Clips & Pointers


D-Lib Magazine
September 2004

Volume 10 Number 9

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief


A Tool for Bibliography Management and Sharing: The ShaRef Project

Contributed by:
Erik Wilde
Computer Engineering and Networks Laboratory
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Zurich, Switzerland

ShaRef ( is a project aiming to bridge the gap between centralized library catalogs and isolated bibliographies managed by individual users. Typically, bibliographic information is required at many different levels of an academic institution, such as individual researchers, research groups, interdisciplinary collaboration among groups, and administration (for example, preparing annual reports of the department or university). In many cases, it requires a lot of effort to manage the information flow as bibliographic information is moved, copied, and edited in many different locations. ShaRef will provide a tool and a service to support this scenario, by striking a balance between individually stored information and sharing capabilities based on groups of users.

ShaRef is a Java-based tool that can be used online or offline. In online mode, it connects to a central database and helps the user to access and manage the bibliographic records stored within the database. It uses authentication and authorization to implement access control. In offline mode, ShaRef uses the bibliographic records stored in a local database and enables the user to access, manage, and export these records. ShaRef has the following features:

  • XML-based: ShaRef is based on an XML data model and manages all data as XML. This means that it is easy to use standard XML tools to import and process exported ShaRef data, and that the ShaRef data model is easily extensible by using standard XML mechanisms (most importantly, XML Namespaces).
  • Catalog Access: By implementing Z39.50, ShaRef enables users to easily access library catalogs. Catalog entries can then be added to the individual bibliography. Using OpenURLs, ShaRef also supports the reverse functionality; namely to search for entries in a library catalog that correspond to bibliographic entries in an individual bibliography.
  • Web Publishing: Through a simple interface, users can select complete bibliographies or any subset to be published as Web pages. This Web-based publishing of bibliographic information makes it easier to access bibliographic information and enables users to create application-specific bibliographies (for example, reading lists for lectures or seminars).
  • Cross Referencing: ShaRef supports a small set of relations, which make it possible to cross reference bibliographic entries (such as stating that some paper's claim has been disproved by another publication). ShaRef does not aim at implementing a rich set of semantics, but through its XML-based extensibility could be easily used as a foundation for such a system.

A first release of the ShaRef tool is available already (please visit the project page). It is an alpha-release implementing offline mode only and offering no editing capabilities. This first release can import a number of different file types (BibTeX, Endnote, Bookmarks) and export them as XML (for further processing) or HTML (for Web publishing). In addition to simply formatting the bibliographic data, the HTML export generates links for electronically addressable resources (such as URIs and DOIs) and optionally contains OpenURLs, which enable users to easily access library catalog records from within their own bibliographies.

Project funding for the ShaRef project is provided by the ETH World initiative of ETH Zürich, which is a program to develop and introduce technologies for communication and cooperation independent of time and place. The program supports all members of ETH in their core business—teaching, learning, research and the associated management tasks. The ShaRef project team has three members (Sai Anand, Erik Wilde, and Petra Zimmermann), and the project is scheduled to run from July 2004 until December 2005.

In the News

Excerpts from Recent Press Releases and Announcements

WEBLIS, an Integrated Library System based on CDS/ISIS, available free of charge from UNESCO and ICIE

August 13, 2004 - UNESCO.

"'The results of the IFLA/FAIFE survey discussed in the World Report 2003 have once again disclosed the huge gaps and differences between the regions of the world—between the information haves and the information have-nots. There is a long way to go before countries, their libraries and their staff are suitably equipped and properly trained to meet the challenge of safeguarding their clients' full participation in the information and knowledge society."
"With regards to Internet access, the most significant problems as defined by the contributing countries are a lack of computers with Internet access, financial barriers, and training of users and staff. IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions), 2003."

"In this sense, UNESCO intends to respond to a large demand from national and local libraries to help them in approaching and using library automation tools. WEBLIS is a Web based Library Integrated System based on CDS/ISIS. The system has been developed by the Institute for Computer and Information Engineering (ICIE), Poland, based on their experience in building library systems for international organizations such as FAO, IFAD and GTZ. WEBLIS runs through the WWW-ISIS engine, also developed by ICIE...."

