1999 Fall – Europe in Bits & Bytes

WESS Newsletter

Vol. 23, No. 1 (Fall 1999)

Column Editor: Jennifer Vinopal
NOTE: links are those in effect at the time of publication and are not systematically updated.

WESS in the News

This is the little corner from which we occasionally permit ourselves to toot our own horn. Sarah Wenzel tells us that WESSWeb was featured in the Scout Report for Social Sciences the week of October 5. In selecting sites to review, the Scout Report considers authority, scope, intended audience, accuracy and currency. The report goes to subscribers worldwide and will bring many new eyes to the treasures WESSWeb has to offer.

Social Sciences

Jostein Ryssevik (Norwegian Social Science Data Services) and Simon Musgrave (UK Data Archive) presented a paper entitled The Social Science Dream Machine: Resource discovery, analysis and delivery on the Web at the iASSIST Conference in Toronto (http://www.nesstar.org/papers/iassist_0599.html). In it they give “a comprehensive overview of the eagerly anticipated Networked Social Science Tools and Resources (NESSTAR). Scheduled to be functional early next year, NESSTAR promises to be the Star Wars of social science data services. A joint development project of the Norwegian Social Science Data Services, UK Data Archive, and the Danish Data Archive, NESSTAR promises to provide ‘a common interface on the Internet to the data holdings in the social sciences of a large number of providers and disseminators of statistical information world-wide.’ Users will be able to ‘locate multiple data sources across national boundaries, browse detailed metadata about these data, analyze and visualize data online, and download the appropriate subsets of data in one of a number of formats.’” Annotation taken from the Scout Report.


LITAF is a bibliographic database of francophone Sub-Saharan African literature. LITAF is a project of the research group Littérature d’Afrique noire, directed by Alain Ricard, directeur de recherches at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique. This web-accessible version is a portion of the complete database (approx. 13,000 bibliographical citations and 2000 biographical entries) available on CD-ROM. Users can search the web database by author, title, date of publication, genre, country of author, or keyword. The database contains citations to francophone literature, anthologies and collections, French translations from other languages, and other “traditional literature.” Bibliographical citations include location information based on the holdings of 24 libraries and archives in Africa, Canada, Belgium, France, and the US. (http://www.rafid.u-bordeaux.fr/litaf/)

European Languages

Eurodicautom is the multilingual terminological database of the European Commission’s Translation Service. Initially developed to assist in-house translators, it is today available for free on the Web, thanks to the MLIS-Project (Multilingual Information Society) monitored by DGXIII. The information it contains is drafted in twelve languages and is constantly updated. It covers a broad spectrum of human knowledge, although the core is related to European Union topics. The database contains technical terms, abbreviations, acronyms and phraseology. On April 1, 1999, it contained more than 5.5 million entries. Languages represented include: Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish. (http://eurodic.echo.lu/cgi-bin/edicbin/EuroDicWWW.pl)

New European Language Web Site to be launched soon.

ELAN: European Language Activity Network is designed to provide a user-friendly online service for querying European language resources using a single uniform interface. The creators of ELAN noted several problems with existing language resources available on the Web: 1. Most existing European databases are not widely publicized, can only be accessed on site and are designed only for the immediate needs of the owner or producer; 2. as a result, the software is often neither user-friendly nor portable, and documentation and support is either non-existent or scant; 3. the lack of a clear pricing means that each potential user must negotiate individually with the provider. In creating ELAN, the goal was to reinforce or, where necessary, create international standards by designing a common query language (ELAN-CQL) and by providing standardized resources for the following languages : Belgian French, Bulgarian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovakian, Slovene, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. ELAN project partners are the Université de Liège, Beltext department, and the Institut für deutscheSprache, department of Lexik. The project is scheduled to go live at the end of the calendar year. (http://solaris3.ids-mannheim.de/elan/)

