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In Brief


D-Lib Magazine
April 2002

Volume 8 Number 4

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief

The Middle East Virtual Library - MENALIB

Contributed by:
Lutz Wiederhold
State and University Library Saxony-Anhalt
Halle / Saale

In view of rapidly growing quantities of information and an increasing complexity of its physical presentation, more and more libraries operate in networks in order to be able to provide information as comprehensive as possible to their local users and to remote users who are interested in particular topics. Discussed for the first time in the 1980s, the concept of the virtual library has become a critical issue in the discourse on enhanced access to local resources through networked collections.

In Germany, the development of virtual libraries is supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG — <>) in the framework of DIE VIRTUELLE FACHBIBLIOTHEK (<>). Currently, 15 projects are funded by the DFG. The majority of these projects are realized by libraries with "special subject collections" (Sondersammelgebiete). Since 1949, the special subject collections carry responsibilities that are similar to those of the special collections of national libraries in France, Great Britain, or the Library of Congress in the U.S. Currently, there are 121 special subject collections located at ca. 40 different libraries. Information on the "Sondersammelgebiete" is available from the WEBIS (<>) web pages.

The State and University Library Saxony-Anhalt in Halle (ULB Halle) (<>) is responsible for the Middle East special subject collection and therefore receives funding from the DFG for developing a Middle East Virtual library. In library practice, the term "virtual library" describes a variety of organizational patterns. There are virtual libraries that present search interfaces connecting a number of regional or local OPACs and provide access mainly to printed resources. Other virtual libraries consist of link lists that are often unstructured and maintained by a single person at a single local library.

The Middle East Virtual Library - MENALIB (<>) aims at creating a network of libraries and other information providers with a particular focus on Middle East related materials. In pursuing this objective, MENALIB adopts the concept of the hybrid library, which is absolutely essential since 1) in the field of Middle East studies printed materials will remain the most important source of information for the coming decades, 2) already today online resources are indispensable in getting a complete picture of the region, and 3) digital techniques are vital for data exchange and scholarly discourse in the field of Middle East studies.

Work on MENALIB started in October 2000. The principle objective is to create tools that, in the future, can be utilized by Middle East librarians, scholars and students in building, co-operatively, databases containing information relevant for studying the Middle East and Islam, respectively. In the first period of the project a premium was put on the creation of a subject gateway for Middle-East-related Internet resources. As a result the database ALMISBAH (Arabic: the lamp) was built to provide a selection of evaluated Internet sites together with a set of metadata. These metadata offer a variety of alternative search strategies to the user. New sites may be submitted to ALMISBAH by external partners using an electronic partner form (<>).

A second issue that was addressed in the early stages of the project is the still unsatisfactory situation regarding bibliographical data of articles published in scholarly periodicals. A periodical contents database with focus on Middle East related journals was released in co-operation with the library consortium GBV — containing about 100,000 titles published in 280 journals. Currently, access to this database is limited to German users. However, since MENALIB is oriented towards international co-operation, a new database is currently under development that will be accessible to international users and will facilitate co-ordination of international projects of periodical contents' digitization.

Important elements of the Middle East Virtual Library are the Middle East virtual catalogue <>) currently providing access to the holdings of Tuebingen University Library and ULB Halle and the document delivery service "Vorderer Orient Direkt" <>) which also offers provision of originally printed materials in digitized form.

Further modules of MENALIB that will be put online within the coming months are a dissertation database and a database of conferences and workshops.

ATEEL (Advanced Technology Environmental Education Library)

Contributed by:
Christine Walker
Instructional Designer
Advanced Technology Environmental Education Center (ATE Center of Excellence)
and Eastern Iowa Community College District (EICCD)
Bettendorf, Iowa, USA
Email address <>

ATEEL, an undergraduate environmental education e-library, contains juried resources recommended by educators who are experts in their fields and results from an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant. The Advanced Technology Environmental Education Library serves as a "clearinghouse" of resources for undergraduate students, instructors, and technicians in the environmental technology field.

Environmental technology is defined as a career field that applies the principles of mathematics, science, engineering, communications, and economics to ensure human health and safety, and to manage and protect natural resources. For ATEEL environmental technology has been broken out into thirteen areas, or sectors — air, energy, environmental management, field services, information management, laboratory services, natural resources, pollution prevention, regulatory affairs, remediation, safety and health, solid and hazardous waste, and water and wastewater.

