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2001 Report on ICSTI

I'm ages behind time writing annual and triennial reports. I'm sure
execsec's hair must be falling out.
  Here is the annual report for 2001 concerning ICSTI. All comments are
welcome.
  The triennial report will follow shortly.

H.


<H1>
IUCr 2001 Report - International Council for Scientific and Technical
Information (ICSTI)
</H1>


<P>
The IUCr representative attended the following ICSTI meetings:
<UL>
<LI> Winter committee and discussion meeting held at ICSU, Paris,
France, 13th - 14th January 2001.
<LI> General Assembly held in the European Patent Office, Munich,
Germany, 3rd - 7th May 2001. This included a one-day public conference
<I>Scientific Information and Intellectual Property: Problems and
Opportunities</I>.
<LI> Seminar on <I>Digital Preservation of the record of Science - state
of the art</I>, UNESCO, Paris, France, 14th - 15th February 2002. (Y.
Epelboin also in attendance)
<LI> Winter committee and discussion meeting held at ICSU, Paris,
France, 16th - 17th February 2002. 
</UL>


<P>
>From the presentation of the planning of the <I>ingenta</I> study on
<I>Research into the Relationship between Journal Subscriptions and
Document Delivery and the Impact of Online Delivery on Article
Distribution</I> it turned out that the IUCr would be able to contribute
to this study by providing data on some of its own journals. The
detailed results on these were made available at the conclusion of the
study. The IUCr's managing editor, Mr. P. Strickland, attended the
public presentation of the whole study in London on the 25th September
2001. 


<P>
Progress on the IUPAC-CODATA-ICSTI project on the Standardization of
Physico-Chemical Property Electronic Datafiles (IUCODIX) which seeks to
bring to the world of physical chemistry the advantages that CIF has
brought to crystallography has shown up a problem in the nomenclature of
phase identifiers for crystals. An existing nomenclature proposal
<I>Structural Phase Transition Nomenclature</I> produced by an IUCr
working group TolÚdano <I>et al.</I>, <I>Acta Cryst</I>. (1998).
A<B>54</B>, 1028-1033 is not of a nature nor in a form to generate
unique identifiers suitable for use in the constitution of
crystalline-phase property databases. Following communication of these
comments to the IUCr's Nomenclature Commission and a subsequent
preliminary and thoughtful exchange of views amongst interested parties,
a working group has been constituted under the auspicies of the IUCr's
nomenclature commission to study this matter in detail and to come
forward with concrete proposals to resolve the problem. It is of
interest to report that within the IUCODIX project an attempt was made
to establish identifiers for physico-chemical properties associated with
an appropriate resolving mechanism in the way that CROSSLINK coupled to
DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) operates for locating electronic
journal articles. There was insufficient interest from commercial
partners to proceed with the establishment of physical-chemical property
identifiers for the moment. Moreover two current IUPAC projects in the
field of electronic publishing and databases have relevance to
crystallography. The first is the Chemical Identifier project (IChI)
which seeks to develop a public-domain inversible identifier for
molecules. In its current stage of development the identifier is coded
in XML and is claimed to work for a large proportion of molecules. The
use of XML allows a clear syntax and structuration of the identifier
enabling efficient searching. Other typographic formats of the
identifier may be developed subsequently. The other IUPAC project
concerns the development of Chemical Markup Language (CML). These
projects are closely monitored by the IUCr's representatives to ICSTI
and CODATA, and by the IUCr's committee on electronic publication,
dissemination and storage of information, 


<P>
Within ICSTI there have been exchanges of views concerning the EU
copyright directive which gives much power and freedom to database
generators. As reported elsewhere, this topic was the subject of a
one-day workshop preceding the CODATA annual meeting. Moreover ICSU
itself is concerned about the implications of the EU directive on
copyright and ICSTI has received correspondence from ICSU's President on
this matter. The topic will be followed closely within ICSTI.


<P>
The <I>ICSU Navigator for Primary  Scientific Publications</I> has been
prepared by ICSU's Committee on Dissemination of Scientific Information
(ICSU Press). The main goal of this project is to create a
representative source of information on the primary scientific 
publications in all disciplines covered by the International Council for
Science (ICSU). In fact <I>Crystallography Online</I> already provides
such a service for crystallography and it was not felt useful to make
use of the ICSU Navigator.



<P>
The preservation of the world's cultural heritage in digital form is
becoming a subject of concern in many quarters. Thus UNESCO has
announced its own program, the current (Spanish) presidency of the EU is
using its power to propose  resolutions to the EU ministers of culture,
a CODATA Data archiving working group has been established, and position
papers have been drafted by UKOLN, CIMI and Resource group in the United
Kingdom. ICSTI has decided to take action in the advocacy of the digital
preservation of the record of science. A consultant (an ICSTI former
president) has been appointed to draft a white paper for discussion at
the meeting in Stockholm. The intention is that in its final form, this
position paper will be of use in convincing those holding political
power of the necessity of digital preservation and the need for
resources to achieve it. Another aspect of preservation will come up at
the 2002 IUCr Congress where the Commission on Computing is devoting a
session to software archiving and preservation.


<P>
<I>Publications</I>: ICSTI maintains both a public web site at
http://www.icsti.org/ where the newsletter <I>ICSTI Forum</I>, published
3 times in 2001, and other general information are made available. A
private section is available only to members, the IUCr representative
sharing this opportunity with the IUCr's committee on electronic
publishing, dissemination and storage of information (CEP). Of
particular interest to the IUCr, Forum No. 38 of June, presented
articles on digital generation and preservation and a compendium of some
of the acronyms used in the stm industry. No. 37 of March had an
enlightening article on the interplay between primary scientific and
patent literature and No. 39 of September 2001 contained the text and
slides of some of the presentations at the annual meeting in Munich. A
distribution list operates where the ICSTI executive director
distributes news clips and other information.


<P> In 2002 the ICSTI annual meeting will take place in Stockholm 15th -
19th June 2002 organized and sponsored by the Royal Institute of
Technology Library. The IUCr will be represented by its managing editor
Mr. P. Strickland at this meeting. As part of the ICSTI effort the
meeting includes a one-day public conference <I>Scientific Information:
the challenges of creating and maintaining access</I>. In 2003 the
winter meeting will probably take place in Paris and the annual meeting
will be in Ottawa, Canada organized and sponsored by CISTI (Canadian
Institute of Scientific and Technical Information).

<P>
ICSTI is composed of a large spectrum of professionals from the stm and
library sectors but with few scientists present. IUCr membership of
ICSTI continues to fulfil its expectations by providing a source of
current documentation and personal contacts in the field of scientific
and technical information (electronic publishing).

<P>
H. D. Flack, 22nd May 2002

-- 
VISITING GENEVA? See http://www.unige.ch/crystal/ahdf/geneva02.html

Howard Flack        http://www.unige.ch/crystal/ahdf/Howard.Flack.html

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International Union of Crystallography

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