Library News

The Bibliothèque Nationale de France has greatly expanded its Web catalog, BN-OPALE-PLUS. The information in Opale-Plus represents nearly the entire collection of materials at the BN, with some exceptions. For a complete description of the catalog and to connect to it, visit: http://www.bnf.fr/web-bnf/catalog/cat-imp.htm

RLIN is providing users with more and more information about European libraries’ holdings. Just recently records started showing up in RLIN for the Istituto Centrale del Catalogo Unico (ICCU) in Rome (RLIN identifier ITRG). These represent current cataloging records for Italian imprints from January 1997 and are estimated to amount to about 20,000 records per year. Some other European libraries represented include: the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (FRBG, monographs cataloged since January 1997); the Swiss National Library (SZNG, loading the entire Helvetica database); the European Register of Microform Masters (ERMM, over 400,000 records created by 30 major libraries in Europe); the Biblioteca Nacional de España (ESNC, Monographs cataloged since January 1997); the CURL Union Catalogue(ZCUC, the holdings of CURL members, including UK and Ireland legal deposit libraries); the Deutsche Bibliothek Database (ZDBD, grows by about 40,000 new titles per year); the Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon (FRLG, titles created between 1988 and 1996).

Books & Booksellers

Sem Sutter sent along an announcement about the Bayerische Staatsbibliothekss database of digitized Incunabula (prototype). The database is still under development, but currently provides access to the digitized illustrations of 75 selected incunables from its collection. The announcement states “the database has been created during a project funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft which was carried out by the Centre for Digitization of the BSB: Digitization of German printed book illustrations of the 15th century…. This project intends to document the development of late Gothicart in illustrated works and to make accessible the illustrations in books … both to scholars and to a general audience on the World Wide Web. … Searching will be possible by bibliographical data of the editions, based on the records of the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (ISTC), as well as by attributes assigned to individual images, based on iconographical contents and themes.”(http://mdz.bsb.badw-muenchen.de:6336/digbib/inkunabeln)

Roger Brisson calls WESS’s attention to DealPilot.com, an online price comparison resource with sections for books, music, and movies. The description on the site says “Select any book, CD or movie. Then let DealPilot.com check prices, shipping costs and delivery times of the requested item from all major Internet stores.” DealPilot.com is not an online store, but is designed to indicate the online store offering the best deal. However, DealPilot.com didn’t work too well for Jim Campbell (it offered no sources for the book he requested) and he advised: “One thing both the recent consumer magazine articles on online buying point out is the considerable difference in service and reliability among the various stores, so I’d suggest price is perhaps not the only factor … the key is finding a store that is reliable and deals well with problems.” (http://www.dealpilot.com/)

See Virtuelle Allgemeinbibliothek’s Page devoted to Günter Grass, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 1999. (http://bibliothek.freepage.de/EXTRA1.HTM)


Jim Campbell alerted german-e to Catchword, an online service through which Rodopi has started making some of their journals available. Campbell notes: “Catchword is free of direct cost to libraries (they make their money from the publishers), but you do have to register with them and get an ID number …. Rodopi isn’t charging extra for online access at this time, but you have to get in touch with them and tell them your Catchword ID so that they can have Catchword activate the full-text access.” Rodopi titles include: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur neueren Germanistik, Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik, and Daphnis – Zeitschrift für Mittlere Deutsche Literatur. (http://www.catchword.com/)

The Heroic Age is a free, online journal which concerns itself with the study of Northwestern Europe from the Late Roman Empire to the Norman Empire. The focus is on Britain, Ireland, and their North Sea neighbors, supplemented by discussions of their relations with the rest of Europe. Founded Fall 1998, ISSN 1526-1867. (http://members.aol.com/heroicage1/homepage.html)

