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In Brief


D-Lib Magazine
January 2003

Volume 9 Number 1

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief

Digital Library Federation (DLF) Electronic Resource Management Initiative

Contributed by:
Adam Chandler
Cornell University Library
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York, USA

Libraries and vendors face significant challenges in the new digital publishing environment. One of these challenges is to manage the information and workflows necessary to acquire and provide access to electronic resources. The growth of electronic journals and databases has both complicated and transformed the acquisition and servicing of library materials. New information and workflows are required to evaluate, select, acquire, license, catalog, and manage electronic products throughout their life-cycle.

Current library systems and standards have not kept pace with these changes. In the absence of existing software solutions, many libraries have begun to design and build local automated tools to address this gap. Surveys of locally developed electronic resource management systems reveal a high concentration of shared goals, issues and functional specifications, indicating that the time may be right for a collaborative approach and the establishment of best practices and standards.

The one-year Digital Library Federation (DLF) Electronic Resource Management Initiative will develop common specifications and tools for managing the license agreements, related administrative information, and internal processes associated with collections of licensed electronic resources. A full description of the initiative is available at <>.

Goals of the initiative include:

  1. Describe the architectures needed to manage large collections of licensed electronic resources.
  2. Establish lists of appropriate supporting data elements and common definitions.
  3. Write and publish XML Schemas/DTDs.
  4. Identify and promote appropriate best practices and standards to support data interchange of licensing information.

The steering group of the initiative will hold an open information sharing meeting for librarians, vendors and publishers interested in these developments during the American Library Association Mid-Winter 2003 conference on Friday, January 24th, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Wyndham Franklin Plaza, Philadelphia Ballroom. Steering group chair, Tim Jewell, will also be speaking on January 24th, in the ALCTS Symposium on Managing Electronic Resources.

The project Web site, or "Web Hub," contains project documents, raw data, and links to other relevant projects: <>. The DLF Electronic Resource Management Initiative steering group consists of: Ivy Anderson (Harvard), Adam Chandler (Cornell University), Sharon Farb (UCLA), Tim Jewell (University of Washingon), Kimberly Parker (Yale); Angela Riggio (UCLA), Nathan Robertson (Johns Hopkins).

Preserving the Chinese Internet: The DACHS Project

Contributed by:
Hanno Lecher
Head of Library, Institute of Chinese Studies
University of Heidelberg
Heidelberg, Germany

Archiving resources from the Internet has become a major topic of interest in recent months. A beginning was made as early as 1996, when the Internet Archive <> began to periodically download the complete Web. Now more and more national libraries and research institutions have become aware of the necessity to preserve the ever-changing contents of the Internet either as national heritage or for current or future research purposes in various areas.

The Digital Archive for Chinese Studies (DACHS) is one such project. Established in 2001 at the Institute of Chinese Studies, University of Heidelberg, Germany, it aims at identifying, archiving and ensuring long-term access to Internet resources relevant for Chinese Studies. Special emphasis is given to social and political discourse as reflected by articulations on the Chinese Internet.

The term "Chinese Internet" is taken here in a very broad sense, encompassing resources from China proper, Hong Kong and Macau, Taiwan, Overseas Chinese communities, Chinese foreign students, as well as scholars, institutions, and mass media covering the Chinese speaking region. Thus, the archive will contain a broad range of different material in many languages: speeches from leading Chinese politicians, historical documents from American or Russian archives, dissident Web sites created in China or elsewhere, clippings from Chinese discussion boards, and others.

In contrast to projects such as the Internet Archive, which are already preserving large parts of the global Internet but which cannot sufficiently respond to current events pertaining to China, DACHS is aiming at the Chinese "deep Web". This means that we don't try to download all available Internet resources but make a conscious selection of these, based on expert knowledge about current discourse in and about China. Furthermore, we take important events such as the terror attack of September 11, 2001, or issues such as the religious sect Falun gong as starting points to capture voices of public opinion on discussion boards, newspapers and the like.