"...These tools are now distributed by UNESCO free of charge. Soon, the free ware WWW-ISIS engine will be distributed as Open Source software...."

For more information, please see the full press release at <

Digital Information will never survive by accident

August 11, 2004 - (From JISC Headlines Issue Fifteen, August 2004) "'Digital Information will never survive by accident.' So says Neil Beagrie, JISC and British Library Partnership Manager, in a new interview published in SAP Info. In the right circumstances paper can survive for centuries but digital storage media have relatively short lifespans. Therefore, says Neil, 'as the volumes, heterogeneity, and complexity of digital information grows this requirement for active management becomes more challenging and more critical to a wider range of organisations.'"

"As the prospect of a digital "data deluge" approaches, so the issue of digital preservation becomes more and more urgent, one that requires serious action. Neil explains: 'A serious and worsening gap has developed between our ability to create digital information and our infrastructure and capacity to manage and preserve it over time. Some commentators have referred to the likely cumulative effect of this as a future "digital dark ages".'"

The full text of the interview can be found at <>. Click on the navigational link for 'Interviews' and then on 'Overview Interviews'. Select one of the categories and search for Neil Beagrie's August 2 SAP Info interview.

The future position on Athens and Shibboleth

August 9, 2004 - (From JISC Headlines Issue Fifteen, August 2004) "JISC recently announced that it is funding a major initiative to ensure that during the next four years, access to internally and externally produced resources is a one step process for users and administrators. This cuts out the present requirement for identifying and remembering multiple access rights across a range of electronic materials."

"At the moment, the early adopters—those creating resources and selectively sharing them with colleagues based at other establishments—are experiencing this problem first hand. These individuals need to set a variety of passwords and access rights in order to externally share valuable content...."

"...In order to meet the current requirements of today's early adopters and the future needs of all UK resource users, JISC has begun to work on a solution with the development of a next generation access management system based on Shibboleth technology."

For more information, please see <>.

Committee on Improving Cybersecurity Research Holds First Meeting

August 8, 2004 - (from Whats New @ "On July 27-28, the Committee on Improving Cybersecurity Research in the United States held its first meeting in Washington, D.C. The Committee heard from Congressional staff, representatives of government agencies, and university and industry researchers on how the study could contribute to the advancement of research and facilitate the use of research results. The study, mandated by the Cybersecurity Research and Development Act of 2002, is sponsored by NSF, NIST, DARPA, and the National Academy of Engineering."

For more information, please see <>.

Heritage Health Index: A Historic Opportunity in Mailboxes Now

August 5, 2004 - "Washington, DC - More than 15,000 collecting institutions nationwide now have the opportunity to contribute to the Heritage Health Index, a survey of unprecedented scope and scale that will result in the first comprehensive picture of the condition and preservation needs of U.S. collections. The survey will arrive at institutions in mid August."

"The Heritage Health Index will assess collections in all media, in all formats held by archives, historical societies, libraries, museums, and scientific organizations in every state and U.S. territory. A high level of participation from institutions of all types and sizes is needed to ensure that the results are an accurate representation of the full range of our nation's collections."

"Heritage Preservation is conducting the Heritage Health Index in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). In a letter that accompanies the survey, Heritage Preservation President Lawrence Reger and IMLS Director Dr. Robert S. Martin call on recipients to take the time to complete the survey. They point out that 'survey results will be used extensively in the years ahead as administrators, policy makers, government agencies, and private funding sources make decisions that affect the preservation of collections.'"

For more information, please see the full press release at <>.

National Archives Names Two Companies to Design an Electronic Archives

August 3, 2004 - "Washington, D.C. - Today, Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin announced the two companies that will lead the way in designing a technological solution to the challenge of preserving electronic information across space and time. These design contracts are valued at $20.1 million. At the end of the one-year design competition, the National Archives will select one of these two contractors to build the Electronic Records Archives, a revolutionary system that will capture electronic information, regardless of its format, save it permanently, and make it accessible on whatever hardware or software is currently in use. Over the life of the contract, it is potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars with countless positive implications for individuals, private businesses, and government organizations alike."

