by Mark B. Gerus
To publish electronic journals and to experiment in scholarly communications is the dual mission of the Scholarly Communications Project. Our goal is to increase access to scholarly works and those of local and regional interest by electronically producing resources and operating services primarily for our academic community--students, teachers, and researchers The Project's endeavors add value to scholarly works also published in paper and expand library services beyond the walls of its buildings or the limits of the campus through all-day, every day online access.
The success of the Scholarly Communications Project is due in large part to cooperation with teaching faculty and staff in diverse units of the university who are anxious to take advantage of internetworking capabilities and who are willing to be part of our experimentation. They want to learn from the Project's experiences and at the same time they challenge us by requesting new services. We respond promptly and extend opportunities for learning and teaching as well as expand the reach of research, making the library and the university available to the Commonwealth and the world.
Our assistance is available to all of the academic community and our services grew in 1994/95 as we cooperated with the following units to develop and/or publish scholarly resources.
1. Graduate School 4. College of Architecture and Urban Studies 2. College of Education 5. College of Arts and Sciences 3. College of Engineering 6. College of Veterinary Medicine
Additional contact with teaching faculty through Faculty Development Institutes helped demonstrate that the University Libraries is in the forefront of developing new and improving current services by effectively using new technologies to directly benefit students and faculty, current and future. New electronic publications also included working with academic publishers (e.g., MIT Press and Birkhauser) and additional units of the university.
Four scholarly electronic journals were published electronically for the first time. Already established titles' electronic archives grew with the addition of new issues, new data, and revised information. The Project published information of a particularly local and regional interest (e.g., newspapers) and experimented with television newscasts. Preliminary steps are in place to add new electronic scholarly journals and university publications during 1995/96
Original programming and experimental processing followed discussions and collaborations with Landmark Communications and resulted in the Project electronically publishing two newspapers. Further experimentation in presenting local and regional news (and history) followed the ground work laid by the former head of Special Collections in discussions with a local television station manager. Samples of regional newscasts also beicame available online.
Netscape became the Project's client-of-choice for electronically publishing on the World Wide Web. It became no longer possible for Project staff to duplicate file formats (e.g., ASCII and HTML), so a Web character-based browser, Lynx, was put in place to allow continued Gopher and FTP access (i.e., ASCII) for Internet users without access to graphics-based browsers such as Netscape. (Please see appended statistics for 1994; statistics for 1994/95 have not yet been compiled.)
2. SPECIAL PROJECTS
While many aspects of electronic journal publishing have become somewhat routine (largely through prior experimentation and hands-on experience), experimentation in scholarly communications has become much more labor intensive. This year the development and growth of Electronic Reserve was, for example, especially time consuming. The technical director automated password distribution to requesting faculty, implemented the HTML submission form that faculty use to send materials to E-Reserve, etc. The SCP director served as the principal liaison to faculty as well as to students participating in the experimental phases of this new library service. This involved preparing handouts for each phase of the testing, instructing over 400 at Faculty Development Institutes, surveying users, and tabulating the data collected from most of the classes that had course materials available spring semester. Nine faculty used the E-Reserve system spring semester and three faculty used it summer session. Online access statistics have not yet been compiled but survey results from student users are attached.
VIVA and Special Collections
Working with the staff in the Special Collections Department resulted in the premiere of its World Wide Web home page. This access point is an attractive and content-rich gateway. Its creation was spurred on by encouragement from the VIVA Special Collections Committee, with initial training from the SCP technical director, and scanning and design assistance from the Project's first student assistant. The University Archivist, especially, pulled outstanding resources together, learned to scan/digitize images as well as HTML, and improved the first impressions Internet users get when they see the University Libraries from the Special Collections home page.
Technology for All Americans
Creating national standards for K-12 in the area of technology education is the goal of this project, lead by E. William Dugger, professor of Vocational and Technical Education. The Project publishes its newsletter and documentation evolving from the TAA project (such as biographies of its National Commission, notices of "consensus building workshops," and news releases). One new challenge for the Project is the development of an online survey that will not only collect responses/data, but will incorporate correlation and tabulation of responses--a very new and important area of scholarly communications. We will learn a lot from this endeavor in 1995/96 that can demonstrate yet another value-added function of electronic scholarly communications.
3. ACHIEVEMENTS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
In addition to the Special Projects just mentioned, collaboration with on- and off-campus faculty, academic publishers, and regional and local news providers resulted in
New scholarly electronic journals
- Journal of Industrial Teacher Education
- Journal of Mathematical Systems, Estimation and Control
- Journal of Veterinary Medical Education
- Journal of Youth Services in Libraries (table of contents only)
Continuing scholarly electronic journals
- Journal of Technology Education (published volume six)
- Journal of Fluids Engineering (added data to DataBank and implemented feedback system so readers can make/ respond to comments about articles, extending peer review to post-publication)
- FDA Approved Animal Drug Data Base
- Virginian Pilot
archive available--tape loaded back issues
current issues programmatically downloaded daily in pre-dawn hours
- Roanoke Times
continual problems preparing tapes at Roanoke Times & World News
timely access to local news has been delayed
random issues (15 months from 1990-1995) available
- WDBJ-7 [regional CBS-affiliate television station]
one day's scripts keyed; sample clips digitized
experiment--text with hyperlinks to cut-ins that accompanied reports
University Libraries publications
- Annual Report 1993/94
- BiblioTech, v. 6, no. 1
4. DEPARTMENT PUBLICATIONS
- Scholarly Communications Project
"about" the Project
Statement of Purpose
- Electronic Theses, Dissertations, and Reports
Background Information, Handouts for Students, Handouts for Faculty
Fair Use Guidelines, Copyright Guidelines
5. NEW SERVICES: OUT REACH
Electronic Reserve, VIVA, Special Collections, CTES, BEV, TIIAP
Until this year the Project has been presented to faculty and staff largely through word-of-mouth and articles in the Virginia Tech Spectrum. In 1994/95 it assumed a more public face and actively shared with the university community its developing and innovative library services. The Project director participated in over 20 Faculty Development Institutes demonstrating Electronic Reserve, as well as one-on-one demonstrations for faculty and graduate teaching assistants. She made presentations to undergraduate and graduate classes about the activities of the Project.