Author Michael Nentwich, in his article The European Research Papers Archive: Quality Filters in Electronic Publishing (Issue 5 of the Journal of Electronic Publishing) investigates the question of the balance between comprehensiveness and quality in an online archive (http://www.press.umich.edu/jep/05-01/nentwich.html). ERPA’s aim is to provide a common access point for the online working paper series of the participating institutions in order to help researchers in the field of European Integration studies searching the growing number of working papers now available on the Internet. In 1997, after laying out several possible scenarios for the selection and inclusion of papers in the new archive, ERPA founders decided ERPA should be a central access point to all quality-controlled online series. Visit the European Research Papers Archive site. (http://eiop.or.at/erpa/)

Coming Soon

The LAURIN Project involves 18 partners in 7 European countries to produce a modular system that, on the one hand, will provide newspaper clipping archives with digital technology and, on the other hand, users with on-line access to these fine collections. The goals of the project are threefold: 1. To develop tools and software in order to facilitate the scanning, clipping, indexing, OCR-processing, storing, and accessing of newspaper clippings. 2. To build up the prototype of a network of clipping archives. The user will gain access to the collections via an OPAC, and he will be able to download the desired articles – within the bounds of copyright restrictions, of course. 3. To work out a business model for a successor of the LAURIN network. Clipping archives from all over Europe are welcome to join the network, thus securing a constant increase of data and the technical advance of the LAURIN system. Depending on the outcome of the project managers’ negotiations with copyright holders, users will, in principal, be able to view and print the electronic facsimiles of the articles. For the last phase of the project they have planned to setup a non-profit successor to the network. This organization will devote itself to the management and expansion of the future LAURIN network, and to the task of supporting the associated archives in their work. The project is co-founded by the European Union and sponsoring partners. LAURIN is coordinated by the University of Innsbruck. Its official duration is from May 1998 to August 2000. (http://www.exploit-lib.org/issue2/laurin/)

News Sources

Eurofocus. Subtitled ‘news items dealing with everyday events,’ this free, weekly bulletin from the European Commission is aimed at a general readership. Provided in .pdf format (averaging nine pages), the bulletin consists of a briefly annotated table of contents and four to eight short news stories on a variety of topics. … For the general reader or classroom, this easily-digested weekly bulletin is a convenient source of EU news not covered by many online or print sources.” (http://europa.eu.int/comm/dg10/eurofocus/index_en.html) Annotation taken from News Scan Daily.

On the Lighter Side

As reported in News Scan Daily, according to a news story August 26, 1999 from Bloomberg News & the Los Angeles Times: “Swedish ISP Bottnia Internet Provider is giving Internet service away for free to customers who buy ice cream from Hemglass trucks. ‘All visitors to the Hemglass trucks will be able to pick up a free Internet subscription as a fun extra offer,’ says the head of marketing at Hemglass. The company’s 2000 trucks make 15,000 stops every day, reaching 90% of all Swedish households.”

Comics Research Bibliography. An international bibliography of comic books, comic strips, animation, caricature, cartoons, bandes dessinees, and related topics. The bibliography of over 5000 entries is divided into four sections: History, Criticism and Education; Features and Reviews; Business and Marketing; Original Works. Topical breakdown features sections on categories such as Censorship in Comics, French Comics, Comics and Film, Spanish/Latin American Comics, Women and Women’s Issues in Comics, and even a bibliography on Wonder Woman. The site also includes a search engine for keyword searching. An apercu from the Scout Report: “this international bibliography will prove very useful to several constituencies. These include scholars investigating the cultural and political role of comics, students and artists interested in the creative process of comic-drawing, and collectors.”

The Cave of Lascaux site, created by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, provides a nifty collection of photos of the prehistoric paintings in the various rooms of the cave (closed to the non-virtual public). The virtual visitor can read about the 1940 discovery of the cave, learn why it was closed in 1963, and navigate the rooms of the cave by way of a clickable map. The photos of the individual drawings are beautiful and captions provide brief but useful information about location and condition of the drawings and special features of artistic, archeological or historical significance.

Copyrights & Credits

From NewsScan Daily, Copyright 1999. NewsScan Daily® is a publication of NewsScan.com.
From the Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-1999.