Desa Informasi: Local Content Global Reach
Liauw Toong Tjiek (Aditya Nugraha) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Library – Petra Christian University, Surabaya – INDONESIA
Presented at the 2005 Seminar of the International Council on Archives – East Lansing,
MI – U.S.A. (Sep 6-9, 2005)
This paper describes the Local eContent Development project, named Desa Informasi
(Information Village), being carried out in Petra Christian University, Surabaya –
Indonesia. It talks about the various information resources that are being collected as
digital learning resources, how they are collected, and experience and problems
encountered in the collection process. The paper also describes the impacts of the project
to the campus community and the society, and how projects such as Desa Informasi are
important especially for developing countries. It finally explores the blurring boundaries
of libraries, archives, and museums.
Desa Informasi or Information Village (http://www.petra.ac.id/desa- informasi) is the
name adopted for the Local eContent Development project being carried out in Petra
Christian University Library, Surabaya – Indonesia. It is a project similar to what is
usually defined as Institutional Repository. Based on its definition, SPARC defined the
content of an Institutional Repository as materials that are: “scholarly; produced,
submitted, or sponsored by an institution’s faculty (and, optionally, students), or other
authorized agents; non-ephe meral; and licensable in perpetuity” (Crow, 2002:25).
However in the context of this project and paper, Local eContent is defined as digital
information resources with local flavor. They have the characteristics of being locally-
produced and/or containing features of local entities (persons/groups, institutions,
events, geography, culture, etc.). The second characteristic is an extension from the
SPARC’s definition, which will have impacts on the types of resources collected. As
comparisons one can look at MIT’s DSpace, which Lynch mentioned as the most general
purpose example of Institutional Repository and University of Southampton’s Eprints as
a more specific one (Lynch, 2003).
Desa or village bestows the localness of the information content. Informasi or
information – especially in its digital format – epitomizes entities having global reach.
Each collection in Desa Informasi has a name assigned to reflect the characteristics of the
content and available only in digital format. There are however a small number of items
that are also available in their original tangible media. Desa Informasi is the umbrella
name selected to represent the whole ‘village’ of Local eContent information resources.
The project started out as a simple conversion project, converting a collection of students’
theses in hardcopy format into digital format stored in CD Roms to save library space. It
then developed into a much bigger project as various local information resources were
identified within Petra Christian University.
It is important to mention that there is a widespread perception among Indonesians that
everything from overseas is good, and everything local is mediocre. This perception is
also insidiously prevalent among librarians and other information workers. It has
contributed to the low appreciation of local information resources, which in the end
impeding the development of such resources.
Thus the project serves two purposes. It generates various local information resources to
be used as learning resources for various user communities. It also serves as a showcase
to establish precedence that something local can be of good quality, annulling the
negative prevalent perception that everything local is mediocre. In this context
digitization adds the appeal of the information resources to users, besides the obvious
advantage of digitization, which is broadening the access to the resources.
Local eContent Collections in Desa Informasi
The following Local eContent collections are currently available in Desa Informasi:
• Digital Theses: Petra Christian University theses collection in digital format; mostly
PDF documents. There are also an increasing number of multimedia resources
generated by the Faculty of Art and Design.
• eDIMENSI: digital version of articles of DIMENSI, scientific journals published by
various academic departments of Petra Christian University.
• Petra@rt Gallery: works of art by Petra Christian University communities (mostly
students’ works) or works of art that are
exhibited/displayed at Petra Christian
University campus ; mostly photographs. The
collection contains wonderful visual
resources, capturing and immortalizing the
intrinsic knowledge and values of art in the
works documented. Some of the wonderful
themes are the Visual Poetry, Café Décor,
Batik pattern in Nusantara Bersatu Chairs of Indonesia, Destination Branded,
Nusantara Bersatu (United Archipelago), etc.
• Petra iPoster: posters of events or issues related to Petra Christian University.
• Petra Chronicle: historical documents of Petra Christian University.
