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JANET to bring digital libraries to Scotland

Friday 6th March 2009
The JANET backbone of UK education

In the West Midland ntl:Telewest Business is to provide a £4.5m high speed data network across the West Midlands to deliver JANET, the UK's education and research network, to the region’s eight higher education institutes, 45 further education colleges, 2,500 primary and secondary schools and the research community (3.4m staff, students and researchers ) In Scotland, in the first scheme of its kind in the UK, will have Scotland’s university researchers benefit from a shared digital library that will widen access to over 1,500 specialist journals and publications.

The Scottish Higher Education Digital Library (SHEDL) is considered vital to development of Scottish-based research, (Old style library: http://ithinked.com/a and digital library right: http://www.thehindu.com/) over half of which was rated internationally excellent or world-leading in last month’s Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

SHEDL has been backed by all of Scotland’s HEIs, who hope it will support research, learning and teaching. It is also expected to stimulate research both across different disciplines and between institutions - a feature of Scotland’s research scene singled out for praise in the RAE.

JISC Collections2 negotiated this pilot scheme, which will be led by the Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL3). Three leading academic publishers have already signed up, namely Cambridge University Press, the American Chemical Society and Springer. 

Lorraine Estelle, (left) CEO of JISC Collections, said: ‘NESLi2 is the national initiative for electronic journal negotiations and licensing in the UK. Working with the Scottish higher educational libraries on this project has enabled us to further develop the NESLi2 model, and we believe that what we have achieved is a feasible and scalable model for the future.’

The Scottish Higher Education Digital Library (SHEDL) has been backed by all of Scotland’s HEIs, who say that easier access to more journals will stimulate better research and support learning and teaching. It is the first scheme of its kind in the United Kingdom

It also expected to boost research across different disciplines, and support initiatives that pool research between institutions – a feature of the Scottish research scene which was singled out for praise in the RAE.

Three leading academic publishers – Cambridge University Press, the American Chemical Society and Springer – have signed up for the pilot scheme, negotiated by JISC Collections and led by the Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL).

Sheila Cannell, (right) the chair of SCURL, who is Director of Library Services at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Differential access to journals has been a problem for some researchers but with the advent of SHEDL we are now providing them with a level playing field. It not only provides universities with a greater range of materials, but will also encourage collaboration between institutions as it gives researchers access to journals on the fringes of their chosen disciplines.”

Lorraine Estelle,  CEO of JISC Collections said “ NESLi2 is the national initiative for electronic journal negotiations and licensing in the UK. Working with the Scottish higher educational libraries on this project has enabled us to further develop the NESLi2 model, and we believe that what we have achieved is a feasible and scaleable model for the future.”

JANET West Midlands network being replaced
One of the 17 regional networks that connect and deliver JANET services to schools, colleges and universities, the West Midlands Regional Network has replaced the Midlands Metropolitan Area Network (MidMAN) across the area.

The new high speed network will facilitate collaboration and fast and effective communication between the connected academic institutions, such as Aston University, Coventry University and the University of Warwick, as well as enabling access to other universities and the wider internet through JANET.

For staff and students, the resilient regional network infrastructure will support high bandwidth applications and innovative e-learning facilities such as virtual learning environments, video conferencing and lecture streaming to remote sites. Access to the JANET high capacity backbone will also enable researchers to connect to high performance national and international computing facilities and large data storage resources.

Tim Marshall, CEO of JANET(UK), said: 'We are delighted to be working with ntl:Telewest Business following their successful response to our tender for the West Midlands Regional Network. I am confident that together we will deliver an exemplary service to our customers across the West Midlands; enabling them to extend further the expectations of education and research in the region.'

The deployment of the 10Gbs core network and 10Mbs – 1Gbs connections to schools, colleges and universities further demonstrates ntl:Telewest Business’ strengths in the education sector as it follows the network upgrades for the East Midlands Metropolitan Area Network (EMMAN Ltd) and the extension of the Aurora infrastructure.

The West Midlands Regional Network is also used by 13 of the region’s local authorities for internet access, transferring data and facilitating shared services capabilities.

JANET(UK) manages the operation and development of JANET, the UK's education and research network, on behalf of JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) for the UK Further and Higher Education Funding Councils and Research Councils. JANET(UK) is government funded, with the primary aim of providing and developing a network infrastructure that meets the needs of the education and research communities.

Sources: JANET
SCURL
Information Scotland
John Cox Associates

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