One of the nationís publishing houses and the oldest largest independent university in the West have joined professional hands in the establishment of the worldís only automated index of audio-visual materials
McGraw-Hill Book Company of New York has awarded a four-year grant to the University of Southern California for the expansion of its two-year-old automated catalogue project into the National Information for Educational Media (NICEM).
Announcement of the grant was made jointly today by Edward E. Booher, president of McGraw-Hill Book Company, and Dr. Norman Topping, USCís President.
To educators of the world, NICEM can mean instant information on all audio-visual materials ever produced on any given subject.
USC already has on computer tape more than 30,000 entries, primarily motion pictures and film strips. NICEM will add tapes, transparencies, programmed instruction materials, disc recordings, and even art prints.
To this one-of-its-kind memory bank will be added all listings in the 14-volume Educational Media Index, published by McGraw-Hill, which are not already in the USC connection.
Already planned is a new edition of Educational Media Index, into which will go research insights USC has developed in automated cataloguing and McGraw-Hillís experience in the of the first Index.
Techniques developed by USC included the ability to read out from the computer any desired information in a form which permits reproduction directly from computer copy without the necessity of type setting. These techniques will be used in the publication of the new Educational Media Index and other catalogues of materials.
The first of several smaller publications which NICEM will produce will be the Index to 16mm Educational Films, which McGraw-Hill will publish in the Spring. More than 15,000 listings are indicated for this volume which may reach 600 pages in size.
NICEM will represent a unique service to the producers of audio-visual materials, as well as to those who use them, according to those in charge of the project. The Center will provide multi-forms on which a producer can provide subject, description, length of film, producer, distributor and other such information. By returning the multiform to NICEM, the producer will insure his film being in NICEMís memory bank at USC. A monthly Newsletter is planned through which information about new media products can quickly reach audio-visual materials users, libraries, and other resource establishments.
NICEM can trace its origin back about eight years to the time when a man named Glenn McMurry concluded there had to be a better way of cataloguing USCís own rather extensive film holdings than doing it by card file. Interested in the prospects of computer capability, McMurry, who will be the director of NICEM, first taught himself how to program the computer and then "trained" the computer to be his work horse.
Next generation in NICEMís ancestry came with the establishment of the automated cataloguing project for which USCís Dr. James D. Finn, then head of Cinema, obtained financial support from the U.S. Office of Education for a two-year study. Conducted with the cooperation of all non-commercial audio-visual libraries in an eight-county area comprising the Southern section of the A-V Education Assn. of California, the project catalogued all A-V holdings on computer tape.
Success of the project resulted in appeals from school districts, state school systems, and even universities for the application of USC-developed computer cataloguing techniques. McMurry and his small staff have worked for clients as close to home as the Los Angeles county schools and as far away as the State of Hawaii and Boston University, for which it is computer-cataloguing 6000 items.
NICEM will, for the time being, continue to use the IBM 1401 computer in USCís School of Business Administration, although McMurry envisions the time when it will be possible to utilize random access computer facilities.
Looking ahead, McMurry sees many possibilities in NICEMís future. It is believed that, as the information bank develops, it will be possible to initiate a variety of study projects dealing with different types of educational media. For example: The extension of the film library cataloguing service will in time make possible meaningful analysis of the types of film materials available in different educational systems in different parts of the nation.
When sufficient data have been accumulated, it may be feasible to extend the services of the Center to regional film booking facilities. And finally, the time may well come, McMurry and staff believe, when it will be possible for audio-visual specialists to have access to NICEM data directly through on-line computer service.
Organizationally, NICEM will be a part of USCís Division of Cinema, as the automated catalogue project has been. The Division of Cinema, a part of USCís School of Performing Arts, is headed by Dr.Bernard Kantor.
Back to the Main Story