ELINOR: Electronic Library Project

Fenghua Wang (State University of New York)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 1 March 2000




Wang, F. (2000), "ELINOR: Electronic Library Project", Collection Building, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 38-40. https://doi.org/10.1108/cb.2000.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

ELINOR was the electronic library project at De Montefort University that began in 1992 and concluded in 1996. This book describes the two‐phase project, focusing on specific problems, issues, and solutions in constructing the electronic library. The project’s pilot phase focused primarily on the technical issues of delivering scanned images of books and course materials through the campus network to the user’s desktop workstation, as well as problems involving copyright clearance. The continuation phase was to develop a much better method of clearing copyright with publishers, to examine the issues raised by expanding both the content of and access to the electronic library, and the user aspects including access and usability. The system used printed versions of materials stored as bitmapped images and text, with a free text‐retrieval engine to search the texts.

The introduction describes work being done by other libraries and institutions, for example, the informedia project at Carnegie Mellon University (http://www.informedia.cs.cmu.edu/) and the University of California Santa Barbara’s Alexandria Project (http://alexandria.sdc.ucsb. edu). Each chapter of the book focuses on a particular issue involved in the ELINOR project and describes solutions to the problems so that each chapter forms a self‐contained article. Some of the issues addressed in these chapters are: copyright clearance, monitoring and usage; economic models for the electronic library; user reactions and subsequent system improvements in accessibility, user support, user friendliness; and Z39.50 Web‐based information retrieval developments. Throughout the project, copyright problems continued to impede development, which resulted in a model license agreement being developed.

This book should be consulted by libraries planning to develop virtual library programmes. With the widespread availability of the World Wide Web, some of the technical problems and considerations which the Windows‐based ELINOR encountered may not be relevant, but the issues involved in developing a project like this remain the same, particularly regarding copyright clearance and licensing agreements. The work is highly recommended.

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