HyperLib Toolkit available in public domain


HyperLib - one of the EC-projects under the Specific Programme of Research and Technological Development in the field of Telematic Systems of General Interest (Area 5: Libraries) - is a collaborative project between the University of Loughborough (UK) and the University of Antwerp (B). The project started in 1993 and was completed in December 1995.

The project aimed to improve access to the library services of the University of Antwerp and thereby enhance the librarys utility to its users. The project adopted a human factors oriented design methodology to ensure that the revised computer interface achieved the advances intended for as wide a spectrum of the librarys users as is possible. In order to achieve a system that is both effective and easy to use the project partners took the approach of graphical user interfaces supporting dynamic hypertext linking.

The project focused on two implementations: electronic user guides and database related resources (an academic bibliography, a navigation tool for subject classification and a webbed OPAC). The technology of the project is based on M database (ISO/IEC 11756), SGML (ISO 8879), WWW and HTML.

At the Closing Meeting of the project (December 1995), the project partners proposed as part of their exploitation plan to put parts of the HyperLib developments in public domain. At the beginning of 1996 work started on adapting software modules in order to achieve a higher degree of portability to other systems and platforms. As a result of these efforts, the HyperLib Toolkit is now available in public domain.

The current version of the HyperLib Toolkit allows the production of hypertext books in HTML format from an SGML instance. These SGML instances should be conform to the HyperLib DTD and can be produced with a any SGML editor. The same SGML instance can also be used to generate PostScript files for hardcopy output. As this part of the software is currently under revision, the HyperLib Toolkit only handles the HTML output.

Products that are related to the exploitation of database resources (Academic Bibliography, Subject Navigation Network and Webbed OPAC) are not part of the toolkit, mostly because these products are closely related to the specific technical and library environment at the University of Antwerp and thus cannot be ported easily to other operating environments.

The HyperLib Toolkit can be installed on any platform capable of handling Perl-scripts. The installation procedure and the complete functionality of the toolkit is documented on the WWW (http://www.ua.ac.be/MAN/HLBSW)

In brief, The HyperLib Toolkit allows you to publish hypertext structured books on the Web. In fact a HyperLib document is an SGML instance conforming to the HyperLib Document Type Definition (DTD) and it is built from a sequence of topics. A topic being the smallest addressable unit in the hypertext book, can contain structured text (headings, paragraphs, lists), embedded elements (foreground and background images) and hypertext references to other topics within the same manual, to other HyperLib manuals or guides, to other local or remote HTML documents on the Web or to Internet services in general (telnet, ftp, Gopher...). All topics are organised in a hierarchical network of parents and siblings. As a result all topics are defined with a unique location in this hypertext network.

The primary benefit of the toolkit is that it allows an organisation such as a library to fully document its services and thus provide a way to support it's distant users (both end users and librarians). Because SGML was chosen as the structuring language of the documents, all documents obtain the same look and feel. Finally the toolkit allows easy management of permanently updated versions of (end) user documentation.

 General questions concerning the HyperLib project can be directed to
 Julien Van Borm
 University of Antwerp
 PB 13
 B-2610 Antwerp
 Tel: +32-3-820 21 41
 Fax: +32-3-820 21 59
 Email: jborm@lib.uia.ac.be
 Technical questions concerning the HyperLib Toolkit can be directed to
 Richard Philips
 University of Antwerp
 Library Automation Team
 PB 13
 B-2610 Antwerp
 Tel: +32-3-820 21 57
 Fax: +32-3-820 21 59
 Email: rphilips@lib.ua.ac.be
More information on the HyperLib project is available from the HyperLib Electronic Document Store at http://www.ua.ac.be/docstore.html

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