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Project web site

Programme area
Electronic Document Delivery

Contact details
Barry Smethurst, Project Director,
Bath Information Data Services, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7AY
Phone: 01225 826273 Fax: 01225 826176

Chris Pennyfather, Project Manager,
Bath Information Data Services, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7AY
Phone: 01225 826024 Fax: 01225 826176

Project description

as of 4th January 1997


InfoBike will provide the academic and library user with the ability to search for articles of interest within bibliographic databases, to order articles in an electronic form and have them delivered to the user's work station for browsing. It is a project devised and led by Bath Information Data Services (BIDS) at Bath University.

InfoBike's Mission Statement is:

To make available, and prove, in a real environment, an Electronic Document finding, ordering, delivering and browsing service.


The key features are :
  • Document Ordering facilities via BIDS, or through the InfoBike Gateway.
  • World Wide Web access to publisher's catalogues and deliveryto the Web browser (Publishers catalogues will contain header information describing each document in the electronic document store).
  • Web access to fill-in forms allowing users to enter themselves the biographical details of the document they wish to order.
  • On trial from September 1996 (Phase 2)
  • Web access to all other BIDS services (Phase 2)
  • Electronic Journals, initially in Adobe Acrobat PDF format and later with full multimedia material, on local or remote document servers.
  • Transaction management which supports both journal licensing arrangements between publishers and institutions allowing free access at the point of use, and payment systems.
The system will deal with electronic documents and is designed to allow for the delivery of information, stored as computer files in multimedia form including any or all of: static graphics, video, sound, text as hypertext, SGML, or simply ASCII; and even software or datasets. The management software will be able to deal with scanned images as well as material originally published in electronic form. Significant amounts of electronically published material will be provided by Blackwell Science and by Academic Press, and other publishers have expressed an interest in providing material.

The fundamental system concept is to separate resource discovery, or searching bibliographic catalogues, from access to electronic document stores, and the delivery of material from these. This separation recognises that the identification of material which the user might want, and the process of getting it, often depend on accessing different sources. These two functions are therefore linked by a system which locates identified documents on electronic document stores, whether local or remote, authorises users who have rights of free access to the documents, (or collects fees by account or credit card), and provides comprehensive, secure, transaction management.

Some or all of the system components can be installed by individual libraries, publishers, document supply organisations, and bibliographic database service operators, as appropriate. The infrastructure thus established will provide for services which will allow users to have browsing and reading access to a large range of journals in electronic form, for which their institutions have paid licence fees. This will be backed up by an electronic document delivery facility, charged on a usage basis, for titles to which users' institutions have not subscribed. One of the main objectives is to ensure that the services which are established take account of the legitimate interests of users, libraries, publishers and authors. One of the factors critical to the effective introduction of such a service is the selection of a pricing model that is acceptable to all the parties; a part of the project will be to assist in the establishment of such models.

Key deliverables

The Key Deliverables from the project are:
  • A generalised system architecture suitable for the delivery of multimedia material to any group of users.
  • A large scale trial involving the Consortium of Academic Libraries in Manchester (CALIM), the Universities of Keele, Staffordshire and Kent, and BIDS.
  • A user survey of the trial conducted by the Department of Psychology of the University of Kent.


The project partners are: Academic Press, University of Bath (BIDS), Blackwell Science, CALIM, ICL and the Universities of Keele, Staffordshire and Kent, and BIDS.

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The Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
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