D-Lib Magazine
The Magazine of the Digital Library Forum
July 1995

Clips and Pointers

ERCIM backs digital libraries research program. The Directors of the European Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM), which represents 14 national information technology research institutes (http://www-ercim.inria.fr/ ), backed a proposal to establish a program for research and development in digital libraries at their June 7th board meeting in Helsinki. The directors made three major decisions:

(1) To focus the ERCIM fellowship program for the next few years, starting with the October 1995 call, on topics in digital library research, such as multimedia information storage, retrieval, filtering, networked database systems, distributed computing, and hypermedia. These fellowships enable approximately ten young scientists to conduct research at ERCIM Institutes each year.
(2) To encourage basic research by supporting the activities of ERCIM'S DELOS working group.
(3) To support the SAMOS project, which proposes to build an Internet-accessible library of the technical reports produced by ERCIM institutes.

The Directorate-General XIII of the European Community maintains a home page (http://www.echo.lu/home.html ), which accesses basic information about Europe, the European electronic information market, and programs supported by the EC. Projects in European libraries are described in program documents, "Telematics for knowledge - Libraries" (http://www.echo.lu/programmes/en/LIBRARIES.html ) and in the 1995 project list (http://www.echo.lu/impact/libraries/projects/projectlist.html ). These projects are based in existing European libraries and typically involve collaborations among several major libraries as well as with publishers and other concerned entities. More general project information not focused on existing libraries, such as the geographical research initiative GI2000 (http://www.echo.lu/impact/projects/gis/en/gi2000xz.html ), may be accessed through "What's New in "I'm Europe" (http://www.echo.lu/whatsnew.html ).

Work continues on identifiers at the IETF. The Uniform Resource Identifiers Working Group (URI-WG) of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is tasked with defining the syntax and semantics for the encoding of system-independent resource location and identification information for the use of Internet information services. So far, the group has produced proposed standards for Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) and relative URLs.

The URL proposed standard, RFC 1738, is a refinement and careful definition of the URL schemes originally used in the World-Wide Web. Work is also proceeding on defining location-independent naming schemes called Uniform Resource Names (URNs). RFC 1737 specifies requirements for such schemes, and several proposals are now being discussed by the working group. The group is also considering requirements, use scenarios and possible candidate syntax specifications for descriptions and specifications of objects, collectively called Uniform Resource Characteristics or Citations. A proposal for resource identification with agent technology was also discussed recently.

The working group does most of its work via e-mail; the home page (http://www.ics.uci.edu/pub/ietf/uri/ ) gives pointers to most of the group's working documents, mail archives and meeting minutes. (Contributed by Larry Masinter, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center)

Global Information Locator to build on Government Information Locator Service (GILS). A Global Information Locator has been proposed as part of the project on Environment and Natural Resources Management adopted in February 1995 at the G-7 Ministerial Conference on the Information Society. The Global Information Locator will address fundamental issues in the evolving information infrastructure: it will facilitate access to existing, heterogeneous information resources, and it will define a service on which applications can be built. The Global Information Locator will build on the US Government Information Locator Service (GILS) initiative, now established in US law, and technical standards, such as FIPS PUB 192. GILS also forms the basic information locator service that underlies the spatial data clearinghouse within the US National Spatial Data Infrastructure. (Information about GILS is available at http://www.usgs.gov/gils ).

Like GILS, the Global Information Locator will be decentralized and based on open standards, encouraging participation by the wide diversity of sources, both public and private, that serve the myriad public and governmental needs for information. The open systems design will help assure that many different information systems can be separately developed yet remain interoperable when implemented. The Global Information Locator will be implemented using peer computer networks, such as the Internet and OSI-compliant networks, and will use the international standard for information search and retrieval ISO 10162/10163, known in the US as ANSI Z39.50 version 2. (Contributed by Eliot Christian, US Geological Survey)

Elsevier Science implements electronic subscription service on a pilot basis. Elsevier Science has implemented the Elsevier Electronic Subscriptions (EES) service, announced in February 1995, at several corporate customers' sites. EES employs the electronic format developed in TULIP, a cooperative research project conducted by Elsevier Science and nine US universities which is testing systems for networked delivery and use of journals. The format comprises cover-to-cover bit-mapped images, bibliographic header information (including abstracts and available keywords) in structured, SGML-tagged text, and full text as an unedited and unstructured ASCII file.

