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In Brief


D-Lib Magazine
October 2000

Volume 6 Number 10

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief

The Digital Performance Archive

Contributed by:
Rachael Beach, Research Fellow
Digital Performance Archive
Victoria Studios
The Nottingham Trent University
Burton Street
Nottingham, NGI 4BU, United Kingdom

Performance and Digital Technology

The Digital Performance Archive (DPA) traces the rapid developments taking place which combine performance activity with new digital technologies -- from live theatre and dance productions that incorporate digital projections, to performances that take place on the computer-screen via webcasts and interactive virtual environments. The Archive also collates examples of how computer technologies are being used to create, document or analyse performance - from software applications for choreography and theatre design to specialist websites, e-zines and CD-ROMs.

The project aims to be of value to researchers across a wide range of academic disciplines, from drama and performance to art and design, from the social sciences to computer science and cybernetics.


The outcomes will be a web searchable archive, a DVD and a report on the field of Digital Performance.

The DPA’s first major contribution to research, its web searchable database is up and running on the DPA website at <>. This continually expanding database records digital performance works, documenting everything from venues through to the technologies used in individual pieces. It also gives details of objects that practitioners have donated to us such as video and CD-ROMS and provides access to practitioners’ websites.

The DPA web site supplements the information on the database, providing a constantly updated "Events" page and a rapidly growing bibliography that has references for everything from computer-aided dance notation to media art. It also has a "New Acquisitions" page allowing the user to view, month by month, works that the DPA records in the database.

We would be pleased to hear from practitioners and academics working in the field of digital performance who would like their work to be included in the Archive. We would also welcome suggestions or information about practitioners, performance events, websites, conferences, CD-ROMs, etc., that you feel should be included in the Archive.

The Digital Performance Archive is an Arts and Humanities Research Board (UK) <> funded joint venture between the universities of Nottingham Trent and Salford (UK). Software for Creating Institutional and Individual Open Archives

Contributed by:
Robert Tansley and Stevan Harnad
Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton, United Kingdom

At the 2nd Open Archive Initiative (OAI) meeting in San Antonio in June <> a participant said:

"Open Archiving will not get off the ground until the day I can go to a website, download open-archiving software, then say MAKE ARCHIVE, and an interoperable, OAI-compliant archive is up and running, ready to be filled."

At Southampton, we took this to heart, and using our experience with our CogPrints archive, built the generic software that fits this bill. A public beta version has just been released and has taken over operations at the CogPrints site <>. The operational release will be open source (and over 100 prospective users worldwide are already signed up).

The software is a feature-rich, easily installed, eprint archive system. It runs right "out of the box" with a comprehensive default setup that should serve most institutions and individuals' needs as it stands. It has also been designed to make it extensively and flexibly re-configurable for customised needs; almost any aspect of the archive's operation can be adapted to suit a particular requirement.

The archive supports the OAI protocol, allowing it to interoperate with other open archives and open archive services, and to be readily upgraded to keep up with OAI revisions.

This adaptability is achieved by using a modular design methodology. The system is divided into two main components: The core archive component, which provides the functionality required for all open archives, and the site-specific component, providing details about exactly what is stored in the archive, how it is presented and how it may be searched. The system is supplied with a richly featured site- specific component that requires minimal changing to set up a fully working, interoperable open archive. When updated revisions of the software become available, the core archive component can be upgraded, and the site retains its identity and data in the site-specific component.

The many aspects of the software that can be configured by an institution include:

  • The types of record that can be stored in the archive, and what metadata fields to hold with each;
  • The types of document file (or other data) that can be stored with each record;
  • The validation checks that are performed on each incoming record, to minimise administrator effort;
  • The choice of which metadata fields are searchable by users;
  • The choice of what metadata to present records to the open archives protocol (i.e., specifying how the internal metadata maps to the open archives metadata);
  • Full control over the "look and feel" of the archive (in any language: French translations currently being prepared by Helene Bosc at for the end of October).

