AUSTIN, Texas—President Larry R. Faulkner unveiled plans on Saturday (March 2) for a “Digital Knowledge Gateway,” envisioned as a type and scale of online service that ultimately goes well beyond anything existing today and represents a major new commitment by the institution.
“The university is setting the goal of providing a digital Knowledge Gateway to all Texans,” Faulkner said. “We will provide access for every citizen, via a personalized Internet window, into the resources of our libraries, collections, museums and much more.”
The university is undertaking this initiative to share the great intellectual and cultural treasures of the institution with all the residents of the state to whom they belong. Ultimately, the university’s intention is to be a leading player in an emerging new world where research, learning and scholarly discourse are not limited by the walls of campuses and laboratories.
At the core of the UT Knowledge Gateway are two major, inter-related efforts:
- To greatly accelerate ongoing efforts to digitize and make available online UT-owned resources held in its libraries, museums, collections and other areas. This content will be managed, produced and curated to the highest professional standards. The institution has, for example, more than two million photographs, hundreds of thousands of maps and printed material of great historical importance.
- To deliver this content and related service online via an innovative, personalized online gateway, which customizes access for each user.
Content services that could be realized through the UT Knowledge Gateway include K-12 academic outreach programs to provide students and teachers with access to a full range of online course materials, library materials, curriculum-building resources, virtual learning environments, network access to research data and laboratory equipment.
For example, a high school teacher could use the Knowledge Gateway to find animations of molecular orbits to demonstrate to his or her chemistry class, or students interested in current events could find a detailed map of a foreign county in the news.
The Knowledge Gateway potentially has many thousands of additional benefits and uses, such as:
- A family traveling in France could learn to speak and understand a few key words and phrases in French.
- A public health worker could find important information and contacts on the subject of indoor air quality.
- Modern dance enthusiasts could receive special notices when upcoming performances are scheduled on the campus.
Early examples of global gateway services that exist on the University of Texas at Austin Web site are recognized as some of the world’s premiere gateways to Internet-based information, including The Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC), The Center for Middle Eastern Studies (MENIC) and The Asian Studies Network Information Center (ASNIC).