At the same time we also integrate complete collections donated or sold to the Institute by researchers or projects that have downloaded interesting China related resources from the Internet.

DACHS has been developed largely following the OAIS (Open Archival Information System) framework, an ISO standard for long-term preservation of digital data. Issues such as daily backup routines to three distributed places in southern Germany, fail-safe IT systems, virus checks based on hourly updated virus definitions, etc., are cared for as best as possible.

For more detailed information as well as access to the resources, please visit the project's Web site at: <>.

Introducing the Information Environment Service Registry

Contributed by:
Amanda Hill
Project Manager
MIMAS, University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom

The UK's Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) is aiming to provide users of electronic resources with an Information Environment that will provide easy access to high-quality information and learning resources. Many of the resources funded by the JISC and others are currently under-used because potential users are simply unaware of their existence. The aim of the Information Environment is to provide an underlying architecture that will improve access to these resources by building on existing services and technologies to provide integration of information from many resources with a minimal amount of effort required by the user [1].

There will be a series of 'Shared Services' connecting resources within the Information Environment architecture [2]. One key element will be a Service Registry: a machine-readable catalogue of the high-quality resources that form the Information Environment. The Service Registry will contain descriptive information about electronic resources, but will also hold technical details about how machines may access them: for example, whether a resource has a Z39.50 target or if it makes metadata available through the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) Metadata Harvesting Protocol.

A pilot project is now under way to investigate the requirements for such a Service Registry. An important aspect of the project is the involvement of as many interested parties as possible. A stakeholder analysis will shortly be taking place to determine the requirements of the various user communities for this fundamental part of the Information Environment. More information about the project can be found at the project website at <>.

The pilot project brings together partners from UKOLN, MIMAS and the University of Liverpool. It will establish a pilot Service Registry, initially with a small set of JISC-funded services. This will then be extended to other resources, including services funded by other organisations. Work on establishing an XML data format for Information Environment Service Registry records is currently taking place. This will be further informed by the stakeholder analysis and by continuing contact with user communities. The Service Registry will use open source Cheshire II software to make the XML records available machine-to-machine via OAI and SRW (Search/Retrieve Web Service) [3].

The Information Environment Service Registry will provide a mechanism for exposing details of resources to a wide range of brokers, aggregators and portals. The resulting improvement in access to the wide range of high-quality electronic resources of the Information Environment should be of tremendous benefit both to researchers and to content providers.


[1] The JISC Information Environment Development Strategy can be found at <>.

[2] More on the JISC's Shared Services Programme is available at <>.

[3] For more information please see Andy Powell and Liz Lyon's Ariadne article on 'The JISC Information Environment and Web Services' (April 2002) at <>.

CRL Political Communications Archiving Investigation

Contributed by:
Bernard F. Reilly
The Center for Research Libraries
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Within the past decade the World Wide Web has emerged as a vital medium of political communication. It now serves as a global message board through which political activists, parties, popular fronts, and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) communicate with constituents and the world community. These communications are the digital-era counterparts of the pamphlets, posters, and other forms of "street literature" that have long provided historians and others indispensable data on political activities, trends, and ideologies. Despite their value, such materials tend to be produced sporadically and to change and disappear rapidly.

The Center for Research Libraries, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is coordinating an investigation and planning effort on preserving political Web materials. The effort will develop effective methodologies and a viable conceptual and organizational framework for the systematic, sustainable preservation of these kinds of materials. Four universities are participating in the investigation: Cornell University, New York University, Stanford University, and the University of Texas at Austin; along with the San Francisco-based Internet Archive.

The Mellon-funded effort will produce not a collection or an archive per se, but rather a framework and general specifications for three components of ongoing, sustainable archiving:

  1. Long-term resource management - the economic and organizational model, or models, best suited to support the ongoing archiving, management, and preservation of political Web materials.
  1. Curatorship - the optimal curatorial regimes and practices for identifying, securing, and presenting the materials to be archived.
  1. Technology - the general technical requirements, specifications, and tools best suited to the capture and archiving of political communications.