The software also has the following features:

  • "Out of the box" Open Archives Initiative interoperability;
  • Simple but very powerful depositing interface;
  • Local browsing and searching features;
  • Inter- and intra-linking potential (papers, versions, comments, responses)
  • Moderation buffer for incoming deposits;
  • Site maintenance via a WWW interface;
  • E-Mail subscription service for users.

It is simple to add extra functionality to an archive in the site-specific component of the software. This means that the archive can be used by institutions, individuals, journals or any other organisation wishing to interoperate with Open Archive services.

Further information is available at: <>.

An archive running this software is at: <>.

Related papers include:

SciELO - a Model for Cooperative Electronic Publishing in Developing Countries

Contributed by:
Abel L. Packer
SciELO Project, Operational Coordinator
Sao Paulo, SP, Brasil

Access to adequate and up-to-date scientific and technical information is essential for economic and social development, especially in order to support decision making processes in planning, formulation and implementation of public policies and to support professional development and practices. The results of scientific research are mainly communicated and validated through publication in scientific journals. This is true for both developed and developing countries; however, scientific journals from developing countries face several distribution and dissemination barriers that limit the access and usage of locally generated scientific information.

SciELO, Scientific Electronic Library Online, is a model for cooperative electronic publishing of scientific journals on the Internet. Especially conceived to meet the scientific communication needs of developing countries -- particularly Latin America and the Caribbean countries -- SciELO provides an efficient way to assure universal visibility and accessibility to scientific literature and contributes to overcoming the phenomena known as "lost science". In addition, the SciELO model comprises integrated procedures to measure the usage and impact of scientific journals.

The SciELO Model is the product of a partnership among FAPESP <> - the state of São Paulo science foundation and BIREME <> - the Latin America and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information, as well as national and international institutions related to scientific communication and editors. A pilot project, involving ten Brazilian journals from different subject areas, was successfully carried out between March 1997 and May 1998, and was aimed at the development and evaluation of an adequate methodology for electronic publishing on the Internet. Since June 1998, the project has been operating regularly, continuing to incorporate new journal titles and expanding its operation to other countries.

The SciELO Model comprises three components.

The model's first component is the SciELO Methodology, which enables the electronic publication of complete editions of scientific journals, the organization of searchable bibliographical and full text databases, the preservation of electronic archives, and the production of statistical indicators of the scientific literature usage and impact. The methodology also includes journal evaluation criteria based on international scientific communication standards. SciELO full texts are enriched with dynamic hypertext links to national and international databases, as for example, LILACS and MEDLINE.

The SciELO Model's second component is the application of the SciELO Methodology to operate web sites of collections of electronic journals. The SciELO Model envisions the operation of national sites as well as thematic sites. The pioneer application was the SciELO Brazil site <>, and Chile <> is implementing the second application. Several other countries are being evaluated and/or are being trained on the SciELO Methodology. A regional thematic library covering public health scientific journals from Latin America and Spain -- SciELO Public Health <> -- was launched in December 1999. A portal to integrate and provide access to the network of SciELO sites operates at <>.

The Model's third component is the actual development of partnerships among national and international scientific communication players -- authors, editors, scientific and technological institutions, funding agencies, universities, libraries, scientific and technological information centers, etc. -- aiming at the dissemination, improvement and sustainability of the SciELO Model.

By the end of 2001, SciELO is expected to network about 200 journals, covering ten countries. The operation of the SciELO network is based strongly on national infrastructures, which helps to guarantee its future sustainability.

The successful development of the proposed SciELO network of Latin America and Caribbean scientific journals in future years will contribute to making locally generated scientific information readily available. That will ultimately contribute to increase the usage of scientific and technical information on the decision-making process at all levels.

A version of this was article was presented at the Global Development Network Conference, Bonn, Germany, December 5 - 8, 1999. Available at <>.


Contributed by:
Ray English
Chair of the ACRL Task Force on Scholarly Communication
Member of the SPARC Steering Committee, and
Director of Libraries
Oberlin College
Oberlin, Ohio, USA

Librarians agonize over which journals to cancel when library budgets can’t keep up with price increases. Scholars and researchers wrestle with a publishing market dominated by commercial interests. Together, librarians and faculty members ask themselves how they can reclaim scholarly communication for scholars.

