D-Lib Magazine
March 2000

Volume 6 Number 3

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief

New Millennium, New SOSIG

Contributed by:
Justine Kitchen
Information and Training Manager
Resource Discovery Network Centre
London, England, United Kingdom

On the 25th February 2000 SOSIG (Social Science Information Gateway) officially launched its brand new service at a successful one-day event in central London. Speakers at the event included Annabel Colley, website producer for BBC's Panorama and Chair of the Association for UK Media Librarians who spoke of the enormous contribution SOSIG has made to research, since its inception. "Used incorrectly, the Internet can be a huge time waster. It's been likened to a huge vandalised library: a useful analogy. Internet services like SOSIG help to put it back in order. For a journalist, the issue is always quality and accuracy, something SOSIG has consistently provided."

Photograph of Prof. Forbes, Nicky Ferguson and Lorcan Dempsey

Professor Ian Forbes, Chair of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences, Nicky Ferguson, Director of SOSIG, and Lorcan Dempsey, Director of UKOLN and Co-Director of the Resource Discovery Network

A variety of guests attended from across the business, law and social science communities to witness the new service in operation for the very first time. SOSIG has been at the leading edge of Internet service provision since 1994, when it first began providing users with direct ease of access to high quality web information in the Social Sciences. The new service has gone a step further to offer a brand new interface with improved design and navigability, together with some exciting additional services designed to enable users to find accurate, timely, authentic information resources in Social Science, Business and Law more quickly and effectively than ever before.

In short, SOSIG helps make sense of Internet information by offering:

  • An Internet Catalogue providing search and browse access to over 10,000 high quality Internet-accessible resources from around the world together with brief descriptions, to help you identify the best sources for you quickly and effectively
  • A Social Science Search Engine with over 50,000 social science related Web pages
  • Browsing by subject, with supporting Subject Guides
  • Thesaurus facilities to help you find alternative search terms and thereby improve your results
  • The Social Science Grapevine, providing conference announcements, courses and CVs and profiles of like-minded researchers (and the option to publish your own)
  • My Account, offering customised personal views of what’s new on SOSIG, including regular email updates
  • A way to automatically find like-minded colleagues who are working in the same fields using the "find my friends" option.

Take a look at the new site at <http://www.sosig.ac.uk/>. SOSIG is a service of the Resource Discovery Network, a developing network based at King's College London, funded mainly by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) the Arts and Humanities Resource Board (AHRB) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The network provides access to high quality resources in a range of other subjects. Visit <http://www.rdn.ac.uk/> for more information on how the subject experts can provide you with direct access to high quality Internet resources.

Photo of the SOSIG team at the re-launch

The SOSIG team at the recent SOSIG re-launch

If you have any queries about SOSIG please contact:

Nicky Ferguson
Director, Social Science Information Gateway (SOSIG)
Email: <nicky.ferguson@bris.ac.uk>
Tel: +44 (0)117 928 7084


Justine Kitchen
Information and Training Manager
Resource Discovery Network Centre
King's College London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 2935


XMLMARC Conversion Software Released

Contributed by:
Dick R. Miller
Lane Medical Library, Stanford University
Stanford, California, USA

Lane Medical Library at Stanford University released XMLMARC software on Dec. 29, 1999, for free, non-commercial use. This Java client/server program converts MARC to XML (eXtensible Markup Language) based on flexible maps and simplified, yet detailed DTDs (Data Type Definitions) for both bibliographic and authorities formats. It resulted from the experimental Medlane Project, which is exploring alternative methods of utilizing cataloging information -- considered at risk due to its segregation from mainstream web resources.

The DTDs included reflect Lane's experimentation with simplication of MARC without loss of signficant content and even expansion in selected areas. Based on decisions recorded in a map (also in XML), the software can read any byte position, indicator, field tag, or subfield and offers a variety of techniques for conversion including conditional logic statements, concatenation, defaults, etc. For example, an XML container element is used for all personal names, with XML attributes defined to provide information about each name (i.e. not part of the name itself, perhaps conveying that it is a subject or a defendant). Indicator values help in splitting subfield 'a' into surname and forename elements to permit greater flexibility in display and indexing. Other parts of the name were given separate elements as well. Changes can be made easily by altering a DTD and map synchronously, although the program needs to be restarted to read in the changes.

