DIEPER will offer the test-bed for studying the impact of providing electronic access on the use of back issues of research periodicals and may pave the way for electronic modes of publication.
After the end of EU support of the project the infrastructure set up by DIEPER shall remain intact. A model for its financial viabilitiy will be drafted within the project phase to enable starting with a permanent service without delay.
DIEPER addresses the need in Europe for a central access point where all digitised periodicals shall be recorded. This shall be devised as a register built on the model of the European Register of Microform Masters and shall take into account JSTOR, which provides similar service to American users. Records of the register will be linked to reliable and comprehensive archives of periodical literature working at different sites thoughout Europe. Those archives will of course be equally accessible from other points (e.g. WWW pages and bibliographic databases) but the register will be the only place, where it is attempted to file all the relevant records. In addition a search engine accessible from the register will allow to do a fulltext search of the articles in digitised periodicals or at least a fulltext search of the tables of contents.
The project participants will contribute to building a virtual library of periodicals by scanning a few journals according to de facto standards and to demonstrate the technical feasability of optimum online access and retrievability. At the same time they will make accessible any already existing digitised periodical by including its record in the register and by linking the search engine to it. In establishing this infrastructure it is hoped to develop a uniform strategy for retrodigitising throughout Europe, that is based on a minimum standard for access and retrieval.
As a central access point in the web a database (sc. register) of digitised documents will be used to file all records of digitised periodicals and of periodicals.
A search engine linked to the register will be used to retrieve fulltext of documents made available by document management systems at the participants' sites.
To test standards and functions of the proposed infrastructure five important periodicals shall undergo scanning and fulltext creation.
The document management systems at the participants' sites shall be evaluated and one DMS will be developped to fit the needs of the project.
The periodicals will serve as a sample for testing user response and evaluate the features of the service.
Preliminary agreement with rights owners on digitising certain periodicals. Standard forms for agreements with rights owners shall be elaborated with the help of TECUP.
To include a relevant number of periodicals in the project's testbed is necessary to test its functions. This is why documents produced independently of DIEPER shall be made accessible through it, too.
A demonstrator for all functions to be realised during the project's duration.
A final general conference for publicising DIEPER's results and propagating the use of the service beyond the project's end.
Impact and expected results
DIEPER shall provide a realistic perspective for a European distributed digital library with a central access point set up as a permanent service.
The virtual library of periodicals will have the following benefits:
Providing economic user access to digitised documents.
Helping to coordinate digitising for preservation in a distributed setting.
Making available periodical literature to less well equipped libraries.
Reducing costs of providing documents to users within the library.
Protecting original paper volumes from being destroyed by excessive use in interlending
Though actual costs can only be calculated at the end of the project, it will be preferred by most libraries for economic reasons to subscribe to digitised periodicals instead of acquiring bound sets of volumes for each of them.