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ICSTI: news items

  • To: epc@iucr.org
  • Subject: ICSTI: news items
  • From: Pete Strickland <ps@iucr.org>
  • Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 15:05:53 +0000
  • Organization: IUCr

Subject: HighWire launches "Shop for Journals"

Stanford University's HighWire Press announced the launch of a new 
feature for institutions, 'Shop for Journals'. 28 society publishers, 
with content hosted on HighWire, have banded together to create an 
easy way to select from an initial list of 60 journal titles and 
create custom packages, with more titles expected to join in the New
Year. To support this program, these publishers have developed a 
standard set of Guidelines for Institutional Access (defining 
authorized use and users), and have agreed to use a common tiered 
pricing model, based on type of institution.


The Shop for Journals Open Package is a way for institutions to pick 
and choose which titles they want, obtain the correct pricing for 
their institution, and to purchasethem through one simple mechanism.
Subject: Report of the Report of the Online Meeting and Exhibition, 
London, 2-4 December 2003

by Barry Mahon

There is an English tradition that dinners of official bodies and 
clubs etc., have an after dinner speaker for their annual get 
together. A subset of this is the rugby club dinner, usually after a 
big match. The after dinner speaker at these dinners is of a 
different type to the more conventional speaker. 

I recall this tradition not because England won the world cup of rugby 
but because the first keynote speaker at the 2003 version of Online 
reminded me of an after dinner speaker at a rugby club. The speaker 
was Ian Angell the Professor of Information Systems at the London 
School of Economics. His speech was largely content free although he 
did tell a lot of jokes. His purported theme was the uselessness of 
most computer systems - he feels that most of them do not do the job 
they should. Strange really that he should be so negative - he has 
been Professor of Information Systems since 1986, according to his 
biog., so he is directly or indirectly responsible for the education 
of a lot of the people who implement computer systems. 

Professor Angell was the victim of a very unfortunate series of 
technical snafus with his slides. It is really quite unacceptable 
that a conference where the early bird minimum three day fee is over 
600 ($1,000) that the organisers cannot get the slides right. 
Another small point, according to the attendance list, almost 50% of 
the delegates are non-English, so I wonder how many of them 
appreciated the jokes, your understanding of a language needs to be 
very good to appreciate jokes. 

Equally unacceptable is the fact that a series of sessions on 
Information Architecture was so overcrowded that more than half the 
audience was either left standing or forced to sit on the floor. 
Information Architecture is a hot topic, the 'competing' session  
held in the main auditorium was on news information services, 
probably a less popular subject. 

By the way, talking of IA and Content Management, topics of the 
Conference, the web site of the meeting had the 2002 programme for 
the first two days displayed?..instead of the 2003 programme - the 
page URLs give the game away, same page titles, I suspect, in both 

Last rant; the index of the printed Proceedings was a disgrace for a 
meeting of information professionals, probably created automatically 
from MSWord - it has entries such as:- Deutsche Bank ??.127-130; or 
Library of Congress??.179-186.

You may have the impression that I didn't think much of the 
Conference. On the contrary most of the sessions I went to were good, 
professional speakers speaking professionally to a professional 
audience, pity that the organisation didn't match. 

The session of most direct interest to ICSTI was on customer support 
in STM information services. There was a representative panel from 
suppliers, users, agents, etc., and they covered many of the well 
known issues. The most interesting input, anecdotally, was from 
Blackwells  who gave us an interesting insight into the wide range of 
customer support questions they get. In fact the really interesting 
bit was that this level of customer support in new to them, agents 
fielded a lot of this when they were the principle interface to the 
customers in the days of paper based publications. One of the points 
that came up was the likely future role of agents, who might be 
considered an endangered species, but who may have a whole new set of 
activities in identifying where open access material is being 
published and acting in their old role as an agent in getting access 
to the right materials for the clients. A good session, no sales 
stuff, down to earth practical input and discussion. 

Another of the keynotes was on Content Management (CM), given by Bob 
Boiko, a guru of the scene, author of the Content Management bible. 
He spent 15 minutes talking about himself and his career. He said he 
would not use 'geek speak' and then told us he had invented a new 
term - metatorial??which he has registered . The rest of his talk 
was comprehensive, perhaps too much so, it was more like a seminar, a 
teaching input, not much comment on what CM actually achieves. Again, 
I wonder what the audience felt, maybe they want to be taught. One of 
the most revealing moments of the meeting for me was the tiny number 
of attendees who put up their hand saying they were in 'business' 
when polled by Bob. 

