PRESS RELEASE FROM THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Research costs slashed by funding bonus

Free access for UK higher and further education users to an Electronic Table of Contents (ETOC) database, listing the titles of nearly 15 million journal articles and conference papers, could save individual universities over 1,000 a year the British Library announced today. From September students and academics around the UK will be able to search the Library's table of contents database, and from today they can use the associated inside alerting service, without paying the normal subscription fees.

The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the UK Higher Education Funding Councils is providing funding of over 50,000 for the project. The funding will allow the University of Manchester, working on the Library's behalf, to make the ETOC database available to universities across the UK until at least August 2003. This initiative forms an essential part of JISC's plans to establish The Distributed National Electronic Resource (DNER) - a managed environment for accessing quality assured information resources on the Internet.

The Library's ETOC database enables researchers to search the contents pages of over 20,000 current journal titles and the titles of papers from 70,000 volumes of conference proceedings. Containing almost 15 million article and conference records, the database covers every imaginable subject in science, technology, medicine, engineering, business, law, finance and the humanities. Copies of all the articles and conference papers listed on the database are available from the British Library's Document Supply Centre in Yorkshire.

The newly funded ETOC database will be made available to institutions around the UK through MIMAS (Manchester Information and Associated Services) at the University of Manchester. Researchers will be able to access the database via the Web or using the Z39.50 common platform (a communications protocol allowing institutions to make links from their own databases to those of other organisations). Further developments are planned to link the ETOC database with the Library's document ordering and delivery services.

Lynne Brindley, the British Library's new Chief Executive commented: "researchers need to keep in touch with leading developments in their field. This new initiative, generously supported by JISC, will mean that they can identify the materials they need free of charge and order them without even leaving their desks - thus improving research competitiveness for UK plc. The service is an excellent example of the benefits of collaboration. Such partnerships are increasingly central to the British Library's strategy for widening access to all its resources."

From today, free access to the linked inside current awareness alerting service - funded by the British Library - is being offered to the HE and FE communities. The alerting service allows students and academics to set up standard searches to be run periodically. Their search results are then automatically emailed to them - as ASCII text or HTML files - when new material is added to the database. With over 10,000 new records added to the ETOC database per day this service gives researchers an easy way to keep abreast of new developments in their field.

Reg Carr, Chair of JISC's Committee for Electronic Information and Director of Information Services and Bodley's Librarian, University of Oxford said, "I welcome this announcement as it demonstrates the very real commitment the British Library and the Higher Education Sector have to working together."

The ETOC database complements the Library's Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC), also available free on the Web, and demonstrates the Library's dedication to extending access to its collections and supporting the UK academic community.

For more information, contact Stephen Andrews, The British Library, Boston Spa, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS23 7BQ, or email: stephen.andrews@bl.uk

Notes for editors

1. The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. For further information on the British Library and its services contact Valerie McBurney, Press and Public Relations, tel: 020 7412 7111, fax: 020 7412 7168, e-mail: Press-and-PR@bl.uk

2. inside web is a subscription-based online current awareness service which provides integrated search, order and delivery features to help researchers locate and retrieve current information. inside web draws on the Electronic Table of Contents database which has been created from around 13,000 science journals and 7,000 social science, business, arts and humanities journals. UK subscription prices range from 500 for a single user password licence to 1,195 for a licence for 11-25 passwords (rates are also available, on application to the Library, for licences providing more than 25 passwords).

To apply for a free trial of inside web, or for further information, visit the inside web pages on the British Library Web site at http://www.bl.uk/online/inside/ or telephone 01937 546698.

3. MIMAS (Manchester Information and Associated Services) is a JISC-supported national data centre run by Manchester Computing at the University of Manchester. The University of Manchester has provided high quality computing and information services to the UK Higher Education community for over 30 years and will be able to mount the BL ETOC database alongside the 40+ strategic datasets currently hosted at MIMAS. These include ISI Web of Science, Beilstein CrossFire, JSTOR, the UK Census and COPAC plus a variety of additional strategic research and teaching datasets.

Prof. Robin McDonough, Director of Information Systems, University of Manchester said "I am excited about this development in which the British Library and MIMAS at the University of Manchester are working together to realise the free delivery of these key services to the UK HE and FE communities. The British Library's ETOC database is unique in its coverage and relevance to the academic community. It will complement the existing MIMAS services and enhance the emerging Distributed National Electronic Resource."

Manchester Computing is the premier academic computing service in Europe supporting world class research and teaching. For further information contact Julia Chruszcz, Director of National Services, Manchester Computing, University of Manchester, e-mail: julia@man.ac.uk or visit the MIMAS home page at www.mimas.ac.uk

4. JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee). Information about the JISC, its services and programmes can be found on the Web at http://www.jisc.ac.uk/

JISC Assist provides a first point of contact for help and guidance on issues relating to the JISC and the use of information systems and information technology. For further information and advice, contact JISC Assist by e-mail at assist@jisc.ac.uk, or telephone 0117 954 6850.

Information about new developments and major strategic issues is provided to the community through a mailing list to which anyone can subscribe. Send the message "join JISC-announce YourFirstName YourLastName" to: mailbase@mailbase.ac.uk.

5. The Distributed National Electronic Resource (DNER) is a JISC strategy for adding value to the UK's learning, teaching and research resources. DNER is a managed environment for accessing quality assured information resources on the Internet, which are available from many sources. These resources include scholarly journals, monographs, textbooks, abstracts, manuscripts, maps, music scores, still images, geospatial images and other kinds of vector and numeric data, as well as moving picture and sound collections. [NB DNER no longer current and has been superseded by the JISC Information Environment].