CREATE CHANGE -- an action-oriented initiative that guides librarians and faculty toward solutions to the scholarly communication crisis -- can help. A collaboration among the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of College & Research Libraries, and SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) with support from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, CREATE CHANGE provides a framework and the tools for local action.


Librarians call it the “serials crisis." But the high and rapidly rising cost of journals (especially those in the science, medicine and technology marketplace) is not simply a library problem -- it’s a problem that threatens the entire system of scholarly communication. To cope with increasing serials costs, libraries have had to reduce their monograph purchases -- in addition to canceling subscriptions -- and that has contributed directly to the problems that many university presses are experiencing. Facing reduced markets, many presses have cut back on more specialized monographs, the very kind of titles young scholars need to publish to receive tenure and establish their careers.

Over the years libraries have attempted to deal with this problem in a variety of ways. In addition to discontinuing subscriptions, we’ve written angry letters to publishers and editors, and debated heatedly with publishers’ representatives. We've looked to alternative means of information delivery, and we've entered into consortial agreements for electronic access. For all our efforts, we pay more to get less, and serial prices continue to rise at unacceptable rates.

This is a higher education problem that can only be resolved by our informing and engaging the entire academic community. Universities and colleges quite literally give research to commercial publishers. In exchange, publishers charge libraries exorbitant prices to process it in published journal form. Commercial journals rely on faculty and other researchers for virtually all of the substantive content and editorial work related to production of their titles. Faculty submit articles, they sign over to the publishers their rights under copyright, they participate in the system of peer review, and they edit the journals' content. Universities and colleges cooperate in this process through their support of faculty research and their tenure and promotion expectations. While no one would object to this arrangement if a given publisher charged reasonable prices and made reasonable profits, many publishers have taken advantage of the position of libraries in the current system.

This situation will change only if colleges and universities mobilize concerted and forceful action to take back control of the research produced under their auspices. It will change only if we create change from the inside. The fact that commercial publishers are reliant on faculty for the production of their journals is the key to developing a more responsive and responsible system of scholarly communication.

Mobilizing for Change

The CREATE CHANGE initiative tackles the issue by offering libraries and faculty the resources to develop education- and action-oriented campaigns on campus. It assembles background information and data on the scholarly communication crisis for faculty and librarians; advises libraries on library- and campus-wide organization and action; presents alternative scenarios for scholars who support change; suggests ways to customize the initiative locally; and provides an online CREATE CHANGE Advocacy Kit to customize, print and distribute to key university and community opinion leaders.

The CREATE CHANGE web site contains a wealth of content to help libraries launch a tailored CREATE CHANGE initiative on campus during the coming year. Please visit the web site at: <>.

The Bath Profile: an International Z39.50 Specification for Library Applications and Resource Discovery

Contributed by:
Carrol D. Lunau
Bath Profile Maintenance Agency
National Library of Canada
Ottawa, Canada

The Bath Profile <> identifies a subset of specifications from the Z39.50 Information Retrieval Protocol (ANSI/NISO Z39.50/ISO 23950) <> for use in Z39.50 client and server software to improve interoperability between disparate systems. The profile is modular, currently defining specifications in three functional areas: Basic bibliographic search and retrieval with primary focus on library catalogues, Bibliographic holdings search and retrieval, and Cross-domain search and retrieval. Cross-domain search and retrieval provides specifications for searching across library, museum, archive, and other databases. Within each functional area several levels of conformance are identified.

The profile was developed by an international group of participants, with funding support from the Joint Information Systems Committee of the UK Higher Education Funding Councils <>, and builds on earlier national and regional profiling efforts. The specifications are based on requirements expressed by librarians with experience in using Z39.50 products for searching library catalogues. As a result, the profile represents solutions to the Z39.50 related difficulties and frustrations librarians have encountered.