Investigators will address such matters as the appropriate locus of the various processes (such as selection, fail-safe archiving, and rights management) critical to preserving political Web resources; how those processes should be subsidized and administered to ensure long-term availability and control by the research community; who the eligible participants in these activities would be, and their roles; the appropriate quality and extent of capture for political Web materials; optimal frequency and periodicity of capture for various kinds of political sites; and the appropriate balance of human and automated/robotic targeting of resources to be harvested.

The project is linked with a closely related investigation by the California Digital Library (CDL) that is also being supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The CDL project focus is the capture and persistent management of a type of resource comparable to Web political communications—notably web-based materials produced or disseminated by US state and federal governments.

Additional information about the project is available from James Simon, Director of International Resources at the Center for Research Libraries. Progress reports will be available as the project moves forward on the Center's web site at <>.

New Digital Learning Resource - the Coppergate Environmental Archive - Is Launched

Contributed by:
William Kilbride
Archaeology Data Service
University of York
United Kingdom

The Environmental Archaeology Unit (EAU) and the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) are pleased to announce the launch of a new digital archive: <>.

The site of Coppergate in York provides a unique insight into the environment of the city through a period that previously was not well understood. In essence, the Viking-Age city lay cocooned in wet mud until the 1970's. The artefacts and structures excavated there show that the city was a thriving commercial centre in the middle of the tenth century. The environmental archive published here allows a detailed re-investigation of how archaeologists re-constructed the site.

This archive presents in detail the rich botanical and faunal remains excavated from the Anglo-Scandinavian site of Coppergate. This new online research collection provides a detailed insight into important aspects of the archaeology of Coppergate that have never previously been published. It includes a complete listing of species by context for plant and animal remains, identifications of wood and timber from artefacts and structures, as well as the full text of the five-volume technical report published in 1995.

Hybrid publication of this research in paper and digital form provides an innovative solution to the problem of publishing such detailed research in an accessible format. On one hand, researchers can review the detail that they need to complete their research, while more general readers can review the big picture without getting overwhelmed with details. That the digital archive is maintained by the ADS means that long-term preservation is assured.

This substantial archive is available at no cost for teaching, learning and research, and will be supplemented by further environmental collections in the near future.

In the News

Recent Press Releases and Announcements

The People's Network to Offer ICT-Focused Reader Development Activities for 2003

"London, 9 January 2003 -- Resource: the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries has been creating exciting new opportunities for readers in 2003 through the People's Network, the major government-led initiative bringing internet access and online services to the whole UK population, with over 30,000 terminals installed in more than 4000 libraries. A range of content and partnerships initiatives are being developed to use libraries' energetic approach to widening people's reading horizons with their massive new capacity to offer internet access..."

"This year will see Resource working with public libraries, the Arts Council of England, the BBC, CILIP, World Book Day and others, to deliver an amazing range of ICT-focused reader development activities for 2003. These include the World Book Day Online Festival, a website for the national children's Summer Reading Challenge, WHSmith People's Choice Book Award online voting and the BBC's Big Read. The partnerships will show how information and communications technology, provided through the People's Network in libraries, can open up a new dimension to reading. For instance, the Summer Reading Challenge website features children's authors hidden in a reading maze. Children can explore each author's special habitat through 360 panoramas which use computer gaming ideas -- a really creative, multi-layered and experimental way of exploring how authors like to read and write."

For further information, read the full press release at <> and browse the People's Choice Network at <>.

CDLI announces online presentation of the Institut Catholique collection, new features of its website

Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative Los Angeles/Berlin, 9 January 2003. "The CDLI is pleased to announce the online presentation of the tablet collection of the Institut Catholique, Paris, in its "Digital Library" pages ( From the collection homepage at ("

"Within the framework of an agreement of cooperation signed by the Institut Catholique de Paris (ICP) and the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI)...Bertrand Lafont, Directeur de Recherche at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, Paris), and Jacob Dahl of the CDLI staff at the University of California at Los Angeles were given direct access to the full cuneiform collection of the ICP. With the support of ICP staff, Lafont and Dahl proceeded to scan the collection in June of 2002 following procedures discussed in the methods pages ( of the CDLI, and have since then completed cataloguing and transliteration collations of all texts."

