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UKOLN is a centre of expertise in digital information management, providing advice and services to the library, information, education and cultural heritage communities by:

UKOLN is based at the University of Bath directed by Dr Liz Lyon and currently has a staff of twenty-nine. UKOLN is funded by the Council for Museums, Libraries & Archives (MLA); the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the funding bodies for higher and further education in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland; as well as by project funding from the JISC, EPSRC and the European Community. UKOLN also receives support from the University of Bath where it is based. More details on UKOLN activities can be found on its website: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/activities/.

UKOLN aims to inform practice and influence policy in the areas of: digital libraries, metadata and resource discovery, distributed library and information systems, bibliographic management, and web technologies. It provides network information services, including the Ariadne magazine, and runs workshops and conferences.

Achievement Highlights

A selection of our significant achievements over the last year include:

Interoperability Focus
This activity explores, publicises and mobilises the benefits and practice of effective interoperability across diverse information sectors, including libraries and the cultural heritage and archival communities. A key aspect of this work is the identification and exploitation of synergies with existing UKOLN and external projects, with a view to maximising returns on the ongoing work of projects.

UK Web Focus
The UK Web Focus advises UK higher and further education, museums, libraries and archives about emerging Web technologies and acts as the JISC representative to the World Wide Web Consortium. A range of support activities and materials are produced. UKOLN's own information services are being used as a test bed for innovative developments and good practice.

Bibliographic Management
This activity is concerned with the standards used to create bibliographic records; the formats in which bibliographic data are stored, exchanged and retrieved and the quality of bibliographic records in terms of currency, accuracy, consistency and functionality. Current activities include participating in a project to develop and maintain the National Union Catalogue of Alternative Formats (NUCAF), which was set up to assist visually impaired people and developing a simple tool that libraries can use themselves to assess the quality of their catalogues.

Research and development
UKOLN carries out applied and technical research in key areas of interest to UKOLN's stakeholder communities. Research at UKOLN informs the work of the Policy and Advice Team, and enables UKOLN's technical staff to engage with new technologies and emerging standards. Our chief funders in this area of activity are the JISC, EPSRC and the European Community.

A number of themes underlie UKOLN's project work; namely research into the development and use of emerging metadata standards, open access to data and journal article eprint repositories, digital preservation and the management of metadata schemas. By pursuing these themes, central to the development of digital libraries, we have been able to support UKOLN's core work while building up key competencies and skills to progress future work. Our research and development work has an international reputation and we are active contributors to the ongoing development of the Dublin Core.

Projects are typically undertaken in collaboration with other partners from the HE community. Current projects include:

Software Development and Systems
The Software & Systems Team supports UKOLN activities by building innovative systems and services based on emerging technologies as well as ensuring high quality technical support to all members of UKOLN staff. Innovative systems and services inform the policy and advice that UKOLN gives to the community and grounds our more theoretical research and development activities in practical implementations.

UKOLN provides advisory services to the JISC concerning the development of the e-Framework and the JISC Information Environment, the latter focusing on the relationships between the technologies specified in the technical architecture and emerging Web services, mechanisms to support the deposit of material into the information environment, and the integration of the information environment with managed learning environments.

Organisational structure
UKOLN staff are organised into four teams: policy and advice, research and development, software and systems, and resources and administration (including, events management), although there is considerable cross group working. A small number of staff currently work remotely and UKOLN supports flexible and home working where appropriate.

Staff development
UKOLN's most valued resource is its staff. We are committed to investing in the skills and resources of our staff. Training and development of staff, both to maximise the benefits to the organisation and to enable individuals to reach their full potential is facilitated in the following ways:

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Page last revised on: 29-Jun-2006
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