Western Regional Sales Manager
Institute of Physics Publishing
Gordon W. Smith, Ph.D.
Director, Library Initiatives
CSU Office of the Chancellor
Director of Library Programs
Western Regional Sales Manager
California Digital Library
IS IT POSSIBLE to hold an Internet Showcase without Internet access? Representatives of five organizations and the audience at this year's annual CARL conference were the involuntary subjects assembled to prove or disprove this unusual hypothesis. Fortunately, all presenters--seasoned professionals--came with backup presentations on disk, and although handicapped by the lack of a "live" connection, a considerable amount of information was communicated nonetheless.
Institute of Physics www.iop.org: Axiom
David Densmore, Regional Manager for Institute of Physics Publishing, based in Vancouver (Densmore@ioppubusa.com), described IOP's Axiom. The Axiom service, currently hosted by a regional server in Bristol, England, was developed especially for the two principal databases, INSPEC (1969- ) and Compendex (1970- ). The Page One Table of Contents service (1984- ) is also available. David demonstrated the Axiom interface, which includes three levels of searching (quick, advanced, and expert); advanced features include the ability to use a variety of database tools such as the controlled vocabulary, the classification codes, and the ability to browse these fields. The system also has a "find more like this" feature.
The primary benefit of Axiom is its electronic "supermarket" for engineering and physical sciences. A key feature is its ability to link from the three bibliographic databases to the full text journals published by IOP, American Physical Society, and others. Axiom also includes the ability to link from the full text journals back to INSPEC, even if the library is not licensing the database, although this is a one-way link only.
CSU's Pharos System
Marvin Pollard, U.I.A.S. Project Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Gordon Smith (email@example.com) from the CSU Chancellor's Office described the history of the Pharos System and brought the audience up-to-date on its implementation status. Pharos had its origins in a 1995 Request for Information sent to the major library system vendors, followed by an RFP in 1996 and a contract with Ameritech in July 1997. The goal of Pharos was to provide a unified access point to all of the digital resources available to a user of the CSU system, including a union catalog with links to the holdings of the 22 campuses via Z39.50 gateway servers, as well as a variety of bibliographic and full text databases, and other resources available on the WWW.
Marvin and Gordon described the on-going development of the user interface ("a task that never ends") that must be flexible enough to handle a variety of databases with a variety of data types, as well as provide campus-defined links to individual resources. The interface will eventually be extended to resources held by public libraries as part of the Library of California project.
While the accomplishments of Pharos are substantial, including the introduction of the Union Catalog in December 1998 with 3.5 million unique titles, a considerable amount of development work remains. These ongoing projects include enhancements to the user interface to incorporate Boolean searching, developing a finer-granulated authentication capability (e.g. to allow campus libraries to develop their own matrix of patron types and types of blocks), patron-initiated interlibrary loan (including the ability for the end users to check the status of their requests), and a collection development tool-kit based on ILL traffic, statistics from book jobbers, etc., which will be one component of a projected comprehensive reporting system.
Brad Norris, director of Library Programs (bnorris@netLibrary.com), gave an overview of the innovate netLibrary's company and product line. Founded as recently as August 1998, the Boulder, Colorado-based company now employs 220 people and is now bringing online 15 new titles per week. NetLibrary is focusing on reference books, business and technical books, and the scholarly press. They see their mission as revolutionizing the way people access books and information by providing the world's most comprehensive digital library. NetLibrary currently offers 6,650 unique titles (4,400 copyrighted works, 2,200 public domain); by end of the year they expect to be able to offer 8,000-10,000 titles.
Brad described netLibrary's pricing model, which currently follows the simultaneous user model in which a library licenses a title which is then available for 'circulation' to one simultaneous user. Additional copies may also be licensed.
Although a new product, netLibrary has made impressive gains, having signed agreements with several large networks such as BCR and AMIGOS, as well as large academic library consortia, such as the University of Texas System, OHIOLINK, Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries (CARL), USC, and others.
California Digital Library www.cdlib.org
Brian Warling (Brian.Warling@ucop.edu), Web Design Coordinator, represented CDL and gave us a fascinating behind-the-scenes perspective of CDL, focusing on the development of its Directory of Collections and Services. The directory's goal is to be powerful and easy to use, to provide for shared creation and maintenance among the nine campuses and the CDL, achieve the goal of "one university, one library," and provide for campus customization--all done in a way that is scalable.
Brian described the features and functionality involved in the development of the directory: the content, the hierarchical subject vocabulary employed, the databases, the campus viewpoints, and the issues involved with linking into the directory. Recent enhancements to the directory include reducing the number of mouseclicks needed to get to a resource, improved searching capabilities, linking to full text in CDL-hosted databases, and the introduction of directed help capabilities.
Future enhancements/challenges include the development of a directory management interface, vocabulary refinements, handling access via proxy servers, and--ultimately--transition to a new system, as the ability to perform this directory function reaches the limits of the existing technology, especially given the demands for distributed management of the directory function to the individual campus level.
Ovid Technologies, Inc. www.ovid.com: OpenLinks
Sean O'Doherty, Regional Sales Manager for Ovid in the Western U.S. (firstname.lastname@example.org), described Ovid's upcoming OpenLinks toolkit product.
In order to provide Ovid users with one-stop access to both bibliographic and full text resources, Ovid has added OpenLinks functionality to its Web Gateway product. Ovid's goal is to provide a toolkit that will allow Ovid local and Online site system administrators to define links from popular Ovid bibliographic databases to external, non-Ovid full text resources using standard metadata available in the bibliographic citations. These links will not be pre-calculated or generated via a production process. Instead OpenLinks will extract the necessary information from the bibliographic citation and reformat that data as necessary into a URL search that can be understood by an external, full text server. When the URL link is clicked, the Ovid system will open a second window and display the results of the search.
The OpenLinks toolkit will be based upon Ovid's WebLinks technology, but will include considerable added functionality to support multiple target full text servers, and many more options for administration and customization. The initial release of the product--due first quarter 2000--will include predefined setups for many of the popular, full text targets and will include OpenLinks definitions from all relevant Ovid bibliographic databases. Ovid Online customers will be able to request OpenLinks setups and record and update their subscriptions via web-based request forms.