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Purdue e-Pubs Proceedings of the IATUL Conferences
1995 IATUL Proceedings
Managing current research information Irma Pasanen-Tuomainen Helsinki University of Technology
Irma Pasanen-Tuomainen, "Managing current research information." Proceedings of the IATUL Conferences. Paper 22. http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/iatul/1995/papers/22
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MANAGING CURRENT RESEARCH INFûRMATIûN
Pasanen-Tuomainen, Irma Helsinki University of Technology , Finland
Dissemination of research results has been one of the major roles of technological university libraries. Published research information has been the main souree of information. However, the need to be able to inform larger audiences on current research activities exists long before any research report is actually published . This paper will survey the Finnish experience in managing information on current research in the form of online databases (registers), focusing on universities .
The first attempt in Finland towards a national, harmonized register of ongoing research was made in the mid 1970's by a national committee, but its report lead to no practical applications. The main objectives of this committee, set up in 1974, were to produce a master plan for the national current research information system and its division into sub-registers according to the field or aims of the research. The committee was also to propose the administration of such a register system and estimate the costs of planning, implementation and maintenance. Furthermore, the committee was to survey the questions of responsibility and ownership of data in a national research register system' . In 1977 the Ministry of Education set up a working group to formulate the recommendations for the information contents of a national register, based on the work of the previous committee and the statements made in regard to the [mal report. According ro the working group a national register system should promote access to ongoing and recent research information, prevent duplicate research , complement national and international scientific information services, help in the planning of national scientific policy and enhance the dissemination of scientific information. The working group also 216
named the library and information service units as the logical place to maintain such registers . The recommendations for the information content of a current research register, already stated in the [mal report of the committee' , included data on identification, organization, schedule, financing, costs, abstract of the research, keywords, classification, publications and reporting plans . The research register of the Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT), started initially in 1975, was the pilot application of these recommendations and the online database of ongoing research of VTT was opened for public use in 19842 •
The national register of ongoing research was not implemented, despite the great efforts of the committee, due mainly to the lack of adequate resources in the late 1970's and early 1980's. The surveys made by the committee and the working group, however, proved to be very helpful indeed in the following attempts.
In 1986 the Finnish Council for Scientific Information financed a study entitled the "Registration of Ongoing Research - a Proposal for Data Elements to be included in Research Registers" . Within the survey, conducted at the- Helsinki University of Technology Library, the state of the art of Finnish research registers was evaluated and the need for general guidelines concerning the construction of these databases was revealed in the questionnaire analysis. At the time of the survey, there was a total of 40 different current research registers in operation in the country, most of which were implemented in the beginning of the 1980's. Ten of these registers were in universities and only three had the register in an electronic format but not searchable online. The information content, even following the recommendations of the 1977 working group, lacked standardization and therefore the contents varied a great deal in different institutions" ,
On the basis of UNESCO's research register recommendation, the existing registers and information needs expressed during the project, the data elements and the representation of the data were compiled into a proposal of data elements to be
included in Finnish research registers'. Table 1 presents the different data elements of this proposal. The second attempt to farm a unified research register was made same ten years after the fITSt pilot model. The Ministry of Education financed a sa called TUTKA-project where the University of Oulu was assigned to produce a pilot register, based on the 1987 proposaf and applicable in other Finnish universities as weIl. This pilot model", partially completed in 1991 was faced with hard criticism. Other universities, weIl aware of their autonomy, rejected the proposed idea of a relational database with named irnplementation software. Also important institutions, such as the Finnish Academy (major funding organization of Finnish research), were sceptical.
FinaIly, in 1994 the working group set up by the Ministry of Education published the recommendations for unified information contents of a current research register, especially for universities . These guidelines are independent of the computer environment used in different universities and are presented in the SGML format'. The guidelines take into account all the previous attempts and also the "Commission recommendations concerning the harmonization within the Community of research and technological databases (CERIF) of the European Union'", In table 1 these data elements are presented in comparison with the previous proposals, as weIl as with the existing ongoing research register of the Helsinki University of Technology.
The 1990's introduced the result-based management to Finnish universities and without doubt this had its impact on the need for the administration of current, up-ta-date information concerning ongoing research. While the SGML-coded guidelines finally closed the gap in constructing harmonized research registers in different computer environments, the financial pressure forced the universities into action. Currently, the largest university in Finland, the University of Helsinki is constructing its database. The computing center will be responsible for the research register whereas the faculty library units will collect the information concerning publications produced in the research process. University administration at Jyvaskyla is still considering the different irnplementation possibilities . Oulu University has a very ambitious plan 218
combine all administrative data, such as accounting and personnel management, into a comprehensive research data management system. The Library at Oulu University is playing a key rale in the process, and the University of Joensuu is most likely to cooperate in the project.
