UKOLN UKOLN Newsletter

Issue 6 January 1998 ISSN 0963-7354


Information landscapes for a learning society

This is the title of the next UKOLN conference, to be held at the University of Bath on 29 and 30 June and 1 July 1998. It is the third in the series Networking and the future of libraries and will mark the 21st anniversary of UKOLN and its antecedent organisations at the University of Bath.

During these 21 years there has been continuous support from the British Library. To mark this we are very pleased that Brian Lang, Chief Executive of the British Library, has agreed to present the opening address.

UKOLN also has a long-standing relationship with the Coalition for Networked Information in Washington. We are delighted that CNI’s new Executive Director, Clifford Lynch, will be attending the conference to give the closing keynote address on 1 July. The opening keynote presentation will be given by Richard Heseltine, Director of Academic Services and Librarian, University of Hull, who is the Chair of UKOLN’s management committee.

UKOLN is funded by the British Library Research and Innovation Centre, the Joint Information Systems Committee of the Higher Education Funding Councils, as well as by project funding from the JISC’s Electronic Libraries Programme and the European Union. UKOLN also receives support from the University of Bath where it is based.

Clifford Lynch, Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information

In addition to the two keynote addresses, there will be four main sessions:-

In the centre of this newsletter you will find a pull-out section giving further details of the conference, together with a booking form. The details are also available at <URL:>.

UKOLN conferences now have a long-standing tradition as 'pathfinder' events. We hope to welcome many of you to Bath next summer, where we shall look forward to renewing old friendships and making new ones.


This Newsletter is available free of charge. To be added to the mailing list please send your name (job title) and address to the editor, Sally Criddle, at

A large part of this Newsletter is given over to our 1998 conference. UKOLN and its antecedent organisations will have enjoyed 21 years of continuous existence at the University of Bath in 1998. Indeed, for many of our contacts, especially those overseas, we are known as the ‘Bath centre’. This is in no small part due to our conferences, which have combined strong programmes with plentiful contact with Bath’s unique heritage. The conferences have been significant national and international events, which have highlighted emerging trends and have marked transitional moments in the continual evolution of a profession and a service. We are confident that this one will be a worthy successor and will help shape discussion and debate in the coming period

Elsewhere in the Newsletter we report progress in our current areas of work and detail a number of new projects that we will begin work on soon. We also highlight some significant developments that have occurred within UKOLN in the last six months and below, Lorcan Dempsey reports on the key event that occurred within the public library community last year, the eagerly awaited New Library report.

New Library: The People's Network

Lorcan Dempsey, Director, UKOLN

1997 saw the publication of this substantial report, commissioned from the Library and Information Commission by the DCMS. New Library has had an overwhelmingly positive response, both within the library community and without. The report is widely seen as a defining moment in the life of the public library system in the UK. Caveat and qualification may exist but they have been submerged in enthusiasm, gratitude even, for the vision the report presents of a renovated public library service and the specific recommendations by which it might be achieved.

The report was prepared by a Working Group chaired by Matthew Evans (Chairman of Faber and Faber and the Library and Information Commission) with John Dolan (Head of Central Library, Birmingham City Council) acting as project leader. Lorcan Dempsey served on the Group and Sarah Ormes sat on one of the sub-groups set up to examine particular aspects. UKOLN is pleased to host the electronic version and to also provide an electronic discussion forum where readers can discuss aspects of the report.

UKOLN has been closely involved with the preparation of the report and is now working with others to ensure that the library community and others are well-prepared to take it forward. We are working with the Library Association and EARL on a range of briefing materials about the report and its context, which will be circulated to library authorities in early 1998. We are also planning demonstrator services which show how networking technologies can support new library services. More about these and other relevant activities later in this Newsletter.

New Library: The Peoples Network is available at:


Set up as the Programme for Catalogue Research by Maurice Line and Philip Bryant in 1977, subsequent incarnations included the Centre for Catalogue Research, the Centre for Bibliographic Management, and the UK Office for Library Networking. Throughout this period we have been supported by the British Library. We have been supported by JISC since 1992. More recently we have attracted European funding.

