Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

COPINET: billing system for open-access networked information resources

The COPINET consortium constructed and tried an experimental system using the World Wide Web for information retrieval and document delivery. The system incorporates mechanisms for the secure handling over the open Internet of the commercial aspects of the information service. In particular, it tested the handling of authentication and charging of known registered users as well as obtaining payment from unregistered users through secure transfer or through the use of electronic cash systems. The publisher mounted on a server at the library site, a selection of its abstracts database together with links to full-text documents. The server software was enhanced to incorporate a variety of charging, billing and payment mechanisms, making use where appropriate of available software components. The system was tested with real library users.

COPINET contributed towards solving problems of billing, charging and payment for the use of copyright or proprietary materials which are to be made available on the Internet. Publishers benefit from increased understanding of means of exploiting this potentially vast publishing outlet; librarians from improved knowledge of the relation between information provision and new technologies for handling it; end-users from the growing number of sources of high quality authoritative materials and ease of payment. The project produced a working model for accessing and ordering documents in an open as well as in a closed environment; the model thus is able to handle requests coming from different types of users (registered or not). During the project the publisher and library base were extended through the expert Focus group. This increased the possibilities for a larger uptake of the solutions developed.

Additional information is available from the website http://www.mari.co.uk/copinet/.

Reported by

MARI Computer Systems Ltd
Unit 22 Witney Way Boldon Business Park Boldon Colliery
NE35 9PE Boldon
United Kingdom
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