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April 1997 Progress Report

Evaluation Research

HUSAT are just completing the baseline study for the CCS cluster. Focus groups have been held at the 3 participating sites: Warwick, Ulster, and Birmingham. Copies of the summary reports have been circulated to the publishers and libraries, and results of the questionnaires are now being tabulated.

The MGP cluster is scheduled for launch in May 1997, and Cambridge, Oxford, and UCL are the sites that will participate in the evaluation research. The librarians are now in the process of identifying potential users, contacting them with information about the project, and asking for feedback on the proposed list of journals. The baseline study (questionnaire and focus groups) is scheduled for March/April, and a focus group has already been held at UCL.

HUSAT will be reporting on the results of the baseline studies at the SuperJournal Annual Meeting on 17 April, and writing a report on reader expectations of electronic journals based on the baseline studies.

HUSAT have received funding for a JISC supporting study to be run in parallel to SuperJournal. This is a short-term project (ends July 1997) and with the long title “An evaluation of the potential impact of multimedia journals and journal environments on changing scholarly practices and needs in various disciplines”. It will review the work of various e-journal projects and assess the impact. Copies of the proposal are available from Christine Baldwin.

Because of the supporting study, HUSAT are bringing forward the baseline studies for the remaining clusters, with a view to completing them all by July.


Production for the CCS cluster was based on SGML headers and PDF page files. Last year Manchester Computing developed a “generic” header DTD (composite of all possible elements used by the publishers), a SuperJournal header DTD (the elements used for SuperJournal), and programs to convert from each publisher's DTD to the generic DTD.

For the MGP cluster, there will be journals submitted as full text SGML (or HTML). Manchester Computing have therefore created a SuperJournal full article DTD and are developing conversion programs for the full text files.

Manchester Computing have circulated a report to the publishers' Technical Representatives containing a the full article DTD, a mapping of data elements to each publisher's DTD, and a brief summary of the production process used. Further copies are available from Ross MacIntyre.

Receipt of Files

The MGP cluster is scheduled for May 1996. Tony Fowler has therefore been chasing each publisher for files, so that the conversion programs can be tested, and the data loading can begin. This is particularly important for journals that will be full text HTML, as there's lots to sort out for the graphics and the formatting of the text.

It is planned to have a page on the new Web site where publishers can check the status of files received (to be updated weekly), but it has not been implemented yet.

SuperJournal Application

As each cluster is launched, the application will be upgraded to include new features and more functionality. The current application (as used for CCS) contains basic functionality. Manchester Computing are working hard on the next release for MGP. New features in the upgrade include searchable PDF, natural language searching, relevance ranking, and “more like this”.


SuperJournal Annual Meeting, 17 April

The Annual Meeting will be held at Birkbeck College (as last year). A key feature of the day will be presentation of results for the baseline studies, and demos will give a preview of new features in the application. Please reserve this date in your diaries!

New Web Site

The new SuperJournal Web site is now live! It has been completely updated, and gives more information about the project and results to eLibbers and, other projects, and the public generally. It also has a much expanded section for project participants, providing meeting papers and other project documentation. Hopefully this will cut down on the amount of paper circulated, and you will have easy access to information which is always up-to-date.

Please note that the Search and Feedback features are not yet operational. When they are tested and working OK, the "under construction" signs will be removed..

Public Demo

The public demo allows anyone who visits the SuperJournal Web site to have a quick look at the application and get a feel for the functionality we are testing out. The demo is just screens, not a working application, but it gives a flavour of we are developing.

Dissemination of Results

The first paper giving results of SuperJournal will be presented by David Pullinger at the ELVIRA 4th International Conference: Electronic Library & Visual Information Research, Milton Keynes, 6-8 May 1997. The presentation will be at 4 PM on Wednesday, 7 May, in the section on Electronic Journals.

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Last modified: April 14, 1997