UKOLN was reviewed by its principal external sponsors, the JISC and BLRIC, during the Summer. The purpose was to review progress since the last review in 1994, to ensure that the requirements of the funding bodies were being met, and to consider futures.

The review panel "congratulated UKOLN on becoming recognised as a centre for excellence at international levels in the areas of networking and associated new technology and standards development" and made some recommendations for moving our work forward. We are grateful to the reviewers for their constructive interest and for their specific recommendations. We are pleased at this endorsement of our work and look forward to the next 21 years with enthusiasm!

Management Committee

Professor Mel Collier has joined Dawson Holdings plc and stepped down as Chair of the UKOLN Management Committee. Graham Jefcoate has left the British Library Research and Innovation Centre to take up a new post as Director of Early Printed Collections at the British Library. Graham was our primary contact at BLRIC. We wish Mel and Graham every success in their new posts and thank them for their support.

We are pleased to be able to welcome Dr Richard Heseltine, Director of Academic Services and Librarian, University of Hull, as the new chair of the Management Committee.

UKOLN and teaching at Bath

We have been having some discussions with colleagues at the University of Bath about contributing to course development activities. We will report progress in future newsletters.

Philip Bryant retires

Philip Bryant stepped down as Director of UKOLN in 1994, but continued to work for the University as Senior Research Fellow in Bibliographic Management. During this time he has worked on retroconversion studies in Higher Education and non-Higher Education libraries, funded by JISC and BLRIC respectively. Philip retired in August 1997 and we join with University and other colleagues in wishing him a happy retirement after a long and distinguished career.

ARCIM set up

UKOLN, the Centre for Library and Information Management (University of Central Lancashire), the International Institute of Electronic Libraries Research (De Montfort University) and the Library and Information Technology Centre (South Bank University) have agreed to explore synergies in their collaborative activities. Although each has a different profile, they share an interest in informing policy and professional practice, and are collectively forming the Association of Research Centres in Information Management.

Metadata Group

Andy Powell, Systems and Technical Development

The May Newsletter introduced the projects being worked on by the informal UKOLN metadata group; DESIRE, BIBLINK, ROADS and NewsAgent for Libraries. The eLib ROADS project now has funding for an extra year and negotiations are well advanced for DESIRE-II, a continuation of DESIRE, and a new project, PRIDE, both funded by the European Commission.

Here is some brief news about some of the projects:


BIBLINK aims to establish a relationship between publishers and National Bibliographic Agencies in order to establish authoritative bibliographic information that will benefit both sectors. The project has recently entered its second phase and work on the User Requirements and the Functional Specification for the BIBLINK demonstrator is well underway.

Software development for the demonstrator, which will allow selected publishers to submit metadata about their publications to the NBAs involved in the project, will begin in early 1998.

NewsAgent for Libraries

The NewsAgent for Libraries project aims to establish a current awareness service for library and information staff. The software, developed by Fretwell Downing, has now been installed and configured on the UKOLN NewsAgent server and formal trials and evaluation by selected groups of users will begin shortly. UKOLN have developed a Web robot, based on Harvest, for NewsAgent. The robot is currently used to collect Dublin Core metadata from the Library Technology (LITC) and Ariadne (UKOLN) Web pages. Messages to various mailing lists are also fed into NewsAgent using techniques developed by UKOLN.


PRIDE, People and Resource Identification for Distributed Environments, is a project within the EC Telematics for Libraries Programme.

The PRIDE project will develop a directory of information about both people and electronic resources that will allow broker services to support the identification and delivery of information over the Internet. The PRIDE directory service will provide support for authorisation, registration and cost recovery. These services are seen as being essential in a networked environment where:

PRIDE has been selected for funding for two years from 1998 to 1999 and is led by LASER. UKOLN will primarily be contributing software development to the project.

DC dot

DC-dot is a Web based tool developed by UKOLN for creating Dublin Core metadata in a variety of different formats. Given the URL of a Web page that you want to describe, DC-dot will automatically generate some metadata about the resource and will then allow you to modify and extend it using a Web form.

