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Project web site

Programme area
Hybrid Libraries

Contact details

Bridget Robinson,
Agora Communications Coordinator
UKOLN (UK Office for Library & Information Networking).
University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY
TEL: + 44 (0) 1225 323343 FAX: + 44 (0) 1225 826838

Greg Newton-Ingham, Agora Project Manager,
The Library, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ
Tel: 01603 592691 Fax: 01603 259490

Project description

as of April 16th 1998


The project aims to provide an open, standards based platform for distributed, mixed-media information management as well as a framework for end-user-oriented services and an infrastructure which can be scaled up to provide the backbone for national access to distributed collections (the Distributed National Electronic Resource) Building on the work if the existing EDDIS and MODELS projects (eLib phase 1), the project will be led from the University of East Anglia with partners in the UK Office for Library and Information Networking, CERLIM (University of Central Lancashire) and Fretwell-Downing Informatics Limited.

Recognising that the hybrid library extends beyond the physical limitations of the library as "place" the AGORA project is working with the concept of an "information landscape" to refer to the view of resources (of many types) the hybrid library will present. The outcome of the project work will be a layer of software or "middleware" which hides the underlying differences between resources allowing for seamless access to them as well as the transparent addition of services and resources into the landscape. The Hybrid Library Management System will act as a broker to dynamically map user requests onto the underlying system requests. Integration of components will be done through a Z39.50 service and will include the library catalogue, CDROM's, "clump" entry points, subject gateways, Electronic Document Integration etc.

This project is not about "interface" but about enabling the library to present a uniform service easily within its own technical environment. Focus areas for the project will be

  • discovery of resources
  • interaction with services
  • control of access
  • selection and acquisition of resources
  • organisation or resources for access

The development process will involve users from the beginning. A comprehensive evaluation at all sites will be undertaken by CERLIM.

Strategies for communication and dissemination will be developed and implemented.

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The Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
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