Web Magazine for Information Professionals

Editorial Introduction to Issue 28: Ariadne's Thread

Marieke Napier reviews recent developments on the cultural front and the contents of issue 28.

Here in the UK we are living in the aftermath of the recent General election. Although apathy was the order of the day and few seats actually changed hands, important changes have been made that are worth mentioning here in Ariadne. In a Cabinet reshuffle the government has replaced the previous Culture secretary, Chris Smith, with Tessa Jowell, formerly a minister of state in the Department for Education and Employment. Working alongside her in the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) will be Tessa Blackstone, also a previous minister in the DFEE. Baroness Blackstone is to take over as minister of state for the arts with responsibility for the arts, crafts, museums, galleries and libraries. In her preceding role she was responsible for the government's commitment to "lifelong learning". Some links to interesting assessment of the online election coverage are given in this issue's Planet SOSIG column.

Closer to home UKOLN is now hosting the UK Collection Description Focus service. The service, which is funded by the UK Research Support Libraries Programme (RSLP), JISC/DNER and the British Library, will "provide advice and guidance on collection description implementation, with the objective of developing consensus in order to ensure consistency and compatibility of approaches". Ariadne hopes to have more detailed coverage on the Collection Description Focus's work in the next issue.

In this issue we feature an interesting and relevant article from David Duce on Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is a language for describing two-dimensional vector and mixed vector/raster graphics in XML that is under recommendation by the World Wide Web Consortium. David Duce is a Professor in Computer Science at the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, Oxford Brookes University and has been working in the computer graphics field since 1975. He has been involved in the SVG initiative since its origination in 1998.

With interest in e-learning on the increase we are featuring two articles that look at different projects that have been set up in this area. Derek Morrison's article on Project Gold (Guidance Online for those Learning at a Distance) describes one of the first e-learning projects that attempted to address the issues raised by the creation of distance and online learning software. Sarah Currier's piece introduces a new JISC project, INSPIRAL (INveStigating Portals for Information Resources And Learning), which investigates further virtual and managed learning environments (VLEs and MLEs) by joining them with digital libraries to create a fully integrated online learning experience.

The article from Michael Breaks providing an overview of the Hybrid Library Projects winds up coverage of the eLib projects, though Ariadne will continue to report on the 5 remaining projects - BUILDER, AGORA, MALIBU, HeadLine and HyLife for as long as they run.

Other feature pieces include insight into two new projects: The Reading Experience Database Project, a new web-based project designed to collate evidence for changing reading habits through history, by Alexis Weedon. And the Information for Nursing and Health in a Learning Environment (INHALE) Project described by Margaret Weaver.

Alison McNab, a former regular editorial co-ordinator for Ariadne, also provides a review of the wealth of resources available for trainers provided by the information service and content providers within JISC-supported services.

Some of you may have noticed by now that Philip Hunter, Ariadne's usual captain, is not the editor of this issue. No need for alarm, Philip remains fighting fit and here at UKOLN. He has used the 'time out' from editing this issue to produce an article on Universities and the Electronic Publishing Revolution which compares the involvement of universities in electronic publishing with their role in the earlier publishing revolution of the 15th century.

This issue is almost UKOLN heavy with a number of other articles from UKOLN authors. Monica Bonett, who works principally on the Imesh Project, gives a detailed overview of personalization on the World Wide Web. Her article discusses how these ideas could be development within current resource discovery systems. Leona Carpenter reports on the key issue of accessibility that was covered at the Seattle Computer-Human Interaction (CHI) Conference, and also provides a round-up of sources of further information.

And in a follow up piece to last issue's Encoding OpenURLs in Dublin Core metadata Andy Powell describes UKOLN's OpenResolver, a freely available demonstration.

In the Metadata column this issue, in response to a D-Lib Magazine editorial written by Peter Hirtle, Michael Day considers the long-term preservation implications of one of the OAI protocol's potential applications e-print services.

UK Web Focus, Brian Kelly attended the Tenth International World Wide Web Conference, held in Hong Kong on 1-5 May 2001 and has written a review of 'what's hot' this year with the Web for his Web Focus column. In his Web Watch column Brian looks at the size of institutional top level pages, work which hopefully be taken further at the Institutional Web Management Workshop 2001 held at the Queens University Belfast next week (25-27 June).

There are three at the event write-ups in issue 28. John Kirriemuir gives his account of fluorescent t-shirts, phone conferencing and tutorials ago-go on the Edinburgh stage of the launch of the Resource Discovery Network's Virtual Training Suite. Sandy Shaw reports on a seminar bringing together experts in the field of linking technology for JISC's JOIN-UP Programme. And I attended the mda's 'Beyond the Museum' colloquium held in the Oxford Union Debating Chamber in April.

Thanks again to Shirley Keane (for assistance with the Newsline section), and to Philip for all his help (though the words 'mother hen' come to mind regarding his concern for Ariadne!) To his relief, Philip will be back at the helm next issue, relaxed and freshened after his break.

Suggestions for articles for issues 29 to 31 are now being considered. Article proposals should be sent to: ariadne@ukoln.ac.uk.

Enjoy the issue.

Marieke Napier
Ariadne Editor