University of Sydney Library Newsletter

Issue Nº 31 - August 1997

ISSN 1326-2785
Newsletter archive

Expired URLs removed

In this Issue






New University Librarian

John Shipp has been appointed to the position of University Librarian at the University of Sydney Library and will take up duty on 11 August 1997. John is currently University Librarian at the University of Wollongong a position he has held since 1986.



John has been active on a number of professional committees in the library and higher education areas. From 1992 until 1996 he served as President of the Council of Australian University Librarians, period of transition for the organisation with a growth in membership from nineteen to thirty-eight. He is currently a member of the AVCC Standing Committee on Information Resources and is a founding member of the National Scholarly Communications Forum, a group established by the major academies, library organisations and other groups interested in the changes affecting scholarly communication.

He has also participated in number of reviews of university libraries in Australia, including the 1993 review of the University of Sydney Library. He is also active in the library profession and is President-elect of the professional association, the Australian Library and Information Association for 1998.

Bell Collection - Rare Books and Special Collections Library

An index to the recently acquired Bell Collection, which offers a fund of new primary research material to scholars of Australian literature, will shortly be available via the Library's Special Collections Database which may be accessed from the Online Catalogue.

Formed by Queensland based researcher Erica Bell, the Bell Collection comprises chiefly of taped interviews with sixteen Australian poets of the "Generation of '68", including Les Murray, Alan Wearne, John Tranter, Robert Adamson, Jennifer Maiden, John Forbes and Martin Johnson. The interviews provide autobiographical information, analyses of the poets' construction of the meaning of their poetry and discussions of how they see their writing in relation to key developments in Australian writing and poetry. The interviews also deal with the role of the poet and poetry in Australia and the mechanisms by which literary success is perceived to occur in Australia.

Besides the interviews, the collection contains correspondence from the poets relating to the interviews and their work, draft copies of poems, taped readings, copies of published works and photographs.

To access the index to the Bell Collection select Search the Special Collections Database from the Web version of the Library Catalogue (or select Other Databases from the telnet version of the Library Catalogue). Access to the collection itself may be gained through:

Rare Books and Special Collections Library
Level 2, Fisher Library
Hours: 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

For further information contact Sara Hilder, tel (02) 9351 2992, email: sara.hilder@sydney.edu.au.

Electronic Texts Now Available at all University Computers

SETIS (The Scholarly Electronic Text and Image Service in the library) lists a large number of electronic texts available from its web server. This list can be found at: http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ This page also lists the texts and databases that must be used in the library since many texts tied to proprietary software and computer platform simply cannot be networked.

The networked collection mounted locally for university use is almost unique in Australia and is a valuable resource.Individual links to each database conceal a wealth of source material available electronically across the campus. The browse files maintained for each database reveal the full extent of the collection.

The most recent addition to the networked texts is the Oxford English Dictionary now available at any networked university machine at http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/oed

Other networked texts include:

Still more networked texts are available from remote sites, including some 2,000 French texts at the Frantext site in Paris. A good source of information about such texts is at the SETIS news page: http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/

The audience for these texts will be very wide, and not restricted to literary, philosophical and religious fields of study. Besides the general interest in such texts as the Oxford English Dictionary (and perhaps Shakespeare, Bible versions, English Poetry and so on) there are fields of textual study beyond the Arts Faculty which may find relevant source material in this collection which will, of course, grow over time (for example, Economic History, Political Theory, History of Science, History of Psychology, Legal History).

Access to the texts is regulated by IP address, since these texts are license restricted, and, therefore, only available to University of Sydney users (this will include modem access from home if the user account is on a university machine). In future, many of our texts will have unrestricted access and the site will become an important national resource for such networked resources.

The service is not simply an electronic reserve system (say, for student access to required tutorial readings) although it may be used for that. It is also a tool for research, providing search access throughout the texts for particular terms, conjunctions of terms and phrases, and so forth. For example, the occurrence of passages in the massive Patrologia Latina database of the Church Fathers, in which, say, the term "nativitas" occurs in conjunction with "natura"; or a search for keywords and phrases within English language poems confined, say, to female poets.