The Helsinki University of Technology has been the first university in Finland to intraduce a publicly accessible online research register in operation that follows the guidelines of the 1994 report. The HUT library was chosen to maintain the registers for current research, publications and experts of the university since it had the experience as well as the expertise in information retrieval systems within the university . These databases are all a part of the library's TENTTU information retrieval system run by TRIP software.
The experience of libraries in general in maintaining information rich databases is also worth underlining as the whole pracess of information collecting, processing and inputting requires an organization where the concept of value added information is understood. In this respect, within the decentralized input model of HUT in which the laboratories themselves are responsible for the data collecting and input process the library acts as a help desk. The tasks of the help desk include answering the queries concerning the actual input pracess, the information content and information retrieval. Furthermore, the library is responsible for the training of the laboratory staff and also for the overall information and technical quality of the database. The quality is assured by going through the material on a regular basis: during the classification of the individual records and while preparing the data for the printed versions of the database. Curiously enough, it was not sufficient to have just an online database of ongoing research. There was a great demand for printed versions of the register, now named "HUT Current Research 19XX" and published annually. In fact, it was the first printed publication which made the last of the HUT laboratories aware of the existence of the database, despite the rather overwhelming marketing efforts during the construction phase . Today it is estimated that the TKKTUTKII database of the current research of HUT covers some 800 research projects, i.e. more than 95 % of all 219
research conducted at the university. It must be acknowledged, however, that this is not solely the library 's achievement, but the close cooperation with the ad.ministration of the university has been vital. Without their continuous support the rapid implementation as well as the daily maintenance of the current research register would have been very difficult. The research register is constructed also to serve the administration and now the information previously collected via questionnaires is available in the database. A descriptive listing of the data elements of the TKKTUTKII database is included in the appendix. The registers of research are, unlike traditional library databases such as catalogues, indexes or full text databases, constantly being modified to keep up with the development of a specific research project. Also the need for the information requested by the administration is not static and therefore the database manager must be prepared to do the structural database changes accordingly. To conclude this
overview of the development of Finnish current research
registers , I would like to point out that even if the demand for information concerning current research already existed more than 20 years ago and basic understanding of the principles of the information contents had. already then been reached, it was not adequate enough for the construction of a national research register . The financial pressure, generated mainly by the result-based management, and the independency of the computer platform provided by SGMLlDTD were the two factors that fmally pushed things forward in the universities, resulting in online publicly accessible databases of current research. Currently , in cooperation with some Finnish research institutes, such as the Geological Survey of Finland , the Institute of .Occupational Health and the Technical Research Center , the HUT Library is conducting work to find network (WWW) based solutions to browsing and searching the databases related to current research by automatically generated hypertext links during data retrieval. At the Helsinki University of Technology the idea will be to convert automatically, on a daily basis, the TRIP databases of HUT library into SGML-coded UNIX-files which then are searched and browsed with carefully designed links based mainly on the field structures of the 220
original databases. The WWW dient-server structure can handle far more simultaneous users than the actual online system and is also independent of license fees. Furthermore, the original databases include such confidential information used for internal administrative purposes that it is regarded as an unwanted action to allow unidentified users directly into the database. In fact, this confidential information is visible only to a handful of password holders of the TENTTU system. The current research, publications and expert registers of HUT are converted into SGML-coded UNIX files, and a system to search and browse through the contents of the different files of different organizations is built. The design of links, that is what information in one database file leads to the next in another database, has been the main task of the library with its decades of experience in information retrieval in the commercial value-added databases, as well as in structuring its own databases. The software solution includes the automatic generation of links between different files. During the project also a LaTeX based solution of generating printed publications (with indexes) from the ongoing research register of HUT is prepared from the UNIX files. This initiative will increase tremendously the dissemination of Finnish research information since any Internet user can have access to this service which will also offer possibilities for a simultanious search in different Finnish research organizations .
Comparison between some data elements in different proposals concerning the registers of CUITent research. COM
M M M M M M M R R M
M M M M M M
R M R R R M M
R M M M M
M M M M M M R R M M R M M M M M R M R
1976 1987 1991 1993 1994 M = manda t ory data e lement
R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R R
M M M M M M R R R M R R M M R M M R
R = re ccemerdec data element
"The f i nal re po rt of t he research r egi ster committee' The proposa l f or da t a el ement s to i ncl uded i n r e s ea r ch reg i s ters' CERI F recommendat ions' The Register of Ongoing Research of the Hels ink i Univers ity of Tech nology Recommenda t ions of the i nf or mat i on content and i mpl ement ati on of researc h r egis ters'
COM OTA EU HUT OPM
Tutkimusrekisterikomitean mietintö. Komiteamietintö 1976:45, Helsinki (The report of the research register committee)
Nyrhinen, K. , Ylinen, A. Tutkimustoiminnan rekisteröinti - ehdotus tutkimusrekisterin tietosisällöksi. OTA-kirjasto AIO , Teknillisen korkeakoulun kirjasto, Espoo 1987. 75 s. (Registration of Ongoing Research - a Proposal for Data Elements to be included in Research Registers)
Korkeakoulujen tutkimustietokanta TUTKA: loppuraportti . Korkeakoulujen tutkimustietokantaprojektin ohjausryhmän loppuraportti. Opetusministeriön työryhmien muistioita, 1991:28, Helsinki 1991. (Research register TUTKA of Finnish universities , [mal report . Memorandum of the working groups of the Ministry of Education)
Suositukset tutkimustietokantojen tietosisällöksi ja perustamiseksi. Korkeakoulujen tutkimustietokantojen seurantaryhmän loppuraportti.