• Surabaya Memory: docume ntation of Surabaya city’s historical and cultural heritage;
mostly old documents, photographs, and maps. However a number of Digital Theses
documents – that capture the development of Surabaya city historically, socially,
culturally, and economically – are also included in this collection.
As comparisons, SPARC lists possible content of an Institutional Repository as published
material and gray literature. Gray literature includes preprints, curriculum support and
teaching materials, and electronic theses and dissertations (Crow, 2002:25-29).
It is clear from the comparison that Desa Informasi has broadened the scope of possible
contents collected. All the above collections can be searched and browsed from the
library online catalog accessible at http://dewey.petra.ac.id. The online catalog integrates
the digital collections into the whole library resources by providing a universal user
interface for traditional (metada only) and digital collections (metadata and full-
text/image). The user interface of the online catalog for digital collections is designed to
maximize the user experience in exploring the wealth of the resources. However technical
aspects, including the development of the user interface, are beyond the scope of this
Universal User Interface for Local eContent Collections – Petra Christian University Library
How the Collections are Developed
There are numerous ways in which the Local eContent collections are developed with one
thing in common among the m, which is utilizing the formal administrative systems of the
university. However they were usually collected sporadically in their initial stages of
development until the formal collection systems are established. Digital Theses collection
is developed through the deposit system developed by the library, which has been
endorsed and supported by the university president. All academic departments have
implemented the system. eDIMENSI collection is developed through a formal
cooperation with the University Research Center, the administrator of the publication of
DIMENSI journals. Petra iPoster is developed through a formal cooperation with the
University Public Relation Office, which is responsible for the endorsement of all forms
of publication inside the campus. Petra Chronicle collection is still in its initial stage with
a foreseeable collection system that will involve the University Public Relation Office.
In addition to resources with obvious means of collection, there are some categories of
resources that require new and different methods of acquisition. Petra@rt Gallery hosts
collections from various sources. Most are not well defined in the formal administrative
systems of the university. The sources can be from students’ works as requirements for
some of their courses, or works by faculty and staff members. Some have specific
patterns that can be observed, predicted, and so, anticipated. For example there are some
courses that consistently require a final project/product to be produced. For these
instances the library is currently working a formal system for collecting the resources
through the curriculum with several departments and their faculty members. The
expected system would be a requirement for students of these courses to submit a
documentation of their projects/products to the department or library as part of the
grading system. However there are some sources that have no specific pattern, which
makes it difficult – if not impossible – to define a formal system for documenting the
resources. A faculty member might decide to require a final project/product in one
semester but not for the other. Students, faculty, and staff members can also produce
works of art in ad hoc committees, or just for fun. For these instances the library should
take proactive approaches in monitoring its environment and user communities.
Approaches have also been made to the university administrators to include
documentation steps in the standard operating procedures for ad hoc committees. This
way the resulting documented resources would be the results of premeditated or
conscious efforts, rather than spontaneous or spur-of-the- moment ones.
Surabaya Memory is a unique collection in terms of how its collection is developed.
There is no specific set of procedures for developing its content. This is due to the fact
that the content has been developed through the contribution of the people of Surabaya.
The library merely catalogs the contributed resources. This specific nature of Surabaya
Memory has led the library to empha size in promotion and community outreach
programs as the strategic approaches to develop the collection.
Although Desa Informasi
there are occasions, where
the physical ‘artifacts’ are
also collected. However
Desa Informasi limits itself
to collecting only paper-
based and CD Rom-based
‘artifacts’ due to
constraints in storage
space. Quality and value
are the two criteria for the
decision to collect them.
Some works embody
Various ‘artifacts’ of Local Content resources
values that are very local; some have high values in pub lic-related issues. The ‘artifacts’
are treated as special collections of the Library. Library users can browse through them
on the shelves or other storage compartments. The ‘artifacts’ are also used in the physical
exhibitions in or outside of Petra Christian University library. It is clear in this situation
that some kind of appraisal decision is made in the acquisition process of the ‘artifacts.’ It
is similar to the judgments that are usually made in the acquisition of archival materials.
