Figit Periodicals Digitisation Study




This report presents the findings of a study which investigated the existence of projects to digitise backruns of selected periodicals. The objective was to identify such projects to ensure that JISC does not fund proposals to digitise backruns which duplicate work done elsewhere.

The findings are summarised here, arranged according to the proposal number assigned by JISC.

Proposal		Findings

3/3			A commercial project which has 100% overlap to
			this  proposal is already under way.

3/7			Full text of the journal in the proposal is
			already available commercially back to c1986.
			The publisher is currently investigating
			adding images to this text.

3/8			No evidence was found of any project overlapping
			with this proposal.

3/16			The Institute of Physics is currently engaged in
			publishing digitally some of the titles (about 15%)
 			in the proposal for half the time period in the

3/17			The scope of this proposal is vague and so, as
			agreed, it was not investigated thoroughly.It is
			clear that some of the titles within its scope may
			already be available digitally, through programmes
			such as Adonis, Red Sage and TULIP inter alia.

3/18			No evidence was found of any project overlapping
			with this proposal; all projects found in this
			domain are for more recent publications.

3/19			No evidence was found of any project overlapping
			with this proposal.

3/25			No evidence was found of any project overlapping
			substantially with this proposal. However, parts of
			the intellectual content covered are already
			available in digital formats in (several) other
			locations. It is not possible to quantify the
			overlap without further detail on the proposal.

3/27			No evidence was found of any project overlapping
			with this proposal.

3/30			There may be some overlap with the existing Adonis, Red
			Sage, and TULIP projects. It is not possible to
			quantify the overlap without further detail on the

This report also examines other key issues, which include the level of technical difficulty of the projects suggested by the proposals.

Background to the Study

A number of proposals for digitising periodicals have been selected as being potentially worthy of funding by JISC. This follows the publication of the Follett report, which pointed out the benefits which may accrue from digitisation. Clearly, it would be undesirable to fund projects to digitise periodicals which already exist in digital form. Therefore, the present study has been commissioned to investigate whether any of the periodicals involved have been digitised already, or whether plans are in place elsewhere to digitise any of them in the near future.

The proposals and journals involved are listed in Appendix 1.

Approach of this Study

The original intention was to base this study on an approach which on the identification of a small number of titles to be digitised. This involved contacting experts in relevant domains to ask about the specific titles, and enlarging the information thus obtained by structured searching of network resources. However, at an early stage of the research, it became apparent that the number of periodical titles in each domain was large; too large, in fact for this approach to be practical. This is because some of the institutions cited (eg Institute of Physics Publishing , American Institute of Physics) publish dozens of titles. This had not been apparent earlier, due to the lack of detailed information about the proposals. It was therefore agreed, together with the JISC project officer, to widen the focus of the study in an attempt to discover any relevant projects in the relevant domains. Wherever possible, subject experts were contacted nevertheless; but it was not possible to ask the highly specific questions originally envisaged. Individuals contacted are listed in Appendix 2; network resources consulted are summarised in Appendix 3.

It was accepted from the outset that no methodology can determine with certainty that specific publications are not already the subject of digitisation projects. This study was conceived with the intention of making a reasonable attempt to discover such projects.

Further Issues

Technical Approaches

The creation and use of digitised periodicals is as yet an immature science. There are different approaches, both to the creation of the digital datasets and also to the functionality offered to users (ie readers). Each approach finds a unique combination of cost, speed, fidelity, user-friendliness and functionality. It is not the purpose of this study to investigate such approaches; but by way of illustration, they are summarised below:

Clearly, combinations and variations on the above are also possible. It is not unusual for individual projects to distinguish themselves by the addition of a further feature or novel approach.

Equally, approaches to access vary. Some require a simple text-based terminal, others may require a fax machine or a highly-configured workstation, and many call for proprietary software.