One of the most significant aspects of ATEEL is that our team of experts reviews and recommends the Web sites and other resources. The database of juried links is fully searchable and collects in one place the information an educator, a student, or a technician would otherwise spend hours trying to locate. ATEEL is a time and energy saver with excellent, up-to-date content. If you want more information, please send an email to Christine Walker at <>.

Testbed Digitale Bewaring: Working to Preserve the Digital Memory

Contributed by:
Maureen Potter, Experiment Operator and
Carolien Nout, Communication Advisor
Testbed Digitale Bewaring
The Hague, The Netherlands

Testbed Digitale Bewaring is an initiative of the Dutch government. It was established in October 2000 to carry out research into potential approaches for, and issues surrounding, long term digital preservation.

The problem of keeping digital information usable, authentic and understandable is not new in the Netherlands. Technological obsolescence was identified as a potential problem back in the 1990's. The Digital Longevity programme was established to deal with aspects of record keeping and archival practice that arise from this problem.

The objectives of the programme Testbed Digitale Bewaring are to provide insights in:

  • Authenticity features of digital records
  • Management processes and activities required to capture, generate and maintain metadata that support the ingestion and preservation of long term access to authentic electronic records
  • Cost factors for storing, preserving and managing digital records and associated metadata
  • Technical solutions for the preservation of authentic electronic records
  • The effectiveness of current and potential preservation approaches.

To meet these objectives the Testbed Digitale Bewaring is carrying out experiments in a controlled and secure environment. We are researching three potential approaches to long term preservation: migration, emulation and XML. For more information about these approaches: <

Four record types are under consideration: email, text documents, spreadsheets and databases.

The cumulative results of our experiments will allow for comparative analysis between and across record types and preservation approaches.

For more information about the Testbed Digitale Bewaring visit our website at: <
>. Here you will find further information about the project, including

  • aims, goals and objectives
  • deliverables
  • overview of Digital Longevity activities
  • papers and publications

Also available is an online version of the Testbed Digitale Bewaring Research Database: <

This knowledge bank is a valuable resource for anyone searching for information on the long term preservation of digital information.

OAI-PMH Project at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Contributed by:
Joanne Kaczmarek
Project Coordinator
Illinois OAI-PMH Project
University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois, USA

As one of the seven Mellon-Funded OAI-PMH Projects, Illinois is testing the viability of the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for harvesting cultural heritage metadata. We continue to gather and directly harvest metadata records from interested institutions as the project progresses. The test bed is now available for searching with our preliminary end-user interface:

Basic objectives of the Illinois OAI-PMH Project:

  • Building harvester tools
  • Building domain-specific portals
  • Testing OAI Protocol's ability to enhance resource discoverability

We are building harvester tools and testing the viability of the Protocol to enhance resource discoverability of materials that represent cultural heritage resources. Illinois is collaborating with the University of Michigan, another Mellon-funded OAI-PMH project. We are providing harvester tools to Michigan while they have created and support the XPAT indexing software tools used by both projects.

The collections represented in our repository come from public and research libraries, museums and historical societies, and digital projects. To date we have materials contributed by over 27 institutions represented by nearly 800,000 records.

  • Register as an OAI Metadata Provider

If your institution would like to become a registered OAI Metadata Provider, visit the Open Archives website to get more details. Illinois has OAI Metadata Provider software tools freely available for your use. Please check out the project's main website to learn about these tools: You can also get information about harvester tools, project progress reports, links to other digital projects, related reading materials, and project staff.

  • Contribute records to the Illinois OAI-PMH Project

If you have materials you'd like to contribute to this project but are not ready to become a registered OAI Metadata Provider we can provide "surrogate metadata provider" services for you at no cost. We do this by placing your metadata on our server for the duration of our project. All you need to do is contact us to arrange a transfer of your records.

While we continue to add records to the repository, we also continue to modify and test the harvester tools, how the records are normalized, indexed, searched, and displayed. The project will continue through December 2002. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Please send comments directly to Joanne Kaczmarek: <>.

