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In Brief


D-Lib Magazine
January 2001

Volume 7 Number 1

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief

Realizing the Vision of Networked Access to Library Resources: An Applied Research and Demonstration Project to Establish and Operate a Z39.50 Interoperability Testbed

Contributed by:
William E. Moen, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
School of Library and Information Sciences
Texas Center for Digital Knowledge
University of North Texas
Denton, Texas, USA

The evolving world of digital libraries and virtual library services rests on the ability of multiple information systems to interact. This technical infrastructure provides users with new levels of access to information, library services, and resource sharing. Yet interoperability between diverse information systems in the networked environment presents complex and at times confounding challenges. The U.S. federal Institute of Museum and Library Services <> awarded the School of Library and Information Sciences <> and the Texas Center for Digital Knowledge at University of North Texas a National Leadership Grant for a research and demonstration project to improve interoperability between online library catalogs.

The project, Realizing the Vision of Networked Access to Library Resources: An Applied Research and Demonstration Project to Establish and Operate a Z39.50 Interoperability Testbed, will design and demonstrate test methods and metrics to assess interoperability between systems using the ANSI/NISO Z39.50 standard protocol for information retrieval. The overall goal for the project is to improve Z39.50 semantic interoperability among libraries for information access and resource sharing.

Recent studies evaluating Z39.50 implementations have documented librarians' concern about the reliability of Z39.50 to provide effective search and retrieval across library catalogs. Improvements in interoperability between systems can substantially increase users’ -- especially librarians' and other information professionals' -- confidence that Z39.50 products provide reliable results when searching across multiple resources. Implementors view Z39.50 as a strategic tool to provide standards-based access to a wide range of networked resources.

The Z39.50 Interoperability Testbed Project results will assist the library community (as well as other information-based communities such as museums) to improve interoperability between information systems, leading to better information access and resource sharing. Best practices for achieving Z39.50 interoperability will educate these communities and identify strategies to assist implementors. Outcomes of the project will include improvements in information retrieval system implementations and Z39.50 products. Interoperability testbeds for the networked environment are not well understood, and a "best practices guide to interoperability testing" will contribute a model for others to utilize in establishing testbeds for other protocols, resources, and applications.

Contributions from several organizations and companies will supplement the grant from the IMLS. OCLC (The Online Computer Library Center) <>, SIRSI Corporation <>, and Sea Change Corporation <> will provide software, hardware, expert staff, and data to assist the project team prepare the testbed.

The project is under the direction of Dr. William E. Moen, assistant professor at UNT <>. Moen has participated in recent state, national, and international efforts to develop Z39.50 application profiles for use by libraries. He currently serves as chair of a National Information Standards Organization committee to develop an American National Standard Z39.50 Profile for Library Applications <>. For additional information about the project, visit the project website <> or contact Dr. Moen <>.

Open Working Group on Agents in Digital Libraries

Contributed by:
José Borbinha
Director for Innovation and Development
National Library of Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal

Call for Participation
Open Working Group on Agents in Digital Libraries
DELOS - Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries
WP3: Standardisation Forum

Libraries, archives, museums, or content and services providers in general, represent different contexts with different approaches and requirements for describing "agents". Traditionally understood as authors, publishers, distributors, editors, creators, rights owners, etc., those concepts now face new challenges in a digital world, characterized by new genres of contents, new business models, and an increasing tendency for cross collaboration between contexts.

Can we identify interfaces and areas of overlap between these different fields and specify requirements for interoperability for systems and services involving these concepts? Can we identify existing practices, experiences, systems or standards to be shared? What are the problems to be solved and how can we present their requirements?

The DELOS Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries is promoting an international and multidisciplinary working group, with an agenda for 2001, to address this problem. This group will produce a final report, to be published by DELOS in the early months of 2002, identifying and describing the key players (organizations and communities to be taken into account), their perspectives, contexts and practices, as well as their main requirements and opportunities for cross-cooperation. The purpose of this report will be to collect, organize, analyze and present all the information necessary to foster wide understanding and promote cooperation in this area.