The differing approaches result in very different capabilities being presented to readers. Some will allow searching on any word, some navigation based on structure, others may feature hyperlinking while some allow only simple "electronic page turning". Additionally, individual projects tend to result in different levels of accuracy, depending on the accuracy of the ICR, of the typesetting conversion, or of the tagging. It is not yet clearly established what the best approaches are, though it is reasonable to assume that they will depend to some extent on the type of materials in question, and their intended use.

This point has been examined in detail because the proposed approach to digitisation and access should be an important part of the decision on funding individual projects. A project proposal may involve the digitisation of something which has already been digitised, but using a different approach. In this case, each proposal should be considered on its merits. The key point is that the choice materials to be digitised forms only part of the criteria; the approach must also be considered.

State of the Art

Some of the proposals listed in Appendix 1 appear straightforward, though others are notable for exploring the boundaries of current practice, notably:


The thorny subject of intellectual property is not the subject of this study. It may be worth pointing out, however, that successful negotiations about copyright will be essential for several of the proposals. This is especially the case for 3/25 and 3/27, both of which include publications from several publishers.

Interpreting the Findings

The findings of this study are capable of interpretation in two major contradictory directions:

This is pointed out to emphasise that the mere existence of digitised collections may not suffice as a basis for funding decisions. Other considerations, such as the difficulty or cost of access to those collections must also be borne in mind. The most desirable course should be determined on a case by case basis.

Findings in Detail

Art & Design

This domain relates to proposals 3/27 (core journals in design and applied art) and 3/19 (The Burlington Magazine).

No evidence was found of any project digitising these.

The imagesetting files for at least one design journal not on the list of proposal 3/27 are archived electronically by the publisher; it is likely that this would be the case for several of the core titles also. It would therefore be possible to envisage a project to convert these imagesetter files into usable form; but such a project would be complicated by the multiplicity of publishers, formats and standards.


This relates to proposal 3/7 (Journal of the Chemical Society) 3/18 (out of copyright chemical journals) and proposal 3/30 (Elsevier Science chemistry journals).

The full text of Journal of the Chemical Society is already available commercially via the host STN. This collection stretches back to c1986. Pictures and other images are not included, though a study is under way at the Society to add them. The contact at the Society is not aware of proposal 3/7, and would be interested to be involved.

Several chemical journals, all published by the American Chemical Society, have been digitised by the CORE (Chemical Online Retrieval) project. Issues from 1991 to 1994 of all titles were scanned into page image form; and 1987 to 1994 issues of all titles were converted to text marked up with SGML. Some titles are in SGML text form for years 1982 to 1987. The digital files are now available for academic use at University College, London until the end of 1995; further or more widespread use would have to be negotiated.

The American Chemical Society itself holds digital archives of all its journals, dating back to 1975. They consist of text, including tables and formulae, but not pictures. The text is encoded in a proprietary fashion which is similar to, and can easily be converted to, SGML (as in CORE above). From 1992 onwards, they are also held in page-image format.

The journals involved are listed in Appendix 4.

Some 650 journals on life sciences are published commercially by Adonis bv on CD-ROM. The CD-ROMs contain full text plus scanned images. Titles are included which can be considered as covering Chemistry or Physics. As Adonis has been publishing for some years, it in effect consists of an archive of selected digitised journals over that period. Journals which may be relevant are indicated in Appendix 4.


(The term History is used here with an intentionally broad meaning.)

This relates to proposal 3/8 (three 18th and 19th century periodicals) and 3/19 (three periodicals and two newspapers).

No evidence was found of any project digitising these.

The British Library Research and Development Department has informally expressed an interest in being associated with any project to digitise Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.


This relates to proposals 3/3 (Law Reports) and 3/25 (government official gazettes from "all jurisdictions of the world").

There is already a commercial project to digitise back issues of the Law Reports over the same time span as proposal 3/3. It is planned to start sales by Spring 1996. Decisions on format, indexing and distribution medium have not yet been taken. No academic sector institution is involved; the exercise is purely commercial, and will result in "a high-priced product". The project is at Context Ltd, under contract from The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting of England and Wales.