"The ICP presentation is the first of a series of planned cooperative efforts between the CDLI and the digitize and make generally accessible all French collections of early cuneiform. Introductory, and subsequent translation and commentary text for the tablet collections will be offered in English and French."

Also newly available, "we present at our homepage ( a link to a new feature of the CDLI. The Arboreal XML browser is a powerful tool developed by the Archimedes Project at Harvard ( for content-based access to, and annotation of XML texts. ( links to a Java applet for use with the transliterations of the archaic "Erlenmeyer collection". We expect in the near future to expand this implementation to include its applicability to all texts of the CDLI."

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

Five Hundred University of California Press eScholarship Editions Now Available on the Web

Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2003. "More than 500 University of California Press ( books are available online free of charge through an ongoing partnership between UC Press and the California Digital Library ( 300 of the University of California Press eScholarship Editions are available to the public. The other titles are currently only available to UC faculty, students and staff. Readers outside the UC system may view citations, abstracts and tables of contents, but not the full texts."

"By fall 2003, 1,500 UC Press eScholarship Editions [a project of the California Digital Library's eScholarship program (] will be available. More than 400 titles will be available to the public...The full collection will represent about a third of the UC Press books in print, plus over 300 out-of-print titles. The books cover a wide range of topics of interest to the general public as well as to scholars, including art, science, history, music, religion, natural history, and fiction."

"UC Press and the California Digital Library (CDL) will monitor usage of the online books and sales of the print editions to determine if it is feasible to eventually make the entire collection available at no charge to users."

"Features of the online collection include fully linked footnote and index references; the ability to search and browse by title, author or subject; detailed bibliographic data for each book, including a one-paragraph summary and many subject terms describing the book's content; and the ability to buy a hard copy of the book right from the Web site. "

For additional information, please contact Suzanne Samuel at the CDL, at suzanne.samu[email protected] or (510) 587-6132. Or, visit the CDL website at <>.

Andreas Rauber, Winner of the ERCIM 2002 Cor Baayen Award

"The Cor Baayen Award for a most promising researcher in computer science and applied mathematics was created in 1995 to honour the first ERCIM President. The Cor Baayen award is open to any young researcher having completed his/her PhD thesis in one of the "ERCIM countries", currently: Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom."

During a ceremony in Nice, France on 7 November 2002, the annual ERCIM 2002 Cor Baayen Award was presented to Andreas Rauber, a young researcher at the Department of Software Technology, Vienna University of Technology. "Besides his core research and his more than 60 peer-reviewed publications, Andreas Rauber is also an active member of the international scientific community exemplified by his membership in various program committees at international conferences and on the board of the IEEE Technical Committee on Digital Libraries."

For further information, see <> and the ERCIM NEWS (No. 52, January 2003) announcement at <>.

JISC Announces TechLearn to Cease Operations in July 2003

Monday, 23 Dec. 2002. "The need to understand, to promote, and to exploit new and emerging technologies in learning and teaching is one of the most important challenges faced by the further and higher education communities. The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) set up the Technologies Centre (formerly the Technologies Integration Centre) in August 2000 to act as a source of information and advice to the JISC community on how the community could best take advantage of the new technologies for learning and teaching and how these technologies might impact on strategic and operational planning. This work was rebranded as TechLearn ( in November 2001. Through consultation and research TechLearn has produced a number of reports on a variety of topics, including streaming media, wireless technologies, broadband communications and videoconferencing, which have added to our sum of knowledge and expertise in these and other areas."

