The Internet Public Library and University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative Announce Collaboration Focusing On Internet Collections

For Immediate Release


David S. Carter
School of Information
University of Michigan
550 East University
Ann Arbor, MI

ANN ARBOR, MI., JUNE 25, 1996--The Internet Public Library (IPL), a project based at the University of Michigan School of Information, and the University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative (HTI) announce collaborative efforts aimed at bringing advanced search and retrieval database technologies to the IPL's already impressive Internet collections.

The first phase of this collaboration will focus on the IPL Reading Room, which contains an extensive directory of online texts, newspapers and other serials. Users will be able to access these popular resources with unprecedented ease and flexibility.

Besides increasing access from the user end, the IPL-HTI collaboration will also involve ground breaking methods in online collection development and management. By use of a distributed interface, authorized librarians from around the world will be able to add and modify items in the collection with the same ease as a librarian in the IPL main office.

Once this first phase of the collaboration is complete (anticipated by the end of the summer), the IPL-HTI team will focus on the other IPL collections, including Associations on the Net and the highly praised Ready Reference Collection. In addition, new collections will be created to make use of the new environment.

By focusing on quality and organization, IPL collections have received high marks from Internet users, who have praised the collections' usefulness. Unlike most other collections of Internet resources, items in IPL collections are carefully reviewed, selected and organized by professional librarians.

IPL Director Joseph Janes is excited about this first of hopefully many collaborations between IPL and other Internet initiatives. "Collaborations are a key part of our work at the IPL, and working with the outstanding people at HTI will really help us to provide better service to our patrons."

HTI Technical Librarian Nigel Kerr says "This allows each of us to take advantage of some of the things we do well; for us at HTI particularly to think about the kinds of collections the IPL has, which are rather different from our own."

The Internet Public Library is a project of the University of Michigan School of Information, partially supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The library began as a graduate student project in 1995, and is now staffed by professional librarians with assistance from students and volunteer librarians from around the Internet. The library maintains a collection of network-based ready reference works; responds to reference queries, creates resources for children and young adults; evaluates and categorizes resources on the Internet, and provides a space for exhibitions. The library strives to be a source of innovation in the networked environment, seeking partnerships with organizations with compatible goals.

The University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative began in the Fall of 1994, the result of efforts of several organizations at the University of Michigan including the University of Michigan Press, the School of Information, and the University Library. The Humanities Text Initiative (HTI) serves as an umbrella effort both for the creation and maintenance of online texts, and as a mechanism for furthering the University's capabilities in the area of online text.