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Digital distinction

Print edition : Jun 15, 2012

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THE library of the Dr NTR University of Health Sciences was the first medical library in the country to provide Internet and e-mail facilities to research scholars. It provided these facilities in the mid-1990s even as the Internet went commercial. The university has since formed the NTRMEDNET Consortium with all teaching institutions affiliated to it for the express purpose of networking and resource sharing. The university's digital library is available to all member-libraries.

The consortium coordinator, Dr C. Padmavathi Devi, said that in the silver jubilee year of the university, the digital library joined the ERMED (Electronic Resources in Medicine) hosted by the National Medical Library and thereby gained access to 2,295 e-journals. The digital library caters to the needs of the students and faculty of affiliated colleges by providing them access to articles from the journals available in the library. It stores the e-journals to which the NTRMEDNET Consortium is a subscriber in compact disc form.

The consortium and digital library cater mainly to the needs of students from 290 institutions. Giving a break-up, the coordinator said that 33 of the colleges that were part of the consortium conducted courses in modern medicine, 21 in dentistry, 193 in nursing, 38 in physiotherapy and five in homoeopathy.

The university strives for the all-round development of students studying in the 348 institutions affiliated to it. These institutions offer courses in diverse medical and therapeutic systems such as modern medicine, dentistry, homoeopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, naturopathy and yoga. Institutions running courses in nursing, physiotherapy and medical laboratory technology are also affiliated to the university. The digital library and consortium was launched in 2006, and 15 desktop computers, routers and other electronic equipment needed for them were purchased in 2008. In 2008, the library subscribed to 795 e-journals and 150 print journals for the benefit of the affiliated colleges, of which there were just 43 then. In the next year, it subscribed to 165 more e-journals and purchased several e-books.

The consortium is today giving its member-libraries trial access to journals published by Wolters Kluwer, Karger, SAGE, OUP, Science Direct, EBSCO and many more publishers. With these successful years of experience, NTRMEDNET Consortium is marching towards expanding its resource base and access facility to the rest of the health science institutions in Andhra Pradesh as a non-profit initiative, Padmavathi Devi said.

The university sees sports activity as a means to promote interaction between the students of its affiliated colleges. It uses archery to teach students the art of focussing. It conducted an all-India inter-university archery contest in 2008-09. Three women students of the university bagged the medals in the competition. M. Rishitha, a student of MNR Medical College, won four gold medals, one silver and one bronze. The Health University Women's Archery team won a number of gold and silver medals in the All-India Inter-University Archery (Men and Women) Championships held by the University of Punjab in 2007 and by the M.L. Sukhadia University, Udaipur, in 2009-10. Gymnastics is another sport that the women students of the university have been excelling in. The University Women's Gymnastics team has won several laurels.

P. Swapna from Osmania Medical College won two gold and two silver medals at the All-India Inter-University Gymnastic Championships held by Kakatiya University in 2005. Cricket and tennis are other games in which the university's students have been able to make a mark in inter-university tournaments.

The university gives cash awards as incentives to medal winners. The cash award for winning gold, silver and bronze medals are Rs.20,000, Rs.15,000 and Rs.10,000 respectively. The university has made it mandatory for every affiliated institute to start a National Service Scheme (NSS) unit. NSS volunteers have taken active part in extending help to communities affected by natural disasters and epidemics. They have collected drugs, clothes and money for distribution among the affected people. They also volunteer to help and regulate crowds at pilgrim centres during festivals.

By educating people on the need for safe blood and the various diseases spread by unsafe blood, the NSS volunteers collected 40,000 units of blood at a blood donation camp, a formidable achievement in these days of blood scarcity. They have also started a campaign to educate the public on the importance of eye donation.

G. Venkataramana Rao

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