ACCESS | Asia 's Newspaper on Electronic Information Product & Service
December 2002 No.43  
  In this issue
Academic libraries risk marginalisation
That's what a new study by Outsell concludes. Success or failure seems to hang on formal business planning and systematic evaluation of services, i.e., do more user studies. The research is part of Outsell's study of critical content deployment functions. more... is music to our ears
The CEO of the world's first online classical music service is certain that Asia is his most important market. Roger Press, who was recently in Singapore, says that Asians are more enthusiastic about the playing and study of classical music than anybody else. more...
The Silk Road comes to life courtesy China and the UK
The British Library and the National Library of China have got their feather dusters out to sweep away the cobwebs on their silk road collections. What they've uncovered are 50,000 manuscripts, paintings and artefacts which have been digitised for the International Dunhuang Project. All are viewable on the project website via a single Chinese and English interface. more...
Balance of power shifts in libraries
The Primary Research Group in a recent study concludes that power has shifted in favour of libraries especially those that are aware of alternative web access to databases often carried by commercial online services. more...
Preserve your assets 
If your newspapers, palm leaf manuscripts and antique runs of journals are the worse for wear, fear not: CLIR and Cornell University have launched the first in a series of conservation manuals for Southeast Asia. In the format of a tutorial, the guide looks at management and planning, preservation, building capacity and support.  more...
UK investigates scholarly journal pricing 
Many librarians held up their hands in horror when Reed Elsevier bought Harcourt. Prices will go up they thought. Too few publishers means monopolies they said. Somebody listened. The UK's Office of Fair Trading decided to investigate the STM journal market and have recently published their findings.  more...
Creative Commons has machine readable licenses just for you 
Creative what? It's an organisation fighting for the creative reuse of intellectual works. And it has just launched its first product: machine readable copyright licenses. The licenses, inspired by the open source and free software movements, come in three formats. more...
Groundbreaking depository launched by MIT
If you haven't heard of it, you soon will because DSpace from MIT will be replicated by other research bodies all over the world. DSpace will capture, store, distribute and preserve the entire intellectual output of MIT, setting a standard in the process. more...
New features added to BBC Monitoring Online
They're the best known and probably the most watched and listened to broadcasting company in the world. And for years, they've been listening too to the world's radio and TV stations. Why? To translate into English everything they see, read and hear. So for what's happening anywhere in the world, the BBC Monitoring Online Database must be in a class of its own. It's recently been enhanced. more...
CAS digs into its past
The numbers are very large indeed. CAS recently added 3 million unique subject and chemical substance index entries to the CA and CAplus databases for 1 million documents from 1962-1966. Clearly in love with indexes and wanting to add value for subscribers, the CA folks are adding several million more entries back to, wait for it, 1907.more...
Australia and Singapore national libraries get intimate
They've recently signed an MOU that will allow both libraries to benefit from each other's expertise. Both will exchange information on IT strategies and plans, and new technologies to deliver services. They're also going to discuss regional collaboration through the AskNow digital reference service of the National Library of Australia. more...
Information services to small food companies
How do small Asian food companies innovate and compete? With difficulty must be the answer because the worlds major sources of information cost thousands of dollars annually - far beyond the budgets of companies with 30 or fewer employees. But that's about to change with the launch of Food Science Central, the new home on the web for food information from IFIS. Read our interview with Jeremy Selman, more...
Conferences, Courses & Exhibitions
Online Information 2002 attracts exhibitors from Asia  
Online Information 2002, the library and information showcase which recently concluded at Londons Olympia, proved that bigger isnt always better. Information industry professionals from over 45 countries gathered at the 26th exhibition and conference. 11,091 attendees passed through the doors of the Olympia Grand Hall to see the new information products and services on offer from 240 exhibitors, attend the conference, and take advantage of 80 free educational seminars on the exhibition floor. 
Smaller than its immediate predecessors, this show was well focussed. Gone were the sharp suits, fast talk and blissful information products promised by the dot.coms. In were the solid and reliable databases, services and software created with libraries in mind by companies who three years ago were being written off as sunset basket cases. They remain with us because they have content, which is created by people who value information and which is immediately recognizable to researchers and librarians alike. Many of them still have print too. Not everybody has moved their assets to the Web cutting down on printers bills. Library patrons still like the versatility of paper copy for those long bus rides and browsy afternoons in the garden.
  Chinese trade statistics from GCB
While almost all the exhibitors were from Europe and North America, there were a couple of Asian companies exhibiting for the first time. Goodwill China Business Information Limited from Hong Kong has taken Chinese import/export data and created a website that permits analysis of data. Assigned by the Statistics Department of Customs General Administration of China as a global agent since 1998 with the exclusive rights to distribute their statistical information service, GCB is able to provide detailed import & export records based on China Customs statistical information. It also provides other trade related services such as foreign trade laws and policies, duty rates, declaration information, and extensive profiles for the importing and exporting companies. Data is updated monthly with over 12 million shipment records annually. More on the Web at here .
From South Korea, MediSurf will be selling medical information in English to individual practitioners. From its homepage, subscribers will have access to databases, news services such as Reuters Health Information, full text delivery and lots of links to free medical websites. Albert Sang-Wook Han, CEO of MediSurf told ACCESS that the paid services would be open for subscribers in the coming weeks. He was at Online Information testing the reaction to his service since he believes that the most promising markets are Europe and North America where physicians are accustomed to paying for medical information services.
