D-Lib Magazine
April 2000

Volume 6 Number 4

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief

Put Yourself in the PIE - The HeadLine Personal Information Environment

Contributed by:
Anne Gambles
HeadLine Project Manager
BLPES at the London School of Economics
London, United Kingdom
[email protected]

HeadLine (http://www.headline.ac.uk/), one of the eLib programme's Phase 3 projects, is developing a hybrid library system -- the HeadLine Personal Information Environment (PIE). The PIE uses portal-type technology to present an information environment that is personalised to the user's needs and allows user customisation. The user is presented with pages of resources relevant to their courses/department. PIE users are also provided with an "All resources" page which contains all of the resources to which their library provides access. Users can create their own lists of resources on their own pages.

The PIE aims to provide its users (students, academics, library staff, etc.) with a "one-stop-shop" -- a single interface to both print and electronic information resources and services. The PIE will allow seamless authentication to those resources that the user has permission to access.

Users will only have to input a username and password once -- on logging in. From the Librarian/PIE administrator's point of view, one of the PIE's aims is to reduce the amount of administrative work associated with maintaining resource information (often currently contained within "flat" library web pages). The metadata associated with the PIE's resources is contained within a Resource Description Model.

The first release of the HeadLine PIE is due to be rolled out to target groups at each of the project's partner sites (London School of Economics, London Business School and the University of Hertfordshire) in early May 2000. If you are interested in becoming a guest user of the PIE and/or keeping up-to-date with HeadLine developments then join the HeadLine mailing list: http://www.mailbase.ac.uk/lists/headline-users/.

A new demonstration version of the HeadLine PIE is now available. This demonstration is an example of what we think a "typical" student user's session might involve. You can visit this demonstration at: <http://www.headline.ac.uk/publications/pie/>. You will find out how "Pete", an Economics student, uses the PIE to add a new resource to his page and then to search for information for his forthcoming assignment. The HeadLine team is interested in your comments. Does the PIE meet your expectations? What do you think could be improved? Please send you comments via e-mail to the HeadLine Team: <[email protected]>.


A New Webzine: High Energy Physics Libraries Webzine

Contributed by:
Susan Leech O'Neale
Webzine co-editor
<Susan.Leech.O'[email protected]>
Corrado Pettenati
Head Librarian
<[email protected]>

CERN Geneva, Switzerland

A couple of years ago at a conference about e-publishing, the last speaker (an elegant and effective lady) concluded her presentation with the following words: "If you really want to get your library staff involved in e-journal use and management propose them to launch a Webzine, it is very useful to understand the process and they will have also a lot of fun."

At CERN, as in many other libraries, we have tried to face the e-journal challenge and now we have access to more than 400 online journals related to high energy physics (HEP).

We are now used to extracting our e-journal web pages from the catalogue, maintaining all the links related to the e-journals (home, last issue, TOC, TOC and SA, etc.) as you can see at <http://library.cern.ch/electronic_journals/ej.html>.

During the run to face the explosion of e-journals we remembered the recommendation to launch a Web journal and we proposed to our librarians to prepare a Webzine for HEP libraries. We also contacted colleagues of other HEP libraries. Because of the general overload the answers were without too much enthusiasm.

We asked for volunteers among the staff of our library and, to my surprise, the ones I expected to be willing to volunteer were not interested and vice versa.

After several long discussions and uncertainty we defined our purpose and we started to look for authors. We are lucky because CERN, and HEP in general, are full of authors willing to write about scientific information management.

You can see the result at <http://library.cern.ch/HEPLW/>. We know, it is still a rather naive Webzine, but it could become useful to our target audience and we are sure we will continue to have a lot of fun.

We were so eager to announce the first issue on 31 March at the 2nd Workshop on e-publishing in physics (see at http://documents.cern.ch/age?a99231) that we did not even wait for the release of our ISSN. You can have a look at the workshop presentations; it is also available as webcasting (with a lot of patience!).

At the workshop most of the major players in our field (APS, Elsevier, IOP, JHEP, and Springer) were present with their news and their projects. So between the presentation of the idea of the overlay journal by the APS and a presentation of The New Journal of Physics by IOP we informed the audience of the release of the first issue of our HEP Libraries Webzine.


The British Universities Newsreel Project Database

Contributed by:
Luke McKernan
Head of Information
British Universities Film & Video Council
London, United Kingdom
[email protected]

Between 1910 and 1979 the newsreels, released twice a week in British cinemas, gave millions their picture of national and world events. Such fondly remembered names as Pathe News, Gaumont British News and British Movietone News were seen in every cinema, and have now preserved an invaluable record of life and news in the twentieth century. They are already regularly used by television companies making historical programmes, and are increasingly used by academics working in a variety of fields, as appreciation grows of their special value as a historical resource.

