ISSUE 4 OCTOBER 1995 ISSN 0963-7354
We are pleased to be able to report we have been granted increased funding from our main funding bodies for the next three years. UKOLN is funded by the British Library R&D Department and the Information Services Sub-Committee of the Joint Information Systems Committee of the Higher Education Funding Councils. We have also attracted some Electronic Libraries Programme funds. This good news has coincided with restructuring and growth, with several new staff joining UKOLN, and with the development of a work plan for the next year. We will be concentrating our awareness and research activities in several key areas. We will continue our work in bibliographic management, and look at ways of expanding it. A second major area will be the exploration of distributed library and information systems. We will examine distributed library systems through the MODELS project, and look at issues of resource discovery and description in the ROADS project. We hope that some of this work can be extended in a European context pending successful resolution of current discussions. Our third key area is in public library and public sector activity, where we will work with other organisations to support the emergence of a shared view of preferred future directions. More of these developments elsewhere in this Newsletter.
At the same time we are developing our network information services and hope to become a source of advice and good practice for information management on the network. We will make FIGIT and British Library reports available, developing a valuable Digital Libraries literature reource. We will also be organising more workshops, conferences and other events, to disseminate results of our own work and that of the Electronic Libraries Programme.
All these activities will support UKOLN's continued contribution to strategic thinking about the future of information services in the UK and beyond.
Preparations are already underway for the next UKOLN conference which will take place in a couple of years time and mark 20 years of UKOLN and its antecedent organisations at Bath.
Beginning in May 1994 with a paper given at the University of Aston by Clifford Lynch of the University of California, the series has attracted speakers from as far afield as Australia and the United States. Venues have included Edinburgh and Manchester as well as London. The most recent lecture was given in Glasgow in September when Bill Arms from the CNRI in Reston Virginia spoke on Digital Library Research in the United States.
Future lectures will develop the general theme of the series, and plans for the 1996/97 season are well underway. The papers already given, together with details of forthcoming lectures, can be found at: http://ukoln.bath.ac.uk/follett_lectures
Recent public library initiatives are described in the last issue of VINE to be edited by Rosemary Russell before she joined UKOLN (VINE, 98, March 1995), to which Lorcan Dempsey contributes an article.
UKOLN, Project EARL and the Library Association have been successful in a bid to the British Library R&D Department in support of a Public Library Networking Joint Initiative, to be administered by the Library Association. An officer will be appointed (located at LASER) who will work on the Library Association Millenium Bid, on Project EARL and will support UKOLN activities in this area.
In an extension of this survey, work is being carried out for Book Data and J. Whitaker & Sons Ltd on the currency of records on their respective CD-ROM services. For this the BNBMARC ordering stage sample is used. This work has been carried out since August 1994.
While British Library records have been monitored since 1980 for currency, the other aspects of quality (accuracy, consistency and functionality) have not been investigated. The implementation of the Copyright Libraries Shared Cataloguing Programme (CLSCP) provided the BL with the impetus to extend assessment into record quality. Initially this assessment was undertaken by one of the CLSCP particpants (Trinity College Library, Dublin) as a pilot study. UKOLN has been carrying out this monitoring since August 1994. Each month a random sample of records is checked by UKOLN for accuracy and consistency. As there is currently no provision for the records to be checked against physical items, the checking which can be done is limited to some extent. Records are checked for consistency between the same information held in more than one field, for accuracy in spelling and punctuation, for correct use of field tag indicators and specific fields used. They are also checked for the presence of all added fields required and that BL records catalogued to AACR2 level 1 include all the required elements.
The study was undertaken in two parts. Part A gathered quantitative data and was undertaken by Russell Sweeney (Library Consultant) assisted by Steven Prowse (Technical Support Officer, UKOLN). Part B examined the justification for a national programme and was carried out as a piece of qualitative research by means of a focussed consultation group led by David Streatfield of Information Management Associates. Assistance with various aspects of the project, especially those relating to costs and methods of retrospective conversion was given by Ann Chapman (Research Officer, UKOLN).
Main quantitative results
The number of catalogue records remaining to be converted in the libraries responding to this study (85% response rate) total some 28,000,000 (estimated to represent 6,000,000 titles).
Of the 28,000,000 records, 4,000,000 are for items in ‘special collections’ - mainly in the Humanities
The costs of converting and existing manual catalogue records to machine readable form fall within a range of £1 to £5, with a mean within the range £1.50 to £2.
That a national programme should be agreed for the HE sector, and due regard paid to the role of the non-HE sector, particularly the British Library; this would require funding of £25,000,000 over a five-year period with institutions ‘matching’ the amount of ‘special’ funding received as a general rule, and appropriate machinery to manage the programme.
There should be clear guidelines on standards and procedures for retrospective conversion programmes, and further studies should also be carried out on non-print library materials and on the non-HE sector. (This is now being taken forward.)
