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Re: Triennial Report

Sorry for delay - just back from side-trip to New Zealand.
For the number of "live" Nexus CDs - this is around 42.
Exact numbers at on my office PC in the UK.


> After much cutting and pasting, here is the first draft of the Triennial
> report of the EPC. All comments are welcome.
> <H1> IUCr Trienniel Report 1996-1999 - Committee on Electronic
> Publishing, Dissemination and Storage of Information</H1>
> <P>
> In the triennium 1996-1999, the Committee on Electronic Publishing,
> Dissemination and Storage of Information (EPC) constituted a small and
> very active technical working group. The committee suffered a tragic
> loss with the death of Professor E. N. (Ted) Maslen on the 2nd February
> 1997. In his role as Chairman of the Working Party on Crystallographic
> Information, then as Director of Archiving and Crystallographic
> Information and then as founding Chairman of this Committee, Ted guided
> the IUCr's publication and archiving activity into the electronic era
> through a tangled maze of options and opinions. The EPC was reinforced
> on the 21st December 1998 by decision of the IUCr Executive Committee
> with the appointment of L. M. D. Cranswick.
> <P>
> A publishing consultant's study of activities of the IUCr was received
> in January 1996. The consultant recommended the use of SGML favouring a
> DTD modelled on the Elsevier Art(icle) DTD and conforming to ISO 12083.
> This is now the manner in which documents are treated in the editorial
> offices.
> <P>
> During the 17th IUCr Congress in Seattle in 1996, a microsymposium
> devoted to the Internet was organized by two members of the EPC and the
> Committee's then
> Chairman E. N. Maslen gave a very clear exposition of the Science,
> Technology and Economics of Electronic Publishing in Crystallography,
> and Y. Epelboin spoke on Internet Resources for Crystallography. The
> microsymposium also presented a talk from George D. Purvis, an outsider
> to crystallography, on The Role of the World-Wide Web in Computational
> and Pharmaceutical Chemistry and finished with short presentations on
> two hot subjects on the Internet, Java and VRML, both likely to have
> impact on the area of electronic publishing. Further, a workshop on the
> Internet was run to give participants hands-on experience. In the period
> 1996-1999, on-line services based on the Internet have followed such a
> rapid and widespread development that it was not considered necessary to
> organize similiar events in association with the 18th IUCr Congress in
> Glagow, 1999.
> <P>
> Within the triennium the committee has expended considerable effort on
> the implementation and deployment of the IUCr web information service.
> This has been nutured into a system with a unified design with content
> arising from distributed sources of information.  A high priority is set
> on providing up-to-date information of use to the whole crystallographic
> community. During its meeting in Lisbon in August 1997 the IUCr
> executive committee delegated editorial powers for IUCr web services to
> this committee. The information service needs its content to be
> increased by input from collaborating providers from the
> crystallographic community.
> <P>
> Within the triennium, deployment of mirror servers for the IUCr
> information services has passed from the stage of the inexistent to that
> of a fully functional, highly-optimized set of mirror sites. The
> development involved not only overcoming the technical difficulties and
> improving efficiency of file transfer but also of producing the policy
> documents detailing the responsibilities of site managers and national
> committees. This policy was approved by the IUCr executive committee in
> its meeting in Lisbon in August 1997. The latest improvements involved a
> considerable restructuring of the file system at the Chester. As part of
> this strategy for mirror sites, the IUCr has acquired the Internet
> second-level domain name <I>iucr.org</I> permitting a unified naming of
> Chester and the mirror sites. The deployment of the mirror-site system
> depends on the good will and involvement of the IUCr members
> (<I>i.e.</I> the National Committees for Crystallography) in providing
> equipment with network connectivity to act as mirror sites for their
> country or region. Some regions of the world are inadequately covered at
> the moment depriving crystallographers of a very important resource. 
> <P>
> The committee identified a need within the community for discussion
> forums operated by means of an e-mail list server. In early 1998 this
> became operational and the EPC drafted a <I>Policy document on Creation
> and Management of IUCr Mail lists</I> which received the approval of the
> IUCr Executive Committee. The IUCr list server provides facilities for
> e-mail based discussion lists on topics relevant to the Union and the
> field of crystallography. At present the server is only lightly used.
> <P>
> A major revision of World Directory of Crystallographers (WDC) was
> started at the beginning of 1996 and the National Editors were invited
> to prepare their data to be ready before the end of 1996. Subsequently
