Large Infrastructure in Mathematics - Enhanced Services


Project Name: LIMES: Large Infrastructure in Mathematics - Enhanced Services

Status: RTD project within the Fifth (EC) Framework Programme - Horizontal Programme "Improving human research potential and the socio-economic knowledge base", Access to Research Infrastructures activity

Scheduled Dates: April 2000 - March 2004
Partners:  FIZ Fachinformationszentrum Karlsruhe  Germany
UJF Cellule de Coordination Documentaire Nationale pour les Mathématiques  France
Eidetica Eidetica BV The Netherlands
SIBA SIBA Coordination, University of Lecce Italy
DTV Technical Knowledge Centre & Library of Denmark Denmark
USDC University of Santiago de Compostela Spain
HMS Hellenic Mathematical Society Greece
TUB Technical University of Berlin Germany
EMS European Mathematical Society Finland


The objective of this project is to upgrade the existing database Zentralblatt-MATH into a European based world class database for mathematics (pure and applied) by a process of technical improvement and wide Europeanisation.

Upgrading the existing database, improving the present system and developing a new, distributed system both for the input and output of the data are necessary to allow Zentralblatt MATH to use the latest developments and to anticipate on future developments of electronic technologies.

The goal is to make Zentralblatt MATH a world reference database, offering full coverage of the mathematics literature worldwide, including bibliographic data, peer reviews and/or abstracts, indexing, classification and search, with a European basis.

Improvements will be made in 3 areas:

The overall goal is to improve the facilities of the European Database in Mathematics with Zentralblatt as its core, to transform Zentralblatt within this framework to a distributed European enterprise, and to improve and widen the access of Zentralblatt to European countries by providing structures for a better distribution on the technical and on the economical level.

The LIMES project sets out to achieve these goals by stimulation of usage (national access nodes and centers for dissemination including development of adequate licensing models; links with offers of complete documents); better coverage and more precise evaluation of literature through improved update procedures (for the data-gathering, but also for data distribution to access points) via a network of distributed Editorial Units. Networked access to the database these days is mainly via rapidly evolving WWW technologies, with high potential for further development of innovative access and retrieval methods, and improvements in the quality of data (e.g. author and source identification through data-mining techniques).

Contrary to the centralised American model, Zentralblatt MATH will be extended to a European research infrastructure with distributed sites (Editorial Offices and Access Nodes) in the member states. The EMS representing the scientific community concerned has promoted these ideas among the national societies and individual members.

Deliverables at the end of the project suitable for exploitation include:

Expected users of the results include all infrastructure operators that participate in LIMES, and all partners setting up distributed Editorial Units and national access nodes. Results will be available in all other European countries to set up similar installations, and also to other database providers. Expected users of the improved infrastructure include all working mathematicians and researchers in related fields in the exact sciences as well as engineers and others interested in mathematics results in commercial and industrial areas (e.g. mathematics of finance, public key cryptosystems, simulation). Another big application area for the results will be in research libraries, where services provided by librarians will be substantially supported by improved access and retrieval methods, together with a superior quality of data. Decision-makers will find the database more useful when evaluating research performance.

Partnership policy regarding licenses, commitment on the exploitation of results: Since EMS is member of Zentralblatt MATH's Editorial Board, it is guaranteed that results will be available for usage in further research infrastructure partnerships. Tools and methods developed during the project will be usable by project partners on a royalty free license basis. Further results, documentation and information will be made publicly available. Commercial exploitation of results beyond European research infrastructure services will be considered.

Other measures of exploitation and dissemination:Results and ongoing development of LIMES will be presented at workshops, conferences and in journal articles. A public project WWW-server and mailing list will be installed aiming towards a broad information and active integration of the mathematical community about the content and the aims of the project. This will also provoke more feedback of the user community, and thus lead to a better streamlining of the general project aims.

Assessment of risks which may hinder exploitation:The evolutionary development in networking and the WWW environment may lead to some unforeseeable new requirements. However, the present work plan provides enough flexibility to accommodate to these and other risks.



FIZ Karlsruhe operates the central editorial office for Zentralblatt MATH (http://www.zblmath.fiz-karlsruhe. de/), which, founded in 1931, is today the longest-running international abstracting and reviewing service in the field of pure, applied and industrial mathematics. Zentralblatt MATH covers the entire spectrum of mathematics and theoretical computer science with special emphasis on areas of applications and provides about 60.000 reviews per year. FIZ will be engaged in all Work Packages (see descriptions below): In WP-1 (Quality of Data and Retrieval), FIZ will work on systems specifications, assist in the development of alpha and beta versions, and integration of results into production services, leading to better quality of data and retrieval. In WP-2 (National Access Nodes), FIZ will assist national access nodes to set up and improve technical facilities, to integrate those with other national offers, and to secure broad access to the services for the user community. In WP-3 (Distributed Editorial Units), FIZ will provide basic knowledge of setting up and managing editorial units, help with the installation and development of technical facilities, and add input items from the editorial units to the central database. In all Work Packages, FIZ will also work on evaluation and further exploitation of results, models and contracts for continuous operation.