The profile does not address barriers to interoperability created by cataloguing differences, indexing differences, or differences in the underlying information retrieval systems. Some of these barriers will be addressed through guidance and best practices documents. For example, recommendations in Recommendations for Indexing MARC21 Records to Support Z Texas and Bath Profile Bibliographic Searches by William E. Moen <> are currently being discussed. To participate in this discussion, send the message SUB libcatindexing First_Name Last_Name to <>.

The profile represents a core specification upon which regional and national profiles may build while ensuring a basic level of international interoperability. Regional and national profiles may define additional requirements while maintaining conformance to Bath Profile specifications.

Release 1.1 of the profile, June 2000, is an Internationally Registered Profile. The specifications in release 1.1 are stable. Additions will be made by means of defining new functional areas or more complex levels of conformance without impacting the specifications already defined.

Libraries and consortia will see a number of benefits from implementing the profile. Searching and retrieving information from conformant databases will be easier, and the result sets will be more accurate. Better precision, with lower recall, will be possible. As well, the profile can be used as a specification for developing a library system or could be included in an RFP for a new system. When including conformance to the Bath Profile in an RFP, libraries need to specify which functional area and which level of conformance is required along with any other desired Z39.50 specifications.

The National Library of Canada is the Maintenance Agency <> for the profile. A listserv has been established for:

  • discussing issues related to the implementation of the profile,
  • answering questions or providing clarifications about the profile,
  • discussing suggestions or recommendations for enhancements to the profile,
  • providing notification of meetings of the Bath Profile Developer Group, and
  • reporting on the results of these meetings.

To subscribe to the list send a message to <LISTSERV@INFOSERV.NLC-BNC.CA>. Leave the subject line blank. In the body of the message, please enter the following: SUBSCRIBE BATH-PROFILE-L FirstName LastName.

The Finnish Library Portal

Contributed by:
Paivi Jokitalo
Project Coordinator
Networked Public Library Services Unit
Helsinki City Library
Helsinki, Finland

The Finnish Networked Public Library Services is a national library site that was created in 1994. On 22 September 2000, a new and improved version of the portal was launched that provides good-quality service and that serves as a starting point for all Internet users, especially users seeking information about libraries, culture, children's resources, and information services.

What is essential to this effort is that all public libraries in Finland participate directly in the development and maintenance of the services. These libraries:

  • maintain the library database which includes basic information such as contact details of all public libraries in Finland
  • participate in the Ask-A-Librarian reference service
  • catalogue new links in the Link Library.

For financial reasons alone, distributed production and maintenance of content is the only possible way of doing things in a small country like Finland. But the distribution of work also highlights the collective responsibility of libraries in serving users.

The participation of libraries is made as easy as possible. A user name and password has been created for every public library, and using these the libraries can access the updating modules of the services from their own workstations in their own libraries. All updating is done using web forms, so there is no need to learn new commands or applications.

The Link Library is a search service for web resources where all material has been carefully selected, described and systematically organized according to the classification system and thesaurus used in Finnish public libraries. The material is mainly chosen with library reference service in mind, but the links are useful for anyone seeking information. You can search the database by keyword, subject, publisher, language, and type of material. About 260 librarians throughout Finland catalogue, update and describe the links they select in the course of their everyday work, whenever time allows. The Networked Services Unit follows up the development of content and gives advice when needed. Training and meetings are arranged for the participating librarians, and there also is a special mailing list for the cataloguers.

The Ask a Librarian Service was first started on a trial basis at the Helsinki City Library. The trial proved a success, and in 1999, the service was expanded to include the whole country. The Ask a Librarian Service runs in a database, and the updating module allows librarians to see, at a glance, whether somebody else has already started answering a question. Relevant questions and answers are indexed using the same thesaurus used by Link Library, and questions and answers are archived on the web where others can access them.

Altogether, currently there are nineteen participating libraries, including most regional central libraries. Generally, libraries answer questions from their own region, because information required by users most often can be found at their nearest library. The feedback of the Reference Enquiry Service has been extremely positive.

All the services provided by the Finnish Networked Public Library Services web site are aimed at both library staff and the general public. Published in three languages, each language version has its own domain name:

For the Finnish language version, see <>.
For the Swedish language version, see <>.
For the English language version, see <>.