> the tenth edition of WDC was published and made available in printed
> form through a limited print run. The directory was also made available
> for on-line consultation using a web interface on an industry-standard
> public-domain directory service. It has become apparent on many
> occasions that the procedures for including updates into WDC were
> obselescent. Consequently, a functional specification for a new
> implementation of WDC as a relational database using technology parallel
> to, but not directly integrated into the IUCr-editorial-office
> production database is currently at the discussion stage. The design of
> this database is centered around the need to allow rapid, but
> supervised, updating of records in a secure manner. It is intended that
> it should be possible to consult the database on-line by a variety of
> the most popular industry-standard protocols. 
> <P>
> The conversion of the Chester editorial office to electronic publishing
> using  full-text SGML markup is virtually complete (apart from <I>Acta
> Crystallographica</I> C which uses an entirely different production
> stream). The in-house production relational database is fully
> operational. The electronic online distribution of the IUCr's six
> journals will require an infrastructure that the Chester office is not
> in a position to provide itself, indeed in the same way that the
> printing, mailing and subscription administration for the printed
> journals is sub-contracted. The negociations with the holding company of
> Munksgaard for the electronic distribution of the Union's journals are
> continuing at the very highest level within the IUCr.
> <P>
> The CD-ROM is an attractive medium for electronic publication. The EPC
> is very supportive of L. M. D. Cranswick's NeXus project. In this,
> CD-ROMs are produced just-in-time upon request in small quantities on a
> low-cost burner and are distributed to crystallographers in developing
> countries lacking a reliable Internet connection. The content contains a
> 'virtual' WWW of crystallographic information drawn from the IUCr
> information services and elsewhere, and a selection of public domain
> software of general use and for crystallographic applications. Some XX
> CD-ROMs have been distributed in this way. 
> <P> 
> The EPC is collaborating in the project to produce the CD-ROM for the
> 18th IUCr Congress and General Assembly in Glasgow, August 1999.  The
> CD-ROM will contain the Congress abstracts, material from the sponsoring
> organization, a selection of the IUCr information services and a
> digitized copy of an out-of-print book. The CD-ROM will be distributed
> to participants and will also replace the three-yearly printed
> supplement to <I>Acta Crystallographica</I> A containing the Congress
> abstracts. The project will afford valuable experience in the production
> of CD-ROMs and in the scanning and digitization of books by a commercial
> service. The later will be useful for the digitization of all back
> numbers of the IUCr journals. 
> <P>
> Contacts are being pursued with some other learned societies and
> publishers concerning the checking of their crystal structure data. It
> is projected that the web interface and criteria used for the checking
> of these data for <I>Acta Crystallographica</I> C could be adapted to
> the needs and requirements of the other interested parties as individual
> joint developments with participation in costs. 
> <P>
> Three members of the EPC (Y. Epelboin, H. D. Flack, and B. McMahon)
> accompanied by S. R. Hall and A. Authier attended the ICSU Press/UNESCO
> conference on Electronic Publishing in Science held in February 1996 in
> Paris. The conference brought together interested parties from learned
> societies, publishing houses and libraries in a series of formal
> presentations and working groups in which the technical, economic and
> social effects of electronic publishing in science were discussed. The
> EPC met during the 17th IUCr Congress in Seattle. H. D. Flack visited
> the IUCr Editorial offices, Chester, UK in November 1996 (including a
> visit to the IUCr's Editor-in-chief in Manchester), November 1997 and
> November 1998.
> <P>
> L. M. D. Cranswick, Y. Epelboin, H. D. Flack (Chairman),  E. N. Maslen
> (deceased), B. McMahon, P. Strickland.
> -- 
> Howard Flack        http://www.unige.ch/crystal/ahdf/Howard.Flack.html
> Laboratoire de Cristallographie               Phone: 41 (22) 702 62 49
> 24 quai Ernest-Ansermet             mailto:Howard.Flack@cryst.unige.ch
> CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland                   Fax: 41 (22) 702 61 08

Lachlan M. D. Cranswick

4th Jan - 16th March 1999 Visiting Scientist
CSIRO Division of Minerals, Melbourne, Australia
Tel: (613) 9545 8500  (switch)
Fax: (613) 9562 8919     l.cranswick@dl.ac.uk

Collaborative Computational Project No 14 (CCP14)
    for Single Crystal and Powder Diffraction
Daresbury Laboratory, Warrington, WA4 4AD U.K
Tel: +44-1925-603703  Fax: +44-1925-603124
E-mail: l.cranswick@dl.ac.uk  Ext: 3703  Room C14
NEW CCP14 Web Domain (Under heavy construction):

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