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Telematics for Libraries - Projects


Updated: 22 NOV 99
Project Number and Title
4063 - Libraries: Electronic Remote Access to Information over Networks
Programme/Action line Call Topic(s) Start End Project Duration
in Months
FP 4/ C 11 May 1996 November 1998 30

Keywords : charging / cost recovery; electronic library; electronic publications & publishing; hypermedia; World Wide Web
Related projects : COPINET

blue bullet Additional information is available on the LIBERATION Web site . (

Action line

Action Line C: Library services for access to networked information resources

Call topic(s)

Call Topic 11: User applications supporting unified access to combined network information and library-based resources

Project description

LIBERATION is based on the belief that modern libraries must provide a dynamic, annotatable and easily searchable information space that is not restricted by physical boundaries. The project investigates the extent to which material can be distributed and linked, practically, over local servers, CDs and the Internet. LIBERATION will evaluate a paradigm for charging that has shown more promise than individual-subscription-based, time-based or volume-based techniques.

Technical approach

The project prepared a set of multimedia material and packaged it for usage on both CD-ROMs and for network use.

Network use was via both the Internet and local networks (LANs) that are "fed" from the Internet.

On the Internet , traditional billing models (subscriptions and volume charges) and free access to some material are offered and data on the effects of various billing schemes was collected. The claim that "if a multimedia version of a book is offered on the Internet for free, then the sales of the printed book go UP rather than DOWN" was investigated.

For the LAN version , material was offered for 'n' users at a time, where the fee a library pays to the publisher increases as 'n' grows.

Both networked variants (LAN and WAN) were tested with users at the workplace and with terminals placed in libraries.

The underlying server technology used was Hyperwave (previously known as Hyper-G). The Dublin Core Metadata approach was applied within the framework of this technology.

Key issues

A substantial body of information in electronic form has been packaged into a format that allows distribution to libraries via CDs, LANs and WANs such as the Internet. User reactions ware monitored both at the user's workplace and at easy-to-use terminals in conventional libraries. During the work, the main issues explored were:

  • Co-operation of libraries and publishers in the field of electronic publishing via networks and CD-ROM.
  • Behaviour of end-users with regard to accessing electronic library materials
  • Cost recovery schemes and mechanisms in an electronic library envi-ronment.


LIBERATION provides the first genuine comparison between various types of use of electronic material. Lessons learned from this comparison allow increased efficiency in the production and use of multimedia material in libraries and supplied by libraries.

LIBERATION is a showcase and one of its variants should be sufficiently successful to warrant further exploitation, including the reorientation of libraries to new modes of serving their customers and of European publishers to more profitable fields.

LIBERATION is a carefully planned alternative to some of the grand digital library schemes in the USA. Rather than committing all resources to one approach or technology, LIBERATION allows publishers to enter the electronic publishing field, adjusting the direction according to the requirements of users and the market.


The main deliverables of the project included the following, most of which are for public release:

  • Evaluation techniques specification
  • Statistics gathering specification
  • User interface specification
  • End-user requirements specification
  • Platform specifications
  • Service providers (libraries) requirements specifications
  • Annual and Final project reports.

Additional information, including technical reports (project deliverables), is available on the LIBERATION Web site at LIBERATION Web site .


Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
Institute for Information Processing and Computer Supported New Media, Technische Universität Graz A - 8010 GRAZ


Title, First Name, Name Prof. Dr. h.c. Hermann MAURER Address: Schießstattgasse 4a
Tel: + 43 316 87 35 612 Fax: + 43 316 82 43 94
E-mail 1: (email removed) E-mail 2:

Other Partners

Name of Institution/Organisation Country Role
Hallward Library, University of Nottingham UK P
Library, University of Freiburg DE P
Addison-Wesley Germany DE P
Bibliographisches Institut & F.A. Brockhaus DE P
Springer Verlag DE X

Other Partners

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