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The Superjournal Project

Project web site

Programme area
Electronic Journals

Contact details
Ms Christine Baldwin, SuperJournal Project Manager,
Information Design and Management Broom, Hinksey Hill Oxford, OX1 5BH
Phone: 01865 736850 Fax: 01865 736855

Project description

as of January 4th 1996


What do authors and readers want from electronic journals? The SuperJournal project seeks to create a significant body of multimedia journal content, based on established journals, on which to explore this question systematically.

What are the issues in scaling up from single journals to large quantities of multimedia content? The SuperJournal Project will contain content from 21 publishers, members of the SuperJournal Consortium, in order to explore the requirements in production and delivery by publishers and the technical and organisational features required by libraries.

The cluster of journal content will, it is hoped, make it worth the author submitting multimedia content and the reader doing useful searching and browsing in the electronic field with sufficient content that is relevant.


The 21 publishers will make journal content available and encourage authors to submit multimedia elements to go to a project team in the University of Manchester to put onto a server. Large datasets and guaranteed service levels are familiar to Manchester Computing Centre and they will develop their substantive computer resources for the project.

Nine universities, in the first years, will access the journal clusters. The subjects covered include protein genetics, computing, physical chemistry and communication and cultural studies.

Often organisations rush into technical solutions without full account of the various options that readers have and without trying to discover why they choose one way of accessing and using information over another. The project is an opportunity to explore what will be needed in the future and Loughborough University of Technology will be evaluating usage and doing surveys as part of a systematic exploration of what users want from electronic journals.

The searching and interfaces chosen will be the result of an open invitation to participate in the project, although it is planned to take advantage of full-text for searching that is more sophisticated than is usually found in abstract and indexing services. A variety of interfaces will be explored, taking into account the page-based displays, generic solutions such as Netscape and specially designed electronic document display software.


The SuperJournal Consortium will employ a member of staff to release the project director one day a week, a project manager to ensure that the project is kept on schedule and to solve problems and a technical consultant to advise on preparation of content for the database.

The consortium includes society, university press and commercial publishers: Academic Press Ltd, Blackwell Publishers Ltd, Blackwell Scientific Publishers Ltd, CAB International, Cambridge University Press, Carfax Ltd, Chapman & Hall Ltd, Churchill Livingstone Ltd, Elsevier Science Ltd, Institution of Electrical Engineers, Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd, Society for Endocrinology, Macmillan Publishers Ltd, Oxford University Press, Rapid Science Ltd, Routledge Ltd, Royal Society of Chemistry, Sage Publications Ltd, Taylor & Francis Ltd and John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

At the University of Manchester there will be a team of database managers and programmers to 'glue' together the programs to present a new functionality to the user over the Internet.

Loughborough University of Technology is beginning its work six months after the start of the three year programme and will employ one member of staff and have occasional assistants at critical points.

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