UKOLN Newsletter - Issue 2 - September 1994
Networking and the Future of Libraries 2
International Conference 1995
Following the outstanding success of the national conference organised by UKOLN at Bath University
in April 1992 a decision was made that the 1995 event should be international in the same way as the
Bibliographic Access in Europe conference held at Bath in 1989. As in 1992 this conference will focus
on strategy and policy issues and its central theme is "managing the intellectual record". How will the
library service interact with a growing range of producers of the intellectual record? How will it
provide access to diverse and complex resources in many media, and subject to different conditions of
access? How will it preserve access to the record for future generations?
Libraries can become important stakeholders in the information systems of the future; however,
they need to act decisively and with vision. How they should react is the subject of this major
conference to be held 19-21 April at the University of Bath.
Further programme details will be available by September. The charges for attendance are £370
including all meals and accommodation with en-suite facilities; £325 for superior student
accommodation without en-suite facilities and £280 non-residential.
This conference will mark Philip Bryant's retirement as Director of UKOLN and it is hoped that
many of Philip's colleagues, friends and partners will attend.
Monitoring the "priorities"
When the strategic statement of key issues relating to information networking in the UK was launched
in January 1993 it was proposed that progress in the key areas should be monitored. A LIBS Briefing
"Networks Libraries and Information: progress on priorities for the UK 1992-1994" is due for
publication in October 1994 edited by Philip Bryant and Ian Mowat with contributions from Peter
Brophy and Ann Irving, Bill Tuck, Ann Matheson, Charles Oppenheim, Lorcan Dempsey and Tom
Wilson as well as from Philip and Ian. This publication is the first of a two stage process in an audit the
objectives of which are:
It is hoped that the LIBS Briefing will provide a good basis for proceeding to the second stage.
- To list specific activities which have occurred since the publication of the original statement and
which demonstrate or give a sense of progress.
- To identify topics within the ten key issues where progress has not been made, to establish
possible reasons for this and to recommend action as appropriate.
Philip Bryant retires as Director of UKOLN
Philip retired on 31 August 1994 as Director of UKOLN. UKOLN: The Office for Library and
Information Networking was formed in November 1992 by merging the Centre for Bibliographic
Management with the UK Office for Library Networking with funding from the British Library
Research and Development Department and the Joint Information Systems Committee. Philip had
directed CBM (previously the Centre for Catalogue Research) since 1977 and before that he had been
Project Leader of the Bath University Comparative Catalogue Study (1973-75).
Philip writes: "I feel sad at retiring as director of a unit with which I have been so intimately involved
from the beginning. However, a number of health problems over the past couple of years persuaded me
that, both for the good of UKOLN and for myself, now was the time to make way for someone who
could bring fresh expertise and zest to the job and lead the unit during a very exciting new period in its
development. It has been a great privilege to work with such a good staff who are also such nice
people! In addition I have appreciated the outstanding support of the CBM and UKOLN Committee
members - not least those who have chaired them: David Bagley, Derek Law, Ian Mowat and Peter
Stone. Last but not least I must record my best thanks to all the staff of the British Library R & D
Department and to its Director Brian Perry"
Philip will, however, continue to contribute to the work of UKOLN by taking on the new position of
part-time Senior Research Fellow in Bibliographic Management. One of his first committments in this
post will be the study recommended by the Follett Libraries Review Group on theustification and
implications of a national retrospective catalogue conversion programme for UK higher education
libraries. Working with Philip on the project will be library consultant Russell Sweeney, and Ann
Chapman and Steve Prowse of the UKOLN team. A project monitoring group has been set up chaired
by Bernard Naylor.
The UKOLN server
In June 1992 Sun Microsystems Ltd. presented a SPARCserver to UKOLN that is now being used to:
- host BUBL (Bulletin Board for Libraries),
a service that is administered from the University of
Strathclyde by Dennis Nicholson with support from teams of subject specialist volunteers
- maintain the UK National Entry Point gopher,
a list of links to all registered UK gopher servers
- to provide shared resources for UKOLN staff,
such as filestore, software and printers.