We have identified five project lines to be pursued within the overall project:
distributed document discovery and supply
resource discovery and metadata
libraries and the web
managing access to a distributed library resource (resource sharing)
integration of electronic and print resources.
Each of these will be explored as individual, although linked, studies, which will last for approximately five months. There will
be some parallel running, with the overall project to be completed in 18 months. The programme of work for each line will
a background review of UK and European developments
a workshop of invited stakeholders and experts which identifies technical and service trends and challenges
a statement of issues with areas for action
supporting information dissemination activities.
Although devised and led by UKOLN, the project is working closely with other groups such as the Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib), the British Library, Project EARL and UK-ZIG. This will ensure widespread community involvement, relevance to emerging developments and impact. A Steering Committee has been appointed comprising Richard Heseltine (University of Hull), Chris Rusbridge (eLib Programme Director), Neil Smith (British Library) and Peter Smith (LASER); we are also hoping to include a ‘European’ member.
Each project line will also have an individual advisory panel, which will advise on direction and help to plan the content of the workshops. The panel for distributed document discovery and supply has already met once and we have timetabled the first workshop for December.
One of the main objectives of the project is to raise awareness of the issues within the library and information communities. We will therefore be producing a range of project papers and reports, together with appropriate web pages and items in the Ariadne. newsletter.
UKOLN participated in several proposals to the Fourth Framework Programme. Discussions are currently underway about a couple of projects: details in the next issue.
Lorcan Dempsey continues to do occasional work for the Commission and wrote a Library and Information Briefing on UK participation in the programme: The UK, networking and the European Libraries Programme. Library and Information Briefings, Issue 57, 1995 (enquiries to Library Information Technology Centre, fax: +44(0)71 815 6699).
Lorcan Dempsey, Director
Lorcan became Director of UKOLN in November 1994. He has worked at Bath for seven years, and during that time has worked on bibliographic management, standards, the use of networks by libraries and resource discovery. He publishes and talks widely on these issues. Recently, he has been closely involved in moving the EARL project forward in the public libraries sector, with the FIGIT/ISSC Panel on Access to Network Resources and with the establishment of the ROADS project. These initiatives are all described elsewhere in this issue. He consults regularly for the European Commission on the Libraries’ Programme and is one of the authors of the framework document for libraries within the Fourth Framework Programme. He has recently become a father, but promises that his currently rather dull home pages will not be enhanced with a picture of his baby daughter (fibber!!).
Rachel Heery, Research Officer (ROADS)
Rachel joined UKOLN on 21st August this year to work on the ROADS (Resource Organisation And Discovery in Subject based services) project. She will be evaluating the various methods of describing network resources (IAFA templates, MARC, TEI headers) and will also be analysing the marketing requirements of subject based services and generally contributing to the design and development of the ROADS system.
It is vital that the UK higher education community is involved in emerging international standards and Rachel is keen to contribute to this area. She also looks forward to working as part of the Electronic Libraries Programme and meeting colleagues on various initiatives.
Rachel comes to UKOLN from SLS (Information Systems) Ltd, where for the past two years she has been Product Manager for the SLS Database Service. Previously she has worked with information retrieval systems (including the original introduction of POLIS at the House of Commons Library) and was also a researcher at the University of the West of England Business School producing case studies examining the effects of IT strategy in the insurance industry.
Sarah Ormes, Research Officer (Public Library and Public Sector networking)
Sarah joined UKOLN on 1st September this year, having just completed an MA in Librarianship at Sheffield University. During her year at Sheffield she specialised in issues concerning public libraries and the Internet and her dissertation explored how useful and cost effective Internet use is for public reference librarians.
One of Sarah'’s first jobs will be to survey current use of networks by public libraries in the UK. She will be involved in developing UKOLN'’s programme of work in the Public Libraries area and will work closely with project EARL and other British Library funded initiatives to support public libraries in the exploration of the policy, service and technical issues which will face them in a networked environment. Other interests include exploring the issues of costs and value for money that networking a public library will raise.
Rosemary Russell, Research Officer (Distributed Library and Information Systems)
Rosemary joined UKOLN in May this year. Her main focus is the MODELS project, which includes among its aims the development of blueprints for future networked library and information services. (For further information on MODELS see the separate item.) Rosemary is also involved in awareness raising and coordination activities in this area, such as workshop organisation and development of UKOLN’s Z39.50 web pages.
Rosemary previously worked at the Library Information Technology Centre (LITC) at South Bank University, where her role included editing VINE, carrying out consultancy in library management systems and writing various reports and articles. She is co-author with Juliet Leeves of LIBSYS.UK: a directory of library systems in the United Kingdom (1995). Prior to LITC, she was an Assistant Advisor in the Information Systems Unit of the British Council’s Libraries, Books and Information Division.