XML's IDRefs are ideal for explicit linking between authorities (e.g. see also) and between bibliographic records (e.g continued by). The same technique could be used to link between bibliographic and authority records. XLinks and XPointers portend even more sophisticated linkage options. XML supports Unicode, although we have not yet found a font which includes glyphs for the ALA diacritics and special characters (ANSEL extensions to ASCII).

XMLMARC was designed to accommodate changes in MARC and mapping decisions without the need for reprogramming. Lane has used the program to convert over 250,000 MARC records to XML. Details and downloading instructions are available at: <http://xmlmarc.stanford.edu/>.

This release concluded Phase I of the Project. We are now exploring access to our XML data via search engines and Oracle 8i (although the critical iFS or Internet File System part of Oracle 8i is vaporware as of mid-Feb. 2000), customized and conditional display using XSL (XML style sheets), and interface development, particularly in regard to merging bibliographic data with fulltext and database retrievals.

Digital libraries need an appropriate new standard for bibliographic data. We hope that the availability of XMLMARC will spark further exploration of the potential of using XML for a web-oriented version of MARC. XML is relatively easy, quite flexible and designed for data integration. The library profession needs to reconsider seriously the wisdom of continuing to use the current MARC format with its unnecessary complexity, many limitations and de facto data segregation.

For more information, contact:

Dick R. Miller
Head of Technical Services & Systems Librarian
Lane Medical Library, L109
Stanford University Medical Center
Stanford, CA 94305-5123


Online Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary

Contributed by:
Juliet New
PR Manager, Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford, United Kingdom

The ONLINE EDITION of the Oxford English Dictionary will be published in March 2000, at <http://www.oed.com>. This will be an event of international significance for the English language, and a major milestone in the history of the Dictionary itself.

The current edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, described as 'the world’s greatest dictionary', fills more than 20 volumes, including some 60 million words of text; three-quarters of a million entries; and 2.5 million illustrative quotations. Editors are currently engaged upon the huge task of revising the Dictionary -- the first complete revision in its 150-year history. The Dictionary tooks its most famous editor, Sir James Murray, 50 years to complete after he took it over in the 1870s. The final fascicle was published in 1928. Almost 50 years later a partial revision was published as the second edition. Since then the Dictionary has been undergoing a 20-year revision project costing £35 million/$55 million. On 14 March the first section of revised text will be made available alongside 9000 words revised since 1989 and included as part of the Dictionary for the first time. Thousands more entries will be added at quarterly intervals until the revision is completed in 2010.

The Oxford English Dictionary has traditionally been an essential resource for researchers in libraries throughout the world. Online presentation will allow readers to search not only by headword, but also to search in definition and etymology fields, by quotation text, work, author, or date, and in a host of other ways. If you want to know if there is a word that includes three zs, the Dictionary will find it for you. If you want to find out if a word exists at all, OED Online can help: if this article is making you grind your teeth, the Dictionary will tell you the word to describe that action is "bruxism". A free tour of the site is now available on <http://www.oed.com>, and is well worth a visit. But what is even more exciting about the Online OED is the fact that, whereas the publication of a hardback is essentially only a "freeze-frame" of the language at the moment of publication, the world-wide web allows the addition of new material that constantly refreshes the Dictionary. Consequently, it is by no means certain whether a third edition of the Dictionary will ever be published in its traditional print book format.

The OED Online will be an important research tool. Chief Editor, John Simpson, hopes that it will also mark the beginning of a closer relationship between those who make language and those who record it. Comment on the online dictionary will be welcomed, as will additional information on word entries which scholars and researchers may be able to supply. Such contributions can be made via access to <http://www.oed.com>.


New Media Scholarship

Contributed by:
Steven Totosy
Publisher, cultureonline.org
University of Alberta
Alberta, Canada.