The British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC), a representative body which aims to promote the production, study and use of film and related media in British higher education and research, has maintained and encouraged an interest in newsreel history since the 1970s. In 1995, with funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the BUFVC initiated the British Universities Newsreel Project, which has resulted in a database of information on 160,000 individual newsreel stories taken from twenty-one British newsreels and cinemagazines.

The database features news coverage from 1910 to 1979, and embraces such topics as fashion, sport, crime, leisure, transport and two world wars. It is fully searchable by subject, title, event, location, date, company, cameraman and synopsis. An accompanying booklet includes a short history of the newsreels. The website also includes the history, general information on the newsreels, articles, and a biographical index of cameramen. Further information is being added to the database, and a major new project is underway to add supporting documentation such as commentary scripts and cameramen's dope sheets.

The British Universities Newsreel Project website is the first centralised record of British newsreel releases. It will become a major historical resource for students, historians and film researchers, and will help secure the newsreels' place as a treasure trove of the twentieth century.

The website is at <http://www.bufvc.ac.uk/newsreels>, with free access to all ac.uk addresses and BUFVC members. It is also being sold as a cross-platform (PC or Apple Mac) CD-ROM, price �95.00 (inc. VAT and p&p) but with one copy free to BUFVC member representatives, with a discount price of �65.00 for additional copies.

For more details, visit <http://www.bufvc.ac.uk/newsreels> or contact the BUFVC at <[email protected]>.


Source Code Released for MyLibrary@NCState

Contributed by:
Keith Morgan
Digital Library Initiatives
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.
<[email protected]>

The North Carolina State University Library has released the source code for MyLibrary@NCState. Developed as a portal application to the NCSU Library's information resources, MyLibrary@NCState allows user profiling to build a dynamic, customized gateway to both general and discipline specific resources, including databases, electronic journals, current awareness features, personal bookmarks, and subject librarian contacts.

MyLibrary@NCState provides a highly configurable entry point to library services and collections, while allowing users to control even the background and banner colors of the page. Several screen areas are not configurable by the user but function as a method of enhancing communication between the library and its patrons. These include a global message that can be sent to all subscribers and a message from the librarian associated with the subject discipline identified during the creation of the initial profile. A third static field displays "your librarians" -- the names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of professional staff in a particular discipline also automatically generated from the creation of the user profile.

MyLibrary@NCState was named one of the Library and Information Technology Association's "Top Technology Trends" in 1999. In a review of personalization software packages used by libraries to offer user-customized access to library services, Roy Tennant, Digital Library Project Manager, UC-Berkeley called MyLibrary@NCState "best of its class" and "one of the most useful library applications [he'd] seen in quite some time."

MyLibrary@NCState is entirely built on open-source software and can, theoretically, be adapted to any library environment that includes access to a Unix server and an understanding of Perl scripting and relational databases. All of the content is served by the freeware database application MySQL which supports APIs for both Perl and C programming languages.

MyLibrary@NCState will run on any Unix HTTP server that supports CGI scripts. Please note that it is not "plug and play" and will require some comparative analysis of individual systems.

The source code is available through agreement to a GNU Public License. The site provides a developmental "sandbox" and a listserv for developers. By freely releasing this code The NCSU Libraries hope that others in the community can contribute to improving the service to the benefit of all library users.

To download the code, please access: <http://hegel.lib.ncsu.edu/development/mylibrary/>.

To try MyLibrary@NCState click to the guest account at: <http://my.lib.ncsu.edu/>.

Thanks and we hope to see some of you in the sandbox very soon!


"Metadata for Digital Preservation: The Cedars Project Outline Specification" Draft Now Available for Comment

Contributed by:
Kelly Russell
CEDARS Project Manager, The Cedars Project
Edward Boyle Library, The University of Leeds
Leeds, United Kingdom
<[email protected]>

The preservation and long term accessibility of digital materials is a significant and growing concern for libraries worldwide. Our ability and enthusiasm for creating (and relying on) digital resources far outweighs our current technical and organisational capacity to preserve and provide long-term access to them. Long-term digital preservation relies on a number of technical and organisational factors, not least on the existence of robust descriptions of the digital objects to be preserved. Even more so than traditional resources, continuing access to digital resources will require detailed descriptions telling us exactly what is contained in preserved digital files. For digital materials, without meaningful retrieval there is no preservation. To ensure meaningful retrieval, we must know precisely what we are trying to retrieve. One of the aims of the Cedars project is to develop a metadata set which can be used for effective long-term digital preservation, thereby contributing to the development of new standards for this type of data description.