What you typically end up with is a set of HTML META tags suitable for embedding in your HTML page. Several other formats, for example SOIF and IAFA records, can also be generated. Developed originally as an in-house tool, DC-dot has attracted significant interest from a number of UK, European and other projects involved in Internet resource description. As well as being available on the UKOLN Web server at <URL:>, where it receives 200-300 accesses per month, DC-dot can also be downloaded and installed on your own Web server. DC-dot has some limitations, in particular it does not support repeated Dublin Core elements. An experimental Java version of DC-dot that tries to overcome some of these problems has recently been developed.

The Metadata Web pages can be found at:

Luxembourg metadata workshop

UKOLN ran a tutorial session for the DGXIII/E-4 organised "Metadata Workshop" held in Luxembourg in December 1997. Presented by Lorcan Dempsey and Andy Powell, the tutorial lasted approximately 3 hours and gave a general introduction to metadata, the Dublin Core, metadata management, interoperability, harvesting and the Resource Description Framework (RDF).

Workshop materials are available at:

Cataloguing rules for Internet resources

Michael Day, Research Officer

It is not altogether clear that standards for bibliographic description or cataloguing rules have any place in the 'Internet age'. After all, it could be argued that Internet search engines like Alta Vista and Lycos provide perfectly adequate resource discovery mechanisms for many people. The usefulness of these automated search services should not be underestimated, but there is a perception that the growing ease of Internet publication has not been matched by similar developments in resource discovery systems. Growing interest in metadata issues and implementations bear witness to this. It is possible that librarians, and - in particular - cataloguers have an important role to play in the development of metadata systems.

Traditional library cataloguing practice is based on the implementation of particular standards, rules and formats, typically ISBD, AACR2 and the MARC formats. These formats have successfully been used to catalogue Internet resources, most notably in the OCLC Internet Cataloguing (InterCat) Project. This project demonstrated that AACR2 and USMARC could be used for Internet resource discovery and access and it also tested the use of the USMARC 856 "Electronic Location and Access" field in an operational context. This approach is extremely expensive in terms of time and human effort but does allow for the full integration of (selected) Internet resources with other information sources for resource discovery. There is, however, a third major approach to Internet resource discovery. This is the development of specialist services which identify, evaluate, describe and give access to Internet resources. Sometimes these services merely consist of a subject-specific list of 'hot-links', possibly with a short descriptions or evaluations, but a more sophisticated, database-type, approach is taken by the eLib subject services.

Draft cataloguing rules are available at :

The software produced by the ROADS eLib project is used by several of the eLib subject services. Following on from suggestions made during the Version Two requirements process, UKOLN have undertaken to look at the production of some cataloguing guidelines for ROADS. The metadata format used by ROADS based services are a development of Internet Anonymous FTP Archive templates (IAFA templates) called ROADS templates. Different templates are defined for different resource-types, e.g. for documents, services or projects. Data-elements used in ROADS services are listed and (briefly) defined in a ROADS Template Registry so that there is no unnecessary proliferation of service-specific resource-types or attributes. The ROADS Cataloguing Rules provide guidance on how particular data-elements should be completed, which elements are mandatory and the use of standard formats for dates and languages. This should be useful for both current users of ROADS - some of whom have already developed their own cataloguing guidelines - and for potential future users. In addition it will have a number of other benefits:

The use of the WHOIS++ protocol means that (from Version Two onwards) it should be possible to simultaneously search across more than one ROADS-based service. For example, a search could be made of both the Social Science Information Gateway (SOSIG) and the Organising Networked Medical Information (OMNI) servers for terms like "alcohol", or "counselling". Adequate cross-searching between services will depend upon some common cataloguing standards, both with relation to how data elements are described and which particular data elements are used. The ROADS cataloguing rules can contribute to this process.

The ROADS project is aware that it exists in an increasingly diverse metadata landscape. Different metadata formats are used (and will be used) for different resource types or in different subject domains. In the long term, the development of generic cataloguing standards for Internet resources may become important and ROADS experience with cataloguing and the development of cataloguing rules may be of use in this context.

