This site has been archived on
ISTweb You are here: Telematics / Libraries / Activities
This is the Telematics for Libraries ARCHIVE.
These projects were part of Framework Programme 4.
The pages are no longer maintained
Digicult Home CORDIS Home
Support actions
Support documentation
Public libraries
Music libraries
Distance learning
(email removed)
Test sites

Telematics for Libraries - Projects


Updated: 22 NOV 99
Project Number and Title
4022 - Large Scale Demonstrators for Global, Open Distributed Library Services
Programme/ Action line Call Topic(s) Start End Project Duration
in Months
FP 4/ B 4 October 1996

Keywords : distributed library services; document delivery; electronic library; interlibrary loan; SR/Z39.50; union catalogues

blue bullet Additional information is available from the UNIVERSE Web site . (


Action Line B: Telematics Applications for interconnected library services.

Call Topic(s)

Call topic 4: Creating and testing interconnected library services, integrating applications for at least two different library service functions.

Project description

The UNIVERSE project aims to deliver and utilise a logical union catalogue, providing a single contact point for specific subject domains, to deliver a number of advanced library services for both the end-user and the librarian. Services will include multimedia document delivery, inter-library loans and collaborative cataloguing/record supply, integrated to the transparent, very large scale multi-database search and retrieve process.

Technical approach

UNIVERSE exploited the results of previous library projects and utilised developments in key standards, such as SR/Z39.50 for heterogeneous database searching, UNICODE and UNIMARC for canonical internal character and record representation and ILL as part of the document delivery process.

Large scale logical union cata-logues were developed in two subject areas: a Pan-European technical catalogue and a Pan-European environmental catalogue. The project also collaborated with the G7 pilot project ENRM ( Environment and Natural Resource Management ).

The logical catalogues are established by co-ordinating large numbers of relevant libraries through subject based 'user groups' to stimulate cross-border co-operation and resource sharing between libraries.

National libraries participating in UNIVERSE will provide rich, high volume data sets, consolidating the activity within the subject areas and extending the scope of demonstrators across further subject areas, geographical areas and library types.

Key issues

The main technical issues addressed include:

  • The ability to search multiple physical databases (in parallel) which are heterogeneous in terms of access methods, record syntax, character set and language, presenting results as though a single logical database were being searched.
  • Making the search process transparent to the user.
  • Offering a high quality service in terms of performance and data quality through record de-duplication and merging.
  • Through the use of Open Distributed Processing (ODP) techniques the architecture has potentially unlimited scalability.


The project has provided a large scale implementation of distributed and integrated library services and experience in its use. The implementation of an open software architecture contributes to the Global Information Infrastructure.

The design specifications have identified two key areas where UNIVERSE will potentially contribute to the development of international standards. These are the Z39.50 profile for multilingual thesaurus and an implementors agreement for responses to interim search results to enable the system to act more like a single database.


Major deliverables, not all of which are for public release, included:

  • Technical state-of-the-art report
  • User Services state-of-the-art report
  • Service, commercial and legal requirements specification
  • Technical specification
  • User requirements specification
  • A prototype of the client software for use by librarians in Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery
  • User documentation
  • Annual and Final project reports.

Additional information is available from the contact below and from the project Web site at:
UNIVERSE Web site .


Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
Fretwell-Downing Data Systems Ltd. UK - SHEFFIELD S11 7AE UK
Title, First Name, Name Mr Neil Smith Address: 861, Ecclesall Road
Brincliff House
Tel: + 44 114 281 61 11 Fax: + 44 114 281 59 81
E-mail 1: (email removed) E-mail 2:

Other Partners

Name of Institution/Organisation Country Role
Danish Technical Knowledge Centre DK P
British Library UK P
Irish Library Council IE P
National Library of Greece GR P
Freshwater Biological Association UK P
Southampton Oceanographic Centre UK A
Harper Adams College UK A
Kyros GR A
University College Dublin IE A
Q-Ray NL A
Ex-Libris LU A
University of Sheffield Library UK A
Index Data DK A
Forbairt IE A
Delft University of Technology Library NL A
Technical University Library of Norway NO A

Top of Document

This page is maintained by (email removed)
ISTweb EC home FP5 home Disclaimer
IST news More links DG Information Society IST calls Back to top