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64th IFLA General Conference August 16 - August 21, 1998
Code Number: 001-98-E Division Number: V. Professional Group: ACQUISITION AND COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT Joint Meeting with: - Meeting Number: 98 Simultaneous Interpretation: Yes
Digital library projects in the Netherlands : new options for cooperative collection development
Coordinator Collection development, Koninklijke Bibliotheek,
National Library of the Netherlands
P.O.Box 90407, 2509 LK
The Hague, The Netherlands
The Internet has completely changed the world of information over the last five years. This has led to many innovative digital library projects in research libraries in the Netherlands. The expanding network infrastructure of SURFnet, a national policy framework, and adequate funding are preconditions for the progress that is made between 1995 and 1998. The paper gives a short overview of the most recent national and local digital library projects. The relationship with vendors and publishers play a role in projects concerning licensing and copyright. Consortia are essential to take a joint stance in negotiations with publishers. If successful, electronic journals offer better options for coordinated collection development than the traditional approach.
Collaborative strategies for constructing digital libraries
Constructing a digital national library requires a national policy framework as much as national computing and networking architecture. In 1987 the SURF Foundation was established to coordinate the promotion and use of information technology (IT) in universities, schools for higher vocational education and research institutes in the Netherlands1. In the course of its activities SURF has become a nation-wide supplier of services, primarily through SURFnet and SURFdiensten. SURFnet manages the national computer network of the same name, while SURFdiensten deals with licensing agreements in the fields of software, hardware and information services. The national policy framework is provided by significant reports from 1991 onwards, compiled by the Scientific Technical Council (WTR), the main advisory board of SURF Foundation, on IT-trends in research and higher education. The reports include recommendations for investing in the knowledge infrastructure and for cooperation between academic computer centers and university libraries. To stimulate innovative developments in the information field, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB) and the University of Amsterdam took the initiative in 1993 to set up a steering committee for Innovation in Scientific Information Provision (IWI), which became a committee of the SURF Foundation2. The committee is elected from board members of the universities, the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the KB. IWI is jointly funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and by the participating institutions. It has an annual budget of four million Dutch guilders. The first IWI-study in 1995 explored the future (till the year 2000) for joint national efforts to develop a virtual Dutch scientific library, and locally to develop digital libraries. IWI's strategic plan for 1996-1998, titled `Action with policy' was an important impetus to promote the innovation of scientific information supply and has led to many national and local digital library projects. In addition to projects supported by IWI, some Dutch academic libraries also participate in digital library projects funded by the European Union and the European Commission's Telematics for Libraries3.
The Library Research Department of the KB carried out the deposit project, in which many technical, organisational, legal, and economical issues were considered, such as: selection criteria and guidelines; negotiations with publishers; acquisition methods for off- line and on-line publications; bibliographic description; identification, version control and authentication; storage and long term preservation; and copyright legislation requirements for the deposit collection. A small-scale model of the digital deposit has been tested to define the workflow and to investigate practical problems.
2.2 CERBERUS (04/1998 - 12/1998)
CERBERUS is a follow-up of the DNEP-IWI project and aims to focus on authentication and document integrity issues. The KB co-operates with the Technical University of Eindhoven. The University of Amsterdam and the Technical University of Delft participate as content providers. Diverse aspects and levels of authentication will be studied: authentication of a document after transmission over a network, after migration to another carrier, after conversion to another operating system, and after emulation of the original software. Criteria for information loss will be defined and expressed in terms of loss of content, layout, functionality etc. and measurement methods will be identified.
2.3 The WebDOC-project (02/1995 - 11/1997)
WebDOC was a project of Pica, in collaboration with a number of Dutch, German and American research libraries and some commercial publishers4. The project was set up to offer the user guaranteed access to full text electronic documents. Central to the WebDOC service is a central catalogue, the WebCAT, hosted at the central cataloguing system of Pica. The participating libraries and publishers build and maintain their own document servers referred to in WebCAT. In general, publishers offer licensing agreements for their journals to cover the access from all users of a certain university. When no license is in effect, access will be paid by the user on a per-transaction basis. Part of the WebDOC-collection is available free of charge, such as research reports of the participating universities.
