UKOLN UKOLN Newsletter
Issue 4 - October 1995

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.


Managing the intellectual record:
Networking and the future of libraries 2.
University of Bath, 19-21 April 1995 250 delegates and speakers from 30 countries attended this latest UKOLN conference. They had come to discuss the impact of networking on the authors, managers and users of electronic information, the creation of digital libraries and the changing patterns of scholarly communication and publishing. Much of the discussion about the Information Super Highway has been about the network, the conduit. This conference was about the content, what would actually be passed down the lines, who would own it, what applications would be needed to effectively manage it, and how the materials of teaching, learning and research would move into the digital sphere. The conference proceedings will be published later this year by Library Association Publishing as a Festschrift for Philip Bryant, who retired as director of UKOLN last year. They are edited by Lorcan Dempsey, Derek Law and Ian Mowat. The proceedings are available from Library Association Publishing. (Networking and the future of libraries 2. London: Library Association Publishing, 1995. ISBN 1-85604-158-1. £39.95)

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.


UKOLN has been closely involved with aspects of JISC's Electronic Libraries Programme. The programme represents a £15M investment in information in UK Higher Education and is directed by the Follett Implementation Group on IT, chaired by Lynne Brindley, London School of Economics. As noted elsewhere in this issue, UKOLN is providing an information service for eLib (as it is called), and is liaising closely with Chris Rusbridge, the Programme Director, on this and other issues. We also have a range of other involvements in eLib, some of which are described here.

ROADS project

UKOLN initiated this project, Resource Organisation and Discovery in Subject-based services, which aims to develop a standards-based distributed systems platform for resource discovery services, to explore resource description issues and to contribute to international standardisation activity. See for more details. Partners are Bristol University (coordinators) and Loughborough University. The project will last for two years. Rachel Heery has recently joined UKOLN to work on ROADS.

Follett Lecture Series

The Follett Lecture Series developed from an idea put forward by FIGIT (The Follett Implementation Group on IT), with the aim of raising awareness of international developments and issues relating to the electronic library, and stimulating further discussion. They are now organised by UKOLN.

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:


Ariadne is a parallel print and web based newsletter aimed at practising librarians. UKOLN is responsible for the web version and also for editorial input, especially on eLib projects. Editorial control and production and distribution of the print version are the responsibility of the University of Abertay, Dundee. The first issue will be out in January 1996, and it will appear bimonthly thereafter. Ariadne is being funded as part of eLib, and print copies will be distributed free of charge to all UK universities. Details about Ariadne are available at

Access to network resources

Lorcan Dempsey is on the ISSC/FIGIT Access to Network Resources Working Group which steers the access to network resources programme area. UKOLN has also been asked to convene COUSNS (Committee of UK Subject-based Network Services) to provide a shared focus for the six projects funded in this area.

Stop press ... MODELS project funding

We are pleased to announce that we have just received confirmation of funding for MODELS (see later item) under the eLib Supporting Studies programme area. The funding will cover four workshops, together with systems engineering consultancy for the project; we are currently in discussion with potential consultants.


UKOLN is expanding its information services. Visitors to its web site will notice gradual changes and expansions. The server will be used as the main method of information dissemination and publicity regarding its research, services and collaborations. Sections on the web server, or under construction, include:
information about UKOLN itself, such as research undertaken, contact details, staff pages and the UKOLN newsletters the main source of online information about the Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib), containing information on all of
the projects, as well as links to the network of autonomous project web servers <URL:>
selected British Library R&D reports (not yet available)
more detailed information regarding the ROADS eLib project <URL:>, as well as the online version of the Ariadne newsletter, which will discuss Internet issues for a target audience of librarians and information specialists
UKOLN supported information services, including BUBL (the Bulletin Board for Libraries) and LISSPS (Library and Information Studies Students and Prospective Students)
the UKOLN Z39.50 page, containing details/links to Z39.50 projects in the UK (under construction!)
sections dedicated to UKOLN research into bibliographic management, public library networking and distibuted library and information services
information about the Follett lecture series, and other events, conferences and workshops held by UKOLN


UKOLN is stepping up its public library work and we are pleased to be joined by Sarah Ormes to work in this area. Sarah is developing a programme of activity, of which more in the next newsletter. Lorcan Dempsey is a member of the EARL Steering Group and has been contributing to its development. EARL has various levels of activity: a set of central information services is being put in place , it will provide support to library authorities wondering about network connections and information services, and it will consider development requirements for distributed library services in the public library sector. UKOLN has worked closely with the Project Consultant, Peter Stone, and with LASER, who support the initiative in various ways. The Chair of the EARL Steering Group is Geoffrey Hare, County Librarian of Essex. UKOLN has also supported the LINC/BLRDD networking initiative for non-HE libraries and the setting up of a libraries Collaborative Open Group in the CCTA Information Superhighways initiative. UKOLN also has links with the other BL-funded public library networking projects, and UKOLN is represented on the Croydon Libraries Internet Project Board.