Collaboration with AHDS

The Arts and Humanities Data Service is funded by the JISC to provide preservation and other services to the UK HE community. It has a strong interest in metadata as part of the overall management of its collections. The AHDS and UKOLN jointly presented a bid to JISC's Committee on Electronic Information to support a series of workshops among the AHDS service providers which looked at their resource discovery metadata requirements. Specifically, the workshops critiqued the Dublin Core metadata element set. The exercise was planned and reported by Paul Miller, of the Archaeology Data Service. A report, “Discovering Online Resources Across the Humanities: A practical Implementation of the Dublin Core,” edited by Paul and Dan Greenstein, has been prepared, which includes contributions from UKOLN staff.

Discovering Online Resources Across the Humanities: A Practical Implication of the Dublin Core is available at:

Collaboration with CURL, The Consortium of University Research Libraries

CURL has successfully won funding from JISC for a project examining the preservation of digital materials in academic libraries (CEDAR). UKOLN will be collaborating with this project to examine some of the metadata requirements for preservation.

Distributed Library Systems

Rosemary Russell, Research Officer


The final workshop in MODELS Phase I was held in April 1997, completing a successful first series. Since then we have been taking forward activities resulting from Phase I recommendations, disseminating project results via presentations and articles, and consolidating material. In addition to developing an overall standards architecture, the project has also significantly influenced practical steps towards the implementation of the electronic library.

One of the most important MODELS outcomes, the clumps initiative has progressed since its emergence at the third workshop. Following the eLib Call for pilot clump proposals earlier in the year, the four projects selected are due to start at the beginning of 1998. A key feature is that they involve a range of sectors, including academic, national, and public library services. UKOLN has provided a supporting framework for this work, setting up a clumps working group in the early stages and coordinating clump technical documentation. Further information will be available at <URL:> from mid January.

Discussions and results from all the workshops are currently being consolidated into a monograph which will be published by Library Association Publishing in 1998.

We are pleased that eLib funding was awarded to support MODELS Phase II. The aim is to consolidate the achievements of the first phase and to build further on these by taking the project into a more practical, implementation environment. It involves three more workshops, to be held during 1998:

At the time of writing a bid has just been submitted to eLib to extend MODELS funding into 1999.

We are also starting to plan a programme of targeted dissemination activities to communicate MODELS results to the wider library and information communities. This will be based around the MODELS Information Architecture (MIA), a logical framework for information management in a distributed environment.

Supporting studies

A meeting was held in June to present draft results of the supporting studies on standards for serials, which were recommended by MODELS 1 and funded by eLib. Representatives from all the relevant sectors were invited, and there were around 50 participants. A report was published in the November issue of Serials, and also made available on the UKSG web server. The studies themselves are available via the MODELS pages and are also being published as hard copy.

'Towards a National Agency for Resource Discovery'

This scoping study was carried out as a result of MODELS 3 recommendations. It was jointly funded by BLRIC and JISC, and managed by UKOLN. Fretwell-Downing Informatics and CERLIM (University of Central Lancashire) were joint authors, with specialist contributions from Geoffrey Hare (former County Librarian, Essex) and Index Data of Denmark.

A consultation exercise was undertaken, resulting in a strong recommendation that an agency should be set up. The study proposes that the agency should act as a facilitator to ensure that scholarly resources are visible and accessible across sectors and other traditional boundaries in an effective and sustainable way.

The precise role and organisation of such an 'interoperability agency' are being discussed at the time of writing. The report is available as HTML, Word 6 or RTF from :

Z39.50 work

Virtual clumps are based around the use of Z39.50 for search and retrieve. Since each of the pilot projects involves a sizeable number of participants, this will greatly augment the body of active Z39.50 users in the UK and help to work toward that all-important critical mass. The MODELS Z39.50 Profile was developed initially to support interoperability amongst and between clump projects. (A profile specifies how a protocol such as Z39.50 is used by a community of implementors.) The MODELS Profile has been presented at a Z39.50 Implementors Group this year and also at a recent EFILA (European Forum for Implementors of Library Automation) meeting, where similarities with other European profiles were identified.


