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On-line technical report library created

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 11 - November 2, 1995

A comprehensive on-line library of technical reports from computer-science departments and research laboratories has been created through the merger of two multi-university projects funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Administration (ARPA).

The Networked Computer Science Technical Report Library (NCSTRL) for computer-science reports will operate from a central server and back-up server at the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.

Thirty-one computer-science departments and research laboratories will contribute their departmental technical reports to NCSTRL-saving the cost of printing, storing, and distributing paper technical reports while making them more widely accessible than through print.

NCSTRL will provide young researchers with greater access to research material, said Edward Fox, Virginia Tech computer science professor. "Building this decentralized digital library that will contain all the newest work in computer science should have a tremendous effect on education and research. Students at all levels will be able to search this literature for work done anywhere in the world, and gain instant access to the latest findings months before they are presented in conferences and years before they appear in journals. Researchers at every institution, from community college to research university, will have equal access to current investigations and discoveries."

NCSTRL has a World-Wide Web interface. The interface supports searching by author, title, or words in the abstract; results may be read on the screen or printed. From a user's point of view, NCSTRL appears as a single collection even though, physically, repositories containing the collection and the engines for searching it are distributed over the Internet.

The original work for the NSF-funded Wide Area Technical Report Service was carried out by computer-science researchers at Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Old Dominion University, and State University of New York at Buffalo. The ARPA-funded project was carried out by Berkeley, Carnegie-Mellon, Cornell, MIT, and Stanford. In addition to Virginia Tech and UVa., Cornell, Stanford, SUNY Buffalo, and ODU continue involvement in management of the digital library.