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MODELS: MOving to Distributed Environments for Library Services

Project web site

Programme area
Supporting Studies

Contact details
Ms Rosemary Russell, Project Manager,
UKOLN (UK Office for Library & Information Networking) University of Bath Bath BA2 7AY
Phone: 01225 826547 Fax: 01225 826838

Project description

as of 4th January 1996


An applications framework that enables the effective management of distributed collections of autonomous, heterogeneous information resources and services now needs to be constructed. Services for discovery (catalogues and bibliographic services), ordering, publishing and archiving of electronic and print materials are being developed and integrated. The MODELS project will provide a forum within which the UK library and information communities can explore some of the issues that now need to be addressed in the construction of such a framework.


The project has the following objectives:
  • To develop blueprints for distributed library and information services
  • To raise awareness in the library and information communities
  • To provide a focus for sharing of experience and knowledge
  • To inform policy makers and funding bodies.
The development of distributed library and information systems will be complex and many layered. We have identified five (intertwined) lines of strategic service development to be pursued by the project:
  • distributed document discovery and supply
  • resource discovery and metadata
  • libraries and the Web
  • managing access to a distributed library resource
  • integration of electronic and print resources.
Treated singly, the development of robust sustainable services in each area presents major technical and organisational challenges. Each will be considered and supported by a programme of work which includes:
  • a background review of UK and European developments
  • a workshop of invited stake-holders and experts which identifies technical and service trends and challenges
  • a statement of issues with areas for action
  • supporting information dissemination activities.
At the end of the project these lines will be brought together and some scenarios of integrated service provision presented. The aim is to facilitate the development of a shared view of preferred future developments, not to identify neat answers.

The eLib programme is providing funding for four of the workshops as well as for systems engineering consultancy to complement UKOLNŐs library service expertise, Robin Murray of Fretwell-Downing Informatics has been appointed as consultant.

Support will be sought from the British Library Research & Development Department (BLR&DD) for the fifth workshop. The rest of the project will be funded by UKOLN, which is supported in turn by grants from JISC and BLR&DD.


The majority of the work will be carried out by UKOLN staff, who will do background research, facilitate the meetings and draw the conclusions together. The resource discovery and metadata line will be developed in association with ROADS. However to be successful, it is important that the project lever the effort and interest of a variety of different groups; UKOLN is working closely with eLib, the British Library, Project EARL and others.

Strategic direction comes from a Steering Committee comprising Richard Heseltine (University of Hull), Chris Rusbridge (eLib Programme Director), Neil Smith (British Library), Peter Smith (LASER) and UKOLN staff. A European member will also be involved.

Within each project line a small group of key individuals is also being invited to advise on direction and plan the workshop. Such individuals are drawn from the library and information community, industry and research sector as appropriate.

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