JEDDS: Joint Electronic Document Delivery Software Project
as of 4th January 1996
The JEDDS project brings together in an international cooperative initiative, four organisations which each form a development focal point for significant sectors of the library community in their own country. Early discussions identified the development of MIME based electronic delivery systems as an area where each organisation had an intention to develop similar products.
The common requirements are to develop electronic document delivery software which: provides a MIME-compliant delivery system, will interface to Interlending and Document Request Management Systems (IDRMS) through standard interfaces such as the international Interlibrary Loan protocol (ISO 10160/10161), makes use of the facilities within the Windows environment to allow streamlined or transparent interworking between the document delivery system and IDRMS, and associated software; and provides the ability for the end user to receive electronic documents via MIME mailers, and to view and print documents on a variety of platforms that can function independently of any IDRMS.
MIME stands for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. It is a specification which builds on the standard Internet mail to allow the interchange by mail of more complex documents than can be handled by standard email, particularly those which contain:
MIME has a number of advantages over alternate transmission mechanisms. It uses the internet as a network medium. The store and forward mechanisms of electronic mail enable the messages to be transmitted as the communications channels are available, and the recipient reads the message when it is convenient. It is not necessary for both the sending and receiving workstations to be operational at the same time. The recipient is not necessarily restricted by physical location or time. The recipient can access his mail where and when it is most convenient. Mail is also reasonably hardware independent. It is possible to send and receive mail on a wide variety of platforms. The ability to send electronic documents by mail will provide an advantageous mechanism for the delivery of electronic documents to the desktop of many end users, using a familiar and convenient software environment.
Where does JEDDS fit into the document delivery environment? The software supporting document delivery in the electronic environment can be separated into five logical groups:
The JEDDS project will concentrate of the development of the underlying tools for scanning, viewing, printing and transmission, and end user tools for receipt, viewing and printing of electronic documents. JEDDS will also aim to define and develop interface hooks to Interlending and Document Request Management Software (such as the NDIS and EDDIS) in standard formats to promote interoperability with a range of systems and to allow libraries to take advantage of the JEDDS project developments while working within the document delivery management / user interface systems of their choice. It is intended that the JEDDS software could be activated from within the IDRMS software, the document requested scanned and mailed, and the user then returned to the IDRMS software.
The partners have identified the enhancement of an existing document delivery product, Ariel, developed by the Research Libraries Group, Inc (RLG) as the preferred option for development.
Components of Ariel already solve technical issues in scanning, viewing and printing software, particularly relating to multipage files and standard header information. This work would have to be duplicated rather than extended if JEDDS undertook the development from scratch.
The project will be undertaken in a number of phases. In Phase 1 JEDDS will investigate with RLG the feasibility (both from a technical and business perspective) of enhancing Ariel to include the functionality required. If Phase 1 proves the feasibility of the project, the development phases will then be negotiated with the intention of development occurring during 1996. Phase 1 comprises the preparation of a detailed technical specification and determination of the technical and business feasibility of the development.
The business feasibility of the development will be determined after investigation into the cost/benefit implications of the project specification, licensing and distribution arrangements. A decision will be made regarding the technical and business viability of the project based on the work undertaken during Phase 1. Each JEDDS partner, and RLG will have the opportunity to review their commitment to any development phase of the project.
JEDDS is a joint initiative of the:
The Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee (AV-CC) has been granted a special Government grant from the National Priority (Reserve) Fund for the period 1994-1996 for the development of library infrastructure in Australia.
Program 2(a) of that grant, 'Improved Information Infrastructure' - 'Electronic Document Delivery' segment (AV-CC[III]) has as its priority task the development of MIME-based electronic document transmission software.
The AV-CC[III] undertook to design a development strategy which included a coordinated approach with organisations such as the National Library of Australia, a commitment to avoiding duplication of effort at both a national and international level, and to developing software solutions which emphasise the use of open systems protocols, conforming with international standards. The program also aims to produce project outcomes which are sustainable after the funding period of the program expires.
The actual mechanism for delivery of the document forms only part of the requirements identified by the project partners. Efficiency, the ability to develop workflows which integrate into the other components of the document supply cycle, and ease of use are essential elements in the envisaged product. The ability to reuse information without rekeying, and to work as much as possible within one user interface is also required.
The Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) was funded
by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
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