D-Lib Magazine
February 2000

Volume 6 Number 2

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief

Cross-Language Evaluation Forum

Contributed by:
Carol Peters
Italian National Research Council
Pisa, Italy

A Cross-Language System Evaluation activity is now being launched in Europe. The activity is sponsored by the DELOS Network of Excellence for Digital Libraries, funded by the EC Information Society Technologies programme. It is conducted in collaboration with the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the TREC Conferences.

The Cross-Language Evaluation Forum (CLEF) will run three main evaluation tracks in 2000, testing multilingual, bilingual and monolingual (non-English) information retrieval systems. Interested groups can participate in any or all tracks. Newcomers to the activity may choose to begin with the monolingual track in the first year and work up to the others in later years. There will also be a special sub-task for domain-specific cross-language evaluation.

Multilingual Information Retrieval

The main task in CLEF 2000 requires searching a multilingual collection in English, French, German, and Italian for relevant documents. The goal is to retrieve documents from all languages, listing the results in a merged, ranked list.

Although the official languages for CLEF 2000 will be English, French, German and Italian, it will also be possible to submit runs in which the document collection is queried in other languages. In this case, participants will be responsible for the translation of the query into their selected language.

Bilingual Information Retrieval

A task will be provided in which the query language can be French, German or Italian and the target document collection is English. Unofficial bilingual runs in which the query to the English document collection can be in other languages can also be submitted and will be evaluated.

Monolingual (non-English) Information Retrieval

Different languages present different problems; IR techniques that are highly efficient for certain language typologies may not be so effective for others. So far, most IR system evaluation has focussed on English. We will provide the opportunity for monolingual system testing and tuning and will build up test suites in other European languages (beginning with French, German and Italian in CLEF 2000).

Special Task GIRT

The rationale of this subtask is to study CLIR in a vertical domain (i.e., social science) where a German/English/Russian thesaurus and English translations of the document titles are available.


CNR-IEI, Pisa, Italy <http://www.iei.pi.cnr.it>; Eurospider Information Technology, Switzerland <http://www.eurospider.ch>; NIST, Gaithersburg MD, USA <http://trec.nist.gov>; Social Science Information Centre, Bonn/University of Koblenz, Germany <http://www.bonn.iz-soz.de>; University of Zurich, Switzerland <http://www.ifi.unizh.ch>.


Those intending to participate in CLEF 2000 are requested to send an e-mail to Carol Peters (carol@iei.pi.cnr.it), as soon as possible, indicating in which task(s) they intend to participate.


A two-day Workshop will be held 21-22 September in Lisbon, Portugal, immediately after the fourth European Conference on Digital Libraries (ECDL 2000: see <http://www.bn.pt/org/agenda/ecdl2000>). The first day will be open to all interested participants and focussed on research related issues in Multilingual Information Access. The second day will present and discuss the results of the CLEF activity and will be restricted to active CLEF participants.

Contact Information

For further information and deadlines, see <http://www.iei.pi.cnr.it/DELOS/CLEF>.


Ex Libris Acquires Rights to SFX Reference Linking Software

(Excerpted from the February 4, 2000, Press Release)

Contributed by:
Oren Beit-Arie
Vice President, Ex Libris (USA) Inc.
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Ex Libris has acquired the sole rights to the SFX Reference Linking Software Solution from the University of Gent (Belgium) and will begin its immediate deployment. SFX will play a vital role in Ex Libris' new Internet Strategy.

The wide use of hyperlinks on the World Wide Web has conditioned Internet users to expect similar linking convenience within other computer environments, including digital library collections. However, when you want to ascertain the availability of items, it is still a case of "hit-and-miss".

As the Web evolves, the creation of services that link related information entities is an area of strongly growing interest, particularly for the research community and for managers of research-related information systems. Publishers, subscription agents, researchers and libraries are looking for ways to create value-added services through linking these entities.

"SFX is a groundbreaking tool for discovery and navigation that will deliver such linking services in the scholarly information environment" said Oren Beit-Arie, Vice President of Research and Development. "SFX enables linking between all parts of an electronic collection: full-text repositories; abstracting, indexing and citation databases; online library catalogs; citations appearing in research articles and other web resources..."