2.4 DutchESS (06/1996 - 06/1998)
In 1993 the KB started a subject information service. With IWI funds, this initiative developed in 1996 into a joint effort of a growing number of Dutch research libraries. DutchESS (Dutch Electronic Subject Service) extends to all areas of scientific research5. Internet resources are selected by subject specialists on quality and relevance for the academic community - students and academic researchers -, and classified according to the Dutch Basic Classification. A local editorial board checks if the resources are in accordance with the scope policy and quality criteria. DutchESS also serves as a test-bed for international developments taking place in the project DESIRE (Development of a European Service for Information on Research and Education)6, a project funded by the EC Telematics Applications Programme.
2.5 Scientific Information & National Licenses (WILL) project (05/1997 - 05/1998)
WILL, a Pica and SURFdiensten project, was set up to realise national licenses for digital scientific information, and integration of the information in the existing infrastructure for online resources. A precondition for success of the project was consortium building. SURFdiensten was mandated as license organization. Negotiations were carried on with ISI (unsuccessful) and Chadwyck-Healey. The expectation is that consortial approaches to licensing in the near future will result in savings in access costs to expensive electronic products.
2.6 DELTA (05/1998-05/2001)
The growing importance of a transparent end-user environment led to the recent initiative of a group of Dutch university libraries, the KB and Pica to form the consortium DELTA (Dutch Electronic Library Technology Association) to develop a new generation of integrated services for end-users. The primary goal of DELTA is the implementation of the Virtual Research Library via an integrated package of end-user services for the use of resources, selected and offered by research libraries, using state-of-the-art Web technology, combined with existing library infrastructures.
2.7 Guiding principles for licensing of electronic information
In October 1997 the Dutch and German university libraries published a `position paper' with guidelines for negotiating electronic licenses with publishers, which attracted much attention internationally 7. Similar principles can be found in the Statement of Current Perspectives for the Selection and Practices of Electronic Information of the ICOLC (International Coalition of Library Consortia), founded on 17 March 19988. The ultimate goal of this kind of international cooperation is to find a `win-win' situation for universities as well as for publishers.
Local digital library projects
3.1 Digitization projects
Research libraries have started projects for digitizing collections. The KB has issued a policy plan for digitizing all fragile and costly documents and several projects are being carried out. It concerns cartographic material, medieval illuminated manuscripts, and watermarks. Other research libraries are also digitizing special collections, such as medieval manuscripts and the 17th century Hebrew books of the publisher Menasseh Ben Israel at the University of Amsterdam; Italian music manuscripts and the Dutch Organ Archive at the University of Utrecht. These projects are usually co-funded by the institutes and the NWO. Attempts are made to add value with multimedia features.
3.2 Electronic publishing projects and preprint services (03/1997 - 08/1998)
The Tilburg University Library of the Catholic University Brabant (KUB) established a new refereed journal of comparative law. The International Institute of Asian Studies of the University of Leiden researched the possibilities and surplus value of an electronic multimedia journal for the performing arts in Asia. Other publishing projects concern full-text research papers. Most research libraries maintain document servers where contributions from university staff and students are stored and made available through the Web. Bibliographic descriptions are made by the libraries and indexed on the local server as well as in WebCAT. The Inter-university Ophthalmological Institute/KNAW is developing a preprint archive with moderated publications in the sector of molecular and medical genetics. The project is working together with project Beta Preprints of the University of Amsterdam.
This project of the University of Utrecht aims to transfer knowledge and experience concerning methods and techniques of digitizing, storage, presentation, maintenance and indexing of documents. Intensive cooperation is established with the University of Groningen, where an expertise center is being established for students and employees of universities to publish in electronic form on the Internet.
Thanks to cooperation between the libraries - and between libraries and computer centers - a national Virtual Research Library is gradually becoming a reality. For the end-user this means he can access a lot of information from his workplace, although we cannot yet speak of one-stop shopping for all kinds of information, that can be accessed in a reliable and cost effective way, and with a maximum of transparency. For the libraries the virtual library concept opens new perspectives on cooperative collection building, especially for electronic journals. A consortial approach to licensing for digital access is essential, and can result in considerable savings in access costs to expensive electronic products. The digital era seems to offer possibilities to break the `serials crisis'. In contradistinction to traditional cooperative collection development shared approaches to licensing tend to focus on high-use high-demand databases which the members of the consortium wish to make available. Besides, the libraries are also cooperating in the selection and acquisition of all kinds of relevant content, including retrospective digitization of paper collections, in the development of production facilities for authors, and in the development of advanced search facilities and training modules. Yet there is much work to be done to develop and incorporate intelligence into the systems.