The Cornucopia Database of UK Collections

Contributed by:
Nick Poole
ICT Adviser
Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries
16 Queen Anne's Gate
London SW1H 9AA

Cornucopia, the Database of UK Museum Collections, has been developed by Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries. The project is a response to the requirement in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) 'Treasures in Trust' report that a way should be found of highlighting the richness and diversity of UK museum collections. Based on information from a variety of sources including regional mapping projects and published information from museums themselves, a fully-searchable online database has been created at <>.

Screen shot from the Cornucopia Web site

Screenshot of the Cornucopia home page.
Copyright Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries.
Used with permission.

A pilot version of Cornucopia went online in 1999 featuring searchable information about 50 museums with collections that have been designated as being pre-eminent. This pilot was then evaluated, and used to create the existing version which contains database entries for c. 1800 UK museums, with detailed collections descriptions for 450 organisations in the West Midlands and South West regions. Planned development for the coming year will see the completion of full records for all the remaining museums in the database as well as a number of pilot projects looking at extending the Cornucopia model to libraries and archives.

The impetus behind the ongoing development of Cornucopia has been the fact that collections are a common feature between the museum, archive and library domains. The technical specifications and terminology for the database have been developed in conjunction with national initiatives and organisations such as the Collections Description Focus at the UK Office of Library and Information Networking (UKOLN). This will ensure that the descriptions contained within Cornucopia can be shared and reused across a range of related web portals including the 24-Hour Museum. This work will pave the way for the creation of interoperable collections descriptions for museums, archives and libraries in the Common Information Environment.

Full documentation of the project, including technical specifications and details of the database structure, have been provided on the Cornucopia website at <>. We are keen to encourage feedback and comments from as wide a user-group as possible: any comments and suggestions should be addressed to Nick Poole, Cornucopia Coordinator at <>.

Electronic Textbook Design Guidelines Available

Ruth Wilson
Research Fellow
Computer and Information Science Department
University of Strathclyde
Glasgow, UK

The EBONI (Electronic Books ON-screen Interface) Project's Electronic Textbook Design Guidelines are now available from the project website at <>.

The guidelines are the result of extensive evaluations of electronic books involving over 200 students, lecturers and researchers from a range of disciplines and backgrounds in UK Higher Education. A variety of styles and techniques used in the design of ebooks were compared, in order to discover the most effective way of representing educational material electronically. Feedback was derived from interviews, think-aloud sessions and subjective satisfaction questionnaires, as well as the results of retrieval and memory tasks.

The guidelines address the two main factors affecting ebook interface design:

  • The on-screen appearance of information
  • The look and feel of ebook hardware

They advise on interface design issues such as use of tables of contents, indexes, colour, images, hypertext, search tools and typographical aspects, and are a valuable resource for all developers of digital educational content, including:

  • Lecturers
  • Writers
  • Publishers
  • Designers
  • Information Professionals
  • Digitisation projects

EBONI, funded under the JISC DNER Programme for Learning and Teaching <> and based at the University of Strathclyde, ran from August 2000 until March 2002. Further information about related research at Strathclyde can be found at <>. Enquiries about the project should be addressed to<>.

The National Library Board (NBL) Hosts Successful Section of Public Libraries (SPL) IFLA Meeting

Contributed by:
Mary Lee
Corporate Communications
National Library Board, Singapore
1 Temasek Avenue
Millenia Tower #06-00
Singapore 039192

"I'm very impressed with libraries under the management of the National Library Board, Singapore (NLB). Obviously, a lot of thought has been put into the design work for the libraries, making them a very good use of public space."

Hearing such words of praise of the NLB libraries can be gratifying indeed, even more so when they are being uttered by Ms. Barbara H. Clubb, Chair of the Section of Public Libraries (SPL), IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions). NLB played host to Ms. Clubb and 13 other committee members, including Ms. Ngian Lek Choh, Senior Director, Library Services, NLB, when they held their Spring Meeting in Singapore from 7 to 8 March 2002 — the first time such an event has been held in Singapore.

The SPL held the meeting in the Marine Parade Community Library, and the group spent the rest of their time visiting NLB libraries, including the venue of their meeting, the Marine Parade Community Library, Mountbatten Community Children's Library, and Woodlands Regional Library. Ms. Clubb, who is also City Librarian of the Ottawa Public Library, Ottawa, Canada, enthusiastically praised "the welcome of the Singapore library community", which she credits for setting the ideal environment for her members to better interact and engage in "some heavy duty discussion and future planning".