In addition to the electronic publications and achievements already mentioned, the Project's servers provided access for the Commonwealth to the VIVA Special Collections home pages and maintains active links to each of the participating institutions' libraries. The SCP contributed to the establishment of a home for the Center for Editorial and Textual Studies by lending equipment, providing technical expertise, and coordinating the physical arrangements necessary for this computerized curriculum. The Project became a scheduled feature for the guests from across the Commonwealth who came to town to see the Blacksburg Electronic Village. Regional and state officials as well as librarians from Virginia, Michigan, and Korea received guided virtual tours of electronic publishing and scholarly communications experimentation as part of their introduction to the tremendous resources available from the Virginia Tech.
The SCP director participated in drafting a grant application to the US Department of Commerce's "Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program" for a $1 million Demonstration Project grant. If successful, five librarians with other faculty from Computer Science, Educational Technologies, and Extension would become an Information Highway Assistance Force to conduct intensive training for several small groups of faculty from 20 colleges and universities in the Southeast (community and two-year colleges, and historically Black institutions) Training sessions would be modeled after the Faculty Development Institutes.
Last spring the Project lost its support technician and with a total department staff of just two FTE, this has had a devastating effect on the technical director as well as on the timeliness with which electronic publications could be manually processed (e.g., downloading the Spectrum, compiling statistical data from logs of users accessing Project files, and adding HTML tags to new and historical electronic publications for better World Wide Web access and presentation). This position has been vacant since May 1995 but due to a terrific student assistant who worked during first summer session and a volunteer who evolved into a paid student assistant, many things have been accomplished that might not have been do-able without them. However, the routine duties of a support technician have yet to be accomplished and timely access to scholarly research has suffered and some will not be recovered. Without additional staff, it will be very difficult for the Project to experiment and develop substantial undertakings (similar to E-Reserve) in a timely and thorough manner in the future.
James Powell informally trained many in the library about HTML for World Wide Web display and hyperlinks. He was also active in several library working groups throughout the year and he made a joint presentation about the SCP with the Project director to SIGNDR (Special Interest Group on Networked Information, Discover, and Retrieval) meeting in D.C. James had an article published in Database (Feb. 1995), "Spinning the World Wide Web: An HTML Primer," and the Project published two workshop presentations he made to the Southern Ohio ASIS. [Please see http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/reports/]
Gail McMillan made presentations about the Scholarly Communications Project and publishing electronic journals and library information resources at the national meetings of the Association of College and Research Libraries and the Association of Research Libraries meeting with the American Association of University Presses, to the local branch of the AAUW, and to the Virginia Chapter of the Special Library Association when it met at Virginia Tech. She was also active in several library and information systems working groups and she represented the library at national and statewide meetings such as the OCLC Resource Sharing Committee, VIVA Special Collections Committee, the Library of Congress Seminar on Cataloging Digital Documents, the ALCTS Electronic Library Administrators Institute, and the Blacksburg meeting of the SURA/SOLINET Monticello Electronic Library Project--Working Group on Electronic Theses.
7. OUTLOOK FOR NEXT FISCAL YEAR
Assuming the Scholarly Communications Project can surmount the current staffing shortages, the future looks exciting and very challenging already; and new endeavors are continually presenting themselves that have not been anticipated.
Access to timely downloads of newscasts from WDBJ-7--This could mean just minutes between the time a newscast is viewed on television and when the text is available to be read (and searched and browsed). This tremendous source of current local and regional news in combination with the electronic archives and daily downloads from the Roanoke Times means that Virginia Tech will be the premier electronic source of current and then historical local and regional information. [We have already heard that the Project's server is the preferred source for searching by Virginian Pilot staff--surpassing their own in-house system!]
Virginia Tech Publications
Met with the editors at University Relations/ Publications, lead by David Lotts, and the University Archivist to identify procedures and protocol to make additional VT publications available online:
1. Virginia Issues and Answers 4. Corps Review 2. Research 5. VT Family News 3. Engineering Now 6. others
Experiment with digitizing and archiving older VT publications. Consider using Acrobat Capture to provide access to results of research from VT Extension publications (perhaps contributing to the national effort to digitized Extension publications).
Experiment with mass digitizing of images--extend the use of the Art & Architecture slide collection for the benefit of students and faculty alike.
- A Visual Text: History of Architecture Catalogue for Hypertext
July 1995 two student assistants converted digital images from video disk and scanned/ OCRed the catalog of images--the first step in making resources of the Art and Architecture Library available.
- Purchase equipment that will convert slides to digital images; develop effective search and access mechanisms
New Electronic Journals
Dr. Patricia Kelly, VT College of Education
Community College Research Reports
Dr. Darrel Clowse, VT College of Education
Journal of Computer-Aided Environmental Design and Education
Dr. Joan McLain-Kark, VT Interior Design
Dr. Robert Schubert, VT Architecture
Journal of Philosophy and Technology
Dr. Paul Durbin, University of Delaware
Journal of Vocational and Technical Education
Dr. William Camp, VT College of Education
Virginia English Bulletin
Dr. Patricia Kelly, VT College of Education
additional electronic journals from MIT Press
Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.