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Draft: 1999 - 2002 CEP triennial report

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Herewith the draft of 1999 - 2002 CEP triennial report.
All comments are welcome.

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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<H1> IUCr Triennial Report 1999 - 2002 - Committee on Electronic Publ=
ishing, Dissemination and Storage of Information</H1>

In the triennium 1999 - 2002, the Committee on Electronic Publishing,=
 Dissemination and Storage of Information (EPC) constituted a small a=
nd very active working group. Following the unanimous proposition of =
the CEP, the IUCr's executive committee appointed Dr. Simon Parsons o=
f the University of Edinburgh, UK to the CEP on the 9th May 2001. S. =
Parsons has accepted the responsibility of the day-to-day running of =
<I>Crystallography Online</I>, the IUCr's information service.

Members of the CEP attended the following meetings in the triennium:

<LI> H. D. Flack visited the IUCr editorial office in Chester, UK in =
November 1999.

<LI> Y. Epelboin attended the ICSTI/ICSU Press interactive workshop o=
n <I>Digital Archiving: Bringing Issues and Stakeholders Together</I>=
, held on 30th - 31st January 2000 in Paris, France. H. D. Flack also=
 attended as ICSTI representative.

<LI> P. Strickland and B. McMahon attended the annual ICSTI meeting a=
nd visited CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service) in Columbus, Ohio, USA in=
 May 2000.  H. D. Flack also attended as ICSTI representative.

<LI> H. D. Flack visited the IUCr editorial office in Chester, UK in =
November 2000.

<LI> Y. Epelboin, H. D. Flack, B. McMahon and P. Strickland attended =
the UNESCO/ICSU Press Conference on Electronic Publishing in Science =
held at UNESCO, Paris, 20th - 23rd February 2001. J. Helliwell also a=

<LI> S. Parsons visited the IUCr editorial offices, Chester, UK in Ma=
y 2001.

<LI> P. Strickland, attended the presentation of the <I>ingenta</I> s=
tudy <I>Research into the Relationship between Journal Subscriptions =
and Document Delivery and the Impact of Online Delivery on Article Di=
stribution</I> in London, UK, 25th September 2001.=20

<LI> H. D. Flack visited the IUCr editorial offices, Chester, UK, in =
early November 2001.

<LI> B. McMahon attended a meeting <I>XML use in Chemistry</I> in Cam=
bridge, UK, January 2002

<LI> Y. Epelboin attended the seminar on <I>Digital Preservation of t=
he record of Science - state of the art</I>, UNESCO, Paris, France, 1=
4th - 15th February 2002. H. D. Flack also attended as ICSTI represen=

<LI> P. Strickland gave a short presentation on the IUCr's experience=
 in selling journals to library consortia at a meeting of the Associa=
tion of Learned and Professional Society Publishers in London, UK on =
the 19th February 2002.


The meeting attendances of the CODATA and ICSTI representatives, whos=
e work is so closely related to that of the CEP, are recorded in thei=
r individual reports.=20

<I>Crystallography Journals Online</I>:
Until mid-March 1999 the IUCr editorial office continued the project =
with Munksgaard to provide an online version of <I>Acta Crystallograp=
hica D</I> on their Synergy server operated by Healthgate. As a conse=
quence of these trials it was decided to develop an entirely in-house=
 system which was successfully launched for all six journals at the I=
UCr Congress in Glasgow in August 1999. The development of this syste=
m was achieved in about three months, largely because of the substant=
ial infrastructure already in place at the Chester offices, and as a =
result of the systematic and thoughtful development of the computer-b=
ased workflow built on top of previous investment in equipment and pe=
rsonnel. Subsequently an e-mail alerting service was put into operati=
on and <I>Acta Crystallographica C</I> is now being prepared in SGML.=
 From 1st September 2000 online access was limited only to subscriber=
s of the print journals. The IUCr has become a member of <I>CrossRef<=
/I> enabling article cross referencing between journals of different =
publishers to be implemented. Individual online article sale was put =
into service during 2000. During 2000 a policy document concerning th=
e archiving of IUCr journals was drafted and after presentation and d=
iscussion by all the interested parties was approved the executive co=
mmittee on the 18th July 2001.  The participation of H. D. Flack and =
B. McMahon in an ICSTI review of the OAIS (Open Archival Information =
System) enabled both improvements in the archiving policy document du=
ring the discussion stage and improved understanding of the modelisat=
ion and conceptualisation of archiving and preservation. For the Glas=
gow 1999 Congress experience had been gained in the scanning of docum=
ents for the preparation of a CD-ROM containing the congress abstract=
s and other material. The executive committee approved the project to=
 scan the back numbers of all IUCr journals. This project continued t=
hroughout the triennium and  in November 2001 all back numbers were m=
ade available online to subscribers 6 weeks ahead of schedule. The CE=
P has also given attention to ways of improving the sales of IUCr jou=
rnals to consortia of libraries. The IUCr's participation in an <I>in=
genta</I> study and developments in the field of crystalline phase de=
scriptors are treated in the report of the representative to ICSTI. A=
ttention has also been given, in collaboration with the General Edito=
r of the IUCr journals, to the questions concerning pre-prints and fi=
nal publications, the acceptability of pre-print manuscripts for jour=
nal publication, peer review (its operation and confidentiality), and=
 the usefulness of a pre-print service for crystallography. There app=
ears to be only very modest interest in the establishment of a prepri=
nt server for crystallography.