Trading Knowledge With The Experts

Hosting the meeting provided NLB staff the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of the IFLA librarians when the Chair, Secretary and two other committee members presented on their projects at Woodlands Regional Library on 11 March. Ms. Clubb spoke about the objectives IFLA and the work of Public Libraries Section and provided an interesting overview of the digitisation programmes in the Canadian libraries. Mr. Borge Sondergard, on the other hand, shared the highlights of the National Library Authority strategies, gave an overview of the Danish Public Library System and showcased examples of the electronic resources built by Danish librarians.

Photo from meeting of the Section on Public Libraries of IFLA, held in Singapore in March 2002

Ms. Ngian Lek Choh, the senior director for Public Library Directorate, and recent member of the SPL, IFLA explaining how NLB's Borrowers' Enquiry & Payment work to meeting attendees. Copyright NLB, Singapore. Used with Permission.

The other two speakers were librarian Ms. Florence Ponce, General Manager of the Book and Reading Department, Ministry of Culture and Communication, France, and Mrs. Torny Kjekstad, Library Director from Bærum Public Library, Norway. Ms. Ponce's presentation featured an exciting "virtual" library tour of France, as well as a discussion of the challenges faced by the French library community. Mrs. Kjekstad spoke of Norway's library services for the elderly and disabled.

The short visit has definitely ignited Ms. Clubb's interest in NLB's work in Singapore. "I would like to come back...I don't think we've truly understood all the elements that make things happen in Singapore's libraries. We've got so much more to learn because we have only scratched the surface in this visit."

IFLA is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession. Founded in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1927, the body is set to celebrate its 75th birthday at a conference scheduled to take place in Glasgow, Scotland later this year. They now have 1622 members in 143 countries around the world.

IFLA's Section of Public Libraries provides an active international forum for the development and promotion of public libraries that serve the whole community in the context of the information society and ensure free and equal access to information at the local level.

Ms. Ngian Lek Choh, Senior Director, Library Services at NLB, represents Singapore as Standing Committee Member of the SPL. The SPL website is at <>.

In the News

Recent Press Releases and Announcements

£1 Million Boost for Innovative Learning Programme

London, 12 April 2002 — "Since 1999 the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has funded the groundbreaking Museums and Galleries Education Programme (MGEP). The Programme has already supported 65 individual innovative museum and gallery education projects aimed at improving links between museums, galleries and schools."

"To build on the outstanding success of the initial programme, additional funding worth GBP1 million is now available for a second phase of the MGEP running between 2002 and 2004. The funding will be administered through Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries."

"When announcing the availability of further funding for Phase 2 of the MGEP Catherine Ashton, Schools Minister, said: "'Schools now have support from the culture sector in providing creative and innovative learning programmes directly linked to the National Curriculum. I want to see more links between museums and schools and that is why we have committed a further GBP1 million to a second phase of the programme.'"

"Chris Batt, Resource's Acting Chief Executive said: 'This funding will guarantee that more pupils aged between 5 and 16 benefit from access to the resources of museums and galleries and that these resources are used to support their classroom based learning. The intention is to fund projects which will use the collections of museums and galleries to contribute to raising standards of achievement in schools by supporting an enriched curriculum.'"

"Criteria for applications for this new tranche of funding are now available, and the DfES and Resource are inviting applications from each of the nine English regional agencies responsible for museums and galleries for the period 2002/04. The Fund will be managed by Resource on behalf of the DfES. A separate fund for contemporary visual art is being developed."

For more information, please contact Ms. Emma Wright at <>.

NISO Z39.50 Maintenance Revision Now at Ballot

Bethesda, Md., USA - (April 10, 2002) "NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, has released for ballot a maintenance revision of NISO's landmark standard Z39.50-1995. This standard specifies a client/server-based protocol for Information Retrieval defining procedures and formats for a client to search a database provided by a server, retrieve database records, and perform related information retrieval functions. The protocol addresses communication between information retrieval applications at the client and server. Balloting will be conducted from March 29 through May 13, 2002. This is a Maintenance Revision, and no existing implementations will be disrupted."