UKOLN initiated a successful project within the recent 'eLib phase 3' call of JISC. Led by the University of East Anglia, Agora will work with partner groups of libraries, system providers and service providers to provide a 'hybrid library management system' which supports more routine collection management activities in a network environment. CERLIM will evaluate the project and Fretwell Downing are developing systems support. Agora builds on the results of the Eddis project and MODELS. UKOLN will develop a collaborative web environment to facilitate communication and dissemination.


DISI (Demonstrating Information Systems Interworking) is a small activity initiated by UKOLN to show examples of distributed information systems. The aim is to demonstrate the efficiencies gained in library operations through end-to-end process automation. Initial collaborators are the Eddis project, Fretwell Downing and Laser. The initiative was prompted by the New Library report: we want to show how libraries can provide enhanced services.

The MODELS web pages can be found at:>

Public Library Networking

Sarah Ormes, Research Officer

Stories from the Web

In the last issue of the UKOLN Newsletter (Issue 5 May 1997) I described the Treasure Island Web site which UKOLN had developed. This site was an experiment by UKOLN to explore, on a very small scale, one possible way in which children's libraries could integrate the Internet into their literature based services. Its success encouraged UKOLN to develop, in partnership with the library services of Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds, a full-scale project called Stories From the Web. This project began in November 1997 and is funded by the British Library Research and Innovation Centre as part of the Digital Libraries Programme call. It is being led by Birmingham City Libraries and Niall MacKenzie is the Project Co-ordinator.

Stories from the Web aims to explore how children's libraries can stimulate the imagination of children and encourage them to explore, read and enjoy stories in a geographically distributed, collaborative network environment. This will be achieved through the development of a service model and technical framework for the use of the Internet in children's libraries. The project will use networking technology such as the web, e-mail and real-time communication tools to allow children in the three partner libraries to explore stories, communicate and work with each other and interact with both authors and publishers. It is aimed at children between the ages of 8-11.

Stories will be made available over the project's website and children will be encouraged to e-mail comments and reviews by a bulletin board on all the stories and also to respond to other children's comments. They would be given the opportunity to write their own web pages and consequently mount their own reviews, opinions and home pages on the web. In this way they both explore the literature and also develop electronic literacy skills such as using e-mail and writing web pages.

The project also aims to develop some real time interactive events which would use technology such as videoconferencing and Internet Relay Chat. This will allow the three geographically disparate libraries to hold joint events and activities. The type of event that is envisaged is videoconferenced author readings and question and answer sessions. Although some of the real time interactive events will be limited to the libraries in the project, the website and all the resources on it will be available to anyone with Internet access.

The impact of the project on the children involved, their parents and the libraries involved (e.g. on their staff's skills, morale and the way in which the library is perceived by its users, local media and funding council) will be recorded. Particular attention will be paid to female staff and their reception and use the Information Technology. Each library will run a computer club for children in order to manage some of the access to the project. These clubs will offer the opportunity to monitor and track the development of a specific group of children as they learn new skills.

This is a very exciting and timely project which promises to provide an extensive body of information on how children's libraries can make use of networked computers in their services. It is an excellent example of geographically dispersed public librarians working together. Already the project has generated a lot of interest in the public library sector which all the project partners feel is indicative of its potential importance for children's libraries.

Niall MacKenzie, Stories from the Web Project Co-ordinator can be contacted on 0121 3032714.

Treasure Island is available at:

Internet Open Day

Sally Criddle, Resource Co-ordinator

In November, UKOLN and the University of Bath Library and Learning Centre jointly hosted an Internet Open Day for local councillors and the public as part of National Libraries Week. The aim of the event was to give people with little or no opportunity of using the Internet a chance to sample the World Wide Web.

Four 90-minute sessions were run throughout the day. Local councillors were invited to explore the local and national government information available on the Internet. The three other sessions were all open to the public. Two of these were focused on particular subjects. In one session family history resources were looked at and, to encourage interest from younger people and their parents, another session covered using the Internet for homework and school projects. The diversity of the Internet was highlighted in "Around the Internet in 90 minutes" which gave people the opportunity to visit the White House and see the latest pictures from Mars.