<I>Crystallography On-line</I>: The CEP holds the editorial powers fo=
r IUCr web services. Within the triennium their information content h=
as been very regularly updated and this task is still perceived as be=
ing of a very high priority worthy of investment in time and resource=
s. The rebranding and restructuring of the site, as a preliminary for=
 the restyling of the existing pages, has been completed to be in tun=
e with <I>Crystallography Journals Online</I>. The style and structur=
e of Crystallography Online emphasizes the different aspects of cryst=
allography and projects of the community rather than the IUCr as an i=
nstitution. In May 2001 the task of day-to-day maintenance of <I>Crys=
tallography Online</I> passed from H. D. Flack to S. Parsons. As part=
 of the changeover, a set of detailed maintenance instructions was pr=
epared for the incoming editor. The changeover proceeded very smoothl=
y indeed. Some preparatory work and discussions on the restyling of <=
I>Crystallography Online</I> have taken place. As part of this activi=
ty consideration has been given to the status and future role of the =
<I>Crystallography On-line</I> mirror sites. A questionnaire was subs=
equently sent to those responsible for maintaining the mirror sites t=
o obtain information and sound out opinion on matters such as adverti=
sing, perceived necessity of continuing with mirrors, and infrastruct=
ure at mirror sites. During the triennium more efficient software for=
 mirror-site updating was installed. As part of <I>Crystallography On=
-line</I> discussion forums are provided by means of list-server soft=
ware but these are only very lightly used.

<I>World Directory of Crystallographers 11</I>: A functional specific=
ation for a new implementation of WDC as a relational database using =
technology parallel to, but not directly integrated into the IUCr-edi=
torial-office production database was completed. Due to a heavy workl=
oad on the R&D staff in Chester it was not possible to proceed to an =
working implementation straightaway. The new online interface of WDC =
11 was launched in mid-December 2001 leading to a temporary overload =
on the server which are successfully reconfigured. The effort of the =
regional editors in verifying new entries is greatfully acknowledged.=
 At present there is still a steady stream of new entries and over 50=
00 people have logged in or created new entries. A printed version of=
 the directory is planned to be produced in late 2002.=20

<I>NeXus CD-ROM</I>: Under the continued leadership of L. M. D. Crans=
wick larger scale productions of the <I>Xtal NeXus; Virtual Crystallo=
graphic Internet on CD-ROM</I> have been undertaken. These CD-ROMs ar=
e distributed free of charge to laboratories and scientists with an i=
nterest in crystallography lacking adequate connection to the interne=
t. The CD-ROMs contain public domain software and copies of web sites=
 of interest to crystallographers. Both in 2000 and 2001, 1000 copies=
 of the NeXus CD-ROM were produced and distributed through our establ=
ished distribution channels. Previously these CD-ROMs had been produc=
ed on a one-by-one basis on request. In 2000 we received funding for =
this project from ICSU but this support was terminated due to a major=
 change in ICSU policy. The CEP wishes to thanks the IUCr's executive=
 committee for having provided all the finance for the NeXus CD-ROMs =
in 2001. The CEP intends to continue with the NeXus project in the co=
ming triennium.

<I>The Future</I>:
It is evident that over the past years in the field of electronic pub=
lishing, the IUCr has put a considerable effort into its journals and=
 into its online news service provided by <I>Crystallography Online</=
I>. It would seem that the moment has come when thought and effort sh=
ould be directed towards other aspects of the IUCr's publishing  and =
information dissemination activities. Opportunities exist in the use =
of multimedia techniques that have been insufficiently exploited up t=
o now. The perenity and adaptability of software is also another area=
 of concern. It is also essential to continue to stay abreast of deve=
lopments and opportunities in the preservation of digital information=

The CEP has hence a continuing role to play within the IUCr. All of i=
ts current members are prepared to continue to excercise their best e=
fforts if this is required. It is of the greatest use that the IUCr's=
 representatives to CODATA and ICSTI are members of the CEP and we re=
commend that this practice be continued. As written in the report of =
the representative to ICSTI it is suggested that the Executive Commit=
tee propose the IUCr's managing editor P. Strickland to become the re=
presentative to ICSTI. It should be made clear that under this arrang=
ement the chair of the CEP wishes also to have the opportunity to att=
end ICSTI and CODATA meetings from time to time according to situatio=
n and content. Contrary to the firm assertion made to the Executive C=
ommittee in Glasgow, H. D. Flack is now prepared to continue as chair=
 of the CEP for a very definitely final three-years period if this is=
 deemed to be necessary and desirable.

L. M. D. Cranswick, Y. Epelboin, H. D. Flack (Chair), B. McMahon, S. =
Parsons, P. Strickland. 27th May 2002.


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