"These aims have now been achieved and TechLearn will cease its operations in July 2003. The JISC continues to be fully committed to these objectives and the next step will be consultation with the community on how best to build on the achievements of TechLearn to meet the important challenges that the community faces in integrating Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) into learning and teaching and the management of institutions."

"TechLearn has been based at the Technologies Centre in York. The Technologies Centre, funded by the JISC, is also the parent organisation of TechDis (, an ICT advice and support service to enhance access for those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities to learning, teaching, research and administration. TechDis has also been successful in researching and supporting the use of ICT within its remit for the benefit of the further and higher education communities, and will continue to operate beyond July 2003."

"The JISC would like to thank TechLearn and its staff for their achievements over these years. Information about the JISC's future activities in these areas will be given in due course."

For further details, please contact Lesley Hawkins, JISC Executive (email: [email protected]).

NISO Publishes Guide to Standards for Library Systems

Bethesda, Md, USA - (December 19, 2002). "The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the publication of the RFP Writer's Guide to Standards for Library Systems, a manual intended to aid library system Request for Proposal (RFP) writers and evaluators in understanding the relevant standards and determining a software product's compliance with standards."

"The widespread use of Integrated Library Systems (ILS), global communications via the Internet, and growing numbers of digital library initiatives have made the need for compliance with standards more critical than ever."

"The RFP Writer's Guide to Standards for Library Systems identified critical standards in the areas of Bibliographic Formats, Record Structure, Character Sets, Exchange Media, Serials Identifiers, Binding, Circulation Protocols, Barcodes, Interlibrary Loan (ILL), Electronic Documents, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Information Retrieval, Metadata, and Web Access. For each standard the applicability to libraries is described, sample RFP language is provided, and compliance assessment issues are discussed."

The 70-page Guide is available as a hyperlinked pdf file for free-download from the NISO website and in hardcopy from NISO Press for $39.

For further information, see <>.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Award $9 Million to the Public Library of Science

"December 17, San Francisco, CA. The Public Library of Science (PLoS), a non-profit, international grass-roots organization of scientists, announced today that it is launching a new scientific publishing venture that will make the published results of scientific research more accessible and useful to scientists, physicians and the public. This new effort is backed by a five year, $9 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by an important policy decision from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute."

"PLoS will publish two new journals - PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine...The PLoS journals will retain all of the important features of scientific journals, including rigorous peer-review and high editorial standards, but will use a new business model in which the costs of these services are recovered by modest fees on each published paper. This new model will allow PLoS to make all published works immediately available online, with no charges for access or restrictions on subsequent redistribution or use."

"According to Dr. Eisen [Lawrence Orlando Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley], 'Publication is fundamental to the process of scientific and medical research, and the costs of publication are a small but essential part of the cost of research. If the same institutions and organizations that sponsor our research also committed to directly paying journals for providing peer-review, editorial oversight and production, the latest scientific discoveries could be made freely available online to every scientist and physician or interested citizen in the world in comprehensive, searchable open archives of the scientific literature. The anachronistic system of giving away the copyrights to the original research reports and then paying for access to them costs more and it effectively deprives most of the world - including the people whose taxes paid for the research in the first place - from having any meaningful access to the results.'"

"The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)...strongly endorsed this new model for scientific publishing by promising to cover the publication costs for their 350 investigators when they publish in open access electronic journals like PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine.

"PLoS is confident that the scientific community will support their new publications. In the past two years, more than 30,000 scientists from 180 countries signed an open letter circulated by PLoS, which called on established scientific journals to provide open access to their archives.

For further information, see the full press release at <> or visit the Public Library of Science website at <>.

India Pressing Towards Ratification of a Freedom of Information Bill

NEW DELHI DEC. 16 [2002]. "Parliament today approved the Freedom of Information Bill which envisages access to government information and files to every citizen in an effort to promote greater transparency, openness and accountability in administration...The Rajya Sabha passed the Bill unanimously this afternoon. The Lok Sabha had approved it earlier this month."

For further information, see <> and <>.


Copyright 2003 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/january2003-inbrief