 The Cellule de Coordination Documentaire Nationale pour les Mathématiques (MDC) was created in 1995. This is a joint infrastructure with a national scope (Unité Mixte de Service) between the Université Joseph Fourier (UJF), Grenoble, France, and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, France). MDC provides mathematics research libraries and mathematics departments with technical assistance on computerised documentation. In 1999, the MDC released edbm/w3, the first module of the European Database Manager for Mathematics software. Extensive development of this software will be done in WP-1: integration of new tools for search, identification, display, and update; development and integration of improved access control management. In WP-2, MDC will help national access nodes with the development and installation of improved update procedures, and general installation aids for the retrieval software. In WP-3, MDC will provide support for the fast processing of input items and integration into the database.

 Eidetica is the most recent spin-off company of CWI (The Netherlands national research center for mathematics and computer science). It was created by researchers in the Interactive Information Engineering theme, combining expertise in linguistics and mathematical clustering of dependency networks for textual domains. Eidetica participates in WP-1 and will, amongst general assistance to all WP-1 tasks, mainly develop new models and tools for identification of author and serial names (two of the most requested features from the user community), based on data-mining techniques, and other improvements of the retrieval process.

 SIBA Coordination, University of Lecce (SIBA-UNILE) is the Structure of the University of Lecce, Italy, that co-ordinates, manages and develops the Telematics Information System for Research. SIBA co-ordinates the SINM project, which aims at the development of a National Information System for Mathematics which will allow the Italian mathematical community to have easy access to the bibliographic and full-text resources available in the libraries of the field, on-line and on CD-ROM. In WP-3, SIBA will establish an editorial unit for Zentralblatt MATH in Italy, identifying and covering mathematical publications of the region, according to high reviewing standards and editorial policies. SIBA will install basic technical facilities to start its input delivery as soon as possible and thereafter work on innovative tools for automating these processes (electronic reviewing). A model for continuous operation, including cost effectiveness considerations, will be developed.

 Technical Knowledge Centre & Library of Denmark (DTV) was established in 1942 as the central library of the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and the national library for engineering and applied sciences in Denmark. The role of DTV will be twofold: 1.) Setting up and running an editorial unit. The unit will be responsible for covering a number of journals and other sources to be defined and agreed by DTU MATH/DTV and the co-ordinator. The unit will engage itself in experimenting with modern, electronic reviewing methods, especially with the results of the SIBA -UNILE system development in this area. 2.) Establishing a raw data system for the editorial units. The DADS (Digital Article Database System) at DTV contains bibliographical data from a wide range of Zentralblatt-relevant journal publishers in a uniform format. Following the agreement of the publishers, this data will be made available for LIMES in two ways: a.) for end-user current awareness purposes through a special LIMES gateway added to the Current Awareness System of the EMS and to the Zentralblatt MATH database, giving access to the relevant subset of the DADS data. b.) for cataloguing reuse by the editorial units through the export of raw cataloguing data to the Zentralblatt editorial system. The selection of articles to export will be based on a journal list provided by the central Zentralblatt editorial unit.

 University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain (USDC) [Main department carrying out the work: Institute of Mathematics : IMAT] is one of the biggest Spanish universities. The role of USDC will be (WP-2) to propagate the use of the database in Spain and to facilitate the access to it, first by installing a national site server and regularly updating the database and new software releases, and second by setting up a task group for stimulating the usage of the database by Spanish universities, research centers, and libraries. A network structure for information in mathematics will be developed, integrating Zentralblatt MATH with national information offers. This work will be undertaken in co-operation mainly with CESGA (Centro de Supercomputacion de Galicia) and RSME (Real Sociedad Matematica Espanola). CESGA is a large supercomputing center located at Santiago, which provides institutional support to research. It will serve as a technical operator for installing a mirror of the database. RSME is the main Spanish society of mathematicians, and through the Society, end-users will be approached and provided with institutional help. Concrete objectives: Distribution of information about contents, retrieval, document supply and new developments, as well as a number of meetings concerning the mathematics database and preprint services, national language interfaces, connection to libraries and proposals for national funding and access consortia.

 The Hellenic Mathematical Society (HMS) founded in 1918, has the purpose to encourage and contribute to the study and research of mathematics and its applications, as well as to improve mathematical education in Greece. HMS will work in WP-2 and apply a methodology analogous to that of partner USDC.

 The Technical University of Berlin (TUB) is one of the largest universities in Germany offering curricula for the full scale of engineering sciences. Through the members of its mathematics department, it has a traditional co-operation with Zentralblatt MATH by serving as consultants for the input to the database. In particular, the editor-in-chief of Zentralblatt MATH is member of that department, and he can look back on a 25 year period of experience in this position. TUB will work in all Work Packages, with continuous advise to partners and evaluation of results. An important task for TUB will be in WP-4 (Information Dissemination), and development of editorial tools (WP-3).

