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Information Infrastructure: Australian International Collaborative Activity

**Apologies for cross-posting. Message sent to lis-elib, web4lib, diglib,

Information Infrastructure: Australian International Collaborative

Using funding from the National Priority [Reserve] Fund grant for Library
Infrastructure, the Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee (AVCC) has
seconded Stephen Cramond from the University of Adelaide Library to the
position of Executive Officer, Information Infrastructure Liaison.

This appointment will support international collaboration amongst the
communities involved in higher education information infrastructure, and
further develop the collaborative agreement announced in 1997 between the
UK Joint Information Systems Council (JISC) and the Council of Australian
University Librarians (CAUL).

Mr Cramond will seek to make progress in several areas already identified
for collaborative activity, including:

** Consortium Purchasing/Licensing of commercial databases

Despite the success of national consortia in the UK, Australia and other
countries there are many databases that remain too expensive for
individual universities or groups of universities on their own. Given this
situation, and the trend internationally towards larger and fewer
commercial suppliers of scholarly information, it is now appropriate to
think in terms of transnational purchasing consortia and licensing
agreements.  Precedents for such international consortia already exist in
both the northern and southern hemispheres, and Mr Cramond will seek to
identify further opportunities in this area.

*** Cooperative Subject Gateways to Internet Resources

There have been activities in both the UK and US to develop authoritative
subject-based gateways to scholarly information on the World Wide Web.
Now, two Australian Research Council Research Infrastructure Equipment and
Facilities Program (RIEFP) grants have been made to develop Australian
gateways to information in chemistry and agriculture.  There is therefore
a good opportunity to collaborate internationally in a number of areas.
These include the development and application of emerging standards in
resource description (so-called 'metadata'); the development of
cross-search capability between the different gateways; and even the
direct input of data to international gateways.

** Mirroring of data-sets

There are now compelling cost and performance incentives for AARNet users
to use resources available in Australia before using resources direct from
overseas.  In this situation, consideration must be given to the
possibility of mirroring overseas data-sets in Australia, as well as
Australian material overseas.

** User Authentication/Authorisation

Providing reliable access to licensed networked resources for authorised
staff and students has become a matter of concern worldwide. With both JISC
in the UK and the Coalition for Networked Information [CNI] in the US
developing solutions for their constituents, there is a need to tie in
these developments with the solutions now being sought in Australia.

Mr Cramond is seconded to the AVCC until early 1999 from his current
position as the University of Adelaide's Electronic Information
Resources Librarian.


Steve Cramond         		| eMail: 
Information Infrastructure Liaison | Phone: +61 8 8303 4809
Standing Committee on Information Policy | Fax: +61 8 8303 4369
Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee [AVCC]

Postal Address | c/- University of Adelaide Library, Adelaide SA 5005,
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