The development of Local eContent collections in Petra Christian Universtiy Library has
had positive impacts. It has managed to capture and preserve the intrinsic content of
information and/or knowledge in the various works documented, resulting in various
learning resources that library users and campus communities can use. The project has
reinforced the role of the Library as the manager of information and/or knowledge of the
institution. It also serves as a model for other libraries to initiate similar initiatives. In
addition to the resulted learning resources, the development of Local eContent collections
has also increased the visibility of various academic departments, which have served as
the sources of the Local eContent collections. The visibility of the library has increased
significantly too, both inside the campus as well as in the society in general. This has led
to increased acknowledgement and appreciation from the administrators, campus
communities, library communities, and the society. This is especially true since the
collections developed have certain appeals to various user communities.
Local Content Global Reach
The appeal of Local eContent collections lies in the local
characteristics of the collection on one side and the
globally-accessible nature of the collection on the other
side. There is the paradox of globalization. The more
global the world becomes, the more emphasis will be
placed on local content resources. The value of local
content resources will increase further as they become
accessible globally, which means that they can be easily
accessed globally (through the Internet) and/or their
values/meanings can be understood by global information
users. The issue is a crucial one for developing countries
since the advancement of science and art has largely been
defined by the west. Local eContent collections have
provided developing countries opportunities to contribute Local Features
and enrich the process, thus leading it into a more holistic Global Perception
Developing Local eContent collections will also change local communities in developing
countries from consumers of information into producers of information. This will
contribute to the empowerment of local communities. Local communities are able to
contribute to the global community and, in the process, they develop into much more
culturally self-assured societies.
Beyond the Digital Collections
The empowerment of local communities is achieved through various efforts in advocating
the awareness, development, and use of Local eContent collections. The development
process of Local eContent collections has had positive impacts on the campus
communities. The knowledge that their works might be immortalized in Desa Informasi,
which will be accessible globally, has provided students and faculty members with
motivation to produce better works. They also become more aware of copyright and
plagiarism issues in the production of the works.
The digital library system developed for Desa Informasi has also been very beneficial to
various academic departments and non-academic units, which had struggled to find some
kind of documentation systems for their locally-produced works or resources. Desa
Informasi has provided a perfect solution for their needs. This is especially true since the
digital library system provides better user interface, and much more powerful search and
browse functionalities. This is very true in comparison to the simple CD Rom
documentation system planned already by some academic departments and non-academic
units. Desa Informasi has upgraded their initial plan from a simple documentation system
into a full- fledged digital information/resource management system. The system has
enabled the resources documented to be re-used as learning resources more effectively.
The promotional efforts of Desa Informasi have increased the visibility of some academic
departments and non-academic units in the society. The efforts have been in the forms of
online and offline (physical) exhibitions inside and outside of library or campus, the
creation of a thematic
website for each collection,
and other community
outreach programs and
activities related to the
Informasi has even been
used as one of the selling
points of the university and
has always been included
in the marketing efforts of
the university. It seems
that increased visibility is
always a by-product of
projects as suggested by
Offline Exhibition of Desa Informasi Johnson (Johnson, 2002).
Offline exhibitions have been conducted inside and outside of the library, featuring
various works and resources produced by the campus communities. For example, the
Faculty of Art and Design has featured numerous works of art in several library
exhibitions. The availability of the library space to be used as exhibition space has been
tremendously bene ficial since the Faculty has not yet had any art gallery to exhibit works
of art by its students and faculty members. On the other hand the library is greatly
assisted in its efforts in organizing thematic exhibitions. The Faculty has been an endless
source of exhibition content s. Library users are also benefiting from the cooperation.
They are exposed to resources on various topics of science, history, and art. The
exposures will enrich their learning experience and broaden their worldview. As of the
time this paper was written, online exhibition is still on planning stage.