työryhmien muistioita 1994:5, Helsinki 1994. (Recommendations of the information content and implementation of research registers, final report. Memorandum of the working groups of the Ministry of Education) 5.
Commission recommendations of 6 May 1991 concerning the harmonization within the Community of research and technological development databases. (CERIF). Official Joumal ofthe European Communities, L 189, Vol 34, 13 July 1991.
Oescription: Current Research Register of the Helsinki University of Technology Oefaul t format: Default entry form: Formats available:
1 syotto 1, 6, SANAT, AS, TEK, TARK, VKIRJA, VAEDI, EDIVA, 3, 4, VKIR, VACS, REH. NIIRA , VK94 , ALL, TIENG Entry forms available: SYOTTO, SYOTT01, LUOKITUS Search forms available: SYOTTO Files: TUTKIMUS$:TKKTUTKII.BAF TUTKIMUS$:TKKTUTKII.BIF TUTKIMUS$:TKKTUTKII.VIF Searchable special characters: _ Submit queue: Notify on completion: Print log fi le: Keep log fi le: Field name
TDBS$BATCH Y N
Part Mand Indx Orig Cost COIIIIIeOt
14 15 16
N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N
Y Y Y N Y Y N N N Y N N Y
Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
17 INTEGER N
SOA CDA PM PC PST
18 19 20 21 22
Y N Y Y N
Y Y Y Y Y
N N N N N
23 INTEGER N
24 INTEGER N
RT3 PTY AB Uil IL ABE KIIE RP EQ ECP
HUT EO MD
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
TIE AU Cl CS VA PL AD SU FO CL CO
PHRASE DATE DATE TEXT TEXT PHRASE TEXT PHRASE PHRASE PHRASE PHRASE PHRASE PHRASE PHRASE PHRASE INTEGER
DATE DATE INTEGER PHRASE PHRASE
N N N N N
Y Y N
N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N
0 0 0 0
0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0
25 INTEGER N
27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34
N N N N N N N N
N Y Y N N N
Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
TEXT PHRASE PHRASE TEXT PHRASE TEXT PHRASE TEXT
N N N N N N N N
0 0 0 0 0
Project code Creating date Updating date Original project title (in Finnish) Translated title ( in Engl i sh ) Proj ect di rector Principal researchers Name of the research unit Research unit code Address Place Name of the requesting organization Name of the funding organization(s) Cooperation units within HUT Cooperation units outside HUT Total amount for the entire project in FIM Total amount of outside funding for the entire project in FIM Start i ng date Expected ending date Total HE period in number of months Confedent i a l i ty Project phase: ongoing, interrupted, ended Proj ect type: bas i c research x Proj eet type: appl ied research % Project type: development % Project status (main-. part- or continuation project; original project title) Original abstract (in Finnish) Free keywords (in Finn ish) International research (yes/no) Translated abstract (in English) Translated free keywords (in English) Plans to report the results Special equipment Research progranme
-- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Part Mand I ndx Ori 9 Cost COIIIIIent
ECA ECN ECC CC 1 CC2 CC3
35 36 37 38 39 40
PHRASE TEXT PHRASE PHRASE PHRASE PHRASE
N N N N N N
N N N N N N
Y Y Y Y Y Y
PB EDI YE
42 43 44
TEXT PHRASE INTEGER
N Y N
Y Y Y
INTEGER N INTEGER N
I NTEGER N
N N N N N N
0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Y N N
0 0 0
Research programme acronym Sub-programme Pro ject code with in a programme Class if ication code eRCS) Classif ication terms Reserved for other class i ti cat i on schemes Reserved for other elassif i eation sehemes Publi cat i ons and patents Edi t or s i d enti f i eat i on Cur r ent year = year of given financial information Current year amount in FIM Curren t year HUT financed amount in FIM Cur r ent yea r nat i ona l , oth e r than HUT finance amount in FIM Cur r ent year for ei gn f inanee amount in FIM Current year FTE per iod i n number of months Current year FTE period in number of months of those d i reet l y empl oyed by HUT Current year FTE period in number of months of those work i ng i n HUT but not di reet l y employed by HUT