Working group activities will start in January 2001. Contributions and discussions will be promoted in an electronic mailing list moderated by core members, who will meet face-to-face during the year according to a plan under development. Core members will be responsible for editing the report and for organizing a DELOS workshop to be held in Portugal in October 2001. A first draft of the final report will be presented in September, during the ECDL2001 conference in Darmstadt, Germany.

These efforts will be coordinated with the activities of the LEAF project (a new project funded by the European Commission to start activities in February 2001), and with the Agents Working Group of the DCMI - Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DC-Agent).

To participate in this working group (open to anyone willing to contribute), or simply to receive information, please contact the chair of these activities:
Name: José Luis Borbinha - National Library of Portugal
Email: <>

DC-Agents: <>
LEAF: <>

Museums, Libraries and the 21st Century Learner

Contributed by:
Beverly Sheppard
Acting Director
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Washington, DC, USA.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services invites you to join a national conversation to challenge museums and libraries to achieve their full capacity as educators in an information age. Museums, Libraries and the 21st Century Learner initiative will result in a network of leadership, ideas, resources and inspiration designed to harness the unique power of museums and libraries with the unprecedented possibility of the information age. The goal is to increase access to ideas and information and also to encourage new uses of these rich resources. The project emerges from a profound recognition that museums, libraries and other non-formal educational institutions are increasingly vital resources to a learning society and should be at the center of a bold vision for lifelong learning.

In mid November, IMLS convened a Steering Committee of representatives from libraries, museums, public broadcasting, education, funding organizations and foundations and professional service organizations to consider the premises of the 21st Century Learner initiative and to begin planning for a national conference. The group discussed the central thesis that the learning culture requires a new vision in which learning is seen as a community-wide responsibility, supported by both formal and informal educational entities. It recognized an emphasis on alliances and collaboration among community-based educational institutions as the key to building a responsive, accessible learning infrastructure to serve the full citizenry. It further acknowledged the power of technology to support collaboration and connect communities.

Museums and libraries emerged as especially well positioned to serve as resource-rich leaders in addressing the educational challenges of this century. Both offer authenticity and authority. They base learning on real objects and artifacts, authentic and firsthand experiences, and scholarship and authority that is widely regarded as trustworthy. Both have a diverse and broad audience and the ability to work across all ages. They have an impressive history of educational programming, building relationships between various user groups and the ideas inherent in their collections. Both are embedded in their communities and provide congregate spaces for intergenerational learning. They have the expertise and structures in place to provide access to information, and both are adept teachers of learning skills. What is needed now is fresh thinking about alliances among these institutions and others in their communities to support the learning needs of a changing society.

As Museums, Libraries and the 21st Century Learner moves forward, IMLS seeks to widen the conversation and present a national conference in November 2001. A position paper, written by Acting Director Beverly Sheppard, is posted on the IMLS website at <>. The 21st Century Learner link also includes reports from the Steering Committee meeting, information about related initiatives and resources, and an invitation to join the conversation. What models for collaboration about educational entities are underway? How might technology be employed to serve new collaborations? How can we ensure inclusion in a learning society? How else might we widen this conversation? IMLS invites you to weigh in on these very important questions.

Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnerships (LAAP): A Grant Program Administered by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)

Contributed by:
Karen B. Levitan
Program Officer
Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education
U.S. Department of Education
Washington, DC, USA

The Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnerships (LAAP) is a grant competition authorized by the 1998 Amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 to support partnerships among colleges and universities, employers, technology companies, and other relevant organizations to create postsecondary programs that deliver distance education "anytime and anywhere." These programs should be implemented on a national or regional scale and should be innovative within the context of national trends in distance education.

