Prospero: Delivering Ariel Documents to the Desktop
Edited by Emily Hull
Submitted by Eric Schnell, John A. Prior Health Sciences
Library, Ohio State UniversityColumbus
Editor's Note: The Prospero Electronic Delivery Project was this year's
winner of the ISI/Frank Bradway Rogers Information Advancement Award.
The Ariel document delivery system has been successful in reducing transmission
time and costs for libraries by allowing them to send documents in electronic
format through the Internet. However, Ariel documents are usually printed
out by the receiving library for the requestor and delivered using traditional
methods. Converting Ariel documents back into paper format negates some
of the gains in delivery time. Prospero, a software program that preserves
Ariel documents in electronic format, distributes them directly to library
patron desktops using the Web.
Like Ariel, Prospero is named for a character in Shakespeare's play,
The Tempest. In the play, Prospero and his daughter are set adrift
at sea. They land on an island where Prospero learns magic. Prospero is
the only character who can see Ariel. Before leaving the island, Prospero
sets Ariel free from his imprisonment in a tree. In a similar vein, the
program Prospero uses a bit of programming "magic" to set Ariel
documents freefrom paper (wood pulp). Patrons can then decide either
to keep the documents electronically "free" or imprison them
back to paper. The Ariel system, hidden from library patrons, is seen
only by Prospero.
The Prospero staff module captures and converts native Ariel documents
from tagged image file format (TIFF) into portable document format (PDF)
files that can be viewed using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. Additionally,
TIFF files can be imported or scanned directly into Prospero without having
been sent or received by Ariel. Ariel software is not required to use
most of Prospero's scanning and importing features. When Prospero processes
a document, it places the converted file in a directory on a local Web
server and sends an email alert to the patron. A patron database maintains
authentication data consisting of a patron's email address and a randomly
assigned personal identification number (PIN). This authentication system
restricts access to a document to the requestor. Any current Web browser
can be used to access the server. After authentication, a Web page containing
a list of a patron's documents is dynamically generated. The patron initiates
the download by selecting the desired document. Patrons can also delete
their documents directly from the Web interface.
The Prospero Web server/patron interface module can run on any Windows,
UNIX, or Linux Web server software and hardware. Individual libraries
can customize many features of the system. For example, Prospero can be
configured to remove a document automatically from the system after a
specific number of viewings or after a certain number of days. Each library
can customize these parameters to comply with local copyright interpretations.
All configuration files can be modified using a simple text editor. The
patron interface Web page is a simple hypertext markup language (HTML)
file that can be modified to fit into any local Web page standards.
Prospero, developed at the John A. Prior Health Sciences Library, Ohio
State University, is an open source product distributed under GNU public
license. Libraries can download and use the Prospero system free of charge
by connecting to bones.med.ohio-state.edu/prospero/.
Feedback and suggestions to Eric
Schnell are strongly encouraged.
Submitted by Kristin Stoklosa, National Institutes of
Health Library, Bethesda, MD
This series features MLA members' research projects published
outside the library literature in scientific and biomedical publications.
The Research Resources Committee of the MLA Research Section shares this
series to promote awareness of information research, encourage research
in library practice, stimulate interest in a variety of publications,
and inspire further MLA research.
"Surname Plus Recallable Title Word Searches for Known Items by
MLA Member and Project Leader
Frederick G. Kilgour, AHIP, School of Information and Library
Science, University of North CarolinaChapel Hill
Kilgour FG, Moran BB. Surname plus recallable title word searches
for known items by scholars. J Am Soc Inf Sci 2000 Jan;51(1):839.
This article describes an experiment that is useful for designing
systems in which a user can retrieve a known item from an online public
access catalog (OPAC) by searching with two or three terms and generating
a single-screen results set. Anticipating derivation of future OPACs from
digital title pages, the premise of the research is that very efficient
searches would consist of two or three words and would produce a hits
list where the relevant item appeared on the first results screen. The
study used catalog records of eight monographs for which the researchers
searched the University of Michigan's OPAC, a NOTIS system, using author
surnames and major title words as search terms. For each monograph, the
researchers conducted successive searches until they generated a set of
results fitting on a single screen of twenty lines. If the first search
for the author surname plus first significant title word yielded more
than one screen, a second search was conducted adding the next title word.