SFX is a system that dynamically interlinks numerous electronic resources and can be used in a wide range of digital libraries. SFX is based on the research work about the reference linking problem undertaken by Herbert Van de Sompel at the University of Gent and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It has been applied in the complex digital library environments of both institutions. The solution has successfully demonstrated its ability to dynamically create services interlinking:

  • Abstracting and indexing databases (Inspec, Medline, PubMed, Public Genome database, MathSci, Compendex, LiSa, Current Contents, BIOSIS, Books in Print, EconLit, Ulrich)
  • Library catalogues
  • Citation databases (ISI, SLAC/SPIRES)
  • Citations in research papers (Wiley InterScience, American Physical Society PROLA archive)
  • E-print archives (Los Alamos xxx and the experimental UPS Prototype service)
  • Internet Bookshops

For further details, please see the full press release and references at the Ex Libris USA web site, < http://www.exlibris-usa.com/ >.


BioMed Central

Contributed by:
John Peel
Marketing Director, BioMed Central
London, United Kingdom info@biomedcentral.com

BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com) is a new "open" publisher of peer-reviewed original research. It is part of Current Science Group, an innovative, independent science publisher. BioMed Central fully embraces PubMed Central's vision of barrier-free access to all original research. All research articles published through BioMed Central will be available immediately and in full through PubMed Central.

Articles published on BioMed Central will be:

  • available to all -- globally, free and without barriers to access of any kind
  • subject to full, high-quality peer review
  • published rapidly, taking advantage of web technology to improve the efficiency of manuscript provision, peer review and page layout
  • indexed by PubMed
  • permanently available online in full text through PubMed Central

Research articles from Current Science Group's existing journals, including Arthritis Research, (http://arthritis-research.com), Breast Cancer Research (http://breast-cancer-research.com), Critical Care Forum(http://ccforum.com) and Genome Biology (http://www.genomebiology.com available Spring 2000) will also be made freely available through PubMed Central.

BioMed Central is an independent publishing company, and our central task is to provide the best service to authors, to referee and publish their research reports faster and better than traditional print publications. All the research reports (original papers) we publish will be placed immediately and in full on PubMed Central and will be available for free, to all.

In the future BMC will also publish reviews, commentaries, news, and databases and provide other services to the biomedical community -- most of which will require subscriptions. We want to create services that are useful enough that scientists will want to subscribe to them. But we are fully committed to the belief that original scientific research should be freely available to all, and we are working with many groups in the scientific community to bring this about. BioMed Central is currently under development. It will launch in May 2000.

Anybody who would like more information on participating in BioMed Central, as authors, users, advisers, reviewers or editorial board members should contact BioMed Central at info@biomedcentral.com.


PrePRINT Network for Researchers

Contributed by:
Lorrie Johnson and Delores Brabson
Office of Science
Office of Scientific and Technical Information
Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA.

The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) has introduced a major breakthrough in making scientific information available to researchers in a more timely and comprehensive manner.

The PrePRINT Network (PPN) <http://www.osti.gov/preprint/> is a new Web-based tool that provides access to the energy-related papers, draft journal articles, and other electronic materials produced by researchers. At numerous sites throughout the country, databases and Web sites exist on servers that contain this information for specific projects or disciplines; the PrePRINT Network, in effect, combines those dispersed servers into a comprehensive set of energy research information and makes them all searchable via a single query.

Using this valuable asset, researchers can browse or search one specific preprint site, a selected set of sites, or all of the listed sites. With a single query, users can search one or a collection of existing preprint servers. The PPN facilitates access to and searching of preprints by linking to preprint servers wherever they exist on the Web. The PPN pulses the search engines of such servers, compiles the results, and returns them to the users.

In this manner, the PPN provides links to 250 preprint sites housing over 215,000 documents, and over twenty heterogeneous preprint databases are available for distributed cross-searching via a single query. Collections and resources included on the PPN are provided by academic institutions, government research laboratories, scientific societies, private research organizations, and individual scientists and researchers.

The PPN is the latest in a series of Web-based services developed by OSTI and made available to the public through EnergyFiles <http://www.osti.gov/energyfiles/>, DOE's virtual library of energy science and technology. With the addition of PPN, EnergyFiles captures the three main ways by which researchers disseminate their findings: grey literature (the DOE Information Bridge, <http://www.osti.gov/bridge/>); journal literature (PubSCIENCE, <http://www.osti.gov/pubscience/>); and preprints, <http://www.osti.gov/preprint/>.

For more information, please contact R. L. Scott, Director for Project and Program Development, Office of Scientific and Technical Information, at (865) 576-1193.


