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Electronic Library SGML Applications


The project was producing a prototype end-user system supporting the delivery and manipulation of full text journal articles delivered from remote stores in SGML format. It has:

- developped a prototype client server system;
- evaluated its use and potential for new library services;
- provided management and usage feedback to the supplier of the documents.

With the moves towards electronic publication and distribution of documents, the traditional models of supply, distribution and use are being re-evaluated by publishers and users alike. This project was thus providing a test-bed for new services in libraries.

The project advanced existing experience of working with downloaded documents, allowing access and manipulation of full-text articles while retaining their original form.
Impact and results:

The ELSA prototype provides the library community with information on the technology and end-user platform for the integration of complete documents in SGML format into library delivery systems.

It enables documents delivered long distances over networks to be manipulated locally, edited and stored. Locating the server in the library effectively changes document delivery from print-and-distribute to distribute-and-print, giving the library powerful local facilities for document processing and access.

The prototype end-user interface is made freely available, subject only to any licensing requirements for third-party products. The server and client software are made available under licence.


The prototype demonstrated publicly the capability of the system in meeting its objectives.

Software, specifications, analyses and technical reports are classified as restricted or confidential status. Reports in the public domain cover:

Standards profile;
SGML editing environment;
New services;
Final project report.
Technical approach:

The project was organised into three main phases, subdivided into work-packages as follows:

Phase 1

Analysis of existing delivery systems, including e-mail, Internet, other electronic means, post and courier services;
Publisher requirements;
User requirements and related new services;
Relevant standards and tools;
General specification.

Phase 2

Equipment selection/installation;
Creation of documents in SGML format;
UNIX data server development;
Client viewer development;
User interface development;
Management information development;
Editing, local desktop search and retrieve.

Phase 3

System integration, testing and evaluation.

Key issues:

The main technical issues explored were:

standards and use of appropriate DTDs;
integration into local systems and local document stores;
handling of non-textual & scientific data;
protocols for communications and delivery from server to printers and workstations;
client viewer and its specifications.

Documentation is available from the contact below and from


Jouve SI
18 Rue Saint-denis
75025 Paris

Participants (2)

United Kingdom
The Gateway
Elsevier Science BV