up of Hasniza Amno, Mohd Jamil Kasim, Siti Fatimah Hashim, Md Naim Salis @ Saleh and Associate Professor Dr. Bakiah Shaharuddin.

Many libraries, including the library at IPPT USM, practised the keeping of records and documentation of library attendance manually, which is the norm.

The manual method of using hard copies to store data has many disadvantages such as the potential loss of data, having spoiled content, the need for extra space for long-term storage and the lack of analytical tools. 

In recognising the problems, the team opted for an automated attendance system which is essential to monitor the attendance of library users. A newly-devised online system was developed using VB6 programming language and PHP to track records and monitor library users, and the system was implemented in May 2018. 

This system was selected due to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness and was named “Touch Lib”, functioning as a tracking system that logs the number of users admitted into the library. A computer and a card reader were utilized to develop and perform the system's operation and they are connected to the scanning function of the identification card in the Library Automation System, namely KOHA and HRMS (Human Resource Management System). 

It would record the date and time of registered users who entered and left the library and it would also gather information on the attendance of the library users, store the data and produce an analysis, which can be used as a valuable base point in making future plans for the library, such as in physical and human resource management, and in designing programmes for the library.

Benefits of the “Touch Lib” system:

1. Being developed in-house, it has a simple log-in/log-out programme to monitor users’ attendance.

2. It uses VB6 programming language and PHP.

3. The system uses an open-source database knows as “MySQL” which has unlimited record-keeping.

4. The system is more flexible and easily customised, making it unique and requiring no extra costs.

5. The system is more accurate and quicker in recording and monitoring users’ attendance.

6. It is a convenient way to recognise all registered or unregistered members, being a prerequisite to enter the library.

7. Statistics may be produced and accessed online and kept in the organisation server.

8. It could function through a wireless or wired network.

InDeLiB is a platform where the library field communities such as librarians, staffs, students and professionals gather and showcase their innovations and designs in the field of library and information science, with two main objectives that are to nurture high-scale innovation culture among library communities in the country and to enhance innovation and best practices regarding libraries that would lead to commercialisation.

The competition was divided into 3 categories, which are Invention (12 teams), Innovation (39 teams) and Design (13 teams), under the theme "Empowering Information Society through Innovation".

Text: Hafiz Meah Ghouse Meah

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