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Please excuse the following somewhat interpretable-as-commercial
message. I have cleared it with the list administrators.
Following all the recent discussions of the best ways to obtain
technical papers - or at least, to find out where they can be obtained
from - I find myself in the enviable position of perhaps being able to
obtain European Community funding to develop a system for just this
kind of searching.
My company is already a part-way through a bid to obtain funding for a
distributed, federated search-and-retrieval system; but the proposal
as it currently stands is a purely technical one. It happens that the
EC is much happier about projects which are targeted to real
application domains, and also likes to have "user partners" on board
the project team. It also happens that the system we've designed is
extremely amenable to keyword and author/title/subject searching of
technical papers across widely distributed data sets maintained by
numerous unrelated institutions in a variety of different languages.
The outcome of such searches will be in the ideal case a download of
the paper, and in other cases, instructions for obtaining a hard
I don't want to go into a lot of detail about the system architecture
here -- I appreciate that this is not the forum for a lot of technical
computer-speak -- but I do want to say this does represent an
excellent opportunity (A) for the community to get a system that helps
it cut out a lot of the "leg-work" involved in research, and (B) for
me to do work that I really enjoy involving a subject that I love :-)
So now, of course, I am coming to you for help! What I'd like from
this list is twofold.
First of all, one-liner indications that people would like to use such
a system would be helpful -- if I can tell the EC people something
like "forty individuals representing twenty-five different
institutions in seven countries have expressed an interest in using
this system", that will carry some weight in the bidding process.
Wherever you are in the world, this sort of expression of interest
will be helpful.
Second, and ultimately more important, I would like to know of any
_European_ companies or institutions which would be potentially
interested in participating in this project. Activities undertaken as
a part of the project are 50% funded by the EC, and the participants
have to find the other 50% of the costs themselves. Participating can
mean almost anything: from technical publishers creating a digital
archive of abstracts to researchers use-testing the system. At this
stage, anything is fair game -- we'll sort out the details as we go
along. We welcome even the most tentative interest, as we're nowhere
near the stage of making firm commitments!
You can all rest assured that I won't be flooding the Dinosaur list
with a lot of messages about this project. I've created a new,
dedicated mailing list so that people who are interested in this can
discuss it together without bothering the rest of you. The home-page
for the new list is at
and contains instructions on how to subcribe. Anyone is welcome to
subscribe to this list; and anyone is welcome to post to it, whether
subscribed or not. The address is <email@example.com>
In conclusion, I hope I can help to get something off the ground here
that will be of real use to the community for years to come.
/o ) \/ Mike Taylor -- <firstname.lastname@example.org> -- http://www.miketaylor.org.uk/
)_v__/\ "Even though I am not an expert in punctuation, it seems that
the story needs more commas" -- Susan E. Fitzgerald.