Chemical & Engineering News,
August 21, 1995

Copyright © 1995 by the American Chemical Society.

ECTOC-1 stems from electronic library project

The first Electronic Conference on Trends in Organic Chemistry, ECTOC-1, has a fairly lengthy chain of sponsorship. The conference arose from steps taken in the U.K. to initiate an electronic library program.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is an organization in the U.K. that funds many of that country's state universities. (The Scots have their own council.) About a year ago, HEFCE decided to initiate an electronic library (e-lib) program. Based on recommendations from a committee known as FIGIT (the Follett Implementation Group on Information Technology), HEFCE funded 30 projects selected from some 360 bids received.

One of the projects is a collaborative three-year effort by a consortium involving Cambridge University, Leeds University, Imperial College (London), and the Royal Society of Chemistry at Cambridge - the CLIC consortium. Contacts for the consortium include Henry S. Rzepa of the chemistry department at Imperial College; David James, manager of electronic primary publications at the Royal Society of Chemistry; Benjamin Whitaker of the school of chemistry at Leeds University; and Jonathan Goodman of the department of chemistry at Cambridge University.

The CLIC consortium intends to develop new methods of disseminating and publishing information in the chemical and molecular sciences. The initial objective will be to launch an electronic version of the Royal Society of Chemistry's refereed flagship primary journal, Chemical Communications. In the first phase, the parties expect to publish in parallel with the printed version. A second phase will involve development of methods of information delivery that have no exact equivalent to the printed page, using proposed new Internet standards relating to molecular sciences.

An associated mission is to organize events to raise awareness among the typical community that reads Chemical Communications about what is possible electronically. ECTOC-1, designed to provide early user feedback, is the first of these awareness-raising projects.

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