"This maintenance revision incorporates all the corrections, defect reports, and amendments. approved by the ZIG since 1995. These changes include: implementer agreements, amendments such as duplicate detection service and encapsulation, defect reports, commentaries, clarifications, version 3 baseline requirements, Z39.50 attribute architecture, and negotiation model. The Library of Congress is the Maintenance Agency and Registration Authority for the Z39.50 standard, and documentation on these changes can be found on their website at: <>. The draft standard is available for free downloading from the NISO website at <>."

"For additional information contact NISO Headquarters at (301) 654-2512. Email: <>."

NISO Serials Study Underway

Bethesda, Md., USA - (April 8, 2002) "NISO, the National Information Standards Organization has been asked to undertake the development of a national standard to facilitate the exchange of serials subscription information. In evaluating this suggestion the Standards Development Committee concluded that further information is needed before NISO can launch standards development work. Over the next two months, NISO will survey the leaders in the serials community, systems staff, and librarians to learn more about this issue with the goal of making an informed decision about the viability of a national standard on this topic. Funding from the Digital Library Federation will support this research."

"Information aggregators, publishers, third party service providers, and libraries engage in a number of recurring business-to-business transactions requiring the exchange of serial subscription information. At this time there is no standard to facilitate this information exchange. This survey will explore the needs for serials subscription information exchange, the formats now being used and views on the need for and usefulness of a national standard for serials subscription information exchange; the study will also measure the need and support for a standard designation for subscribers and services."

"NISO has engaged Ed Jones to conduct a telephone and email survey. Based on the findings, Jones will draft a White Paper describing the current and potential applications for exchanging serials subscription information between libraries, publishers, aggregators, and third party services. The final report will be made available to all NISO members in June 2002. If you would like to participate in the survey, please contact Pat Harris (, NISO Executive Director."

AMICO Appoints Executive Director and Director, Strategy and Research

AMICO Press Release: April 6, 2002 — "The Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer Trant as Executive Director, and David Bearman as Director, Strategy and Research. Trant and Bearman, who have been actively involved in the planning of AMICO through their consulting firm of Archives & Museum Informatics, will formally join AMICO's staff as of July 1, 2002. Both will also reserve time for their ongoing consulting and research."

"'We're delighted that Jennifer and David will continue to play a leadership role in AMICO,' said Elizabeth Broun, Director of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and AMICO's Chair. 'Their vision and enthusiasm has helped us grow from an idea to a reality in five short years.'"

"'AMICO's an unprecedented collaboration, and we're looking forward to continuing our work with AMICO Members. This group of committed professionals has broken new ground in the network distribution of cultural information,' said Jennifer Trant. 'Forging new kinds of relationships is key to the success of cultural heritage institutions in the digital age. AMICO's proven that we can work together to meet common goals.'"

"Bearman concurred: 'This year is a key turning point for AMICO. We've moved from one distributor to more than five, and from a North American to world-wide community of members and users. With our upcoming move into a university environment, AMICO will be well positioned to play a long-term role in the digital cultural landscape.'"

California Digital Library Opens Online Repository for Working Papers

April 3, 2002 - Oakland California. "The California Digital Library today announced the launch of a web site and associated digital services to store and distribute academic research results and working papers. The eScholarship Repository ( includes a set of author and reader services for the rapid dissemination of scholarship authored or sponsored by faculty from the University of California. Its initial focus will be on working papers from the humanities and social sciences."

"Built under a co-development partnership with the Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress), the tools behind the eScholarship Repository improve the speed and efficiency of sharing the results of scholarly efforts. For participating scholars, departments, and research institutes, publishing working papers is greatly streamlined. The submission, processing, and dissemination of papers is managed through a simple web interface, the bepress EdiKit system."

"Likewise, readers can, at no charge, discover and view relevant research by topic, author, or sponsoring research department with the site’s straightforward organization and search tools. The system also allows users to sign up for a service alerting them to new content in their specific areas of interest."

"Following focus groups and planning meetings in late 2001 with UC social science scholars and research staff, the repository opens with early-adopter social science research units at UC Berkeley and UCLA. The Berkeley Olin Program in Law and Economics, Institute of Industrial Relations, Institute of Business and Economic Research, Institute of Transportation Studies, and others are moving existing working paper series to the repository as well as using it to publish new scholarship. The eScholarship Repository will also be the first stop for papers in the University of California International and Area Studies (UCIAS) peer-reviewed ePublications Program, an eScholarship initiative launched last year ("

"...Although the content of the repository is expected to grow to tens of thousands of articles, eScholarship builds from a vision of researchers who are able to search across many openly available repositories, leading to single-point access to a global network of research results. By adopting a technology for sharing repository contents, known as the Open Archive Initiative (OAI) metadata harvesting protocol, the eScholarship repository joins a set of like-minded initiatives to bring the vision a step closer."