  • LAAP supports "anytime anywhere" distance education that uses predominantly asynchronous technologies to reach students wherever they may be, whatever time of day. Generally, this means not only internet delivery, but also student-centered delivery like: customization of courses, self-paced learning, "just in time" job training, and competency-based measurement of student progress.
  • LAAP funds strategic partnerships among colleges and universities, technology companies, groups of employers, professional associations, publishers, and any other relevant organizations. Through LAAP-funded partnerships, institutions can pool resources, reduce program duplication, and aggregate to achieve economies of scale, as well as wide-scale implementation. LAAP discourages locally oriented projects.
  • LAAP seeks to address new challenges that have arisen as a result of the changing distance education environment. LAAP grants seek not just to create new education or training options, but to tackle as well the emerging challenges in support services, policy formation, instructional design, technical support, intellectual property, and other areas.
  • LAAP seeks to create new postsecondary education opportunities and create job readiness for student populations that have been underserved by conventional education or other forms of distance education, especially individuals with disabilities, dislocated workers, individuals transitioning from welfare to the workforce, and students seeking basic skills.
  • The 2001 LAAP budget includes $15.5 million for new projects and 30-40 awards are anticipated. LAAP projects can extend for up to three years of funding. Grants generally range from $100,000 to $500,000 per year, with an average of $333,333 per year or $1 million total.
  • Cost sharing is required on a one-to-one basis, i.e., funded partnerships must commit to cost sharing that meets or exceeds the federal grant dollars.
  • Eligible partnerships must consist of two or more independent agencies, organizations, or institutions with a non-profit organization designated to serve as the lead applicant and fiscal agent for the award.
  • LAAP uses a two-stage application process: All applicants are required to submit a preliminary proposal up to 7 pages in length due March 15, 2001. After preliminary proposals are reviewed, the most promising applicants will be invited to submit complete "final proposals" up to 25 pages in length. Final award decisions are based on review of the final proposals.
  • LAAP CONTACTS: To speak with a LAAP program officer, call 202-502-7500. To request a print version of the application materials, send your postal mailing address by e-mail to <>. For more information, visit LAAP’s web site at: <>.

Cross-sectoral Stewardship Strategy for Museums, Archives and Libraries

Contributed by:
Julie Carpenter
Education for Change Ltd
London, United Kingdom

Re:source: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries <> is developing a cross-sectoral Stewardship Strategy for museums, archives and libraries.

The Stewardship Strategy will inform policy and funding decisions by Re:source, Government <> and other strategic agencies and will provide a planning and development resource for museums, archives and libraries in the Stewardship field. The strategy will address key issues including standards and funding provision for Stewardship in the three domains. It will be concluded in March 2001 and will cover areas such as acquisition and disposal; preservation, conservation and collection care; preservation and collection management; documentation and cataloguing; environmental management of buildings; security; use of collections; risk management and emergency preparedness and research.

The strategy will build upon a number of national and international initiatives undertaken separately by museums, archives and libraries in recent years. Education for Change Ltd. <>, have been appointed as consultants to map Re:source’s vision for Stewardship, consult with stakeholders and produce the written Strategy. The work on interviewing and gathering evidence and opinion from the professional and policy-making communities began in December 2000 and will continue throughout January 2001.

Education for Change Ltd leads a team of consultants including Nick Moore (Acumen) and Sara Selwood (University of Westminster). Their work will be supported by an informal Practitioner Reference Group, drawn from across the museums, archives and libraries domains to advise on issues and validate emerging conclusions. A first draft of the Strategy is expected to be presented to Re:source by the end of January 2001, and a large-scale consultation meeting, attended by museum, library and archives practitioners and other stakeholders from all over the UK is planned for late February.

Education for Change Ltd (EfC) is an independent consulting, research and project management company, offering professional consulting services in library and cultural heritage information management, education and learning development, information dissemination and publishing. EfC is working with Acumen on the Stewardship Strategy, which is an independent research, consultancy and policy analysis partnership. Established in 1982, it has undertaken a wide range of projects for public and private sector clients in Britain and overseas. Main areas of expertise include research into the nature of information needs and the use of information services, and the use of ICT to deliver services. The team is completed by Sara Selwood, who is Quintin Hogg Research Fellow, School of Communication, Design and Media at the University of Westminster. Sara is based at the Policy Studies Institute. She is the editor of Cultural Trends.

