ArticleTaking gLibrary to the next level

A couple of weeks back we blogged about gLibrary developed by the Enabling Grids for EsciencE project (EGEE-III) set to transition to the European Grid Initiative next month. The focus of the post was gLibrary as a proof of concept. The Italian group has now been able to demonstrate how the iPhone can be used to access grid enabled digital repositories.

University of Catania

Here’s a snippet of a recent press release by Catherine Gater, EGEE-III Dissemination Manager – “Grid technology comes to the iPhone and Sony PlayStation 3″:

While the EGEE computing grid is known for supplying huge amounts of processing power, it also provides a framework that allows databases and other information sources to be interlinked easily. Teams looking to create global digital repositories can use the grid to give access to their resources to research communities from all over the world. With both smart phones and high speed 3G networks moving rapidly into the mainstream a group of researchers from INFN Catania and University of Catania in Sicily saw an opportunity for an application to allow people access to digital repositories wherever and whenever they want.

Using gLibrary, which is based on the gLite middleware, an organisation can organise, populate, browse, search and access libraries of digital objects that have been stored on a distributed grid system. Accessing these resources from a user’s home machine is quite straightforward but more problematic if the researcher is travelling. This is where smartphones and multi-media devices such as the iPhone and the upcoming iPad show their strengths. Devices of this type are designed for accessing information while on the move but can also handle different types of data, such as videos, audio files, images, documents, spreadsheets and many more.

Using the Catania team’s application, a user can browse the digital libraries stored on the grid from their iPhone, query and inspect all the objects’ metadata and simply tap the screen to download a copy the from the closest storage element. They can choose the closest source either by selecting a location from a list or by using the built-in GPS to calculate their current position. During the event, the browsing of digital repositories of ancient manuscripts (cultural heritage) and satellite data (earth science) created with gLibrary will be demonstrated.

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