On face value, proposal 3/25 covers a vast area. It takes in all of the world's 190 or more nation states; plus in many cases states, provinces etc.; plus supra-national jurisdictions such as the European Union and innumerable international treaties (International Maritime Organisation, World Intellectual Property Organization, etc.). Attempts to determine the scope and approach of proposal 3/25 were unsuccessful, so it remains possible that the scope is smaller than implied by the information available.

No evidence was found that government official gazettes themselves are the subject of digitisation projects (exceptions may be made for the Official Journal of the European Commission, at least parts of which are available digitally; and a possible project to scan British gazettes). However, some of the legislation information covered by government official gazettes from all jurisdictions of the world is already available in digital format. This therefore formed the focus of research. It falls into three categories:

In all cases, the resources take the form of full text, with various forms of indexing.

In addition, there are several databases which index and/or abstract legislation. An example is the Latin American Legislation Database of the Library of Congress (USA). This contains abstracts of legislation from 33 countries, primarily Hispanic but also including some French and English language countries. The database contains over 50,000 records (1994).

In summary, the situation on legislation is patchy and complicated. Most of the coverage is for legislation of developed countries.


This relates to proposal 3/19 (Jackson's Oxford Journal, Morning Chronicle).

No evidence was found of any project digitising these. There are very few projects anywhere in the world involving the digitisation of complete newspapers. It can be assumed with a high level of confidence that the specific newspapers cited are not the subject of another project.


This relates to proposal 3/16 (backruns of numerous American and British physics journals.)

The Institute of Physics is currently engaged in publishing digitally, on CD-ROM, about 5 titles (out of a total 35) for about 4 years back.

The American Physical Society is half way through a project to scan 1988 - 1993 issues of Physical Review. A subsequent phase may scan all earlier issues (roughly 1893 to 1988). A project to convert back issues of Physical Review Letters (the Society's only other journal) into SGML format is under consideration, but will depend on the outcome of interest in Physical Review. These projects are undertaken on a commercial basis.

Simultaneously, two related projects are also under way with the co-operation of the Society. The Los Alamos laboratory has scanned all Physical Review titles for 1990 to 1995; and the Naval Research Laboratory has converted the text (without figures, equations etc.) of Physical Review E and Physical Review Letters for the same period into searchable form. The projects are related because the intent is to combine the searchable text with the page images to make a usable, searchable archive. At this point, the material is for use within the laboratories only.

Despite repeated requests, information was not forthcoming from the third publisher cited, namely the American Institute of Physics.

Elsevier's TULIP project has digitised 43 journals on materials science, all published by Elsevier Science. The digitised journals cover the period 1992 - 1995. Some may be taken to cover the field of Physics; but the titles are all published by Elsevier Science.

The SPIRES-HEP database at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Library has been collecting digital versions of pre-prints of journal papers in the field of high energy physics. As of late 1993, the collection had reached over 3,600 papers, and was growing at approximately 100 papers per week. This is thought to represent a significant proportion of publications in the field. While this is different to entire journals, it is likely that the content of some journals in this specialist field will be represented in their entirety in this database. A similar database is held at CERN in Geneva.

There are numerous other deposits of pre-prints at other sites on the Internet. An example of a site which lists several is

See also Adonis under the heading Chemistry above.


This relates to proposal 3/17 (100 Elsevier Science journals).

Refer to the comments for Adonis titles under the heading Chemistry above.

Elsevier's TULIP project has digitised 43 journals on materials science, all published by Elsevier Science. The digitised journals cover the period 1992 - 1995.

The Red Sage project at the University of California at San Francisco is digitising large volumes of periodicals dealing with Health Sciences.

Other avenues were not explored, as agreed.

Appendix 1: Proposals and Periodicals

This appendix summarises the periodicals cited in the proposals.