Through (Clients) Thick and Thin: Challenges in Implementing Chemical Information Resources

Contributed by:
Andrea Twiss-Brooks
Bibliographer for Chemical and Geophysical Sciences
University of Chicago Library
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Report of one symposium sponsored by the Division of Chemical Information (CINF) as part of the 220th American Chemical Society National Meeting, Washington, DC, August 22-24, 2000

Implementing chemical information resources, particularly those which require proprietary client software or specialized plugins or other software tools, presents an array of challenges to librarians and other information specialists. This full day symposium (one of twelve topical symposia sponsored by CINF at this meeting) featured speakers from academic, industrial and special libraries, as well as from the software development arena who addressed a number of issues centering on the implementation of specialized resources. Training, technical support requirements, remote user needs, collaboration between departments and organizations, and marketing emerged as areas that provided an array of challenges. In addition to the scheduled speakers, an open discussion period rounded off both the morning and the afternoon sessions. This more informal approach provided the audience and speakers an opportunity to ask and answer more detailed questions, and to present experiences of other chemical information professionals facing similar challenges.

As might be expected, a number of speakers discussed their organization's approach to providing access to specific client applications, like SciFinder, SciFinder Scholar and Beilstein/Gmelin via CrossFire. Implementations of these resources in both academic and industrial environments were described. Both academic and industrial chemical information specialists were involved in creating solutions for training end users in effective use of resources, marketing services to end users, providing technical support for distribution and/or installation of software, and addressing the needs of offsite users. Training programs and marketing efforts described included use of network videoconferencing presentations to remote sites, use of netconferencing technology to provide personalized search assistance to the user's desktop, personal visits to faculty offices to install and demonstrate client software, and the use of web and email technology to provide information and additional training materials. Efforts to improve technical support for specialized chemical information resources included one university's use of a Citrix server to provide access to client applications.

Some speakers focused on the development and delivery of other resources and services. Distribution of a comprehensive suite of helper applications ("plugins") needed for chemical and other scientific information formats using push technology was the theme of one presentation. Another speaker described building a directory of chemistry departments around the world and continuing efforts to automate updating and other maintenance tasks to support this resource. A unique collaboration among academic, industrial and software vendors to create a formulations information consortium to provide a shared knowledge base for pre-competitive information was the topic of another talk. Creation of a digital image archive and other specialized services for the clientele of a society special library was highlighted in a final presentation.

Abstracts from this symposium (as well as the abstracts from other CINF sponsored symposia), and some selected slides and other supplementary information are available on the web at the CINF web site: <>. Symposia were held Sunday through Thursday; scroll down through the page to reach the Monday morning, Section A, papers 24-29 and Monday Afternoon, Section A, papers 35-39. Another symposium of potential interest to D-Lib readers was titled "Copyright In the Digital Environment: Current Issues and Future Changes". This session was held Sunday morning, Section B, papers 7-12.

Documentation Abstracts Inc. Awards Funds for Information Science Institutes

The following has been excerpted with permission from the September 5, 2000, "News Release" from the Council on Library and Information Resources. For the full news release, please see <>.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has received a grant from Documentation Abstracts, Inc. (DAI) to create, organize, and convene a series of institutes that will address key topics in information science. At least two institutes will be held in the next four years, and participation will be open to international attendance from the academic, government, not-for-profit, and commercial sectors. The purpose of the institutes will be to advance some aspect of information science in one of three areas of CLIR's agenda: digital libraries, economics of information, or resources for scholarship.
"In making this award to the Council on Library and Information Resources to establish a series of institutes, the DAI Board of Directors believes the grant will help significantly to advance information science knowledge by providing a forum for the analysis and evaluation of current developments in the field," said DAI Chair Signe E. Larson. "We look forward to working with the Council in this endeavor."
The grant will also support the publication of complete proceedings of each institute, including conclusions and recommendations of the institute participants with respect to the topic under consideration.

Point of Contact: Deanna Marcum, President, Council on Library and Information Resources, 202-939-4750.

Copyright (c) 2000 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/october2000-inbrief