"The two companies are:

  • Lockheed Martin, Transportation and Security Solutions Division
  • Harris Corporation, Government Communications Systems Division."

For more information, please see the full press release at <>.

New version of Cornucopia available for review

August 3, 2004 - "Version 3 of Cornucopia, MLA's national database of museum, library and archive collections, is now available to review at <>."

"Participating organisations are asked to check the website and make additions or corrections using the online editing tools, in advance of a public launch this autumn. Details of how to sign up for edit access are given on the Cornucopia website."

"Cornucopia is a fully searchable online database of some 6000 collections held by almost 2000 cultural heritage institutions. It allows those institutions to record and maintain collections descriptions and details in a unique shared national resource."

For more information, please see the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) News Snippets for August 2004 at <>.

DOIs to be assigned to all European Union Publications

August 2, 2004 - "The International DOI Foundation has announced the appointment of The Office for Official Publications of the European Communities (OPOCE) as a DOI Registration Agency. Through OPOCE, DOIs will now be assigned for some 62 EU bodies (institutions, offices, agencies and other bodies). These include the European Parliament, the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, as well as the European Central Bank. OPOCE produces publications in the 20 official languages of the EU Member States, a unique phenomenon in the publishing world."

"...Norman Paskin, Director of the International DOI Foundation, said: 'We are delighted to welcome OPOCE to the growing DOI community. With TSO, OECD and now OPOCE using DOIs, DOI has extended its coverage from that of commercial publishing into the world of official publications. The remarkable feat of managing publications in 20 languages, with a back catalogue covering 50 years, and the need for each to be an official record, is a tribute to OPOCE's team and offers a significant opportunity for the DOI to bring the benefit of its managed information approach to EU publications.'"

For more information, please see the full press release at <>.

The American Mathematical Society (AMS) releases amsrefs 2.0

July 29, 2004 - "PROVIDENCE, RI: The AMS has released amsrefs 2.0, a LaTeX extension package for use in preparing bibliography and reference lists. Amsrefs allows an author to send a paper with embedded references to a publisher without any loss of internal structural information about the entries, which provides for the preservation of structured markup of the bibliography throughout the entire lifetime of the document from rough draft to final archival version. This is of key importance as the references then retain a semantically rich markup that makes them easier to reuse in other publishing environments, such as on the Web, in other book or journal formats, or with citation services."

"...Users of the previous amsrefs version can find a detailed description of the enhancements."

For more information, please see the full press release at <>.

Keyboarding Ceases as a Data Creation Method for MEDLINE® Citations

From NLM Tech Bull. 2004 Jul-Aug;(339):e5, posted July 28, 2004 - "The keyboarding data creation stream for MEDLINE citations ceased June 29, 2004. NLM used keyboarding to create journal article bibliographic data since 1967."

"...NLM developed a cost-effective scanning and optical character recognition (OCR) system as well as a standard for direct electronic submission of citation data from publishers to MEDLINE. Publisher-supplied electronic citation data today accounts for about 75% of all new MEDLINE citations and the proportion continues to grow. The scanning and OCR system has been improved to the point that it can handle the rest of the journals."

For more information, please see <>. (This news item was gleaned from Gary Price's ResourceShelf listing of July 30).

IMLS Launches Second Technology and Digitization Survey

July 22, 2004 - "Washington, DC - The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) launched its second survey on the Status of Technology and Digitization in the Nation's Museums and Libraries this month. The first survey, published in May 2002, established baseline data that was helpful in clarifying how libraries and museums use technology and digitization, and in defining their future needs. The report is available online at: <>. The goal of the second survey is to update the baseline data and capture related information on new developments and trends. "

"'It is clear from our first survey that museums and libraries are using technologies to connect people to the services and information these institutions provide,' said Dr. Robert Martin, director of the IMLS. 'The second survey will explore barriers to technology adoption and digitization and assess how widely collaboration is used as a strategy by museums and libraries for the systematic digitization of America's collections.'"

For more information, please see the full press release at <>.

Copyright 2004 © Corporation for National Research Initiatives

Top | Contents
Search | Author Index | Title Index | Back Issues
DKLC Conference Report | ETD Conference Report | Clips & Pointers
E-mail the Editor