Proposal		Periodical

3/3			The Law Reports

3/7			Journal of the Chemical Society

3/8			The Gentleman's Magazine
			The Philosophical Magazine
			Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society

3/16			all Institute of Physics materials
			all American Physical Society materials
			all American Institute of Physics materials

3/17			100 journals from Elsevier Science and John Wiley and Sons

3/18			out of copyright chemical journals

3/19			The Athenaeum
			The Gentleman's Magazine
			The Burlington Magazine
			Jackson's Oxford Journal
			Morning Chronicle

3/25			government official gazettes from all jurisdictions of the world

3/27			art and design journals which may possibly include:
			Art and Design			Blue-Print
			Creative review			Design
			Design Bookbinders Letter	Design Week
			Emigr‰				Eye
			The Face			Graphis
			Graphics World			Journal of Decorative and
			Journal of Design History	Propaganda Arts

Appendix 2: Individuals and Organisations Consulted

The following individuals and organisations were contacted.

Organisation						Individual

University of Aberystwth Law Library			Stephenson, Lilian

Adonis bv						Clarke, Clive

American Chemical Society				Garson, Prof. Lorrin

American Physical Society				Siddons, Liz

American Physical Society				Kelly, Bob

American Physical Society				Bederson, Prof. Ben

Arts Network for Integrated Media Applications		Dowden, Derek

Ashmolean Museum, Beazley Archive			Kurtz, Dr Donna

Bellcore						Lesk, Michael

Bodleian Law Library					Tearle, Barbara

British Library Digitisation of Microfilm Project	Podmore, Hazel

British Library Document Supply Centre			Barton, Phil

British Library Newspaper Library			Smith, Geoff

British Library R& D Department				Cannon, Dr Terry

Butterworths						Hill, Barbara

University of California at San Francisco		Butter, Karen

Centre for Computers in Law and Finance			Mital, Vijay

Columbia University Law School				Scholten, Willem

Commission on Preservation and Access			Lynn, M Stuart

Context Ltd						Love, John

Context Ltd						Lucas, Amy

CORDIS (Luxembourg)					Help Desk

Coventry School of Arts and Design			Richards, Prof. Clive

Croydon College Library					Dibben, Patrick

Croydon Library						Dryden, J

CTI Centre for Textual Studies				Fraser, Michael

University of East London				Mann, Dave

University of East London, Greengate Library		Librarian

Editions Lamy (Paris)					Sales

Elsevier Science, Tulip project				Zijlstra, Jaco

Emap Business Publications				Dukes, Carol

ESRC Data Archive					Schrer, Kevin

European Commission Information Engineering Unit	Littlejohn, Martin

European Commission Libraries Unit			Pigott, Ian

Harcourt Brace Inc					Parez, Dorian

History of Science Museum Library			Simcock, Tony

Hook Science Library					Library Assistant

Image and Document Management Association		Mayon-White, Bill

Infonorme London Information 				Beresford, Andrew

Institute of Physics Publishing				Williams, Clare

Institute of Physics Publishing				Weeks, Peter

International Visual Arts Network for Europe		Tessari, Christina

International Visual Arts Network for Europe		Rees, Jeremy

JEMI UK							Downie, Dr Neil

Law Society						Zolynski, Barbara

Legal Information Resources Ltd				Bishop, Zoe

Linköping Univesity					Aronsson, Lars

Middlesex University					Jackson, Prof Barry

Norwegian Research Centre for Computers in Law		Lie, Kari

Nottingham Trent University				Wilson, Paul

OCLC							Weibel, Stuart

Oslo University						Bing, Prof. Jon

Oxford University					Tapper, Prof. Colin

Oxford University Computing Services			Burnard, Lou

Radcliffe Science Library				Cooper, Jill

Royal Society of Chemistry				James, Dr David

University of Reading					Stiff, Paul

University of Reading Library				Knott, David

Royal Society						Sampson, Mary

Société Québecoise d'Information Juridique		Girard, Pierre

Suffolk College						Broughton, Vanda

Tel Aviv University Palestine Post Project		Gavit, Shmulik

UMI							Levicki, Kim

UMI							Keller, Maria

UMI							Helton, Rae

University College, London Library School		Alstin, Dr Robin

University College, London				Kirstein, Prof. Peter

Yale University						Law Library