People attending were asked to complete a brief questionnaire about their Internet experience and to comment on the event. 76% of people attending were 41 years of age or over and an encouraging 28% were over 65 years. The Family History session was particularly successful in attracting people from an older age group with little experience of computers. About a half (56%) had never used the Internet before, but all would use it again. Everyone questioned felt that public libraries should provide Internet access and 77% would be willing to pay up to £5 an hour to use it. However, the fact that 86% of people said that they would pay £5 more tax a year to enable this does somewhat cast a shadow of doubt over these statistics!

This event was selected by the Library Association as one of the most innovative activities of the 1997 National Libraries Week.

The website created for the Internet Open Day is available at:

Bibliographic Management

Ann Chapman, Research Officer

Multi-source currency survey

In 1996 several options for extending the BNBMARC Currency Survey were considered. One option was to review the currency of records on other bibliographic databases. The intention was for the study to run for one year with a report being produced at the end of the period. The report would review the study and comment on the results. In return for participation, sources would be provided with data from the study each month on their own performance. The following sources were approached and agreed to take part: Bibliographic Data Services, Book Data, J.Whitaker and Sons, BLCMP, CURL, LASER, OCLC and SLS (Information Systems) Ltd. A few months after the start of the project, Unity was also approached and agreed to participate. Its database structure with archives allowed retrospective searching to produce data for the period prior to ongoing participation.

The period from May till August 1996 was used to agree access arrangements and to manage the technical aspects of database access. A pilot search was carried out on all source databases using the August sample, and the first results for the study are from the September 1996 sample. For statistically valid figures, results are the cumulated results of 12 months of samples. A paper published in Library Management Vol.18 (3) pp112-123 detailed the methodology and presented profiles of the participating sources. With twelve months of figures available, a report is now being written using a form of presentation agreed at a round table meeting in May 1997 attended by the majority of the participant sources.

At present the extended survey is only being carried out using the ordering stage sample. The round table meeting supported the extension of the study for a second year. The meeting also produced some suggestions for extending the study in a number of directions. These are to be explored in a number of feasibility studies.

Results of currency surveys are available at:

Catalogue quality study

In the spring of 1997 UKOLN was approached by Essex County Library with a request for any information available about methodologies for evaluating the quality of library catalogues. A search of the literature found no suitable methodologies that could be easily used by Essex as they stood. While UKOLN had previously undertaken a study on catalogue quality it focused on an examination of the types of errors rather than evaluating the overall quality of a catalogue in terms of percentages of records with errors. After discussion of the subject, an agreement was reached for UKOLN to design a methodology and for Essex to be the test site. UKOLN’s work on the methodology has been completed and Essex is now undertaking a small pilot trial. The next stage will be to carry out the full evaluation of the catalogue. In this stage, which should be carried out early in 1998, Essex will be identifying errors in a random sample of records and sending the data to UKOLN for analysis.

Retrospective conversion

The second of the two studies on the retrospective conversion of library catalogues in the UK carried out by Philip Bryant has been concluded. UKOLN provided some support for the studies from Ann Chapman and Steve Prowse (now retired). A joint report on both the studies is now available. It was published by the British Library Research and Innovation Centre in the autumn of 1997 as report no.53 Making the most of our libraries and can be purchased as a photocopy or microfiche from the British Thesis Service of BL Document Supply Centre. Alternatively the text can be found on the web at:


Hazel Gott, Events Manager

Since UKOLN’s last newsletter the Events Group has been very active in the organisation of a variety of conferences and workshops.

The largest of these was Beyond the Beginning: The Global Digital Library, a 2-day conference attended by over 250 people representing 13 countries. This was the second conference organised by UKOLN on behalf of the JISC, BLRIC, CNI and CAUSE. And this time CAUL (the Council of Australian University Librarians) was a welcome addition to the sponsoring organisations.

It was especially pleasing to see 16 representatives from Australia (as well as two from New Zealand) in addition to delegates from the US and a range of European countries.

