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Content archived on 2024-04-19

Electronic Document Interchange between Libraries


The main objectives of the EDIL project were:

- demonstrate the international electronic interchange of documents between main European library networks;
- using standard and widely available products,
- to disseminate the results by an active pilot and demonstration stage.

Within the context of European co-operation in the implementation of networked library services, the EDIL project automated the transfer and delivery of documents between participating national nodes. The project experimented the electronic exchange of documents at several site libraries selected from each national network involved in the project. The project then evaluated and modified as necessary the operation of the EDIL system.
Impact and results:

The main benefit of EDIL is the fast interchange of printed and electronic information, giving rapid, much simpler and wider international access to documents.

With it is an emphasis on library technologies - especially communications - which not only encourages information technology co-operation, utilisation of telecommunications tools and acquisition of related expertise, but also the extension of EDIL to other library networks in Europe.


Project reports, describing system, user and national infrastructure specifications are publicly available.

Currently issued as restricted category publications are:

User requirements analysis;
EDIL relay system specifications;
National infrastructure and com-mon EDIL specifications;
System installation guide and software technical approval;
EDIL user guide.
Technical approach :

EDIL was organised into three phases:

During Phase 1 the Document Delivery requirements and the interworking of the four national systems were defined, the systems and networking architecture was developed and the user evaluation parameters specified.
Phase 2 saw implementation of the national systems, firstly on the partner sites and then at designated test libraries.
In Phase 3, test-site libraries, in using the service, evaluated and refined it.

Particular emphasis was laid on information dissemination, with mailing lists, newsletters, press releases and participation in seminars and similar events.

Key issues:

The design of the EDIL document delivery system is based on an analysis of user requirements, existing standards and the GEDI recommendations on international electronic document transmission.

The issues included:

Comparison of ISO FTAM (File Transfer, Access and Manage-ment) over X.25 and TCP/IP FTP (File Transfer Protocol) over the Internet. In-depth investigations and trials estab-lished FTP as the preferred con-nection medium.
Definition of the Document Deli-very process as:
- identification and location;
- ordering;
- digitisation;
- interchange;
- hard copy reproduction;
- billing, accounting and administrative procedures;
EDIL relay nodes in four count-ries: France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, each with national con-nections to dependent test library sites.
Fostering within European libra-ries expertise in communication standards and the national sys-tems connecting to EDIL.

Additional information can be found at in french, as well as at in french, and is also available from the contact below.

Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

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Télésystèmes SA
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Participants (6)