 The European Mathematical Society (EMS) comprises almost all national mathematical societies in Europe (including Central and Eastern Europe) covering pure and applied mathematics up to and including industrial applications. In addition, the EMS also has some 2000 individual members. Since its founding, the society has urged and directed the use of modern information technology to support researchers in mathematics and other fields which use mathematics as well as in educational mathematics. EMS proclaims the necessity of having a strong European database in mathematics as an indispensable tool to maintain Europe's role independent and at a high level of mathematics research. The EMS is already a partner in the Editorial Board of Zentralblatt MATH and in this function has set up an Innovations Committee whose main task is to define and enact innovative features and procedures in Zentralblatt MATH. The EMS has two roles to play in the project: It represents the end-user and gives a pan-European framework to the project as a whole. In both roles, it will be part of WP-0 (Project Management).

 All partners will work in WP-4 (Information Dissemination), to secure a broad visibility of project aims and achievements.



The approach taken by LIMES is based on prototypical installations and implementations: The existing infrastructure will be extended to the European level by collaborative efforts of the single partners and exemplified for a number of national sites. The technical work programme is oriented to the needs of infrastructure operators and users. The division into Work Packages and Tasks is a result of the logical grouping of requirements and general project aims as set out before.

The evolutionary development in networking and the WWW environment may lead to some unforeseeable new requirements during the execution of the project. However, the present work plan provides enough flexibility to accommodate to these and other risks.
WP-0: Project Management
General project management and co-ordination.
Description of work
Co-ordination of efforts.
Reporting on progress of the project.
Revision of work plan if new necessities or technological changes appear. 
Knowledge and skills transfer between consortium members. 
Managing copyright, licensing, and legal issues. 
Preparatory measures for the exploitation of RTD results.
Relation to the Commission. 
The project management structure and tasks are fully described in Section 4.5 (Project Management). 
All, responsible: FIZ

WP-1: Quality of Data and Retrieval
Improve the quality of MATH contents and data and retrieval functionality
Description of work
Author and source identification and standardisation based on data mining techniques allowing rapid finding of all information collected for one individual author independent of transliterations or different writing (full surname, abbreviated first names, etc. ), independent of national specialities (predicates, different listing of surnames, composed names). Intellectual as well as semi-automatic support to create an effective procedure to satisfy the needs of the modern user community will be developed. An authority list for serial names identification (solves current problems with change of journal title, publisher, diversification, etc.) will be compiled, together with browsing and searching possibilities.

Development of new and enhanced retrieval features for the database engine: Integration of identification tools; proximity search - improvement of access for non-experts; output formatting according to user needs (e.g. PDF, MathML/XML); integration of EULER MSC-Navigator.

Development of support tools for decentralised national servers and access nodes and update procedures: multilingual interfaces; access control management. A robust, high frequency, incremental update will be set up in the production process allowing distributed servers to be kept "in synchronisation" as much as possible; installation of update software at each relevant site, and enhancement of the facilities used at the data production level.

Provisions for special client access: access restricted to subsets of data (e.g. educational mathematics, mechanics, statistics, operations research).

FIZ, UJF, Eidetica, TUB; responsible: FIZ

WP-2: National Access Nodes
Provide better database access in the Member States
Description of work
Investigation of location, distribution and needs of potential users.

Installation of national site servers for Zentralblatt MATH Database.

Development of update procedures and mechanisms including automated tools.

Development of a network structure for information in mathematics.

Links to library OPACs, Document Delivery services, Preprint servers, and other national information offers.

Development of models for access consortia, securing continuous and widespread operation. 

FIZ, UJF, HMS, USDC, TUB, responsible: FIZ

WP-3: Distributed Editorial Units
Establish a network of decentralised units to better cover and evaluate European research literature
Description of work
Acquisition of basic knowledge of reviewing standards and current policies, technical procedures, and other editorial operations.

Development of innovative tools, leading to higher quality evaluation of the literature: better coverage, better up-to-dateness, improved documentation.

Technical installation of data gathering and input procedures, acquisition control.

Innovative support via electronic means for the evaluation procedure by external reviewers: Electronic reviewing. Selection of papers by reviewers; assignment of papers to reviewers; electronic forwarding of reviewing copies; electronic submission of reviews; electronic workflow control.

Investigation of the range of national mathematical achievement to be represented in the database and decision procedures for selection of sources.

Development of a model for continuous operation.

Cost estimations based on continuous delivery of input items to the database, test and verification of tools, incl. cost effectiveness

FIZ, UJF, DTV, SIBA-UNILE, TUB; responsible: FIZ

WP-4: Information Dissemination and Concertation
Public dissemination of project results
Description of work
Information dissemination will take place via professional journal articles, presentations at conferences, Concertation meetings organised by the Commission, and similar events. 

Relevant reports of the project will be made publicly available on the World Wide Web. 

FIZ, Eidetica, DTV, SIBA-UNILE, HMS, USDC, TUB; responsible: TUB