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ICSTI: news items

  • To: epc@iucr.org
  • Subject: ICSTI: news items
  • From: Pete Strickland <ps@iucr.org>
  • Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 15:44:03 +0100
  • Organization: IUCr
Subject: The reality may not be so rosy....

In the course of my researches for our meeting in January I came 
across this letter to the Editor of the British Medical Journal....

"Smith applauds the progress made in providing access to the internet 
in the developing world. Unfortunately the reality on the ground may 
not be as rosy. I have just completed two years in a major 
sub-Saharan African university that was in the first phase of HINARI 
access. Having been initially starved of information while
there I rushed to gain access. Unfortunately I was directed to the 
websites of two other international projects that were also providing 
free access to research materials over the internet.

I found poorly presented sites with complex addresses and passwords, 
and with limited access to full text journals. I contacted the 
projects repeatedly over the following months from my local internet 
café, trying to get better materials, but finally gave up,
frustrated. It was only on my return to the United Kingdom that I 
discovered that I had been directed to the wrong sites. The HINARI 
website (www.healthinternetwork.org/) would have provided all that I 
needed. How can we ensure that access to HINARI is available to those 
who need it? If I as someone who was in the university, computer 
literate, and keen to access journals failed, then there is little 
hope for the rural majority with limited computer skills.

Communication in countries must be improved through training 
programmes and publicity. But it is also the responsibility of 
international projects participating in information supply to the 
developing world to direct casual searchers like myself to
good quality central portals like HINARI rather than to their own 
poorer versions. All too often good resources can be confounded by 
interagency competitiveness. To ensure that the HINARI address is 
spread as widely as possible, all need to focus on this
major portal so that the users at the sharp end do not receive 
confused messages.

Andrew D Weeks, lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology.
Liverpool Women's Hospital, Liverpool L8 7SS aweeks@Liverpool.ac.uk"

Subject: Proceedings of National Academy seminar

The proceedings of the Symposium on the Role of Scientific and 
Technical Data and Information in the Public Domain (Washington, 
D.C., September 5-6, 2002) have now been published as a book from the 
National Academies Press. Like all books from the
NAP, there is both a priced, printed version and a full-text, 
open-access version.



Subject: NFAIS Statement on Reference Linking

NFAIS Releases Guiding Principles in Support of Industry-Wide 
Collaboration on Reference Linking:

Upon unanimous vote of the Board of Directors and with strong support 
from individual member organizations, NFAIS has released a set of 
Guiding Principles to encourage widespread linking of bibliographic 
and full text databases.  The ultimate objective is to
support the flow of scholarly communication and research through an 
acceleration of the information discovery process - a process 
facilitated by the seamless navigation from indexes and pointers to 
the complete documents. The Reference Linking Guidelines were 
developed by the NFAIS Information Linking Committee - a group 
comprised of both NFAIS members and non-members who
recognize the need for reference linking to become an information 
industry norm.

A press release and a link to the Guidelines can be found at: 

Bonnie Lawlor of NFAIS will be one of the speakers at the January 2004 
ICSTI meeting on the future economics of sti publishing - Paris, 
January 15 & 16 2004.
Make a note for your diaries, places will be limited.



Best wishes

Peter Strickland
Managing Editor
IUCr Journals

IUCr Editorial Office, 5 Abbey Square, Chester CH1 2HU, England
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