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Programme area
On Demand Publishing

Contact details
Lynda Agili,
Project Phoenix, Library Information Technology Centre South Bank University, 103 Borough Road, London, SE1 0AA
Fax: 0171 815 6699

Project description

as of 4th January 1996


Software developments in the areas of image digitisation, optical storage, high-volume digital copying and client server networking present an opportunity for higher education to offer students course support materials delivered on-demand. This project will assess these technologies, develop an infrastructure for their use and evaluate their potential impact on the educational process. Document management and copyright management software will be used to develop and establish procedures for the collation and storage of materials which can be pre-packaged or delivered to screen and printed on-demand to support course requirements and user preferences.


The broad objectives are as follows:
  • To improve the flow of course material and text to students as part of an integrated operation, whether through pre-packaging or directly delivered to screen
  • To enable libraries to present an integrated course support service, with alternatives for the user which are both economic and improve delivery
  • To provide systems, procedures and models which will be generalisable and transferable between institutions, through open systems and standards for delivery and presentation
  • To understand and improve relationships between authors, publishers and rights owners, and to receive indications of the impact of on-demand and custom publishing on their products and income
These objectives will be progressed through four key tasks centred on South Bank and De Montfort Universities:
  1. Establish an operation to build and deliver pre-assembled course packs as an integrated part of a selected number of courses. Document management and production software and standards will be researched. Pricing and retailing issues will be explored in conjunction with campus booksellers
  2. Build a prototype Web server accessible by students, delivering material either explicitly or as a browsable open learning tool. Management and accounting software to monitor printing, usage and royalty fees will be developed. The system will interface with library management software, allowing access to the catalogue and reservation of library stock
  3. Develop, test, or configure, as necessary, copyright clearance systems to automate clearance procedures and provide publisher feedback and accounting
  4. Establish prototypes at South Bank, De Montfort and Huddersfield Universities, to promote the concepts and evaluate user and academic reaction within the Universities
A parallel activity to promote the ideas of on-demand publishing and associated technology, including models for handling of copyright and associated matters, will be based at Huddersfield University. Articles and reports addressing technical and management issues, seminars, demonstrations and papers at conferences will result.


  • Reports to the HE community at 12 and 18 months detailing progress and final evaluation of the three systems to be developed;
  • review of tools, problems and costs of image scanning, SGML and HTML coding;
  • evaluation of document management systems;
  • recommendations on standards for rights transmission.


South Bank University (lead partner); De Montfort University; Huddersfield University; Open University; Digital Equipment, Rank Xerox and BLCMP will contribute expertise in the development of the technology associated with the project.

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