The Electronic Publishing Trust for Development: Putting Developing Country Journals Online
by Prof. Barbara Kirsop, Secretary EPT, Director Bioline Publications and Vanderlei Canhos, Trustee EPT, Director Base de Dados Tropical, Brazil
This article is adapted from the authors’ presentation at the International Council of Scientific Unions/British Council Workshop, “Scientific Communication and Publishing in the Information Age,” Oxford, May 1999.
The Electronic Publishing Trust for Development (EPT) was established in 1997 to support the electronic publication of academic journals from developing countries. It is a UK-registered charitable trust and was formed at the initiative of Bioline Publications which, since 1993, has published bioscience journals online. Bioline itself is a partnership between the Base de Dados Tropical, Brazil, and the UK, operating on a not-for-profit basis and run by scientists.
The EPT was established because much research generated in developing countries is “missing” to the international scientific community.1 There are two reasons for this. First, it is difficult for scientists in developing countries to get their research published in established journals in developed countries. Second, locally published journals have low international circulation levels. This lack of visibility hurts research scientists since they become academically isolated and deprived of mechanisms for the exchange of ideas and professional information with colleagues abroad. Electronic publishing has great potential to increase the visibility of research information, and with it the science base of poorer countries.
With the help of grant funds from the Southern African Book Development Education Trust (SABDET) and donations from the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), and with the voluntary support of Bioline Publications, the EPT has facilitated the electronic publication of the full text and graphics of some 15 peer-reviewed bioscience and medical journals published in Brazil, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Interest in these journals has grown steadily as a worthwhile body of material has become available online. Most online accessions have been made initially to the free abstracts of the journals, but documents and subscriptions to the full text and graphics of journals have begun to sell. Building a significant subscription base may take time, as subscriptions to online journals have proved universally slow, but the main objective is to increase visibility of published research from developing countries.
The aim of the EPT initiative is to transfer electronic publishing technology to local publishers so that they become independent in the future. For some recent partners, Bioline scans hard copy material; in most cases, however, material is supplied on disk or through e-mail. Increasingly, local publishers have become Web-literate and can provide the whole of their publications in HTML format with digital graphics. All that is required for this work is good word processing software, Web browsers, and “know-how,” which can be obtained through training or, to some extent, free on the Internet. Bioline has trained some publishers collaborating with the EPT; so far, most training has been done through one-to-one exchanges of e-mail. Other publishers have independently learned the necessary Web-formatting skills. The training has been an evolutionary process and the experiences of some of the partners in developing countries can be read from the EPT Web site.
All the publishers currently working with the EPT are scientific societies operating on a not-for-profit basis and publishing bioscience or medical journals. In the future, there will be a need to develop Web sites for other disciplines, or to consider national or regional sites that may help strengthen the science base. Many non-profit sites attract very high usage (Bioline, for example, is accessed by some 60,000 unique Internet sites each year) and it is important that publishers in developing countries acquire the skills that allow them to develop similar sites independently or in partnerships, as opportunities arise.
The economics of electronic publishing is in transition. Developing country publishers will have to consider the existing local needs when planning. The costs of converting to the electronic medium are not great and many publishers have made the transition with their own resources or with small start-up grants. Scientific society publishers should not be alarmed by the high conversion costs quoted by some commercial publishers who have high overhead and a stable of print publications to support. However, there will be the ongoing costs of maintaining a distribution site, back up, subscription management, user support, and the formatting required to integrate material into the selected distribution system. To meet these expenses in the near future, grants should be sought. In the longer term, subscription income might help meet these costs. It is difficult to plan far ahead as the future may hold completely new publishing paradigms and the user communities’ working habits change.
Developing country publishers should note the trend toward free archiving of preprints and reprints as already adopted by the physics and cognitive sciences and under discussion in the biomedical area. During this transition period when several models are being explored, developing country publishers need to acquire the necessary technology and begin to establish partnerships with like-minded organizations so that they are in a good position to move in new directions as the publishing environment clarifies.