Steve Prowse, Technical Support Officer
Steve joined the unit in 1977, when it was still the Centre for Catalogue Research. As Technical Support Officer, Steve provides specialist expertise for the unit in statistical analysis and programming in a number of research activities. Currently he is working on a several projects in the bibliographic research area, while recently completed work includes the FIGIT funded Retrospective Conversion study and the Bath University Network Users Survey. Steve also provides support for office automation. Steve works half-time for UKOLN.
Chris began working life in 1978 as a technician apprentice with the Royal Mail. After gaining an Msc in Information Systems Engineering from South Bank University (then South Bank Polytechnic) in 1987, he joined the University of the West of England where he filled several posts until 1993; this was followed by a year working in the Computing Services Department of the University of Wales, College of Cardiff.
John Kirriemuir, Information Officer
John joined UKOLN on 1st August, 1995. As Information Officer, John will be developing UKOLN’s information management and dissemination role by supplying an information service for the Electronic Libraries Programme, supporting the British Library R&D Department’s dissemination activities and providing more information about UKOLN’s own activities. The work includes design, development and maintenance of a web-based information service, the indexing of documents and servers, and the development of publication policies and guidelines.
John is just completing a PhD at Sheffield’s Department of Information Studies on clustering the output of a multi-database search, involving applying hierarchical clustering techniques to the search results produced by querying a multi-newswire database system, with the goal of identifying identical, similar and related articles and indicating these relationships to the end- user.
While at Sheffield he worked on the department’s World Wide Web pages and other similar projects and also taught on Internet courses for internal and external staff, students and librarians. His main interests are in the development of access to useful resources via the Internet, World Wide Web browser development and electronic resource discovery and cataloguing.
Hazel Gott, Promotions Officer
For the past twenty years or so Hazel has been running her own free-lance conference and administration business. However, following her co-ordination of UKOLN'’s second international conference on Networking and the Future of Libraries in April this year, she joined the UKOLN team as Promotions Officer on 1st August 1995.
Hazel will be responsible for the organisation of an extended range of UKOLN events as part of its work programmes. Half her time will be devoted to the arrangement of Electronic Libraries Programme events on behalf of the Follett Implementation Group on IT. She is organising the Follett lectures, and other planned events include workshops and FIGIT project days. Hazel will organise a special Coalition for Networked Information conference to be held in the UK in early 1996.
Other aspects of the Promotion Officer’s duties will be the co-ordination of UKOLN publications, including the Follett Lecture Series, and the servicing of some UKOLN committees, especially the preparation and collation of management reports.
This will be the last newsletter to appear in this livery. We are currently redesigning UKOLN'’s visual image. We will incorporate more of our host university’s identity, and also reflect the latest (slight) name change. The Management Committee has agreed to restore UKOLN'’s acronymic status - it now stands for UK Office for Library and Information Networking. We hope there will be no more changes for some time!
UKOLN Management Committee
Prof. Mel Collier (Chair) - De Montfort University
Terry Cannon - British Library R&D Department
David Cook - JISC Secretariat
Sheila Corrall - Reading University
Shirleen Craig - ISSC Coordinator
Lorcan Dempsey - UKOLN
Richard Heseltine - University of Hull
Prof. George Lunt - University of Bath
Howard Nicholson - University of Bath
Sally Whitaker - J. Whitaker & Sons
UKOLN Advisory Committee
Sheila Corrall (Chair) - University of Reading
John Akeroyd - South Bank University
David Buckle - OCLC
Lou Burnard - Oxford University Computing Services
Paul Capewell - Liverpool Institute of Higher Education
Neal Clements - BLCMP
John Cox - Wellcome Centre for Medical Science
Jonathan Darby - CTI Support Service
Joan Day - University of Northumbria at Newcastle
John Dolan - Birmingham City Libraries
Nicky Ferguson - Centre for Computing in Economics
Frances Hendrix - LASER
David Hill - Sage Publications Ltd
Trevor Hing - B.H. Blackwell Ltd
Mike Holderness - Freelance journalist
Pro. Ian Jamieson - University of Bath
David Kay - Fretwell Downing Data Systems Ltd
Ray Lester - London Business School
Prof. Denise Lievesley - ESRC Data Archive
Howard Nicholson - University of Bath
Judith Palmer - Healthcare Libraries Unit
Bruce Royan - University of Stirling
Chris Rusbridge - Electronic Libraries Programme
Alan Singleton - Institute of Physics Publishing
Barry Smethurst - BIDS
Neil Smith - British Library
Peter Stone - Consultant
Ray Templeton - Library Association
Linda Tomos - University of Wales, Aberyswyth
Newsletter content by Ann Chapman. Web conversion by John Kirriemuir