  Biomedicine ejournals from Germany and Holland
Thieme, a German company, have brought their medical and science journals to the web. Thirty five of them are in English. The company offers free access to abstracts and table of contents at here. From The Netherlands came Bentham Science Publishers. This Dutch company has 25 high quality ejournals in chemistry and drug sciences with a further six titles announced for 2003. Prices range from USD6,900 a year for Current Pharmaceutical Design to four or five hundred dollars for other titles. Universities should get nearly 50 percent discounts for all titles. Visit here for the details.
There is a lot of choice for librarians wanting to subscribe to news services. But perhaps none is as comprehensive and up to date as Global Newsline from the BBC. For 70 years the BBC has been monitoring foreign TV and radio broadcasts and translating them into English. In practical terms, news items from 3,000 sources in over 100 languages are translated and added to the internet database daily. The database is unrivalled in its geographical coverage and timeliness. It also carries the BBC imprint making it among the most reliable news source available. The BBC is also offering BBC Monitoring Online, a searchable database of political and economic news. And International Reports, a tailored file of reports selected by geographical region or topic. There are plenty of details about each service at here .
If you prefer the TV news to databases, MyCast should appeal to you. Its a photo-realistic speaking news presenter who delivers the news at your command. MyCast sits in the background of your computer and when the news breaks, announces it to you. It was recently launched by KnowledgeView Limited, who provides more details at here.
Staying with news and current affairs, Palgrave Macmillan has created SYBworld  a global reference service. It promises comprehensive coverage of government and politics, geography, history, economics, social policy and culture for 192 countries. An intuitive map interface with links to a further 2,000 websites helps with the browsing. 
  Several publishers catch the ebook bug
While 'pure' ebook companies are still a rarity, several publishers are bringing their printed books to the Web. The latest is Springer who was trumpeting their Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 1,000 volumes of 35,000 articles by more than 50,000 authors. Its available on SpringerLink with having the product details. In the same vein, Pearson Education announced Safari Tech Books Online, an internet library information retrieval system for IT professionals. It consists of 1,000 technology books from Prentice Hall, Addison-Wesley, Cisco Press and others. Its homepage is at here .
Another publisher moving their titles to the Web was Europa Publications. Its World of Learning with profiles of 30,000 institutions and 200,000 people from 200 countries, is at here, International Whos Who of 19,000 eminent people has its home at here; and the Europa World Year Book will be live in June 2003. ABC-CLIO, the history reference publisher has also launched an ebook site of 150 titles. All titles published since 2000 are on the site. A free preview is at here .
New to ACCESS was xreferplus, a digital reference library of 120 titles spanning 20 topics from 26 publishers including Harper Collins, Grove, Penguin, Whos Who and Thames & Hudson. The idea is to aggregate and integrate reference works online: encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, books of quotations and reference works covering a wide range of subjects. A backend system allow for all this content to be cross-referenced, creating some of the richest content on the internet. A free trial is offered at here .
  200 digitised and searchable years of The Thunderer
Among the most venerable publishers, Gale was launching the archive of the best known newspaper in the world: The Times Digital Archive 1785-1985. It was produced using Gales microfilm collection of the newspaper resulting in a digital searchable database of 10 million articles and a facsimile version. A treasure trove of information, we can see how the French Revolution, the Boer War and Maos Long March was reported at the time. We can also see the display and classified advertisements because nothing has been omitted. For lots more detail visit here .   
H.W. Wilson goes from strength to strength with WilsonWeb. An entirely redesigned version offers integration with web-based content and services, multiple search and display, database-specific thesauri, many customisation options and a simpler yet more effective interface. A review of this new version is offered at here .
Emerald unveiled its enhanced Emerald Fulltext 2003 database scheduled for activation 1 March 2003. It offers many features requested by subscribers such as the option for account managers to pre-set the default parameters of the search and browse functions to just those titles included on the organisations subscription list. The new database can be tried via the Emerald homepage at here
  BIOSIS completes largest ever enhancement
Another venerable publisher offering a new service was BIOSIS. Its BiologyBrowser  connects users with discussion forums, 12,000 quality-controlled Web links, the Index to Organism Names, an animal classification guide and science news. BIOSIS has also completed its largest ever enhancement of its databases by adding 9 million CAS Registry Numbers, 6,300 sequence data accession numbers and BIOSIS Major Concepts. And just in case you think that BIOSIS stuff is covered in other databases, colourful handouts comparing the databases with Agricola, EMBASE and Medline, pointed out the uniqueness of each.
IFIS, the food science people, launched their biggest investment in years: Food Science Central, a web site for the worlds food scientists and nutritionists. 2,400 evaluated links to food related sites, an online magazine, reviews of key websites and plenty more free stuff, is found at here
INSPEC announced several new resources including three current awareness products, INSPEC Search Aids on CD-ROM, two specialist databases - INSPEC Biomedical Technology and INSPEC Photonics, and a new journal IEE Proceedings-Nanobiotechnology .
Business information is still the most remunerative sector of the information industry. So Bureau van Dijk must be hoping to make a killing with its ORBIS database of 10 million companies, 8 million from Europe, 1.4 million from North America and 110,000 from Japan. has more.
  Music lovers get ready to swoon
A new service with a difference is a music service for libraries. It has more than 10,000 recordings accessible every minute of the day, more than 200 themed playlists, hundreds of composer and artist biographies, a daily news service and a Beginners Guide. Aspiring conductors and music librarians will swoon when they read all the details at here .
Finally, information from Russia. ILIAC, the International Library Information and Analytical Center, with offices in Moscow and Washington, has a cornucopia of STM information. Standards, patents, agriculture, online books, legislation…you want it, theyve got it! To understand the full scope of what ILIAC has to offer you could do worse than visit here .
Next years conference, Online Information 2003, takes place from 2-4 December 2003 in the Grand Hall and Conference Centre, Olympia. For further details visit the Online Information web site at here .
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