Scientists in developing countries should also consider the added value that can be conferred to publications on the Internet. Hyperlinks to public domain databases such as EMBL and SWISSPROT, to bibliographic references, and to individual research scientists, for example, convert the document into an interactive information resource or gateway. The use of the Internet as an alternative distribution mechanism only, without adding scientific value, contributes little, when the possibility now exists to revolutionize scientific publishing, improve content, and provide equitable access. Developing country publishers will have an important function in this process.
The transition to electronic publishing can be speeded by the provision of more awareness of the benefits to pubishers and to science in general, by the identification of other journals interested in electronic publishing, by training, and by the development of partnerships with like-minded scientific organizations, and by the consideration of ways in which journals can best be organized on the Internet. Whereas some do not feel the provision of electronic technology to developing countries is appropriate at this time, the EPT believes that this condemns such publishers and scientists to the World Wide Wait.2
More information about Bioline Publications is available at http://www.bioline.org.br/. The Web site of the Southern African Book Development Education Trust (SABDET) is located at http://homepages.poptel.org.uk/ sabdet/.
1 Letter from EPT, Closing the South to North Knowledge Gap. Nature, Jan. 21, 1999, 201.
2 Internet may Help Bridge the Gap. Nature, Jan. 7, 1999, 10-11.
The Artifact in the Library of the Future
What is the role of the artifact in library collections? Under what circumstances do scholars require original materials for research, and what preservation options are advisable to ensure the integrity of the item? Conversely, when are surrogates-either digital or microfilm-warranted? The answers to these questions have important implications for both the managers and users of information as digital technology vastly expands access to the intellectual content of research materials.
The Council on Library and Information Resources has formed an international task force to consider the role of the artifact in library collections. Stephen G. Nichols, James H. Beall Professor of French and Humanities, chair of the Romance Languages Department at Johns Hopkins University, and former interim director of the Eisenhower Library, chairs the group of 17 distinguished scholars, administrators, librarians, and archivists. The task force will formulate the requirements for preserving the artifact in research collections in the context of digital technology and emerging research trends, and propose strategies to library managers and university administrators that address realistically the risks to artifactual collections.
In the past, libraries have had to collect materials comprehensively if they were to be research institutions. Now, thanks to digitization, they are expanding their traditional role as physical repositories of intellectual resources to include providing access to electronic surrogates and research materials kept elsewhere. But it is critical that the development of digital collections and the infrastructures that support them not occur at the risk of neglect to traditional collections of print and audiovisual collections. University and library administrators are making difficult choices about how to invest in information resources. The work of the task force is to ensure that scholars are aware of the forces that are shaping decisions about the future of research collections and that they have a strong voice in the choices that are made.
Digitizing texts and images is in many ways desirable-far more desirable than microfilming-because it vastly increases access. Digital technology, while not freeing us entirely from media (think of magnetic tape, CDs, and the “print-out” medium of paper), is, in its essence, disembodied and therefore allows use that defies the constraints of time and place. But the digital surrogate is quite different from the original. Microfilm, difficult as it often is to use, is at least a miniature picture of the original. A digital surrogate is a reconstructed version of the original, and the implications of that for scholarship are serious. Not surprisingly, this amazing new technology has thrown into high relief the distinctive and irreplaceable characteristics of artifacts.
Working in three subgroups, the task force members are investigating the significance of the artifact in all media and formats-print, audiovisual, and even digital. They will complete their work in 18 months and produce a final report that will be widely disseminated among administrators, scholars, and librarians within the research community. The report will articulate a vision of good stewardship for the twenty-first century, one in which all members of the research community, from librarian to scholar and administrator, have a vital part to play.
