1 The Committee on Electronic
Information and Communication
This is a report on the meeting of the Committee on Electronic
Information and Communication (CEIC) of the IMU in Berkeley, December
5, 1999, MSRI, during and after the conference `The Future of
Mathematical Communication' Berkeley, Dec. 1-5, 1999, see:
http://msri.org/activities/events/9900/fmc99/index.html for the full
record of the conference including overheads and streaming video. The
conference was very successful. It was jointly sponsored by the three
Canadian research Institutes (CRM, Fields and Pims) and by MSRI, with additional
support from the IMU, AMS, CMS, Springer, Cambridge University Press,
and Maple. Their support is gratefully acknowledged.
There were roughly 100 participants and 35 speakers from more than a
dozen countries representing mathematicians, computer scientists, physicists,
software developers, publishers and many other perspectives. One
highlight was a stimulating public symposium held on December 4th.
This symposium - as much of the rest of the meeting - helped emphasize
that we are a small part of a much larger world. In particular, there are three
parts to the mathematical literature: commercial journals, freely
accessible parts (see below), and all the rest.
The CEIC is a standing committee of the IMU which held its first
meeting in Berlin in November 1998 and its second meeting on December
5th, 1999 at Berkeley. It will meet next fall in Vienna.
As described in Appendix 1, the CEIC has
an ambitious mandate and is now quite advanced in its activity.
Some details of the December 5 meeting follow. They give a good sense
of the CEIC's preoccupations and of topics discussed at the
2 The December 5 1999 CEIC Meeting
The morning was a session of the CEIC, open to the general public, with the
The afternoon was a closed session of CEIC.
Present: Jonathan Borwein (deputy chair, CA), John Ewing (US), Jonas Gomes
(Brazil), Wilfrid Hodges (UK), Martin Grötschel (D), Kapil Paranjape
(India), Peter Michor (chair, A), David Morrison (US), Alf van der Poorten
(AUS), Alexei Zhizhchenco (RU),
Absent: Qin Zhou (China)
- Peter Michor, Martin Grötschel: Presentation of CEIC, its members,
and its subcommittees
Wolfram Sperber: The Idea of Secondary Home Pages in MathNet
Roland Schwänzl: Metadata - a Tool for Indexing and Linking
Mathematical Preprints Globally
Wilfrid Hodges: What do you want from your publisher? (Copyright issues)
Peter Michor: Electronic services offered by the
European Mathematical Society
Jonas Gomes: MathNet in Brazil
Kapil Paranjape: The Situation in India
Open Discussion of the Prospects for MathNet and Similar Activities
- The MathNet initiative which was started in Germany will be developed
as a worldwide system of access to electronic information and
communication. It is based on the use of machine readable metadata for
preprints, institutions, persons, etc., which are developed within the
frameweork of the `Dublin core metadata initiative'. Contacts are being
preserved with the Santa Fee initiative on metadata for preprint
http://www.mathnet.de/ for an entry point into the existing system. A
charter for the organizational infrastructure was discussed and will be
available on the MathNet site soon. Many thanks are owed to our German
colleagues who have been developing MathNet for several years.
It is anticipated that the CEIC will have a robust web site by April and
will make a general call for the establishment of secondary home pages
and for development of harvestable preprint servers. Prototypes are
presently being checked in Vancouver, Rio de Janeiro and elsewhere.
- A checklist devoted to copyright issues for authors of mathematical
literature is in preparation. This will be continued as an open source
intiative, lead by Wilfrid Hodges. See
- The CEIC discussed whether bundling of small and independent journals
should be considered so that they could compete with the large
electronic libraries of Elsevier, Springer-Verlag, and Academic Press
in consortia negotiations. The European Mathematical Society EMIS
(http://www.emis.de) is addressing this already, in freely accessible
fashion. The work of EMIS is commended and encouraged by CEIC.
What will happen to the electronic material in the electronic libraries of
the commercial publishers? Will the publishers archive this material
permanently? Should there be an independent archiving facility somewhere?
- The arXiv (http://www.arXiv.org) is a very reliable and technically
very competent server for primary physical and mathematical
literature, growing out of the Los Alamos preprint server.
It is willing to consider reliable archiving for the indefinite future.
The work of the arXiv is also commended and applauded by the CEIC.
3 Appendix 1: the CEIC's Terms of Refererence
Building on the enabling resolution passed by the General Assembly (GA)
in Dresden on August 16, 1998, the Executive Committee of the
International Mathematical Union establishes a
Committee on Electronic Information and Communication (CEIC)
of the International Mathematical Union (IMU).
Terms of Reference:
- The CEIC shall be a standing committee of the Executive Committee (EC)
of the IMU, to be reviewed every four years by the EC at its meeting
preceding that of the GA. Members will be appointed for four year
terms by procedures similar to those for Commissions of the IMU. The
Executive Committee will appoint one of its members to serve on the
- The CEIC may meet as necessary in each four year period,
review the development of Electronic Information and Communication
as it impacts the international mathematical community and submit a
report to the EC.
- The CEIC may organize or sponsor international meetings or forums to
bring together representatives of all interested parties, including
societies, publishers, libraries, and researchers, publish and
otherwise disseminate proceedings, reviews of recent developments,
and technical surveys for the use of the mathematical community.
- [d)] The CEIC may recommend international standards on issues
related to electronic communication. Such recommendations should be
reviewed by the EC and, if approved, may be published and promoted in
the name of the IMU.
- During its first 4 year term, the CEIC is specifically asked
to address the coordination of world-wide efforts to establish
web-based servers for mathematical papers, preprints, journals, and
books. This includes issues of uniformizing metadata, document
identifiers and supported formats, promoting mirroring and the
development of search engines for mathematical material and
coordination of existing servers. It should publish its findings with
the goal of making the use of these servers universally understood and
usable by the whole mathematical community. It is also asked to
consider tranferring the World Directory of
Mathematicians to an electronic freely accessible form.
- Peter Michor (chair),
University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria;
Jonathan Borwein (deuty chair),
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada;
American Mathematical Society, Providence, USA;
IMPA, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;
Martin Groetschel (EC member)
Konrad-Zuse-Zentrum, Berlin, Germany;
- Wilfrid Hodges,
Queen Mary & Westfield College, London, UK;
- David Morrison,
Duke University, Durham, USA;
- Kapil Paranjape
Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, India;
- Alfred J. (Alf) van der Poorten,
Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia;
- Alexei Zhizhchenko,
Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia;
- Qing Zhou,
East China Normal University, Shanghai,China;
File translated from TEX by TTH, version 2.20.
On 21 Dec 1999, 11:10.