Websites have also been developed for some of the Local eContent collections to expand
the reach and impact of the digital collections. With a Local eContent collection as the
core feature, each website has performed its role in educating the society in various issues
related to the Local eContent collection it hosts. For example, the Surabaya Memory
website ( available at http://surabaya- memory.petra.ac.id) brings forward public issues
related to the documentation and preservation of Surabaya city’s historical and cultural
heritage. The newly created Digital Theses’ website (http://www.petra.ac.id/digital-
theses) will feature information regarding academic honesty, plagiarism, copyright, and
other related issues. The planned Petra@rt Gallery website will perform its roles in
educating the public on the issues of art and the appreciation of it, besides entertaining its
visitors with visually pleasing online exhibitions.
The educational roles of Desa Informasi can be expanded further by organizing
community outreach programs that really come into contact with the society in
meaningful ways. Beginning Sep 2005, Surabaya Memory will organize Surabaya
Heritage Walk. The public will be able to participate in the Heritage Walk, which will be
offered regularly throughout the year. The program will encourage public awareness on
the preservation of the historical and cultural heritage of the city. Besides, it all happens
while people are having fun. The program is a joint effort by the Tourism Department,
Architecture Department, and the Library of Petra Christian University.
The Blurring Boundaries
The collection development of Desa Informasi, and
its supplementary programs and activities have taken
the project to the exploration of the blurring
boundaries of libraries, archives, and museums. The
types of resources collected have stretched to the
domain of archives and museums. Similar condition
applies to the acquisition process, the outreach
programs and activities conducted, and the
educational functions of the collections and websites.
Although Desa Informasi was initially started as a
library project, it is no longer performing library LC = Local Content development
functions only. It has overlapped into the domains of
archives and museums.
In this context, Desa Informasi will play important roles in preserving (at least) digitally
local historical and cultural heritage, thus preserving the collective memory of local
communities. Similar efforts are in great need in Indonesia due to the frequent natural
disasters and social/religious unrests that have caused destruction to numerous libraries,
archives, and museum across the country along with their invaluable local content
collections. Social/religious unrest in Ambon, and the recent tsunami in Aceh and Nias
have only emphasized the importance of the documentation efforts such as Surabaya
Memory. The availability of the digital documents will compensate (even only partially)
for the loss of the physical/tangible documents.
Local eContent project such as Desa Informasi has
strengthened the role of Petra Christian University Library
as facilitator of learning process in its local academic
communities and the society in general. The achievement
is a result of continuous collection development efforts,
cooperation with academic departments and non-academic
units, promotional activities, and various community
outreach programs (online and offline). The project has
encouraged local academic communities to produce better
works. Secondly, the project, which was started as a library
project to develop learning resources, has proved to be able
to fulfill the needs of academic departments and non-
academic units in terms of a digital documentation system.
The project also showed that Local eContent collections do
have high values and educational impacts on the society,
enabling university libraries to reach out to user
communities that are traditionally outside of their
professional scope and responsibility. This last point is
proved to be an effective and powerful marketing for the
university. Promotional Banner of
Regarding the Local eContent resources themselves, three
lessons were learned. First, digitizing Local Content resources does add their appeals
significantly. Users that traditiona lly had no interest in them might be enticed to take a
look at the resources, thus opening a whole new set of possibilities of their usage.
Second, (and still related to the first lesson) it is crucial to use exotic names for the
collections to allure users to exploit the resources for their academic and non-academic
purposes. This second point, again, is proved to be a powerful marketing for the library,
academic departments, or even the university as a whole. Third, the development of
Local eContent collections as learning resources has led to the exploration of the blurring
boundaries of libraries, archives, and museums.
The author wishes to thank the following institutions for funding the project:
1. United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (UBCHEA) – U.S.A.
2. Van Deventer Maas-Stichting – The Netherlands
References and Further Readings
Crow, Raym. 2002. SPARC Institutional Repository Checklist & Resource Guide.
Washington, D.C.: The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition.
Johnson, Richard K. (November 2002). Institutional Repositories: Partnering with
Faculty to Enhance Scholarly Communication. Aug 12, 2004.
Lynch, Clifford A. (February 2003). Institutional Repositories: Essential Infrastructure
for Scholarship in the Digital Age. Aug 12, 2004.