New Media Scholarship: An Invitation to Publish Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences Online in www.cultureonline.org

The internet and the world wide web are rapidly changing many aspects of scholarly communication and knowledge dissemination and transfer. These changes include the publishing industry and the publishing of scholarly texts. A website with the registered domain name cultureonline.org has been launched for the webpublishing of books in the humanities and social sciences and, as webbooks, of Ph.D. dissertations and M.A. theses (in English, French, and German).

All webbooks published in <http://www.cultureonline.org> receive an ISBN number assigned to www.cultureonline.org by the National Library of Canada <http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/> (prefix 1-894569-...). The URL of the archival site at the National Library will be available for electronic preservation and archiving following publication in cultureonline.org. As well, cultureonline.org webbooks will be listed in the yearly Books in Print, hard cover and online.

For detail about the process and the costs of webbooks in cultureonline.org please go to <http://www.cultureonline.org>. The web presence of and online access to work in the humanities and social sciences benefits the authors of the webbooks as name recognition and in the context of communication and dissemination of ideas and knowledge. Most importantly, New Media Scholarship has more readers and serves the scholarly community world wide. cultureonline.org is looking forward to receiving proposals to publish new work by interested scholars. Please pass the word about this new service to scholars everywhere.

For the publishing and academic credentials of the publisher, Steven Totosy, please go to <http://www.arts.ualberta.ca/clcwebjournal/cv99.html>.

The publisher of cultureonline.org is founding editor of CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture: A WWWeb journal <http://www.arts.ualberta.ca/clcwebjournal/>, a peer-refereed online journal in the public domain, with five issues now online: 1.1-1.4 (1999) and 2.1 (2000). CLCWeb also has a Library with several bibliographies, an international directory of comparatists, and a moderated listserv for news in the humanities including comparative literature and culture.


ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries

Courtesy of:
Nabil R. Adam
Chair, IEEE CS Committee on Digital Libraries
Professor and Founding Director, CIMI (Center for Information Management, Integration and Connectivity)
Rutgers University
Newark, New Jersey, USA

(The following is a notice from IEEE Digital Library News which is being re-published by D-Lib Magazine with permission.)

To: Members of the IEEE CS Technical Committee on Digital Libraries

Subject: ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries

Towards the end of last year (1999), we were approached by the ACM SIGIR and WEBSIG to explore the possibility of holding a joint Digital Libraries conference. Dr. Erich Neuhold of GMD was kind enough to volunteer to serve as a mediator.

We held several meetings and developed a number of drafts of our agreement. A final version of this agreement is posted for your review and comments at <http://cimic.rutgers.edu/ieee-acm-jcdl>. The agreement calls for holding a joint conference beginning Year 2001 for the next three years. We believe that at this point in time such a joint conference is beneficial to members of the IEEE Digital Libraries Technical Committee, to the area of Digital Libraries in general, and to the overall scientific community at large. This conference attempts to meet the needs of a large and diverse constituency, which includes practitioners, researchers, educators, and users.

We firmly believe that the agreement we reached with ACM is fair to both the ACM and IEEE CS communities and we look forward to hearing any comments you may have.

Thank you very much.

Nabil R. Adam, Chair and Yelena Yesha, Vice Chair


JISC Content Developments

Contributed by:
Alicia Wise
JISC Collections Manager, Old Library
King's College London
London, England, United Kingdom

JISC has announced that funding has enabled more high quality content resources to become available for the DNER.

AXIS Database of 20th Century Artists

AXIS is a visual arts service that provides information about artists, craftspeople and makers living/working in Britain. It hosts the only national register of contemporary British artists, and is available at < http://www.axisartists.org.uk/ > at no charge. [This is possible with grant aid from Arts Councils of England, Wales and Scotland, Yorkshire, Eastern, South West, South East and Northern Arts Boards in addition to the Joint Information Systems Committee.]

