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Telematics for Libraries - Projects


Updated: 22 NOV 99
Project Number and Title
4034 - Linking Publishers and National Bibliographic Services
Programme/Action line Call Topic(s) Start End Project Duration
in Months
FP 4/ B 6 May 1996

Keywords : bibliographic records; data exchange; electronic publications and publishing; metadata; national bibliographic services
Related projects : COBRA; USEMARCON

blue bullet Additional information is available from the BIBLINK project web site .

Action Line

Action line B: Telematics applications for interconnected library services.

Call Topic(s)

Call Topic 6: Services for the acquisition and supply of materials to libraries.

Project description

BIBLINK aims to further develop and improve national bibliographic services, via a demonstrator service, creating new links between publishers and national libraries or national bibliographic agencies. There is currently no adequate bibliographic control over electronic publications, nor is there an agreed standard of bibliographic description for many types of electronic publication. National libraries need to secure authoritative advance information about new electronic publications. For the publishers of electronic materials there is a need to register new electronic publications (whether they are on-line publications or off-line - e.g. CD-ROM - publications) and to carry enriched bibliographic data as an integral part of the electronic publication. The BIBLINK interactive demonstrator system enables publishers of electronic documents to input and transmit an agreed minimum level of data to national bibliographic services, allowing those services to enrich and retransmit it to the publishers.

Technical approach

The project has two phases:

Phase I investigated and developed consensus on data formats, data content, transmission standards, and on document identification and authentication. This was carried out in conjunction with publishing and booktrade organisations. The result was a feasibility analysis and general specification for the demonstrator.

In Phase 2, a full functional and technical specification was developed, the demonstrator was built (in an iterative process with the libraries and publisher partners) and subjected to validation through the test sites. The demonstrator provides for a BIBLINK Workspace to handle Dublin Core and SGML as exchange formats with the publishers and to produce output records in UNIMARC for conversion and input to the different national bibliographic formats.

Key issues

The main technical issues are:

  • Agreeing standard formats for data to be transmitted (for conversion to MARC-based formats for library use, if necessary).
  • Investigating ways to encode metadata, finding unique document identification schemes for electronic documents and ways to enable secure transmission and authentication of electronic publications.
  • Developing consensus among the different interests on the standards and norms to be used.
  • Defining and implementing a demonstrator, testing the system and evaluating the impact.


The demonstrator allows national libraries to exercise appropriate bibliographic control over electronic documents, making their discovery and retrieval more effective. The embedded data adds value to the documents distributed by publishers and provides catalogue data to libraries who acquire the documents. Test sites involving different categories of users in the five participating countries were used to assess the technical feasibility and the operational and service feasibility and impact on the market for national bibliographic records.

Additional information can be obtained from the contact below or from .


The main technical deliverables in the first phase were a series of publicly available reports on:

  • Metadata formats
  • Workspace functional specifications
  • Identification schemes
  • Format conversion feasibility study
  • Design review report
  • Transmission of data report
  • Authentication of electronic documents
  • Reports defining the scope, the consensus building results, and the minimum data set.

The main deliverables in Phase 2 are:

  • Full functional and technical specifications for the demonstrator
  • The demonstrator service and validation report
  • Final project report.

Documentation can be obtained from the contact below and from the Web at: .


Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
The British Library, National Bibliographic Service UK - WETHERBY LS23 7BQ UK
Title, First Name, Name Mr. Howard SHOEMARK Address: Boston Spa
E-mail 1: (email removed) E-mail 2:

Other Partners

Name of Institution/Organisation Country Role
UK Office for Library and Information Networking, UKOLN UK P
Koninklijke Bibliotheek NL P
National Library, Rana NO P
Bibliothèque Nationale de France FR P
Biblioteca Nacional ES P
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya ES P
Level-7 Ltd. UK S
Oxford University Press UK A
Chadwyck-Healey UK A
Context Ltd UK A
Book Industry Communication UK X
Editions VIGDOR FR X
Lamy Editions FR X
La Documentation Française FR X
ENSSIB: Bulletin des Bibliothèques de France FR X
Microsoft France FR X
Halloween NL X
  • cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness issues;

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