European Union endorses ERCIM Digital Document Initiative. In a panel discussion held during the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) Meetings at the Computer and Automation Research Institute, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, SZTAKI, Budapest in early November 1995, George Metakides, Head of the European Community Information Technology programme at DG III, concurred with several fundamental issues raised in an ERCIM discussion paper concerning the ERCIM Digital Document Repository Initiative. In his response, Mr. Metakides agreed with the content of ERCIM's paper as well as with ERCIM's potential to play a leading role in the definition, activation and implementation of such activities at a European level. He noted, in particular, the importance of digital library efforts to industry and research communities as well as Europe's potential to lead in the areas of multilinguality in information systems or interoperability of autonomous federated distributed systems. The initiative, set forth in ERCIM's planning paper, was to be viewed with favour by the Commission. He promised that he would investigate which of the Commission's programmes were most appropriate for a joint funding, and invited ERCIM to prepare a suitable proposal and to discuss it with the Commission. ERCIM has already deployed NCSTRL, an experimental distributed digital library system for computer science technical reports, on a pilot basis at about half of the member laboratories. A synopsis of the position paper and a more complete discussion may be found at ERCIM's home page: http://www-ercim.inria.fr/publication/Ercim_News/enw24/en24contents.html.
DL '96: Where to get more information. The First ACM International Conference on Digital Libraries will take place on March 20-23 in Bethesda, Maryland. For more information, see http://fox.cs.vt.edu/DL96/, or consult the advance program at http://fox.cs.vt.edu/DL96/finalpr.txt directly.
Getting into Internet Economics. Hal Varian, the Dean of the School of Information Management and Systems at the University of California at Berkeley, Professor in the Haas School of Business, a Professor in the Department of Economics, and current holder of the Class of 1944 Professorship, is among the most influential people in the study of Internet economics. A useful entry to this literature is http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/~hal/people/hal/papers.html.
The Graphics, Visualization, & Usability (GVU) Center, an affiliate of the Georgia Institute of Technology's College of Computing, is home to a series of World Wide Web User Surveys; the fourth of these on-line surveys, which began in 1994, is now available (http://www.cc.gatech.edu/gvu/user_surveys/). The surveys are conducted as a public service; results are free to the public and accessible via the home page or ftp. With certain restrictions, the datasets are also free and accessible via ftp. A paper on using Java to enhance survey data collection methods is available at http://www.cc.gatech.edu/grads/k/Colleen.Kehoe/java/survey/prototype.html. (Note: Access to Sun Microsystem's HotJava is required to view the prototype. To access HotJava, see http://java.sun.com/hotjava.html.)
The Hermes Project at the University of Michigan (http://www-personal.umich.edu/~sgupta/hermes/) is devoted to research project on the commercial uses of the World Wide Web (WWW). The Project collaborates with the GVU Surveys, particularly in the areas of survey methodology, design, and reliability. The Project also undertakes other studies related to evaluating WWW resources: HOTWEB - a pilot study of customized maintenance of HOTlists and discovery of new web sites, which proposes, among other goals, to develop a "resource-based" scheme for classifying users; and the Corporate Panel study, which seeks to follow trends in corporate use of the web.
Project 2000 is a five-year collaboration among Vanderbilt University, HotWired Ventures LLC, Internet Shopping Network, Interval Research Corporation, the National Science Foundation, and Sun Microsystems (http://www2000.ogsm.vanderbilt.edu/). The project has undertaken serious study of the marketing implications of commercializing "hypermedia computer-mediated environments (CMEs)," and at its web site, the project makes publicly available technical papers, preliminary results, and different types of statistics on usage.
CommerceNet, a consortium of sponsors and associate members, supports survey research with Project 2000 and has recently collaborated with Nielsen Media Research in a study of Internet users, based on telephone survey techniques (http://www.commerce.net/information/surveys/). Sample questions, tables of baseline demographic data, the Executive Summary, and an overview of the final report are publicly available via the web; the full final report and datasets (offered for academic research) may be purchased from CommerceNet.
The HomeNet is a longitudinal, sociological study sponsored by Bellcore, Intel, Bell Atlantic, the US Postal Service, Apple Computer, and US West, at Carnegie Mellon University; it has been previously reported in this column in October 1995. More recent information about the project can be found on the World Wide Web at: http://homenet.andrew.cmu.edu/progress/.
The Blacksburg (Virginia) Electronic Village is a cooperative project of Virginia Tech, Bell Atlantic of Virginia, and the Town of Blacksburg, that offers local and Internet connections to residents and businesses via computers, to a high-speed modem pool or by using Ethernet, which is available in offices and apartment units. Project members may have access to the World Wide Web, Gopher, electronic mail, electronic mailing lists, and thousands of Usenet newsgroups as well as on-line local resources. The web site offers information on registration, services, and the research it supports (http://www.bev.net/).
Network Wizards maintains the Internet Domain Survey (http://www.nw.com/), which seeks to discover every host on the Internet; the survey is updated twice a year. The most recent data dates from July 1995 but a new survey will begin this month.