This is the twenty first issue of Ariadne. Our first issue was published in January 1996, under the editorship of John Kirriemuir. Twenty one issues is not exactly a birthday, but nevertheless a significant milestone: I'm reasonably sure that when the idea of a web magazine was first floated in 1995, it was not imagined that it would still be around five years later.
There are five main articles in this issue, each covering aspects of library networking which have to be synthesised effectively if we are to achieve the kind of seamlessly interconnected and useful electronic resources which the community is aiming at. Debbie Campbell looks at how the original criteria proposed for an IMesh map against Australian initiatives in her substantial article: An Overview of Subject Gateway activities in Australia. On the interoperability front, Paul Miller looks at the Z39.50 standard, and successfully manages to extract some meaning from the mass of associated literature in: Z39.50 for All. He also contributes later in the magazine Developing the 'Bath Profile', a report on a Z39.50 specification for Library Applications and Resource Discovery. Michael Day looks at the future of the scholarly interchange of information and its principle medium, the peer-reviewed journal in: The scholarly journal in transition and the PubMed Central proposal. Now that the function of a scholarly journal can be achieved at a cheaper cost, nothing is likely to be quite the same again. The editor of Ariadne, Philip Hunter, contributes an interview with Stuart Lee, manager of the 'Virtual Seminars in Teaching' project based at the Humanities Computing Unit in Oxford, on the prizewinning Wilfrid Owen Multimedia Digital Archive and the JTAP Virtual Seminars on WW1. This project has successfully undertaken a virtually complete digitization of one author's work and made it available on the web, using SGML. It has gone where others will soon follow, and is worth detailed scrutiny on that account alone (Digitizing Wilfrid). Pedro Isaias, chiming rather presciently with current UK governmental exhortations, looks at e-Commerce technology in his follow up article on: Electronic Copyright Management Systems
Among the items in the Regular Columns, The Web Editor column for this issue, 'Abzu and Beyond', is by the Archivist of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago Research Archives, Charles Jones. He muses on the history of the Internet presence of the institution, which he more or less single-handedly created. Phil Bradley looks at FAST (www.alltheweb.com), which has recently been launched as the most comprehensive of the search engines, and this article compares the FAST results with those of AltaVista and Northern Light. It is definitely fast, definitely more comprehensive, but lacking in precise query tools so far. Planet SOSIG has its usual column, and EEVL also; for the latter Roddy MacLeod mounts an interestingly tendentious, not to say strained argument about the 'success' or otherwise of EEVL. The article still manages to impart a lot of useful information about the project. The DISinHE Centre contributes an article on 'Web Content accessibility' by Paul Booth; and in Biz/Ed Bulletin Libby Miller looks at recent changes in the project, and describes some Internet Resources for academic economists and researchers. The Public Libraries column looks at: VITAL - the Value and Impact of End-User IT Services in public libraries (Juliet Eve).
On the technical front, in Windows NT Explorer, Brett Burridge seems enthusiastic about Internet Information Server (IIS 4.0). Ian Peacock is similarly enthusiastic about mod_perl, a technology for supercharging the Apache Server, which of course runs on that other OS, Unix . The Web Cache column for this issue is by Ruth Jenkins who explores some related issues for Library and Information Services. Brian Kelly reports on the latest "Institutional Web Management Workshop" in his regular 'Web Focus' column. Brian also contributes Web Watch for this issue, and explores the search facilities used by UK university Web sites. Finally, Christine Dugdale supplies a conference report for ALISS (Academic Librarians in the Social Sciences).
Bernadette Daly, Ariadne's co-editor and lead editor of Exploit Interactive, has departed to become a senior librarian in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Temporarily therefore I find myself unable to discuss the finer points of American English with anyone knowledgable in the office. Nor do I have an excellent second pair of eyes for markup problems at the next desk. Her skill and speed are missed already. Ariadne wishes her well, and is likely to take up the standing sofa offer some time in the near future.