In April 1994 UKOLN appointed Chris Brown as Network Systems Officer to manage the
SPARCserver and provide technical support for UKOLN activities. We are grateful to Bath University
Computing Services (particularly Andy Powell) for technical support during the transition, and to the
British Library Research and Development Department for a small grant to make it possible.
Chris plans to modify the UKOLN gopher and WWW services to include more information on
UKOLN activities and its staff by publishing an on-line version of the UKOLN Newsletter and
encouraging staff to produce commentaries on their roles at UKOLN. In addition it is possible that he
will also provide server resources to support:
- the British Library
- any Follett funded projects which require a test platform
Arrangements are being made to host electronic versions of a series of library related journals
published by Library Information Technology Centre and Aslib; this service will be available via
UKOLN's World Wide Web server in early 1995.
UKOLN reviewed by the JISC and the BLRDD
On 31 May UKOLN's role, work programme and staffing needs were reviewed by a panel chaired by
Lynne Brindley, Librarian and Director of Information Services at the London School of Economics.
The result of this review was very satisfactory although it did raise a number of important issues which
will need to be addressed during the new period of a 3-year rolling grant.
Howard Nicholson has been Project Head since he was appointed as University Librarian at Bath two
years ago. Prior to this Keith Jones had fulfilled this role during his period as Acting University
Librarian following the retirement of John Lamble. Warm appreciation must be expressed for the loyal
Philip Bryant was invited by the Cataloguers Section of the Australian Library and Information
Association (ALIA) to deliver the opening 'keynote' paper at the 10th National Cataloguing
Conference 'Subject to change: subject access and the role of the cataloguer' held at Fremantle, 4-6
November 1993. Following the conference Philip and Annelise Mark Pejtersen (of the Riso National
Laboratory, Roskilde, Denmark) the second 'keynote' speaker spoke at Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra,
Sydney and Brisbane at the invitation of the State Branches of the Cataloguers Section. Visits were
also made to Colin Steele and Tony Barry at the Australian National University and, in Singapore to
the National Library and the British Council. The international airfare was paid by the British Council
in Australia to whom a report has been submitted.
The Libraries Programme of the European Union
Lorcan Dempsey has participated as an evaluator of proposals for the first, second and third calls of the
Libraries Programme within the Third Framework Programme of the of the Commission. He has also
recently undertaken further consultancy work for the libraries section of DG XIII of the commission,
assisting in the preparation of the libraries draft Work Programme within the Fourth Framework
Programme for Research and Technological Development.
As part of a wider project of the British Library R&D Department, Lorcan Dempsey has prepared a
paper entitled 'Network resource discovery: a European library perspective'. This paper will be
appearing in a report entitled Libraries, networks and Europe: a European networking study.This is
being published in September 1994 by the British Library R&D Department. (ISBN: 0712332952)
John Smith spoke on Network Publishing and the Developing World at the UAP Workshop in Cairo,
12-14 January 1993. The Workshop, on Universal Availability of Publications for Arab Speaking
Countries, was organised by ESTINET and the IFLA Programme for Universal Availability of
At the 21st Century Information Systems Symposium funded by the British Council and
MedCampus95 (an EEC funded project) held at the University of Yarmouk, 28-30 June 1993, John
gave a presentation on Electronic Libraries - some implications for the developing world.
The Jordanian Library Association also invited John to speak to the Association at the Shoman
Scientific Centre, Amman, Jordan on 4 July 1993. The theme of his talk was Network Publishing -
implications for libraries.
Lorcan Dempsey visited Sweden in September 1993 to address a meeting on networked information
organised by NordInfo. He also gave a presentation to the Danish research libraries group in
Copenhagen, and used this opportunity to make a small study trip to library organisations in Sweden,
Norway and Denmark in connection with a paper on resource discovery and libraries being prepared
for the British Library. He returned to Sweden in April 1994 to address a meeting organised by the
Swedish Library Association on document delivery, when he also addressed the Libris steering
North Carolina, USA
Lorcan visited the Centre for Network Information Discovery and Retrieval in the Research Triangle
Park in North Carolina in early 1994, to attend a meeting which was discussing the setting up of the
taskforce on the Multinational Information Framework.