In addition to general funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation that will be used for this purpose, CLIR has received a grant from the Delmas Foundation specifically in support of this activity.
|News from the ECPA|
East India Company
The Dutch East India Company (VOC) continues to attract interest from researchers the world over, not only as a fascinating piece of Dutch heritage but also as part of the history of a number of non-European countries where the VOC had settlements. Two related projects are now under way relating to the extensive archives of the VOC. One is the Atlas Mutual Heritage (AMH), which aims to compile an inventory of data on the common cultural heritage linking the Netherlands and various non-European countries. As a first stage of this project, a database has been created offering information on all VOC settlements and presenting digitized illustrations-paintings, drawings, maps, prints, and photographs-of these settlements taken from the collections of three institutions in the Netherlands (Rijksmuseum, National Archives, National Agency for Monuments). The plan is to add material from other collections inside and outside the Netherlands over time, and the project coordinator, Alexander Art & Culture, invites institutions to participate. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AMH works in cooperation with TANAP (Towards A New Age of Partnership), a long-term project under the auspices of UNESCO initiated by the Dutch National Archives and Leiden University. TANAP will include cultural and scholarly research projects with Asian countries and South Africa; projects for training; preservation and access of shared cultural heritage (archives, but also, for instance, monuments); and seminars and workshops. Although the VOC archives constitute an important focal point, the project encompasses more. Fact-finding missions have established that in the four countries participating in the first stage of the project (Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and South Africa) there are approximately 4 km of VOC archives. Cooperative projects are being developed for documentation, preservation, and digitization of this incredibly rich source of historical information.
Photographs Reign Supreme
The interest in photography has been growing steadily over the last decade. More pictures are being taken every year, and interest in historical photographs is soaring as they command record prices at auctions.
This growing appreciation of photographs has increased interest in the particular problems surrounding the preservation and digitization of historical photographic collections. The European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA) is involved in several projects in this field and is working on an extension of its Web site with a section on the preservation and digitization of photographs. The new section on photography, to be launched at the end of 1999, will be available at http://www.knaw.nl/ecpa/photo.
Digitization in Europe
At a recent conference on Digitization of European Cultural Heritage (Utrecht, October 20-23), which attracted 160 participants, several important European projects were presented by speakers from university libraries, archives, and research institutes. Some presentations concerned large-scale digitization efforts, such as that of the Archivo General de Indias. Other presentations focused on projects to develop new tools for research, such as applications for creating digital text editions. Obviously, a heading like “digitization” has become too general to reflect the variety of approaches geared to different audiences.
The Internet is attracting new and unexpected user groups to digital collections. Interestingly, several speakers explained that the rapid development of the Internet had caught up with their projects initially developed six or eight years ago, requiring a reorientation of the original plan. The large digital collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF), for instance, was originally intended for onsite use through the BNF’s own computer network, whereas distant use is now becoming much more important.
One of the main challenges for the future will be to integrate digitization projects into the main structure of institutions. Many projects have been pilot projects or projects focusing on attractive materials from special collections. A fragmented structure will hinder efficient management over time and an adequate response to preservation issues, and institutions will have to move from projects to programs to address this. The conference recommendations stress the need to invest in such programs and to upscale digitization efforts through new cooperative structures.
For more information, see the conference Web site at http://candl.let.uu.nl /events/dech/dech-main.htm.
|Forthcoming from CLIR:|
|The Making of America II Testbed Project: A Digital Library Services Model, by Bernard J. Hurley, John Price-Wilkin, Merrilee Proffitt, and Howard Besser.
A Migration-based Solution to Preserving Digital Information, by David Bearman.
Guides to Quality in Visual Resource Imaging, by Linda Colet, Donald Williams, Donald DÕAmato, and Franziska Frey. Produced in collaboration with the Research Libraries Group. Forthcoming (Web only) in early 2000.
Collections, Content, and the Web, a conference report.
Building Preservation Knowledge in Brazil
The Council on Library and Information Resources has published Building Preservation Knowledge in Brazil, by Ingrid Beck, director of preservation at the National Archives of Brazil. The report describes a highly successful project to mobilize preservation awareness and action throughout Brazil.
The project, which has trained more than 3,600 staff members from libraries, archives, and museums throughout the country, began in 1996 and will end phase II of its activity next year. The report shows how a core group of committed individuals organized a “grass roots” effort in preservation so broad and effective that it reached parts of Amazonia accessible only by boat. In 1998, the Brazilian government recognized the project by awarding it the prestigious Rodrigo Melo Franco de Andrade, the country’s highest award for achievement in cultural heritage.