The very detailed metadata necessary to successfully archive digital material must support a wide range of archival functions from access control to document integrity and, finally, preservation itself. Cedars has now developed an outline specification describing the complete set of metadata elements which attempts to reflect the multiple needs and functions which have to be addressed. These functions include acquisition, management, storage, searching, retrieval, access, delivery and preservation.

"Metadata for Digital Preservation: The Cedars Project Outline Specification" is now available for public consultation. A final version is expected by June 2000. It is available from the Cedars Project web site (http://www.leeds.ac.uk/cedars).

Cedars is a project of the UK Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL). It is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) as part of their Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib).


Overseas Opportunity for Special Librarian

Contributed by:
Mary Muller
Information Resources Officer
U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C., USA
<[email protected]>

Global Technology Corps seeks a volunteer Special Librarian to serve from three to six weeks in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Global Technology Corps (GTC), a public/private volunteer organization sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is seeking a Special Librarian to work with the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) to:

  • Make better use of technology to improve access to information;
  • Design a less hierarchical approach to information handling;
  • Identify ways to improve access to foreign publications;
  • Work with the Systems Manager to ensure wider access to Internet, listserv, and CD-ROM products within the Institute.

The ideal candidate should be familiar with managing change in organizations and must be able to design systems. The Resource Center uses the LINUX operating system and CDS-ISIS (Computerized Documentation System/ Integrated System of Information Storage) software from UNESCO. A knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia, while valuable, is not required. The volunteer's availability will determine both the precise length of the project and the dates when the project would take place. GTC will provide international airfare and a very modest stipend. The host Indonesian institution will provide lodging at a guesthouse on the grounds of the National Library.

GTC is a public/private partnership that recruits high-tech American volunteers for short-term projects worldwide. GTC works with companies, individuals and organizations who are willing to volunteer their time, expertise and resources to help spread the social and economic benefits of access to information technology. By supporting activities that integrate computing technologies into the culture and character of local communities, GTC volunteers help build a future in which the global information network is not a luxury of the privileged but a resource for all. Information on GTC is available at <http://globaltechcorps.org>.

Interested candidates should please contact:

Pen Agnew
Partnership Development Coordinator
Technology Partnerships
International Information Programs
U.S. Department of State
Washington DC 20547
<[email protected]>
Phone: (202)619-4758


Talking About Public Access: PACS-L's First Decade

Contributed by:
Walt Crawford
Information Architect
Research Libraries Group
Mountain View, California, USA
<[email protected]>

Librarians have shared ideas, information, perspectives and views through e-mail list servers for more than a decade. Long before there was a World Wide Web (and even before most academic e-mail was on the Internet), there was PACS-L: the Public-Access Computer Systems Forum.

Founded in June 1989 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr., of the University of Houston, PACS-L was one of the first library-related lists to cover a wide range of topics. It reached one of the widest audiences of any library lists. In a decade of activity, more than 18,000 messages reached a list that grew to more than 10,000 addresses. PACS-L disappeared in August 1999, but came back to life in March 2000.

PACS-L made a difference in the library field and for many individual librarians. It generated an international community of people concerned about library systems and public access. On the event of its rebirth, I prepared an informal article on PACS-L�s first decade, with contributions from many of PACS-L�s moderators and several of the long-term participants.

While a much shorter version of the article has been submitted for print publication, the complete article (7,900 words) is available online. The article�s name appears above. To reach it, I ask that you point to the "Libraries, Media, and the Future" subsite of my personal Website (the subsite index has a counter), then click on the link for "Talking About Public Access: PACS-L�s First Decade."

You�ll find the subsite at <http://home.att.net/~wcc.libmedx>.

Note: This article was prepared on my own time and not as part of my position at RLG. Opinions expressed in the article don�t necessarily represent those of RLG-or of PACS-L�s owners and moderators, for that matter!


Department of Energy�s PrePRINT Network Up and Running

Contributed by:
Lorrie Johnson
Office of Science
Office of Scientific and Technical Information
Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA.
<[email protected]>

The PrePRINT Network at <http://www.osti.gov/preprint> introduced by the Department of Energy�s Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) on January 31, 2000, is making the scientific community very happy. Since its release, this novel site has facilitated access to over 300,000 preprints in the physical sciences and other disciplines of interest to DOE. Without requiring the use of metadata standards, the PrePRINT Network enables the user to search diverse preprint databases through a single interface. An excellent example of intelligent web design, the PrePRINT Network presents a practical, working solution to scientists seeking preprint information.