Delegates were welcomed to the conference by John Arbuthnott, the Chairman of JISC, and the very full programme comprised presentations in the areas of:

A full report of the conference will be available at:

Two other events flanked Beyond the Beginning. There was a pre-conference workshop Working Together, a planning retreat designed for Directors of Library, Information and Computing Services - which aimed to integrate efforts to support the overall information resources and services mission for the entire academic institution. We also organised, on behalf of the JISC’s Committee on Electronic Information, a post-conference seminar entitled Metadata – What Is It? This successfully promoted awareness of existing metadata activity and it exploited avenues for development and implementation.

Among other memorable events was the September UK-Nordic Conference Training for Change: New Skills for the Electronic Library. This annual event, hosted alternately by the BLRIC and NORDINFO, is held either in the UK or in one of the Nordic countries. 1997 being the turn of the BLRIC, we chose to organise the 3-day conference in York. The sessions and the conference dinner were held in the National Railway Museum – the dinner being set out on a platform between the Royal train and a set of Wagon Lits carriages. A happy band of delegates were to be seen clambering in and out of various carriages, although we were not allowed to join Queen Victoria in the Royal Train!

We are now very busy with arrangements for the next UKOLN conference (see the central section of this newsletter). Detailed arrangements will be kept up to date at:

Information Services Group

Philip Hunter, Information Officer

The ISG group is working closely with the Technical Systems and Development Group in connection with the automation of various services. Current concerns include the further development of the metadata database, with which metadata information is inserted into requested documents on the fly. Automated conversion of eLib Programme documents and BLRIC reports from Microsoft Word format to HTML (using RTF filters) is another current issue. For conversion procedures to be effective, documents have to be submitted to UKOLN in a consistent and structured format: this requires the development of rules for the logical description of documents. These are being developed by Isobel Stark on the basis of style documents already created to control the consistency of the structure and appearance of the UKOLN website, and also on the basis of the existing service level agreements for UKOLN hosted sites.

Site management tools are in the offing for Ariadne. This development is taking place in the context of changes to the editorial process for Ariadne: there is a new Managing Editor (Lyndon Pugh) from issue 12 , and where before the web version of the magazine was an augmented version of the print edition, in future the editorial process will be centralised. A workflow and publishing process description has been created, which will allow the implementation of electronic publishing tools.

A new UKOLN project is Exploit-Mag, which is a web review magazine for the European Library Telematics Programme. Much of the experience gained from the creation and development of Ariadne will carry forward into the launch of Exploit-Mag, in the summer of 1998. The magazine will be managed with the aid of site tools evaluated over the past months, and mounted on a new NT server arriving in January. As much of the production of Exploit-Mag as possible will be automated, allowing the reuse of common materials from a central database. Exploit-Mag will be produced using Cascading Style Sheets, so that the layout of the publication remains separate from the actual markup of the magazine pages.

UK eLib projects have benefited from the wide circulation of their progress reports gained from publication in Ariadne. At the moment there is no comparable publication for the EU Telematics programme. Exploit-Mag will fill this gap for library telematics projects in both western and eastern Europe.

The migration of the UKOLN web service from its old structure to its new, more logical mapping, should be completed by the Spring.

The web version of Ariadne can be found at:

UK Web Focus: Running an Institutional Web Service

Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus

"A much needed workshop. Very useful to hear from speakers and finding out about other sites from discussion groups. Same again next year please!" "The workshop was very informative and organised in an excellent way." – just two of the comments on the workshop on Running An Institutional Web Service held at King's College London on 16/17th July.

This workshop, which marked the official launch of the UK Web Focus post, was aimed at institutional web teams. Over 90 people attended the workshop. On a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) the overall rating for the workshop content was 3.6, with 8 people giving a rating of 5 (Excellent), 23 people giving 4, 30 people giving 3, 2 people giving 2. Nobody rated the workshop content poor.

Presentations given on the afternoon of the first day covered a range of topics including:

The morning of day 2 provided the participants with the opportunity to take part in discussion groups which addressed some of the themes raised on the first day in more detail.

The workshop concluded by making recommendations for future work. This included suggestions that the workshop was repeated, and that a number of shorter, more focussed workshops were organised.