In his foreword to the report, Director of International Developments Hans Rütimann notes that the project had a modest beginning. It started as a request to the Commission on Preservation and Access (later incorporated by CLIR) to help support the translation of important preservation literature into Portuguese. It then grew to include workshops and the creation of a national preservation database and a preservation map of Brazil, thanks to significant support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Vitae. (The preservation map may be viewed at http://cecor.eba.ufmg.br/cpba.)
Mr. Rütimann notes that, while it is unwise to assume that a single blueprint can be applied to all countries, the project had certain characteristics that are fundamental to the success of large-scale preservation efforts. They include “complete dedication and hard work by a group of individuals, the careful selection of regional coordinators who continue and enlarge the work locally and regionally, and steady support and contact to assure these regional coordinators that their efforts contribute to a national, and even international, effort.”
The report includes a section entitled “Lessons Learned and Recommendations,” as well as appendixes that provide a list of translated titles, the database questionnaire used to survey more than 1,600 institutions, and a listing of the collaborative institutions and work group members.
Building Preservation Knowledge in Brazil is available from the Council on Library and Information Resources for $15 prepaid, including postage and handling. Checks should be made payable to CLIR and mailed to the address noted on the back of the newsletter. Credit card orders may be placed by calling CLIR at 202-939-4750, sending a fax to 202-939-4765, or sending e-mail to email@example.com.
|It is with much sadness that CLIR will say goodbye to Director of International Developments Hans Rütimann, who will leave the staff in early December to continue his international work as an independent consultant.
Hans joined the staff of the Commission on Preservation and Access (CPA) in 1988 as a consultant, with a mandate to expand the Commission’s work abroad. He began that effort in Europe, where he sought institutions and individuals that shared concerns about the deterioration of print-based collections and the threats posed by acid paper. Through diligence and diplomacy, he began to build a network of colleagues who found the Commission’s work to be of value in their efforts. Likewise, he was able to bring to the Commission’s own work important perspectives from abroad.
When the Commission received funding for international activities from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Hans was able to lead the CPA to a more active and formative role in preservation efforts worldwide. The CPA provided significant funds for Phase I of what became known as the European Register for Microform Masters (EROMM), a means by which to share microfilm records internationally to avoid expensive duplicate filming. Today, EROMM exchanges records with the Research Libraries Group (RLG), and the combined database has about 2.3 million records. Through Hans’ efforts and encouragement, EROMM includes records from countries as diverse as Poland, Venezuela, France, and Colombia.
Hans was also instrumental in forming the European Commission on Preservation and Access in 1994, which, in close coordination with European partners, has continued the type of work that the CPA was doing in the U.S.
His support for an ambitious training project in Brazil (see article above) was apparent from the start, and his dedication proven when he helped organizers carry some 150 pounds of translated literature on the flight from Rio de Janeiro to the core workshop in São Paulo. This speaks volumes of a man who travels with one small suitcase, even on long trips.
Hans has been called, variously, a “Johnny Appleseed” (of preservation awareness), and a “godfather” (of Memory of the World, UNESCO’s preservation initiative). The descriptions are apt, for they portray someone who has excelled at enabling others-planting ideas and cultivating relationships, while also providing the ongoing encouragement and advice that are so critical to sustaining progress.
Although his colleagues at CLIR will miss him terribly, we are encouraged to know that he will continue to work on behalf of preservation and access, reaping what he has helped to sow, and cultivating new initiatives worldwide.
CLIR Awards Three International Grants
CLIR recently awarded contracts for three international activities. CLIR will join with The National Book Centre (NBC) of Greece to support a series of preservation workshops, and the translation and distribution of preservation literature. The workshops and translations will be managed by a new National Preservation Resource Center, housed at the NBC.
The deterioration of library collections in Greece is widespread, but, to date, there has been no national effort to address the problem. The workshops and translations will be the first significant activities of the resource center. Participants will be drawn from public and academic libraries throughout Greece, and will be trained so that they can train others after returning to their home institutions.
Translations of English-language materials into Greek will begin in January 2000 and will be completed early the following year. Three regional workshops will be held in 2001.