Appendix 3: Network Resources

The following is a partial list of Internet resources searched, used or consulted during the study. It is not possible to record every resource; in general, at least one URL is shown per hierarchy searched. Natural language names are shown after the URLs where these exist. (Directory of /Gov/Aussie)
gopher:// (The School of Law at Queen`s) (SISSA W3 server) (Vera Home Page) (IPL The Internet Public Library) (Saint Louis University School of Law) (Lycos Search Form) (Jayne's Jump Station) (Villanova Center for Information Law and Policy) (Scholarly Communications Project of VPI & SU) (THE SEAMLESS WEBsite - Law and Legal Resources) (Irish Law Page) (WWWW - WORLD WIDE WEB WORM) (CWRU Campus Home Page) (CRDP Home Page) Regulations.html (Foreign Laws and Regulations - Laws and Regulations) (Law) ( International - Commercial) (Elsevier Science Home Page) (IUCr - Acta A Contents) (Indiana University School of Law) (Bloomington) (Digital Libraries - Resources and Projects) (OCLC Access Selection) ( Physics: Preprint archives) (The World-Wide Web Virtual Library: Crystallography) - Welcome to the White House (ANIMA: HomePage) ( SU AMS/CGR Web Server)
Usenet: alt.artcom
Usenet: comp.fonts
Usenet: sci.chem
Usenet: sci.physics

Appendix 4: Chemistry

The following journals have been digitised for the CORE experiment:

Accounts of Chemical Research
Analytical Chemistry
Chemistry of Materials
Chem. Research Toxicology
Chemical Reviews
Energy and Fuels
Environmental Science & Technology
Inorganic Chemistry
Industrial & Engineering Chemistry
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Journal of American Chemical Society
Journal of Chemical Engineering Data
Journal of Chemical Information & Computer Science
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
Journal of Organic Chemistry
Journal of Physical Chemistry

The following journals are digitised by Adonis:

"A lot" of Elsevier Science titles
"Some" J. Wiley titles
Institute of Physics titles up to 1994
Journal of the Chemical Society Communications (c1986 to c1990 and early 1994 onwards)
Journal of the Chemical Society Perkin Transactions 1 (c1986 to c1990 and early 1994 onwards)

Appendix 5: Legislation

This appendix lists nation-states for which legislation is already available in digital form, then lists legislation from other jurisdictions. The column headed scope gives comments where the coverage is restricted; absence of an entry in this column indicates the absence of information.

State			Scope			Supplier

Australia		some			Butterworth,
						Australia Attorney General's Department

Bulgaria		commercial law		Context Ltd

Canada						QL Systems

Czech Republic		commercial law		Context Ltd

Finland						Painatuskeskus

France						Editions Lamy, Butterworths

Germany						Online Consultants International Ltd

Hungary			commercial law		Context Ltd

Iceland						not known

Italy						Online Documentation Centre

Japan						not known

Lichtenstein					not known

The Netherlands					Kluwer Datalex

New Zealand		pending laws		National Library of New Zealand

Malta						not known

Norway						Law Data Foundation, Norway

Poland			commercial law		Context Ltd

Portugal					not known

Slovakia		commercial law		Context Ltd

Spain						not known

Sweden			a "very little"		Project Runeberg, Lynköping University

Switzerland					not known

Thailand					not known

UK						Butterworths

USA						Lexis/Nexis, Westlaw, Butterworths

This list is not exhaustive. There is reason to believe that legislation is available for at least seven further countries, and it seems likely that it exists for others not identified. Additionally, legislation of the European Union is available from a number of sources.

Converted to HTML by Chris Brown, 7th August 1995.

[Index of Other Reports and Papers] [Meta-index of Papers, Reports and Circulars]

Web page by John Kirriemuir - last revised on 17th November 1995

[ Top of Page ] - [ Up ]

The Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
Page version: 1;
Web page maintained by UKOLN Systems Team and hosted by UKOLN - feedback to .
Site last revised on: Tuesday, 24-Nov-1998 14:21:17 UTC
DC Metadata