ECPA Receives EU Grant for Photo Project 'SEPIA' (Press Release)

Contributed by:
Anne Muller, Asst. Executive Secretary
European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA)
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA) received one of fifty-five subsidies granted to cultural projects designed to test the framework programme "Culture 2000" of the European Union for its project "Safeguarding European Photographic Images for Access" (SEPIA).

The SEPIA project, <http://www.knaw.nl/ecpa/sepia>, deals with historic photographic collections that are an essential part of the European cultural heritage. The project's aim is

  1. to promote awareness of the need to preserve photographic collections,
  2. to provide training for professionals involved in preservation and digitisation of photographic collections and
  3. to develop an overall framework under which future projects in the area of preservation and access of photographic materials can be brought together.

Activities of the SEPIA project will include expert meetings and workshops to train those working with photographic collections. A survey report on the status of preservation and digitisation of photographic collections in Europe will be published. In addition an introductory text on (preservation of) photographic collections will be prepared, and the ECPA's website will be expanded with a section on photographs. An open conference on the management of photographic collections will close the activities at the end of the experimental year, in June 2000 in the UK.

The ECPA will coordinate the SEPIA project. Its partners are: Centre de Recherches sur la Conservation des Documents Graphiques (CRCDG) (Paris, France); National Photographic Conservation Studios (Rotterdam, The Netherlands); Public Record Office (Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom); Stockholm City Museum (Stockholm, Sweden); The British Library (London, United Kingdom); The Finnish Museum of Photography (Helsinki, Finland) and The Royal Library of Denmark (Copenhagen, Denmark).

The Culture 2000 programme of the European Commission aims to strengthen cooperation between Europeans on a cultural level. As of the year 2000 it took over from the programmes Kaleidoscope (for the "living arts"), Ariane (for literature) and RaphaŽl (for cultural heritage). The call for application of experimental measures in the framework of Culture 2000 was published in June 1999. For more information on Culture 2000, see: <http://europa.eu.int/comm/dg10/culture/program-2000_en.html>.

For more information, please contact:
Yola de Lusenet, Executive Secretary
European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA)
P.O. Box 19121
1000 GC Amsterdam
The Netherlands
tel. ++31-20-551 08 39
fax ++31-20-620 49 41
e-mail: ECPA@bureau.knaw.nl
URL: <http://www.knaw.nl/ecpa>.


VALA to Webcast National Library Conference

Contributed by:
Simon Huggard
Digital Resources Librarian, Monash University Library
Clayton, Vic, Australia

VALA, the Victorian Association for Library Automation, has announced that it will be webcasting segments of its upcoming national conference, VALA 2000, Books and Bytes; Technologies for the Hybrid Library.

The Conference, which is to be held at the Melbourne Convention Centre between the 16th and 18th of February, will be covering a diverse range of issues on the themes of hybrid and digital libraries. Owing to unprecedented interest in this Conference, VALA has decided to proceed with the webcast both as a means of disseminating Conference proceedings to a wider audience, and as an opportunity for delegates to consider the potential applications of internet broadcasting in areas such as information services, professional development, and education.

The webcast will be accessible from the VALA website at <http://www.vala.org.au>, and will feature live broadcasts of all keynote presenters at the Conference -- including a panel discussion on the future of metadata -- and packages of highlights from other speakers, product demonstrations and interviews. The broadcast material will complement the range of conference papers which are already available in PDF format on the VALA website. During the Conference, the webcast will also be screened at the VALA stand in the Conference Exhibition area.

A detailed programme for the webcast is expected to be announced shortly. Further details about the Conference or the webcast can be obtained by viewing the VALA website or by email at vala@vala.org.au.


The Learning and Teaching Support Network

Contributed by:
Cliff Allan
LTSN Programme Director, ILT
York, United Kingdom

The UK Higher Education funding bodies have established a new Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN) to promote high quality learning and teaching in all subject disciplines in Higher Education (HE). The network will support the sharing of innovation and good practices in learning and teaching including the use, where appropriate, of communications and information technology (C&IT).

The network will consist of:

  • 24 subject centres
  • The Generic Learning and Teaching Centre
  • A programme director and co-ordinator.

The subject/discipline focus of this programme recognises that for many in HE, it is at this level where most networking and exchange of learning, teaching and assessment practice and innovation take place. Therefore, the creation of 24 subject centres will provide a means for effective dissemination and promotion of practice and innovation amongst subject-based communities.

