Web Magazine for Information Professionals

Newsline: News You Can Use

Ariadne presents a brief summary of news and events.

Following the success of the previous two Public Library Web Managers Workshops, UKOLN is proud to announce the third workshop to be held at the University of Bath in November 2002.

This event offers the chance to step back, look at the bigger picture, and see how public library websites fit into the government's plans to make all services electronically available by 2005. To quote the DTLR consultation paper: e-gov@local, e-Government is about 'putting citizens and customers at the heart of everything we do' .

Speakers will include Maewyn Cumming, Office of the E-envoy, Danny Budzak, Head of Information Management and E-Government, London Borough of Lewisham and Nick Poole, ICT Adviser, Resource.

The event will have a strong practical theme, and will offer plenty of opportunities to discuss and debate issues with speakers and other delegates. The speakers are keen to share their experiences of developing web sites and e-services to meet the needs of the e-citizen.

This will be of relevance to those working towards the Information Consultant and Information Manager Advanced roles which form part of the New Opportunities Fund ICT Training for Public Library Staff Programme as part of delivering the People's Network. It will offer an opportunity to hear from the policy makers and implementers on issues such as analysing users needs, information design and presentation, understanding regulatory and legislative requirements and content creation.

Further information can be found at: <http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/events/public-workshop-02/>

Are these the 12 most beautiful old libraries in the world?

[24 September 2002]

The 2003 edition of the Renaissance Library Calendar features 12 of the most beautiful old libraries in the World, dating from 1570 to 1926. Chetham's Library in Manchester, UK is one of the 12, as selected from nominations by information professionals all over the World. Its Reading Room has been chosen as the image for the calendar's cover.

Founded in 1653, Chetham's Library is regarded as the oldest surviving public library in continuous use in English speaking countries. It celebrates its 350th anniversary in 2003. The other 11 libraries featured in the calendar, in full colour, are from Australia, Austria, France, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the UK and the USA. These wonderful old libraries have proved very popular with book lovers in nearly 40 countries. Each library photo is accompanied by a brief history and a description of items of special interest. They include Redwood Library and Athenaeum, in Newport, Rhode Island, the oldest lending library in the USA, dating from 1747; two wonderful old abbey libraries in Austria - Altenburg and Kremsmuenster; and the magnificent Long Room in Trinity College Library, Dublin;

The calendar is published by ISIM in Sweden. Copies can be obtained at their website at <http://www.renaissancelibrary.com> or from:

Stuart Urwin, ISIM,
Stora Vastergatan 45,
SE-271 35 Ystad,
Tel. ++46 411 121 70
Fax: ++46 411 121 10
Email: urwin@isim.org www.isim.org

UK and Netherlands reach agreement on Leading Edge Technologies

[30 September 2002]

Delivering state of the art networks and electronic services to higher education is benefiting from a growing level of international collaboration. Both the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and the SURF Foundation supply such services to higher education and the research community in the UK and The Netherlands respectively. They also promote innovation and development of new uses for information and communications technology in education, research and the management of universities.

A recent joint event held in Oxford explored the opportunities for joint working between the two organisations, and led to an agreement for closer collaboration. Involving experts from the UK, the Netherlands, and also the USA, the event established a strong foundation for closer cooperation in developing an optical network between JISC, SURF and the US-based Internet2 to create a London - Amsterdam - Chicago optical testbed that will enable research into leading edge networks and applications. The benefits for the education sectors of all countries could be immense in terms of the creation of internet resources for students, lecturers and researchers, greater access to these resources, wider and more secure networks, and the pooling of both countries' considerable experience in network research and development. In addition these developments will benefit the development of the e-Science and Research grid programmes in the UK.

JISC and SURF will continue to meet on a regular basis to share ideas about future strategies. These meetings will identify opportunities for shared development programmes and services, and will work towards common objectives, such as resolving Intellectual Property Issues with publishers and the establishment of international technical standards, leading, it is hoped, to even greater international collaboration.

Malcolm Read, Executive Secretary of the JISC, said: "This collaboration will significantly improve the value of the work both our organisations fund, and help maintain the UK and Netherlands position at the forefront of modern education." Wim Liebrand, Director of the SURF Foundation, also expressed great satisfaction at the prospect of closer working between the two countries. He said: "This agreement creates a base of excellence in the application of technology to science and teaching in Europe. It will be of immense benefit to the education sectors of both countries."

The RDN Virtual Training Suite - a new look for a new season

[1 October 2002]

As the new term begins in universities and colleges across the country, we are pleased to announce that we have upgraded all of the tutorials in the RDN Virtual Training Suite to take advantage of new features, functionality and design, initially created for 11 new FE tutorials launched in June this year.