For more information, please see the full press release at <>.

ONIX & DOI to be interoperable

Washington - Geneva, March 18, 2002 — "EDItEUR ( and the International DOI Foundation (IDF) have announced their intention to ensure that users of the ONIX (Online Information Exchange) metadata specification, the international standard for representing book, serial and video product information in electronic form, and DOI will be able to easily achieve interoperability."

"EDItEUR is committed to managing ONIX in such a way that any DOI Registration Agencies who choose to use it will get the support they need, and the user community can be assured that different applications of ONIX and DOIs will be consistent wherever they overlap. The International DOI Foundation is committed to ensuring that ONIX specifications can be easily used in developing DOI Applications."

For more information, please see the full press release at <>.

Digital Talking Book Standard

Bethesda, Md., USA — (March 15, 2002) "Today, NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, announced that the national standard for the Digital Talking Book (ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2002) has been approved."

"A Digital Talking Book (DTB) is a collection of electronic files arranged to present information to the blind and physically handicapped reader via alternative media. The most common medium will be human speech. However, a DTB produced in accordance with the new standard can include a file containing the contents of the document in text form, thereby permitting output via synthetic speech, refreshable braille display devices, or visual display in large print."

"The NISO DTB standard, whose development was coordinated by the Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), will make electronic resources presented in DTB format more accessible to print-disabled readers worldwide. 'The five-year effort was completed by an international committee representing a broad range of stakeholders dedicated to providing alternative-format materials to print-disabled readers,' explained Patricia Harris, NISO Executive Director. The standards project was coordinated by Michael M. Moodie, NLS Research and Development Officer, who chaired and organized the NISO Digital Talking Book Committee's meetings and work groups from its inception in 1997 through the final approval of the standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on March 6, 2002. 'This standard will facilitate the efficient presentation of information through a variety of alternative media and will make it easier for readers to navigate the digital world,' Moodie said."

"The international community partners with NLS in this complex effort are the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (of the American Library Association); American Council of the Blind; American Foundation for the Blind; American Printing House for the Blind; Blinded Veterans Association; Canadian National Institute for the Blind; the DAISY Consortium; Hadley School for the Blind; Assistive Devices Industry Office-Industry Canada; IsSound Corporation; National Federation of the Blind; Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic; Talking Book Publishers, Inc.; Telex Communications, Inc.; VisuAide, Inc.; and the World Blind Union."

"'The ANSI/NISO DTB standard is built on specifications and needs formulated by blind and visually impaired users, who were heavily involved in every aspect of the development effort,' Harris said. She noted that 'during the development process, the full committee met eleven times across the United States and Canada and smaller working groups met countless times in person and via conference calls and e-mail.'"

"In explaining the importance of the DTB standard, Moodie said 'it makes possible a powerful, flexible reading system that easily adapts to different types of documents and different user needs. It provides a framework under which a person or agency can create DTBs ranging from a very simple novel to a long, complex reference work or textbook. The standard was built as far as possible on existing standards and specifications, so programming skills and software tools developed for other purposes can be applied to the DTB world.'"

"'The real beauty of the DTB standard is that it allows users great flexibility in how they read those DTBs-some will want a straight, linear reading experience, while others will need sophisticated functions that allow random access to sections of the DTB, the ability to turn on or off elected elements (e.g., footnotes), and the capability to set bookmarks, highlight portions of text, or do keyword searches,' Moodie said."

"According to Frank Kurt Cylke, NLS Director, 'The bottom line is that this single standard addresses the requirements of a range of agencies serving users with a wide variety of reading needs. It is truly a universal standard that will benefit the blind community for generations to come.'"

"The International Coalition of Access Engineers and Specialists (ICAES) named NISO as one of the winners of their 2001 Collaboration and Coordination Award for its work in developing the DTB specifications."

"This standard, like all NISO standards, is available for downloading free from the NISO web site ("

For more information, please contact Marilyn Geller at <>.

Copyright 2002 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/april2002-inbrief