There are also many learning and teaching issues and practices common to all subjects, which will be disseminated and promoted by a Generic Learning and Teaching Centre (GLTC). The GLTC will also reduce duplication and build links between the subject centres and will become a major national source of information and expertise on HE learning and teaching practice.

Following an extensive tendering process the UK funding bodies have now contracted with lead sites for 23 subject centres -- the final one will be in place by April 2000.

The core aims of the subject centres are:
  • knowledge brokerage
  • networking
  • promotion and sharing of good practice
  • advisory function.

The core activities of each subject centre will include:

  • collation of information on all aspects of teaching, learning and assessment
  • provision of training opportunities
  • advisory service to practitioners
  • practitioner support through maintenance of networks and effective contacts
  • liaison with relevant professional bodies and subject associations
  • advice on the implementation of C&IT in learning and teaching
  • ensuring that all practitioners are aware of current and future pedagogic developments, including developments in the use of C&IT
  • collaboration with cognate subject centres to support interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary activity
  • collaboration with the Generic Teaching & Learning Centre to ensure that subject centre staff are aware of broader pedagogic and technological issues

The funding bodies have contracted the Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT) to provide the two other key elements of the LTSN: The Programme Director and the Generic Learning and Teaching Centre. The role of the Programme Director is to manage, support and monitor the overall LTSN programme.

The GLTC will be formed in the early part of 2000 and will be co-located with the JISC's new Technology Integration Centre in the ILT's offices in York.

The GLTC will:
  • provide strategic advice to the sector on generic learning and teaching issues
  • disseminate good practice in the development and deployment of new methods and new technologies
  • act as a knowledge broker for innovation in learning and teaching.

The core activities of the GLTC will include:

  • collating information on generic developments in teaching, learning and assessment
  • advising and supporting subject centres and HEIs on generic teaching, learning and assessment issues, including the use of new technologies
  • maintaining an international outlook on generic learning and teaching developments
  • liaison with institutional learning and teaching staff development activity
  • liaison with the JISC, the ESRC Pedagogic Research Initiative and other organisations managing research and development projects in learning and teaching
  • making available critical evaluations of generic learning and teaching-related C&IT materials.
The TIC will:

Investigate, develop and prove the applicability of new technologies in support of the whole education process in higher and further education. This will include technologies relevant to learning and teaching and their integration into wider student support and administrative systems.

Its core functions will be:

  • monitoring developments in technologies of importance to learning and teaching, and integrating these with student support progression and other administrative systems.
  • providing advice to the GLTC on when and how to deploy these technologies within institutions.
  • identifying suitable C and IT standards and promoting their use in the community.
  • broadening the applicability of existing JISC activities to increase their relevance to learning and teaching activities.
  • working with organisations involved in similar activities in the UK and overseas, including commercial companies, with a view to sharing experiences and identifying opportunities for collaborative initiatives to address common problems.

Further information from LTSN Enquiries: ILT, Genesis 3, Innovation Way, York Science Park, Heslington, York YO10 5DQ Tel 01904 434249 email: ltsnenquiries@ILT.ac.uk or visit the initial website: <http://www.ilt.ac.uk/ltsn/index.htm>.


Resource Guide for the Social Sciences

Contributed by:
Karen E. Ford, Resource Guide Adviser
Institute for Learning and Research Technology
Bristol, United Kingdom

The Resource Guide for the Social Sciences aims to provide those working and studying in the UK social science research community with an overview of the exciting but often overwhelming range of electronic services available and to promote effective use of the resources for research and learning purposes.

The Guide focuses on resources funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Resource categories include:

  • Bibliographic, reference and research information
  • Publications online
  • Subject gateways
  • Data services
  • Learning and teaching
  • Support services

Some resources require subscription and /or registration, however, many are freely available.

What do we offer?

Our comprehensive flier provides an overview and descriptions of the social science resources funded by the JISC and the ESRC. Free printed copies can be ordered online (UK only). For those outside the UK, the flier is also available in pdf format and can be downloaded and copied for non-profit use. Order copies from our Web site: < http://www.jisc.ac.uk/subject/socsci/ >.

We also run a limited number of free awareness raising events. Consult the training section of our Web site for details:
http://www.jisc.ac.uk/subject/socsci/training.html >.

Who are we?

We are based at the Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT) at the University of Bristol. For further information contact:

Karen Ford (Resource Guide Adviser)
Email: resguide-socsci@bris.ac.uk.


Copyright (c) 2000 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/february2000-inbrief