To try a fun search to see how AXIS works, go to the AXIS website at < http://www.axisartists.org.uk>, enter the website, choose "AXIS database online" in the left frame, scroll down till you see "Click here to begin searching the AXIS database online", and do a quick search for MARTIAN. Great fun!! There are some very talented artists in Britain.


Eurotext is a unique teaching and learning resource providing easy access to key European Union full-text documents. The helpful thing about this service is that there are value-added tools to help you in actually locating relevant texts. (This is no easy feat with EU texts!) Best of all, both those texts available from the EU currently, and historical texts no longer available from EU websites, are included. Access is by institutional subscription. Costs begin at £350 p.a. and more information is available at < http://eurotext.ulst.ac.uk:8017/>.


As you may have seen from recent announcements, JISC successfully launched the service, Digimap. Digimap is delivering Ordnance Survey Map Data in an innovative way for use by staff and students in all areas of teaching, learning and research. Please see < http://edina.ed.ac.uk/digimap/index.html> for more information.


Readers may also be interested in a new, user-friendly approach to disseminating information about content provided by the JISC (and partner Research Councils). You can find the Resource Guide for Social Sciences online at < http://www.jisc.ac.uk/subject/socsci/> More resource guides will follow soon. The advantage of these is that they provide a quick overview to resources in particular areas, and they describe the content rather than the service providers.

For more information, please contact Alicia Wise, JISC Collections Manager, Old Library, King's College London at email: < alicia.wise@kcl.ac.uk>.


The Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO) Announces Three New Members for Start of the New Year

Contributed by:
Kelly Richmond
Communications Director, AMICO
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

The following is from an AMICO Press Release dated February 11, 2000, AMICO Headquarters; Pittsburgh, PA. The complete press release may be seen at
 < http://www.amico.org/docs/pr.000211.newmem.html >.

The Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO) is pleased to welcome the Dallas Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, and the Museum of the Americas Foundation to its growing Consortium. These three new Members further increase the depth and variety of the AMICO Library, enhance its usefulness as an educational tool, and add strength to the institutional knowledge sharing of the Consortium. "With AMICO membership now over thirty institutions we are hitting our stride as an organization and as a tool for humanities studies," states AMICO Executive Director, Jennifer Trant. "Dallas and Denver bring significant collections and the MOA Foundation adds a new dimension to the AMICO Library reaching into the Caribbean, Mexico, and Latin America," Ms. Trant adds.

The AMICO Library, officially launched July 1st, 1999, has made multimedia documentation of artworks from the collections of leading museums across North America available to universities, colleges, schools, and public libraries. The 1999-2000 edition of the AMICO Library documents over 50,000 different works of art, from prehistoric goddess figures to contemporary installations. More than simply an image database, works in the AMICO Library are fully documented and may also include curatorial text about the artwork, detailed provenance information, multiple views of the work itself, and other related multimedia. Ms. Trant notes, "subscribers find the AMICO Library of interest because it combines the immediacy and accessibility of the Web with the persistence and academic weight of traditional library reference sources."

The AMICO Library is accessible over secure networks to institutional subscribers, including universities, colleges, libraries, schools, and museums. Designated users can include faculty, students, teachers, staff, and researchers. Educational institutions may subscribe to the AMICO Library by contacting one of its distributors. These include the Research Libraries Group (RLG) and the Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK). A subscription to the AMICO Library provides a one-year license to use works from the compiled AMICO Library for a broad range of educational purposes. Interested subscribers may preview a Thumbnail Catalog of the AMICO Library and get further information at <http://www.amico.org>.

The AMICO Library is a product of the Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO), an independent non-profit corporation, with 501 (c) 3 designation from the IRS. The Consortium is today made up of 31 major museums. It's an innovative collaboration - not seen before in museums - that shares, shapes, and standardizes digital information regarding museum collections and enables its educational use.

For further information, please contact:

Jennifer Trant, Executive Director
Art Museum Image Consortium
2008 Murray Avenue, Suite D
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Phone (412) 422 8533
Fax (412) 422 8594
Email: < jtrant@amico.org >.

Copyright (c) 2000 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/march2000-inbrief