The workshop materials and a summary of the workshop conclusions are available on the Web at :


Following a successful submission to BLRIC (British Library Research and Innovation Centre) the WebWatch project began in August 1997 with the appointment of Ian Peacock as the WebWatch software developer. The main aims of WebWatch are the development and use of automated robot software for analysing the use of web technologies in various UK communities. The WebWatch robot software was launched on 15th October with a trawl of UK public library websites - the launch date was chosen to coincide with the publication of the report New Library: The People's Network. Since then surveys of UK Universities and Colleges institutional home pages and eLib project pages have been carried out.

The analyses have included:

An important aspect of WebWatch is the dissemination of the results of the analyses widely. To date articles on WebWatch trawls have been published in the LA Record (November 1997) and the web version of Ariadne (issue 12).

WebWatch also aims to work closely with the various communities who can benefit from our work. We are developing links with the JUGL group (who have an interest in the use of the web within academic libraries), the JISC community, the eLib programme, the public library community and managers of institutional web services. We hope that successful two-way communications will help us to identify useful developments for the WebWatch robot as well as ensuring that communities are in a position to act upon the data collected and any recommendations which emerge.

Further information on WebWatch is available on the web at:


Staff news

Since the last Newsletter UKOLN has undergone a number of personnel changes. John Kirriemuir, the initial web editor of Ariadne, is now based at the ILRT in Bristol. Philip Hunter was recruited as Information Officer and has taken on joint editorship of the web version of Ariadne with the UKOLN webmaster Isobel Stark. Philip has also taken over the maintenance of the eLib pages at the UKOLN site. Glen Monks has returned to his studies, but is supplying consultancy services, and is often to be seen in the ISG office, rattling away at the Sun keyboard. Eddie Young and Ian Peacock joined us in August. Eddie is the Network Systems Officer and Ian works on the WebWatch project. His work is described in Brian's article elsewhere in this newsletter. Sally Criddle has taken up the new post of Resource Co-ordinator. Sally previously worked at the public library in Bath and is also involved in some of UKOLN's public library networking initiatives. Birgit Kongialis now assists with conference and events organisation.


Lorcan Dempsey
Resources and Administration
Ruth Burt,Office Administrator
Sally Criddle, Resource Co-ordinator
Ali Cook, Financial Administrator
Rachel Heery, Co-ordinator
Michael Day, Research Officer
Bibliographic Management
Ann Chapman, Research Officer
Penny Rogers, Research Assistant
Distributed Library Systems
Rosemary Russell, Research Officer
Public Library Networking
Sarah Ormes, Research Officer
Information Services
Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus
Philip Hunter, Information Officer
Ian Peacock, WebWatch
Isobel Stark, WWW Officer
Hazel Gott, Events Manager
Birgit Kongalis, Administrative Assistant
Systems and Technical Development
Andy Powell, Co-ordinator
Eddie Young, Network Systems Officer

Current UKOLN publications

UKOLN staff have contributed to a number of recent publication that are available for sale. Details of how these may be purchased follow:

Discovering Online Resources Across the Humanities: A practical Implementation of the Dublin Core, edited by Paul Miller and Dan Greenstein, includes contributions from UKOLN staff. It can be ordered from the AHDS. Their web site is available at:

The Internet, Networking and the Public Library, edited by Sarah Ormes and Lorcan Dempsey, is the first general treatment of networking in public libraries in the UK and has been very well received by reviewers. It contains significant contributions from Sarah as well as a range of other contributors. It is published by the Library Association in association with UKOLN. 176pp, hardback; 1-85604-202-2; £29.95.

Metadata, Rachel Heery, Andy Powell and Michael Day,. Library and Information Briefings, Issue. 75. London: South Bank University, Library Information Technology Centre, September 1997. 19 pp. ISSN 0954-1829.

The proceedings of the last UKOLN conference, Networking and the Future of Libraries 2: managing the intellectual record, edited by Lorcan Dempsy, Derek Law and Ian Mowat, is published by the Library Association and is now available in paperback; 1-85604-241-3; £24.95.

UKOLN Contact Details

The Library,
University of Bath
tel.: +44 (0)1225 826580
fax: +44 (0)1225 826838

If you have any comments on the newsletter, please contact, Sally Criddle, Newsletter Editor, at the above address or by email on