I attended a session on content management which illustrates the 
nightmare of conference organisers in dealing with such a broad 
topic. The papers covered digital preservation, a BBC public access 
web project, an international plant genetics database, and a new 
taxonomy based software from Houston, Texas, quite a mix!! The loose 
connection was content but the subjects were so diverse that it was 
hard to keep one's concentration. . 

I attended an interesting and practical session on information 
metrics. The well known adage - cannot measure, cannot manage was the 
theme and the three speakers gave from their practical experience, 
especially Liz MacLachlan of the UK Department of Trade and Industry, 
describing their implementation of a records and content management 

As so often at Online the exhibition area provided most of the 'news' 
such as that Lexis-Nexis were not there neither were McGaw Hill nor 
Reuters or Dow Jones, except as Factiva. ICSTI Members American 
Psychological Association,  British Library, CAS, CSA, Derwent, 
Elsevier, EPO, Ingenta, INIST, INSPEC, ISSN, were present and I hope 
they did good business. Overall the number of exhibitors was down, 
there was only one floor of the exhibition space used and I did hear 
that many of the smaller exhibitors, associations like ourselves, 
were offered free or heavily discounted space. Hard to judge about 
the audience numbers, there seemed to be less than usual there but 
people I spoke to seemed to have had a useful event. 

One other small thing - our namesake, ICSTI, the International Centre 
for Scientific and Technical Information was there, offering access 
to Russian STI. 

My general impression? Much as other years, a meeting place for the 
pros, still a significant event, but one gets the impression that the 
audience for the conference and the audience for the exhibition are 
moving further apart, the latter attracts the more commercial 
interests, the former the non-commercial, for the most part, users. I 
think the mix works but as I said the organisation is not anything 
like as good as it used to be, pity. 
Subject: NFAIS Annual Conference

THE YEAR 2010".

The preliminary program of the 2004 NFAIS Annual Conference, "The 
Battle for Mindshare:  Information Access and Retrieval in the Year 
2010", is now available.  The objective of the meeting, scheduled for 
February 22-24, 2004 at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia, PA, 
is to identify the challenges and opportunities that are developing
as a result of the new information environment being shaped now by 
Yahoo!, Google, and similar search engines.  Everyone involved in any 
aspect of information distribution - publisher, librarian, 
aggregator, technology provider, host system - should attend this
conference in order to better understand the needs and expectations of 
the new generation of information seekers.

The meeting will open with a speaker from Yahoo! Search presenting a 
picture of the information future from their perspective.  This will 
be followed by a presentation of case studies in which searches 
performed using both traditional resources and the web are compared, 
and by a panel of experts who will describe the current information
usage behavior in the corporate, government and academic environments.  
The remainder of the conference will showcase how traditional 
information providers can leverage current trends to their advantage 
through innovative use of content, technology, text mining and new 
business models.

Speakers from such diverse organizations as Microsoft, IBM, the 
British Library, BioMed Central, the U.S. National Library of 
Medicine, Dupont, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the American 
Museum of Natural History, the Universities of Maryland
and Tennessee, and the Digital Library Foundation - among others - 
will provide insights as to how they are evolving to cope with 
changes in information usage behavior.

The meeting is being sponsored by:  The American Psychological
Association/PsycINFO, BIOSIS, CSA (Cambridge Scientific Abstracts), 
Chemical Abstracts Service, the Defense Technical Information Center, 
Dialog, a Thomson business, The H. W. Wilson Company, The J. Paul 
Getty Trust, The National Library of Medicine, and Nerac, Inc.

To access the preliminary program, registration forms, and other 
conference-related information, go to:

Or contact Jill O'Neill, NFAIS Director of Communication and Planning 
at jilloneill@nfais.org or 215-893-1561.
Subject: Report on the STM market

Again I am grateful to Jill O'Neill and NFAIS ENotes for the 
information about a recent report by UK based EPS (Electronic 
Publishing Services) on the STM market:

an extract from the contents -

"Despite restive authors and subscribers in the research community, 
the market positions of most STM publishers remain stable thanks to 
the abilities of their key brands to confer recognition upon authors 
and maintain authority with readers"

you can view the contents page and other background information about 
the report at:



Best wishes

Peter Strickland
Managing Editor
IUCr Journals

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