The PrePRINT Network was recently updated with new resources and currently provides access to approximately 800 preprint sites. Several of these new additions were added at the request of authors and site owners, who had seen the PrePRINT Network and wanted to be included. Since the PrePRINT Network does not mandate the use of metadata standards, authors or site owners are not required to change their data or to conform to any set guidelines. The PrePRINT Network facilitates access to the sites and does not change the content in any way, so preprint site owners can simply notify OSTI of their desire to be added to the PrePRINT Network.

In addition to the preprint sites that can be accessed via browsing or by subject discipline, users have the option of searching 24 large preprint databases via distributed searching technology. Through a single interface, users may select which preprint databases they wish to search and then choose among author, title, full record, and date field options. Fields may be combined, such as a search for a particular author and title. Once the user enters the query and initiates the search, the PrePRINT Network software then pulses the search engines of each of the individual databases chosen. Results are returned in a consolidated list. The advantage of this technology is that the user does not have to perform individual searches within each database. Furthermore, the PrePRINT Network translates the queries into the appropriate syntax for each database, again saving the user time and eliminating the effort of having to learn how the different databases formulate search queries.

While other preprint initiatives have been discussed recently within information science circles, the PrePRINT Network has been fully operational for over two months now and is experiencing a high number of accesses from national laboratories, universities, and other research oriented institutions. A high growth rate for the PrePRINT Network is anticipated as more preprints are made available on the web. The PrePRINT Network is the latest product developed by OSTI, and it serves to complete the trilogy of methods by which researchers announce and disseminate their findings: grey literature (DOE Information Bridge, <http://www.osti.gov/bridge>) journal literature (PubSCIENCE, <http://www.osti.gov/pubscience>), and preprints (PrePRINT Network, <http://www.osti.gov/preprint>).

For more information, please contact Lorrie Johnson, Project Manager, Office of Scientific and Technical Information, at (865) 576-1157.


New Open Access Resources at Bartleby.com

Contributed by:
Megan Schade
Managing Editor
New York, New York, USA.
<[email protected]>

Long considered one of the first names in Internet publishing of reference, verse and classic literature, Bartleby.com (  http://www.bartleby.com) has expanded its family of on-line reference works. The site now offers free access to such world-class works as the Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed., the unabridged American Heritage® Dictionary, Roget�s II: The New Thesaurus, Simpson�s Quotations and the American Heritage® Book of English Usage. When combined with the web site�s existing reference, verse and literature works, these new offerings establish Bartleby.com as one of the most comprehensive of public web reference sites. The works at Bartleby.com include such reference classics as Bartlett�s Familiar Quotations, Strunk�s Elements of Style, Fowler�s the King�s English, 2nd Ed., Emily Post�s Etiquette, the Cambridge History of English & American Literature, Fannie Farmer�s Cookbook, and Thomas Bulfinch's Mythology, as well as literature and verse classics from renowned writers such as T. S. Eliot, Sarah Orne Jewett, Gertrude Stein, Sherwood Anderson, Robert Frost, Wordsworth, Yeats, and many, many others. Currently, Bartleby.com offers six verse anthologies on its site:

  • The Oxford Book of English Verse,
  • The Yale Book of American Verse,
  • Lyrics and Poems of the Seventeenth Century,
  • The Golden Treasury,
  • Modern American Poetry, and
  • Modern British Poetry.

All works on Bartleby.com are accessible 24 hours per day, at no charge.

Bartleby.com also presents a complete web site redesign. With a new user interface, Bartleby.com provides fast and accurate access to a vast array of information, including material not available anywhere else-in print or on the web. Visitors to Bartleby.com can access informative summaries of each book, as well as concise biographies, complete with pictures, of each author featured in the online library. Enhanced navigational tools and extensive cross-referencing between works make it easy for users to locate specific passages and references. Also new are the Bartleby Weekly feature, providing a weekly update of new content additions, and the Bartleby Bookstore, a convenient market for users who wish to purchase books and related materials.

Named after the character of Melville�s classic Bartleby, the Scrivener, Bartleby.com provides millions of students, educators and the intellectually curious with access to classics and reference books online. Headquartered in New York City, Bartleby.com began publishing on the web in 1994. Now a leading innovator in the field of electronic publishing, Bartleby.com has been widely cited as one of the best reference sites on the web, and its ever-expanding list of renowned classics makes it a preeminent electronic publishing enterprise on the web.

(On April 24, 2000, spelling corrections were made to the item about Bartelby.com at the request of the author.)


Copyright (c) 2000 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/april2000-inbrief