Elsevier distributes the EES files on customized CD-Roms, based on the customer's subscription profile. The EES files themselves are intended to be implemented with either the library's existing software or third party, open-standards software, installed and supported under non-exclusive marketing agreements between Elsevier Science and the third party suppliers. This approach enables institutions to construct more advanced services for electronic journals on the basis of the service and to accommodate future changes. A home page devoted to EES is under development; the Elsevier Science home page (http://www.elsevier.nl ) provides access to the TULIP home page, where detailed information on the project is located.

Free access to Lycos to be maintained under new management structure. On June 19, 1995, CMG Information Services, Inc. announced that its strategic investment and development company, CMG@Ventures, had purchased exclusive rights to the Lycos Spider Technology from Carnegie Mellon University. A subsidiary, Lycos, Inc. was formed to develop and market the technology. The new company plans to enhance current technical resources while continuing to provide free access to the Lycos service. Lycos is presently the largest catalog of sites on the Internet. See the announcement (http://www.lycos.com/lycos-press-03.html ) for more information.

CS-TR Project holds meeting June 1-2. The final regular meeting of the six participants in the Computer Science Technical Reports Project (http://www.cnri.reston.va.us/home/cstr.html ) was held on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley on June 1st and 2nd. The project began in 1992 when the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) funded a three year grant in order for the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) and five research institutions to investigate collaboratively the questions related to large-scale, distributed, digital libraries beginning with Computer Science Technical Reports (CS-TR).

The ensuing research has focused on a broad spectrum of technical, social, and legal issues encompassing all aspects of a very large, heterogeneous distributed digital library environment: acquisition, storage, organization, search, retrieval, display, use and intellectual property. The initial corpus of this digital library is a coherent digital collection of CS-TR's created at the five participating universities: Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of California at Berkeley. The group will continue to work on CS-TR research and production issues in the context of the larger digital library projects and as part of the D-LIB Forum. In particular the CS-TR participants will continue to share technology and content. (Contributed by Greg Anderson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Rebecca Lasher, Stanford University)

On May 23, 1995, Netscape Communications Corporation and Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced that Netscape intends to license Sun's Java (TM) programming language for implementation in future versions of the Netscape Navigator browser. For relevant press releases and more information about the Java language, see Sun's home page (http://www.sun.com/ ), the product description (http://www.sun.com:80/cgi-bin/show?current/javastory.html ), or Netscape's announcement (http://www.netscape.com/newsref/pr/newsrelease25.html ).

The Library of Congress, the National Archives, the New York Public Library, the Commission on Preservation and Access, and leaders of twelve of the nation's largest university libraries agreed to collaborate toward the establishment of a National Digital Library Federation according to an announcement issued May 1, 1995. The primary goal of the Federation is the implementation of a distributed, open digital library accessible across the Internet, consisting of collections to be created by digitizing material belonging to the founding members and other libraries and by incorporating holdings already in electronic form. The Coalition for Networked Information (http://www.cni.org/CNI.homepage.html ) has re-issued the Federation's original press release ( gopher://gopher.cni.org:70/0R3807-13536-/cniftp/forums/cni-announce/95.05 ).

On April 7, 1995, OCLC announced design of a new Internet directory, NetFirst, for initial release in the summer of 1995 Records in the database will include original abstracts and subject classification. For further information, see "What's New" on OCLC's home page (http://www.oclc.org ) or the newsletters (http://www.oclc.org/oclc/new/t-list.htm ).

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has called for volunteers for a beta test of Internet Grateful Med (IGM), a prototype for assisted searching in MEDLINE via the Internet and the World Wide Web. MEDLINE is the most widely-used of the more than 40 MEDLARS databases. For more information, send an email message to "access@nlm.nih.gov". The message should include your name, physical mailing address, telephone and fax numbers, and email address.

The US Copyright Office at the Library of Congress has set up a home page (http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright ) offering access to basic information (such as circulars and announcements) and enabling users to search the copyright office's files.

IT Review (March 1995), the IFLA Section on Information Technology newsletter (http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/ifla/pubs/sections/sit/sititr24.htm ), summarizes new projects approved at IFLA's Havana meeting, ongoing projects, and projects that were concluded in 1994. The preliminary agenda for the Istanbul (August 1995) meeting is also announced.

The on-line version of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (http://www-jbc.stanford.edu/jbc/ ) made its debut at the Society's May 1995 meeting. On-line issues date back to April 14, 1995, and tables of contents for issues dating back to 1989 have been added. The on-line version of the journal is published by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with the Stanford Libraries' The Highwire Press and with assistance from WAIS, Inc. and Cadmus Journal Services.