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.


Survey work

BNBMARC Currency Survey
This survey, measuring the currency (availability at the time required) of BNBMARC records of post 1974 published titles with UK imprints currently being acquired by UK libraries, has been carried out since Janauary 1980. The survey produces a hit-rate for BNB records at both the cataloguing and ordering stages at the date of the sample and at the 6 month recheck date. The survey also records data on other elements that may affect the hit-rates (eg. CIP records, CIP record purchase, CLSCP records). The survey results can be found on . A review of the survey, the hit-rates recorded over the years and the effect of various BL initiatives is to be published in the October 1995 issue of Library Resources and Technical Services.

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.

Quality survey
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.

FIGIT Retrospective Catalogue Conversion Study

This was the first project carried out by Philip Bryant, previously Director of UKOLN, in his new position of BLR&DD funded Senior Research Fellow in Bibliographic Management at Bath University Library. The Project Monitoring Group was chaired by Bernard Naylor and UKOLN staff contributed to the work of the study which was carried out between October 1994 and April 1995. This study considered only ‘bibliographic’ items and excluded non-print library material.

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.)


UKOLN started work on the MODELS (MOving to Distributed Environments for Library Services) project in August this year. It arises from the need to develop views about how to construct an applications framework to manage the rapidly multiplying range of distributed heterogeneous information resources and services being offered to libraries. MODELS will provide a forum within which the UK library and information communities can explore some of the issues that need to be addressed.

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 include:
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.


Rosemary Russell attended the Trondheim ELAG meeting in May, and will be visiting Italy in the the Spring to talk at a conference about electronic libraries being organised by the British Council.

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).


With recent changes, we thought it would be useful to introduce UKOLN staff to readers, new faces as well as more familiar ones.

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!!).


Ann Chapman, Research Officer (Bibliographic Management)
Ann has been been a Research Officer with UKOLN since 1989. Prior to this, she worked on grant funded cataloguing projects for special collections at Bath, and before that in cataloguing and circulation control for the University of Bath Library. As Research Officer for Bibliographic Management her areas of interest include the quality, standards and formats of bibliographic records for all types of materials in both current and retrospective cataloguing and the performance measurement of bibliographic record databases. Currently, Ann is responsible for the BNBMARC Currency Survey which has monitored the availability of records on the British Library BNB files on BLAISE-LINE since 1980, Currency surveys on CD-ROM services for Book Data and J. Whitaker & Sons and a quality audit which monitors the accuracy of records contributed by the British Library and the five Copyright Agency libraries under the CLSCP Programme. With Lorcan Dempsey and Alan Hopkinson she is working on a preliminary investigation into serials holdings information in bibliographic records and she contributed to the recently completed FIGIT funded Retrospective Conversion study.

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 Brown, Network Systems Officer
Chris joined UKOLN in April 1994. He is the system administrator for the SPARC server which supports UKOLN network services (World Wide Web and Gopher). He also provides technical support on behalf of BUBL, eLib, and LISSPS (Library and Information Studies Students and Prospective Students). Other duties include technical support for office automation on behalf of UKOLN staff.

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.


The UKOLN team is completed by two people who provide the clerical and administrative support for the unit. Thay Gordon has been the secretary for UKOLN since 1990, having previously worked for Rolls Royce in Bristol. Ali Cook, a qualified librarian who has worked in the past for Bath University Library and Bath College of Higher Education Library, has been part- time Financial Administrator for UKOLN since October 1989.


As many readers will know, UKOLN'’s home for man years has been in rather cramped offices in the library. In the new year we hope to move into accommodation in the newly-refurbished library. In the interim we have been somewhat unsettled and are now in temporary accommodation on level two of the library. There will be further disturbance as the building work continues and we may have to move again. We hope this does not cause too much disruption and we are always ‘home’ to visitors!

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 is pleased to have two newly formed committees to guide its activities and is grateful to the many busy people who have agreed to serve on them. We would also like to acknowledge the work and commitment of the groups they replace, and thank Derek Law and Ian Mowat, previous chairs, for their support and encouragement.

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

Newsletters menu