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Telematics for Libraries - Projects


Project Number and Title
1008 - Electronic library image service for Europe
Programme/Action line Call Topic(s) Start End Project Duration
in Months
FP 3/ III Theme 15 February 1993 February 1995 24
image banks; image capture; remote image delivery; networking

blue bullet Additional information is available on the ELISE web site . (

New information products in libraries (e.g. optical disc, local information files, etc.). (Theme:15)
Project description
The project modelled a system which provides access to full colour image information banks (slides of museum exhibits and illustrated manuscripts and cartographic material from the Brabant area) held in two libraries in two Member States, through the:
  • design and establishment of a bank of full colour images and associated text for real-time remote access in the participating libraries;
  • modelling of interconnection between participating image banks using international networks;
  • demonstration of the pilot and communications model.
The project investigated: the technical requirements of establishing full colour image banks in libraries; the associated storage and retrieval mechanisms; client needs and design interfaces; and the technical requirements for international interconnection of image-bank systems.
Technical approach
The project was divided into eight major work areas:
  • Image bank requirements;
    • Hardware/software components;
    • Performance;
    • Image: archive, working, browsing;
  • Textual data access;
    • type, subject, method;
    • indexing techniques;
  • Pilot database server;
  • Software development;
    • Procurement specification, invitation and evaluation;
    • Pilot image bank;
    • Database;
    • Object oriented methodology;
  • Image capture and conversion;
  • System configuration;
  • Graphical user interface;
  • Connectivity.
Key issues
The main technical issues were:
  • library and library client needs for storage, transmission and presentation of full colour images, and the associated technical standards (e.g. compression, colour quality and fidelity, resolution and presentation);
  • associated textual descriptions and retrieval, and relevant standards;
  • user-interface design and presentation;
  • potential requirements and technical standards (at network, transmission and database application level) for interconnection of imagebanks internationally;
  • feasibility of transfer of the design to other material types and image banks.
During the term of the project, ELISE accommodated rapid technological change, taking into account emergent technologies such as Visual Basic, JPEG, Photo-CD, World Wide Web and Z39.50, which were at quite an immature stage when the project began.
Impact and results
The setting up of two image banks (at the Victoria & Albert museum with 3,000 slides of exhibits and at Tilburg University Library with 10,000 images of illustrated manuscripts and cartographic materials), remotely and instantly available to the prototype system, opens up new potential in the libraries sector for on-line, high speed access to images across Europe and develops awareness of image products among users, thus stimulating the market.
Among the key results are: a detailed specification of library requirements; definition of relevant, applicable technical standards; specification of retrieval database; the demonstration prototype which will be exploited for commercial use by the partners and incorporated into product development planning.
A working system was available early within the project and has been fine tuned throughout it, resulting in excellent performance in accessing images from the created databanks.
Some design specifications and project documents are restricted issue, but publications cover:
  • Image base and textual requirements specifications;
  • Formal project standards;
  • Performance standards and measurement criteria;
  • GUI user requirements, product reviews and workstation software;
  • Windows test criteria;
  • Pilot performance.
Documentation is available from the contact below and from .


Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
De Montfort University Library UK - LEICESTER LE1 9BH UK
Title, First Name, Name Prof. M. COLLIER
Executive Head of Information Centre
Address: P.O. Box 143
Tel: +44-116-25 77 039 Fax: +44-116-25 77 170
E-mail 1: E-mail 2:

Other Partners

Name of Institution/Organisation Country Role
IBM UK Scientific Centre UK P
Victoria & Albert Museum UK P
Tilburg University Library NL P

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