New Email List on Digital Preservation

Contributed by:
Neil Beagrie
Assistant Director (Preservation)
London, United Kingdom <>

A new email list, digital-preservation, has been established on Jiscmail (successor to the UK Mailbase service).

Digital-preservation is a moderated, low-traffic announcement and current awareness list of selected key initiatives and developments in the field of digital preservation, which is of interest to archivists, curators, data creators, librarians and records managers both within higher education and related sectors. Topics will include: digital archiving, management and preservation; electronic records management; emulation; migration; long-term access; research projects; and national, international and institutional initiatives in relevant areas.

The digital-preservation list primarily will carry announcements and information on activities relevant to the preservation and management of digital materials in the UK, but topics covered may be of interest to those outside the United Kingdom as well. The list will be used to disseminate information on the work of JISC Digital Preservation Focus, the Digital Preservation Coalition and related initiatives. A small number of messages have already been posted to the list and are accessible from the list archive.

The archive and a "joining the list" web-form is available at <

JSTOR Completes General Science Collection (News Release)

Contributed by:
Carol MacAdam

For Immediate Release: December 27, 2000
JSTOR Completes General Science Collection
More Than 350 Years of Scientific Literature Now Available Online
JSTOR Home Page: <>

Sir Isaac Newton's first published papers and Benjamin Franklin's legendary experiments with electricity are just two of the scientific treasures that students, faculty, researchers and scholars will be able to access over the Internet through JSTOR's General Science Collection, which was completed on December 21, 2000. The Collection contains the archives, reaching as far back as the 17th century, of seven leading scientific journals that have been reproduced electronically exactly as they were originally designed, illustrated and published.

The General Science Collection was completed earlier than its original target date of December 31, 2000. Over the past year, pages from the Collection have been released in chronological segments and made available to researchers at participating libraries and institutions worldwide.

"The General Science Collection is an invaluable information resource for researchers, scientists, and historians of science, as well as a rich teaching and learning tool for faculty and students," says Kevin M. Guthrie, President of JSTOR. "With scholars and students becoming ever more reliant on content available electronically, JSTOR's mission to archive and preserve this material serves to reinvigorate these important materials. We are pleased to take on the task of ensuring future access to this literature and look forward to hearing about the many 'discoveries' that will be made through the use of this resource."

The Collection contains the complete back-runs of the following journals:

Royal Society of London:

  • Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (1665-1886), continued as Series A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences and Series B: Biological Sciences (1887 to the moving wall, five years from the present)
  • Proceeding of the Royal Society of London (1832-1904), continued as Series A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences and Series B: Proceedings: Biological Sciences (1905 to the moving wall, five years from the present)

National Academy of Science:

  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (from 1915 to the moving wall, two years from the present)

American Association for the Advancement of Science:

  • Science, (from 1880 to the moving wall, five years from the present)
  • Scientific Monthly, (from 1915 to 1957)

Some of the discoveries that researchers will be able to find in the Collection's 1.4 million journal pages are:

  • Van Leeuwenhoek's observations through the earliest microscopes;
  • Some of the first published descriptions of dinosaur fossils;
  • Marconi's research leading to the development of radio;
  • Sightings of Halley's Comet throughout history.

Notes Elizabeth Bennett, JSTOR Production Coordinator: "Modern science was just getting invented in the 17th century. What is wonderful about the General Science Collection is that you can watch this take place and see the development of the scientific method by the people who made the rules."

The age of the journals created new challenges for JSTOR's production team at Princeton University. Illustrations in many of the articles were more complex than any JSTOR had worked with before, and the text included letters such as the "long-S" that are no longer used. As a result, journal pages from 1665-1799 were both scanned in and then typed in to ensure accuracy. JSTOR received support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help offset the costs of creating the General Science Collection, which is JSTOR's third complete collection of journal archives. JSTOR's original Arts & Sciences I Collection was completed in November 1999. The Ecology & Botany Collection was released in December 2000. There are 900 libraries worldwide and more than 115 publishers participating in this cooperative effort.

Copyright (c) 2001 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/january2001-inbrief