If this search still yielded more than one screen, a NOTIS "limiting
field" search of the author to the MARC 100 field and the title to
the 245 field was conducted. With a per screen limit of twenty lines,
searches comprising surname together with two significant title words,
or one if only one was available, yielded a single-screen results set
99% of the time.
Related Articles by this Author
The long-range goal of these studies is to improve access by users
to information retrieval from library book collections.
- Kilgour FG, Moran BB, Barden JR. Retrieval effectiveness of surname-title-word
searches for known items by academic library users. J Am Soc Inf Sci
- Kilgour FG. Cataloging for a specific miniature catalog. J Am Soc
Inf Sci 1995 Oct;46(9):7046.
- Kilgour FG. Effectiveness of surname-title-word searches by scholars.
J Am Soc Inf Sci 1995 Mar;46(2):14651.
- Kilgour FG, Feder NL. Quotations referenced in scholarly monographs.
J Am Soc Inf Sci 1992 Apr;43(1):26870.
Edited by Emily Hull
Submitted by Everly Brown, AHIP, Charles M. Baugh Biomedical Library,
University of South AlabamaMobile
URL and Description
Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP)
This site details the grant programs offered by the Federal
Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) to rural health care providers
and state offices of rural health. It also provides links to publications
such as Rural Health News, a full-text newsletter; the Outreach
Sourcebook, a book with descriptions of rural health outreach
projects; and Definitions of Rural, a useful handbook.
Agricultural Safety Database (NASD)
A useful site for materials regarding safety, health, and injury
prevention in agriculture, including OSHA and EPA standards, extension
publications, abstracts and ordering information for agricultural
safety–related videos, a directory of people and organizations involved
in agricultural safety and health, slide presentations, posters,
sample news releases, and public service announcement scripts.
Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety
Based at the Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, WI, the National
Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety 's
Website is a good resource for materials relating to the health
and safety of rural youth. The center provides a variety of online
materials, including a full-text quarterly newsletter, fact sheets,
and professional resource packets for accident prevention. A media
page publishes press releases, alerts, and sample public service
Rural Health Association (NRHA)
This nonprofit organization's Website offers links to abstracts
from the Journal of Rural Health, full text of issue papers
adopted by the association, and a variety of other publications
available for purchase that focus on topics of interest in the area.
Lists of rural health events and National Rural Health Association
(NRHA) conferences are available, as well as information on the
Migrant Health Care Fellowship program sponsored by the organization.
Rural Health Services Research Database
Supported by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy, this
is a unique database of funded rural health services research projects
underway in the United States. Projects remain in the database up
to one year after completion and may be searched by project funder,
research institution, principal investigator, project title, and
keyword. New projects can be submitted voluntarily via an online
Rural Recruitment and Retention Network (3R Net)
Composed of members in forty-five states, this nonprofit organization
assists health professionals in finding practice opportunities in
rural areas throughout the country, through its searchable database
of rural health care positions.
Created by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Rural
Interest Group, this Website provides an extensive list of links
to rural health topics under its Rural Practitioners section, as
well as bibliographies of suggested readings. The Rural Educators
section provides a compilation of teaching strategies on rural health
topics, as well as links to issues in rural medical education.
Information Center Health Service (RICHS)
Operating as part of the National Agriculture Library's Rural
Information Center, the Rural Information Center Health Service
(RICHS) disseminates information about rural health issues through
publications (some full text), funding information, conference announcements,
and an extensive list of Internet resources. Brief complimentary
database searches are available on rural health topics.
Developed by the American Psychological Association (APA),
this site provides a list of APA-accredited psychology internships
and graduate programs in the United States and Canada that deal
with rural issues. The latest available report is from 1997.