UKOLN in print
Libraries and IT: Working Papers of the Information Technology Sub committee of the HEFCs'
Libraries Review. Bath: UKOLN, 1993. ISBN 0951685627 (£20 inc P&P Europe; £25 inc P&P all
UKOLN published these papers on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Councils of England,
Scotland, and Wales, and the Department of Education for Northern Ireland. The Libraries Review,
chaired by Sir Brian Follett, was guided by a range of issues of concern to universities and to the
Funding Councils. These issues had emerged in the context of a rapidly expanding sector, putting
pressure on space and accommodation, as well as highlighting uneven library provision across
institutions and opportunities for resource sharing. The IT Sub-committee was given a brief to support
the teaching and research related objectives of the Review and focused particularly on how
developments in IT might be harnessed to underpin change across the whole academic library sector.
The Sub-committee sought for most of its meetings a range of working papers and contributions on
particular topics of interest, or assessments of developments in particular areas of concern. Those
papers were prepared for publication by Lorcan Dempsey, and are available from UKOLN.
Lorcan Dempsey also wrote Libraries and networking for the Library and Information Briefings series
published by the Library Information Technology Centre. This was a special double issue (37/38) and
appeared in December 1992. Individual copies may be ordered from LITC (Fax: +44 71 2611865).
The BNBMARC Currency Survey has been solely concerned with the 'timeliness' of the records
created and/or supplied by the British Library National Bibliographic Service. An opportunity arose to
investigate other aspects of the quality of a bibliographic record (accuracy, consistency and
functionality) in collaboration with BLCMP who wished to evaluate the quality of records on its
database. The study, which took place in 1992, had three main areas of interest:
(i) what percentage of
records are edited,
(ii) to make a statistical analysis of the fields being edited and the types of changes
being made, and
(iii) to investigate cataloguers' perceived reasons for particular edits. BLCMP staff
collaborating with Ann Chapman in the project were Terry Willan and Celia Burton. A report was
produced in 1993.
Chapman, Ann. Quality of records in a shared cataloguing database. Bath, UKOLN, 1993. (British
Library R&D Report No.6120)
On-line access to subject-enriched bibliographic records project
A British Library funded project to design, create and evaluate an experimental online catalogue of
subject-enhanced records commenced in late 1989 and ended in June 1992. The project was
undertaken by Lorcan Dempsey, Steven Prowse and Jane Shaw of UKOLN and Stephen Walker from
The catalogue employed the Okapi experimental retrieval software that was originally developed at the
Polytechnic of Central London by Stephen Walker and others.
The catalogue data was derived from MARC records from Bath University Library's online Urica
catalogue. This data was supplemented with additional subject information kindly supplied by Book
An interim Project Report was submitted to the British Library Research and Development
Department early in 1994; a final report is in preparation and will be submitted in the autumn.
SuperJANET Project on Information Resources (SPIRS).
SPIRS was a study funded by the SuperJANET project to investigate potential library and information
uses of SuperJANET, the UK high-speed academic network. The project director was Michael Breaks,
Librarian of Heriot-Watt University. A working group, of which Lorcan Dempsey is a member,
submitted a report outlining areas where the SuperJANET technology could be profitably exploited by
the library and information community. As part of his SPIRS responsibilities, Lorcan Dempsey
convened a group of publishers who have subsequently gone on to develop a demonstrator electronic
journal project on SuperJANET.
The report, submitted to the JNT in February 1993, was published in an edited version in Libraries and
BNBMARC Currency Survey
Monitoring the currency of BNB records for cataloguing purposes has been carried out continuously
since 1980 at Bath. Monitoring BNB records for ordering purposes began in 1988.
Results at the cataloguing stage. Between 1981 and 1987 the hit-rate was in the 61% to 65% range.