Commercial publishers are now seeking to provide access to electronic texts by annual leasing to their web sites. Other universities and libraries in Australia must now consider how they will provide access to such texts. At the University of Sydney Library, a local web site for these texts is maintained, reducing overseas network links and eliminating annual leasing costs, as well as unreliable response times and so forth. We also, in the main, own the texts that we mount.

Creating and maintaining the local site gives the library a range of skills and experience for publishing other texts - for example, electronic versions of texts created at the university. Another advantage of local mounting is involvement of university researchers, teachers and students in the creation of the site. This can evolve over time with interaction between users of the database and those responsible for maintaining the site (the site is not static, and people need to realise that they can to contribute to decisions as to what regions of texts are searched and how results are displayed.)

Although these texts are available at any university machine, the SETIS area is also available with personal computers for use of these texts, as well as for all of those texts not networked. The service is open from 1.30pm to 5pm Monday to Friday and provides computer facilities for use of CD-Rom and web based electronic texts. It also provides access to text analysis software and equipment, flat bed scanners and OCR software. Any enquiries about available texts or any issues and problems relating to the use and creation of electronic versions of primary source texts of this nature can be directed to the coordinator of the service:

Creagh Cole
Ph: 9351-7408
email: creagh.cole@sydney.edu.au

Electronic Versions of Journals - Expanded Availability

One aspect of advances in scholarly electronic publishing is the increasing availability of parallel electronic forms for established print journals, usually on the World Wide Web. Publishers and universities in particular are exploring and trialing electronic access to these journals, including negotiating appropriate access costs. The Library is providing access to both the parallel and unique electronic journals through hotlinks in the catalogue entries for particular titles. A separate listing, with hotlinks, is available on the Library's homepage. The number of titles to which the University now has access has increased recently through two major projects. A significant benefit is that electronic access brings full-text research journals directly to the desktop.

The two major projects are:

IDEAL (International Digital Electronic Access Library)

Access to the full-text of 181 titles published by Academic Press is available to all staff and students of Australian universities. Coverage is predominantly science/technology and is of greatest interest to researchers. Access is provided to issues of journals published in 1996 and 1997 with a limited number of 1995 issues also available. The trial is funded for one year by the Federal Government's National Priority (Reserve) Fund, through recommendations by the Database Access Working Group of the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee's Standing Committee on Information Resources.

Access to the Academic Press titles is now available at the University of Sydney by IP address validation, i.e. all workstations connected to the University network can connect to the Web service without a login and password. To view an article and print, but not to search for and read the abstract, Adobe Acrobat software must be available on the workstation being used. Instructions on obtaining the software are provided at the "Etexts and ejournals" page at the Library's Web site: http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/

For examples of journals available through IDEAL, see the entries for Brain and Language and Journal of Economic Theory in the online catalogue.

Project Muse

Project Muse provides access to the full text of over 40 Johns Hopkins University Press scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences and mathematics. Access is available with a Web browser from any workstation connected to the University network. The journal contents from 1995 or 1996 onwards are currently available online, either via the links in the online catalogue records for the titles or from the alphabetical and subject listing of electronic journals found under "Etexts and ejournals" at the Library's homepage.

See, for example, Human Rights Quarterly and Modern Language Notes.


Through the IDEAL and Project Muse initiatives a substantial range of academic journals is now available online. In addition to improving access to particular titles, the initiatives offer the Library the opportunity to test ways of facilitating electronic access to scholarly and research publications and the acceptability of that access as a substitute for or adjunct to print publications.

Internet Education Guide: Library/Faculty Joint Project Recognised

As part of their support for teaching and research within the University, Library staff are engaged in identifying, evaluating and providing direction to important information resources on the World Wide Web. One way of communicating their knowledge is through subject guides to Internet resources.

