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Irish Research Electronic Library (IReL) Initiative

Chairman: John FitzGerald, Librarian, University College Cork
The Boole library 
university college cork

          Conference of Heads of Irish Universities (CHIU)
                          Librarians' Group
                             Press Release
             Irish Research Electronic Library (IReL) Consortium

The Conference of the Heads of Irish Universities (CHIU) Librarians' Group
is delighted to announce the completion of the first phase of the IReL
Initiative. Under this national initiative, jointly funded by Science
Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Higher Education Authority ( HEA),
researchers in Irish universities will have access to the contents of a
wide range of electronic journals via their library web sites.

The scheme, negotiated by the CHIU Librarians Group, provides the contents
of electronic journals in the fields of Biotechnology and Information and
Communications Technology, which form the focus of research by the teams
of SFI Investigators in the country.

The first phase of the scheme provides access to the electronic content of
eleven major publishers of science periodicals and approximately fifty
other individual e-journals, involving a total of 2,000 individual titles.
The selection of these journal titles follows a polling exercise to
identify the journals most wanted by the SFI research community.  The
second phase of the project is now under way and this will deliver the
contents of an additional 850 titles to further support higher education
research activities across the country.

Journals such as Nature, Science, Scientific American, in addition to
publisher packages from the Institute of Physics, Blackwell, Springer, the
Institute of Scientific Information and the Institute of Electrical and
Electronics Engineers titles, to mention a few, will be made available
electronically over the next number of months.

The benefits of the IReL initiative to Irish research infrastructure are
hugely significant in that all researchers will have desktop electronic
access to the published research output of the leading journals in their
fields. Provision of the information is integrated into each university
library's suite of web facilities and the commitment of funding over the
next number of year provides a stable environment for the development of
services. There are also major advantages in the negotiation of a single
national licence, with associated training, on and off-campus access and
discount for consortium contracts. The technical aspects of negotiation
and other contractual arrangements are being handled through IRIS, a
company established to act on behalf of the consortium of university and
research libraries.

The two funding authorities are committed to providing 804.5m annually to
2008 in support of the project. Under the partnership between the SFI and
HEA, existing subscriptions are maintained by individual libraries while
new subscriptions are provided from the earmarked resources for those not
already subscribing.

John FitzGerald, Chairman of CHIU Librarian's Group, describes IReL as a
ground-breaking initiative demonstrating the value of national funding for
the provision of information as part of national research strategy.' The
CHIU Librarians' Group looks forward to announcing the completion of the
next phase of the IReL Initiative early in 2005 and to undertaking a
similar exercise to provide a national platform for electronic research
content in the Arts and Humanities.

For further information, please contact Fiona McGoldrick, IRIS Manager, 
at iris@ucd.ie or a member of the CHIU Librarians' Group: 
Marie Reddan (marie.reddan@nuigalway.ie) 
John FitzGerald (J.Fitzgerald@ucc.ie), 
Agnes Neligan (agnes.neligan@may.ie), 
Gobnait O'Riordan, (Gobnait.ORiordan@ul.ie), 
Paul Sheehan (paul.sheehan@dcu.ie), 
Robin Adams (radams@tcd.ie),
Sean Phillips (Sean.Phillips@ucd.ie).

Issued by the CHIU Librarians' Group
29 October 2004