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Mathe im Netz - Math-Net
(1998)

"The system is broken'' is how Keith Dennis, professor at Cornell University and the new editor-in-chief of the Mathematical Reviews characterizes the traditional ways and means of publication in mathematics. What are the reasons? The main reasons are the extreme growth in the mathematical literature, the long delays between preparation and publication of an article, the high number of rejected papers due to page limitations (not lack of quality) as well as drastic price increases for journals and books with library budgets being reduced at the same time.

\begin{footnotesize} \noindent Combining electronic specialized information, such as electronic information retrieval from central databases, with the new means of communication opens up new perspectives for mathematics in Germany. Based on the current Fachinformationsprojekt (Specialized Information Project) run by the Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung (DMV) and supported by the Federal Minister for Research and Technology (BMFT), the DMV is planning a new infrastructure activity for mathematics. This activity will not only include mathematical university departments and research institutes, but also partners from mathematical research laboratories in industry as well as suppliers of mathematical information, in particular, scientific publishing houses, the Technical Information Library (TIB) Hannover, university libraries and -- last but not least -- the Fachinformationszentrum (FIZ) Karlsruhe with the Zentralblatt für Mathematik. \noindent On the technical basis of the Internet and its worldwide information services (Gopher, WAIS, World Wide Web, Hyper-G, ftp and e-mail), a distributed mathematical information system is to be created, whose partners make their local resources available both to other partners and to the worldwide Internet community. These aims can be achieved by means of the consequent use of software that is structured according to the client-server model and distributed and accepted within the Internet. \noindent Providing the technical equipment, however, is by far not enough. Without the creation of a personal, technical and organizational infrastructure, realization of such a project will not be possible. For every partner the realization of the following measures is envisaged:\\[-7mm] \noindent \end{footnotesize} \begin{small} \begin{itemize} \item[*] Establishing an Information Coordinator\/ at every participating institution\\[-8mm] \item[*] Creation of a Forum for Mathematical Information\/\\[-8mm] \item[*] Installation and maintenance of Mathematical Information Stations\/\\[-8mm] \item[*] Participation in national and international Standardization Activities\/\\[-8mm] \item[*] Regular workshops and training courses, public relations\\[-7mm] \end{itemize} \noindent The following activities (carried out by all partners or within pilot projects by special groups) focusing on mathematical and mathematics-related information are planned:\\[-7mm] \noindent \begin{itemize} \item[*] Set up of Electronic Information Systems\/ by all partners \\[-8mm] \item[*] Distributed\/ electronic offer of Preprints\/ and scripts (full texts) by all partners\\[-8mm] \item[*] Distributed\/ electronic offer of Software and Data Collections\/ by all partners\\[-8mm] \item[*] Access to Global Information Systems in Mathematics\/\\[-8mm] \item[*] Organization of a Living Museum of Mathematics\/\\[-8mm] \item[*] Access to {\it Electronic Library Catalogs,}\/ esp.~to libraries of university departments\\[-8mm] \item[*] Electronic offer of Scanned Historical Books and Documents\/\\[-8mm] \item[*] Creation and management of Electronic Mathematical Journals\/\\[-8mm] \item[*] Creation of a framework for various kinds of Electronic Reviewing\/\\[-8mm] \item[*] Testing of new methods for Electronic Document Delivery\/\\[-8mm] \item[*] Electronic Project Organization\/\\[-7mm] \end{itemize} \noindent \end{small} \begin{footnotesize} The project aims, at its beginning, at the creation of an information infrastructure for database retrieval, e-mail, electronic conferencing and subject-specific information networks. Its focus is on mathematics in Germany. The general scope, however, is broader. The project is open for discussion, coordination, and cooperation with partners in other areas of science, industry or in other countries. It is also hoped that this project may form an example along which other models of electronic information and communication can be developed. Moreover, the project is also meant to enhance the offer from German mathematics to the worldwide "give and take" within the Internet community. \end{footnotesize}

The present paper gives a brief description of the Math-Net project which is carried out by nine mathematical institutions in Germany, supported by Deutsches Forschungsnetz (DFN) and Deutsche Telekom. The project aims at setting up the technical and organizational infrastructure for efficient, inexpensive and user-driven information services for mathematics. With the aid of active (structured retrieval mechanisms) and passive (profile services) components, electronic mathematical information in Germany will be made available to the scientist at his workplace. The emphasis is put on information about publications, software and data collections, teaching and research activities, but also on organizational and bibliographical information. Decentral organization structures, distributed search systems as well as the use of meta-information (metadata) in accordance with the Dublin Core (hopefully) guarantee a longterm, high-quality repository of data. The well-known mathematical software and data collection netlib\/ will be used as an example to illustrate how such a collection can be adapted to Math-Net. An integration of netlib into HyperWave offers additional perspectives and functionalities.