Following the recent international conference on the Global Digital Library held in London 16⁄17 June, representatives from the UK Joint Information Systems Committee met with colleagues from the Council of Australian University Librarians to consolidate an agreement for co-operation which was initiated in the autumn of 1996. JISC/CAUL collaboration began in October 1996 when it was agreed that the current technological and economic climate made collaborative work possible, attractive and increasingly necessary. These most recent discussions have moved theory into practice and the commitment to collaboration is now embodied in several identified areas of work. These include issues of intellectual property rights, the creation, discovery and retrieval of networked information and finally, networking and infrastructure issues. Collaborative work will build on the relations established through the JEDDS  project which is funded by eLib and based at Griffith University in Brisbane . While the collaborative effort will address some of the overarching international issues such as IPR, it will also focus on some small scale projects to foster co-operation “on the ground”. Possible new work includes a study on collaborative networking strategies and a discussion paper on possible strategies and mechanisms for sharing digitised resources. More practical work may focus on current activities in providing access to network resources in particular subjects or disciplines, for example collaborative work on subject-based information gateways to network resources: Australian colleagues at The University of South Wales plan to establish an Internet gateway to chemistry resources and some discussions have taken place about possible collaborations building on the ANR experiences from eLib. Both the UK and Australian representatives look forward to building alliances and working together in the future. The UK representatives involved in initial discussions have been Lynne Brindley, LSE; Derek Law, King’s College London; Alistair Chalmers, University of Essex, and Mel Collier, De Montfort University.
Although JISC has had a formal link with the U.S. through their membership in the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), it has never had such a link with Australian colleagues. Over the next 12 months it is hoped that collaborative effort will manifest itself in some specific project proposals which aim to solicit co-funding from both the CAUL (through the Australian government) and the JISC.
Following the first round of discussions in the autumn JISC has now appointed Kelly Russell as International Co-ordinator (.5FTE) to foster links between the UK and other countries working with networked information provision in Higher Education. Kelly will continue her work with eLib (.5% FTE) and will be supported by a new Assistant Co-ordinator to be appointed in July 1997. Although this work will focus mainly on areas of interest to JISC’s Committee on Electronic Information (CEI) there is also scope for a broader collaborative framework to include co-operation with other JISC subcommittees such as the Advisory Committee on Networking (ACN) to strengthen the UK’s international links.
 The Joint Electronic Document Delivery Software project is working on the development of a MIME compliant document delivery system based on RLG’s Ariel software; Web pages are at:
Author detailsKelly Russell,
eLib Assistant Co-ordinator and JISC International Co-ordinator,
Phone: 01203 524552