These guides are located on the Library's Web server and feature not just organised listings, and sometimes useful commentaries, but also direct links to web resources. The guides vary in scope and comprehensiveness, according to the current perceived needs of the intended clientele, and some have received favourable attention from outside the University.

An Internet guide generated in the University Library in collaboration with the Faculty of Education has been accepted by the prestigious Argus Clearinghouse (http://www.clearinghouse.net/) for inclusion in their list of recommended subject guides. Argus Clearinghouse recognises that existing automated search engines are inadequate to make economical and effective use of the Internet in many areas. The Clearinghouse therefore lists and evaluates a number of subject guides which identify, describe, and evaluate other Internet sites within particular subject areas. Education Internet Guide: Sources for Theory, Practice, Teaching and Research is one of these subject guides.

The Education Internet Guide was compiled by Christabel Wescombe, the Library's subject librarian responsible for Education, with the technical and graphical assistance of Steve Ryan, Co-ordinator of the Library's Internet Training Team, and Dr John Harvey, Director of the Education Technology Centre within the Faculty of Education. Dr Harvey's involvement in the project has brought to fruition the Faculty of Education's view that the Internet is a rich utility, well suited to investigation and research, because it facilitates co-operation, collaborative problem solving, and access to experts and ideas.

The Guide includes over 1,000 annotated sites which were chosen for their meta-information, the reputation of the compiler, and their relevance to the Faculty of Education's teaching and research.

The section "Official Information on Education" is intended for education administrators, policy makers and researchers who need to know how to identify descriptive and statistical sources on education systems, their institutions, policies and programs, their human and financial resources, and the processes involved in their functioning. Hence a substantial number of the sites included have been compiled by governments, and national and international organisations, from North America, United Kingdom, Australia and where possible, Asia.

The section "Selected Areas of Study A-Z" includes links to sites on many topical areas, e.g: Assessment, measurement and evaluation; Comparative education; Educational administration; Educational policy studies; Educational psychology; Educational technology; Health education; Higher education; Language, Literacy and Foreign Language Learning; Methodologies for educational research; Special education; Statistics (Education and education related); and Vocational education ... to name a few.

Another section of the Guide "Using the Internet as a Research Tool" assumes the researcher of educational issues is beginning an investigation and needs to identify resources on the Internet to keep up to date with what's new. Thus, links are provided to the Library's Internet training packages, "Searching the Internet" and "Electronic Conferences", compiled by Philippa Crosbie and Gail Higgins. These describe, evaluate and provide tips on, how to use search engines, subject directories, and electronic conferences for teaching and research purposes. Access to other research facilities is provided by links to electronic journals, databases, library services, and library catalogues (both local and international).

Argus Clearnghouse guides are scored according to specified criteria: resource description and evaluation; overall design; organizational scheme; and links to meta-information. The Education Internet Guide attracted the maximum score. The acceptance of the guide by the Argus Clearinghouse is acknowledged by the organisation's logo - a bright red tick of approval - displayed at the beginning of the guide.

The Education Internet Guide is available on the Library's web homepage (http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/) under Subjects or directly: http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/subjects/education/index.html

Emailing of library notices

In 2nd semester 1996 the library trialed the emailing of library notices to borrowers who indicated their willingness to receive notices in this manner. The trial was a success, with over 2,000 email addresses registered on the library system. We therefore intend to continue to send overdue, recall, awaiting pickup notices and fines invoices via email to those staff who have registered their email address with us, unless we are notified otherwise. If you would like to register your email address with us please notify your interest by completing an "email library notices" form available from any library, or by emailing your name, borrower's number, current address and current email address to library.loanenquiries@sydney.edu.au.

It remains your responsibility to ensure email addresses are correct and that library email notices are read in your absence.

Digital initiatives - project updates

Two collaborative digital projects initiated by the Library, and funded in 1996 as research projects by the Department of Employment Education and Training, have been extended into a second year of development. Both are "leading edge" projects investigating, and establishing, best practices and benchmarks in electronic publication. Both look to enhance access to significant material for Australian researchers, and improve the delivery of Australian content globally via the world wide web.