In response to popular demand (i.e. feedback received via the Web site and workshops) our tutorials now have the following:

A NEW LOOK AND FEEL - with the new Web design and graphics created for the FE tutorials

NEW LINKS BASKET FUNCTIONALITY - you can now view, print or email yourself your selected links; add a comments box to make notes about the links you've saved or turn the Links Basket off to see live links in the tutorial

AN ENHANCED PRINT-FRIENDLY OPTION - providing a print-optimised version of the tutorial pages, designed to make high quality printouts suitable for handouts.

IMPROVED ACCESSIBILITY - in line with W3C recommendations A NEW SYSTEM FOR UPDATING TUTORIALS - a Web-based editing system now enables the RDN hubs to regularly update tutorials remotely via the Web. A more detailed insight into our new technical architecture can be found in a paper written by Paul Smith, VTS Web Manager, which he will be presenting at the ASCILITE 2002 conference. A pre-print is available at <http://www.vts.rdn.ac.uk/reports/ascilite02.html>

The Virtual Training Suite team will now be focusing their efforts on a new project, funded under the JISC Exchange for Learning programme. This work include creation of five new FE tutorials; case-studies modelling effective use of this resource in teaching; and development work that explores the potential of the use of these tutorials within Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs). We will keep you informed of new developments as they appear.

Simon Jennings
Manager Resource Discovery Network
Centre King's College London
3rd Floor, Strand Bridge House
138 - 142, The Strand
Email: simon.jennings@kcl.ac.uk
Visit the Resource Discovery Network at <http://www.rdn.ac.uk/>

Collection Description Focus

[10 October 2002]

Collection Description Focus invites you to attend the fourth in a series of workshops aimed at practitioners, technical and project staff. The event will be held on Friday 8 November 2002 at the University of Newcastle, Castle Leazes Halls of Residence.

Collection-Level Description and Collection Management Tool for the trade or information trade-off?

The workshop will explore the relationship between collection-level description and collection management with specific reference to the needs of professional information managers within the context of 'Distributed National Collection'.

The workshop will bring together views from a range of professionals involved at different stages of the collection management process. The workshop will explore how collection-level description can be used in the collection management process both as a tool for information managers and an effective means of disclosure and discovery for users.

The event is aimed at practitioners working in this area, including those describing collections or developing and implementing services which utilise such descriptions, and those with an interest in the development and deployment of standards in this area. There is a special emphasis on the requirements of information managers There is no charge for this event.

Further details and a booking form are available at http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/events/

Launch of Visugate on World Sight Day

[1 October 2002]

The Visugate website <http://www.visugate.org>, funded by the New Opportunities Fund (NOF) and managed by the National Library for the Blind (NLB), will go live on World Sight Day (10 October 2002).

For the first time in the UK both visually impaired people and professionals working in the sector will be able to use a single website to find comprehensive, high quality information on visual impairment.

'The present situation with multiple agencies all holding different information is very confusing for people, especially for those who had recently lost their sight and were seeking advice' explains Dave Egan, Visugate project manager at NLB. 'Visugate will change that.'

'The aim of Visugate is to create a single point of entry on the Web to information from organisations across the sector that can be easily searched by anyone with an interest in visual impairment.'

Visugate allows searches by keyword or via one of a number of subject headings, including transport, education, employment and safety. Users also have the option of a more detailed search.

'Visugate is designed so that the user is provided with straightforward search facilities that give them what they want quickly', said David Egan.

'We want to avoid the problems of 'information overload' that people can face with search engines. Hundreds of irrelevant links often hide the really useful resources that people are looking for'.

The Visugate project also provides online access to information on visual impairment that may never otherwise have been made available on the web. Working in partnership with more than 20 organisations, including RNIB, Action for Blind People, the University of Birmingham and the International Centre for Eye Health, NLB has been co-ordinating the digitisation of some 65,000 pages of print material. This digitisation work has been ongoing since October 2001 and these resources are now freely available and searchable via Visugate.

'We will continue to add links to high quality information resources as the service grows so that Visugate offers its users both scope and depth of information.'

'The initial emphasis will be on information from UK based sources, but this will be extended to the best information internationally over time,'

The content of the site is subject to strict quality control to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up to date and accessible. NLB has drawn on best practice from the academic world in developing the approach to the selection and retention of information for Visugate. The site and contents will be monitored closely by NLB on a regular basis to ensure the information provided remains current.

Visugate is a fully accessible service that complies with the WAI accessible design guidelines. Further service developments over the forthcoming months include the introduction of customisable services to ensure that users can tailor Visugate to their own preferences.

Dave Egan hopes to see the Visugate website develop into the meeting place of an online community where people interested in visual impairment can discuss ideas and issues, keep up to date with news and events and browse products and services that are relevant to them.

'Over the next 12-18 months we will add a variety of features to Visugate including a series of special interest networks that will address key issues facing visually impaired people.'

The Visugate project has been funded with the support of a grant from the New Opportunities Fund, a National Lottery good cause distributor, through the Fund's nof-digitise programme. Visugate is also supported by Vision 2020UK.

For more information and to view the Visugate website visit <http://www.visugate.org>.