With the implementation by the British Library of cataloguing to AACR2 Level 1 for around 50% of
BNBMARC records and the omitting of LC subject data, the hit-rate rose to 74% in 1989. A hit-rate
of 80% was first reached at the end of 1991 and reached 85% in May 1994.
Results at the ordering stage. Between 1989 and 1992 the hit-rate remained between 74% and 76%. A
small but steady increase since has brought the hit-rate up to 80%.
The British Library National Bibliographic Service (BLNBS) considers this survey to be of
considerable value and started meeting all the costs from 1 April 1994; previously the survey had been
jointly funded by BLNBS and the British Library R & D Department. Neither body is responsible for
the details, results and opinions appearing in the results of the BNBMARC Currency Survey.
International Serials Data System (ISDS) user survey
This survey of ISDS products and services was undertaken by Russell Sweeney (Consultant), Philip
Bryant and Steven Prowse with the collaboration of Suzanna Santiago (Director, ISDS).
The survey covered a range of questions, including current and future products needed in the market
place; how ISDS products and services are used; how the ISDS database was used; how and for what
purposes are ISSN's used, and what future uses for the ISSN might be seen.
Two separate surveys were necessary: Survey 1 covered current and former subscribers to ISDS
publications and Survey 2 potential subscribers and users of ISSN's. A report was submitted to ISDS
in Feb. 1993.
Use and understanding of the catalogues in Cambridge University Library
This survey, undertaken by Philip Bryant, Ann Chapman and Steven Prowse with the collaboration of
CUL staff, looked at both use and understanding of CUL catalogues.
The survey aimed to ascertain for all users beyond undergraduate level (i) how well the catalogue data
provided are understood, (ii) do users require additional/less information in catalogue entries, and (iii)
does the age of the item looked for make any marked difference to the answers given in (ii). The
survey also considered: how aware are users of the variety of catalogues provided; are the 'guides' to
the catalogue read and understood; what is the level of 'known' item searching; what is the user's next
action after failure at the catalogue? A report was produced in 1993.
Philip Bryant Use and understanding of the library catalogues in Cambridge University Library. Bath,
UKOLN, 1993. (British Library R&D Report No. 6124)
Internet Access in the UK and Eire
John Smith has been working on this guide, the purpose of which is to give a brief introduction to the
various options available to anyone (person or organisation) wanting to connect to the Internet and to
then list those companies in the UK able to provide some form of Internet access. It is hoped that the
guide will be published later in 1994.
UKOLN at meetings
Information Networking '93
This conference, held in London, 18-20 May 1993, was organised by John Smith for Meckler Ltd.
Around 300 people attended, and the two most successful sessions were those on Document Delivery
and Networked Information. A feature of the conference was that a full connection to the Internet was
made available to exhibitors and speakers.
Importance of Standards
A joint UKOLN/JUGL Seminar on The Importance of Standards was held in London on 23rd
November 1993. As the important role of national and international networking for the support of
many library activities is increasingly recognised, it is crucial that library systems implement the group
of emerging International Standards which are the key to development in this area.
UKOLN is helping JISC in the organisation of the Follett Lecture Series, which has been set up to
complement the activities proposed as the result of the recent report of the Libraries Review Group of
the HEFC's and DENI ( the Follett Report). The purpose of the Lecture Series is to raise awareness
among librarians of how information technology and network use can help to meet the needs of library
users and library management for the next decade. Although the Follett programme is concerned
mainly with academic libraries, many of the topics to be covered will be of interest to practitioners in
all areas of library work.
There will be four lectures per year for the duration of the programme with invited speakers from
around the world. Attendance will be free at all lectures but prior registration will be required. The first
lecture, given by Paul Evan Peters (Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information, USA) is
entitled 'The Life of the Mind on the Information Highway' is on 20th September 1994, at 6.30pm at
the Cavendish Conference Centre, London. To register for this lecture and for details of further lectures
in the series, please contact the Secretary, UKOLN.
Newsletter content by Ann Chapman.
Web conversion by John Kirriemuir