European Libraries and Electronic Resources
in Mathematical Sciences

Project Description

Background and Context

Background and Context

The scientist looking for mathematical information in the Web has to search a huge number of different resources in the world of networked library and other scientific information. For example he has to consult
* the bibliographic databases, e.g. MATH and MATHSci containing the relevant publications on the field of mathematics from 1931 until present (for-pay services)

* the OPAC's of the important mathematical libraries (not-for-pay)

* electronic journals online (both for-pay and not-for-pay)

* the preprint servers and technical reports offering grey literature (not-for-pay)

* software libraries (not-for-pay)

* guides to the net resources (not-for-pay)

The number of the servers with mathematics related topics exceeds 3.000 destinations all over the world. Nearly every library has built up an OPAC, most departments have own Internet servers.

There are a lot of difficulties in searching the Internet:

* there are no actual and general guides about the information resources. The common search machines like AltaVista, Hotbot and so on provide no high quality service for searching (it is only in reduced mode possible to search for specific details of the information)

* the Web is very dynamic, there are many changes of the services available

* the different decentralised information resources are only weakly connected (little integration)

* the quality of the information services is different and there is no common standard

One crucial difficulty for the scientist: Up to now, if he has found several relevant articles and books he has to leave the Internet and has to look at the catalogues of different libraries, perhaps at his university or some specialised libraries. To get the information about literature is - compared to former times - no longer the big problem. But to get the articles or the books at the desk of the scientist is up to now a difficult but for the user an important and common problem.

The drawbacks of the present situations make clear what are the demands and user requirements for the development of new services. We need a new high quality information system which integrates the relevant services in the field.

The aim of the project is to construct a user-oriented, user-friendly and efficient search, retrieval and delivery system for mathematicians. It will be the realisation of the idea of a one-stop-information service as a general service for mathematicians, other scientists and all other interested in some mathematical questions. It will have a high impact for the user community with respect to frequency of access to existing services, level of interactivity and ease of use. Application sites include library workstations (both for librarians and library users) and researchers desktop workstations.

The system will integrate some of the major services in Mathematics. Moreover the system will integrate three different important steps of accessing relevant literature and information:

* searching

* localising of the documents (objects) in the library or on the network

* document delivery by library partners.

Close interaction between the information specialists and the mathematical community is very important. Experiences in other projects - as for example the project `Specialised information' of the Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung - have clearly shown this need. This interaction has lead to many improvements of special information systems, as example for the database MATH. Therefore a broad discussion with the mathematical community is planned in every phase of the project. The EULER services will be installed at all participating libraries and at the central site of the EMIS system of the European Mathematical Society.