CLIR has contracted with The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) to conduct a workshop on managing preservation in Cape Town, South Africa, in March 2000. The workshop will draw participants from throughout the country; faculty from both South Africa and the United States will teach the sessions. The South African teachers will form part of a core group that will oversee subsequent regional workshops.
The workshop will have two important features. First, with guidance from the core group, participants will be expected to organize and lead regional training. Second, the workshop will focus on how to establish priorities for preservation. One day will be devoted to site visits where participants will conduct preservation surveys. The next day, they will meet in the classroom to discuss what they encountered on the site visit.
At present, South Africa has no preservation training programs. Its preservation professionals, all of whom have been trained abroad, have identified building domestic training capacity as a priority.
The Royal Library of the Netherlands will produce a survey and report of recent developments in preservation science, with partial support from CLIR. Henk Porck, conservation scientist with the Royal Library, will conduct the survey. The report is intended to give the preservation community a snapshot of the most significant preservation science research that has been done worldwide since 1995. The intended audience includes library directors, chief librarians for preservation, preservation administrators and specialists, conservation scientists, curators, and archivists.
|Print and Online Resources|
Guidelines for the Conservation of Leather and Parchment Bookbindings
An English version of the Richtlijnen voor de Conservering van Leren en Perkamenten Boekbanden (Guidelines for the Conservation of Leather and Parchment Bookbindings) is now available on the Web site of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.
These guidelines were first published in Dutch in 1995 and contain extensive information on the history and manufacture of leather and parchment, its use as a covering material for books, degradation problems, and conservation procedures. It also contains a wealth of color photographs.
Information can also be obtained from Ko van de Watering, Conservation Department, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, P.O. Box 90407, 2509 LK Den Haag, The Netherlands.
Exchange on Digital Preservation
The National Library of Australia has established a new discussion list, padiforum-I, for the exchange of news and ideas about digital preservation, including announcements of forthcoming events. To subscribe to padiforum-I, (1) send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, (2) leave the subject line blank, and (3) type in the first line of the message: ‘subscribe padiforum-I [your name]’.
The discussion list is an outgrowth of NLA’s Preserving Access to Digital Information (PADI) Web site, featured in the December 1998 issue of this newsletter. The PADI Web site is intended to be a comprehensive subject gateway for digital preservation issues.
African Digital Library Online
A digital library for the benefit of users in Africa went online in November. In response to the need for library books throughout the continent, Technikon SA (TSA) and the Association of African Universities are establishing the digital library in collaboration with netLibrary, a private American company. It will provide African users with Internet access to a library of full-text books at no cost to the user.
More than 60 publishers will provide full-text books. Encryption will ensure that only one user will access a book at any one time, and loan periods will be limited to a few hours per book.
TSA provided initial funds of R1m (about $ US 167,000) to set up the African Digital Library and is encouraging additional sponsors to help build the collection. Sponsorships will be on a per-book basis, and sponsors will be able to advertise by means of banners for each book sponsored. At present, the library contains 3,000 books, according to Paul West, director of TSA’s Centre for Lifelong Learning. As Internet access expands in Africa, the e-book collection will grow to accommodate user needs.
Persons in any African country with a server having an African domain will be able to access the library via http://www.AfricaEducation.org/adl/. Servers such as those with a .com suffix that cannot be identified as African should provide the Director of the Centre for Lifelong Learning with their IP address range so that the service can become accessible free of charge to their subscribers. Users will then be able to open an account with the library at no charge.
For further information, contact Paul West, Director CLL at Technikon SA.
|Council on Library and Information Resources|
|1755 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Fax: (202)-939-4765 · E-mail: email@example.comThe Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) grew out of the 1997 merger of the Commission on Preservation and Access and the Council on Library Resources. CLIR identifies the critical issues that affect the welfare and prospects of libraries and archives and the constituencies they serve, convenes individuals and organizations in the best position to engage these issues and respond to them, and encourages institutions to work collaboratively to achieve and manage change.Preservation and Access International Newsletter seeks to inform readers about preservation and access initatives worldwide and to provide a basis for the direct exchange of ideas and information.Correspondence about this publication should be sent to Kathlin Smith, editor, or to the address shown above.This newsletter is not copyrighted.
Its duplication is encouraged.