Though quite different in content and nature, these projects, the Australian Cooperative Digitisation Project 1840-45 and the electronic Medical Journal of Australia, also provide opportunities for the participants to develop fundamental technical and management skills which will assist in the conceptualisation and implementation of similar initiatives in the future.

The Australian Cooperative Digitisation Project, 1840-45 is a collaborative project led by the University of Sydney Library in partnership with the National Library of Australia, the State Library of New South Wales and Monash University Library. The project has been funded by the Australian Research Council as national research infrastructure program. The project home page is at : http://www.nla.gov.au/ferg/.

The intent of this project is to preserve and provide enhanced access to significant and scarce material published in Australia in the period 1840-45, a period of "emergent nationalism" among the Australian colonies. This material is spread across a few major libraries, and the process of digitising these national holdings will, in effect, merge these collections into a comprehensive digital library of the period. The periodicals, newspapers and fiction published during these years will be microfilmed (for long-term preservation) and digitised in the one production process. During this operational process sets of best practices and benchmarks are being established in conjunction with local industry, based on the application of project experience in the US and the UK to the Australian situation. The project will introduce and test large scale digital conversion of nineteenth century material in a production environment.

During 1996, the periodical material was identified, located and checked, technical specifications for digitising were drafted and a test phase completed to evaluate these specifications. In 1997, following successful evaluation of the process and specifications, the major contract for the microfilming and digitisation of the periodical literature has been let. A prototype project interface has been developed at the National Library (http://www.nla.gov.au/acdp/serials.html), and this is currently undergoing testing and evaluation. The fiction of the period has been digitised and is currently being marked-up as full electronic texts through the Scholarly Electronic Text and Image Service (SETIS) here at the University of Sydney (http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/oztexts/acdp.html).

Though still a project in progress, some key objectives of the project have already been accomplished. A fundamental collaborative management and operational model for these types of projects has been established. Achievable technical and quality assurance specifications have been developed, introducing international digital library standards as local 'industry' benchmarks. The process of contracting out production digitisation work for both the periodical and fiction material appears to have been successful. The project has successfully fostered local industry investment and 'tooling up' for this kind of work. The successful tenderer for the major production work was a partnership formed between a well-established micrographics firm (W & F Pascoe) and a multimedia company (PSW Media) experienced in handling heritage material.

The Project Management Committee is chaired by Professor Elizabeth Webby, Professor of Australian Literature at Sydney. Library staff involved in this project include Creagh Cole (SETIS), Ross Coleman (Project Manager) and Julie Price (Sydney site coordinator).

The electronic Medical Journal of Australia (eMJA) a joint initiative between the University of Sydney Library and the Medical Journal of Australia was initially funded in 1996 by the AVCC Electronic Publishing Working Group to establish, test and evaluate a process of internet-based open peer review of selected research articles. That stage of the project was successfully completed at the end of 1996, and included the development of an electronic prototype version of the Medical Journal of Australia, (the eMJA), including an integrated print/electronic editorial and publishing process. The platform for the eMJA was established on, and is currently managed, through a server in the Library (http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/MJA/). It was clear from the first stage of the project that the eMJA had the capacity and the coverage to deliver major Australian medical research nationally and globally in a more effective way than print publication, and that there was a receptive and enthusiastic audience for such an enterprise.

The project successfully applied for second round seed funding from the AVCC to develop a commercially viable version of the eMJA. This stage will further develop the editorial and publication model established in 1996 to be able to deliver a full electronic version of the Medical Journal of Australia, with value-added components, on a subscription basis.

As a partner in this project the Library has contributed to a successful model of electronic publishing and has assisted in the improved access and distribution of high quality Australian medical research. Library staff who have been involved in this project include Ross Coleman, Steve Ryan, Monica Davis, Gail Higgins and Cheryl Ruggles.

In the process of initiating and managing these kinds of projects the Library, in conjunction with services such as SETIS, has positioned itself to take advantage of, and extend, it's leading role in collaborative digital library developments.