One Day Seminar on Patent Information

The Seminar jointly organized by the Central Manufacturing Technology Institute (CMTI), Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM), was held at IITM on 21 July 2000. The Seminar was inaugurated by Dr T V S Appa Rao, Director, Structural Engineering Research Centre, Chennai. Dr S Sreenivasa Murthy, Dean, IITM welcomed the participants and compared the publishing scenario of yesteryears of publish or perish with the present scenario of patent or perish. He emphasized the need for protecting the new inventions exclusively for the people by patenting.

Mr B Sudarshan of CMTI after his introductory remarks explained the contribution of NISSAT in commencing the Value Added Patent Information System (VAPIS) at CMTI. He also recounted the aims and objectives of VAPIS in providing value-added patent information to the R & D and educational institutions and creating awareness among the users of patents by conducting such seminars.

In his inaugural address, Dr Appa Rao emphasized the importance of the subject intellectual property rights (IPR) and patents for the academicians, practising engineers and industries in keeping pace with the vast and fast changes occurring in the world and facing the stiff global competition. He recounted the contributions of Dr R A Mashelkar in various fora including WIPO on IPR-related issues. He maintained that while the purpose of R & D is to improve the quality of life through discoveries, inventions, understanding, and use of economic and global competition, however, the IPR needs to be protected through copyrights and patents. Dr Rao adumbrated as to what can be patented and observed that the inventor should have awareness about the legality involved in patenting and also should make valid claims while applying for the patents. He felt that the large scale awareness can be brought about by information technology, and one has to be familiar with the relevant databases, search engines, patent mining activities, and so on. He further added that a vast amount of information not available in research papers can be had from patent literature. He concluded touching upon the economic aspects of patenting, procedures of patent filing, and maintenance of inventions in India and abroad.

Of the two technical sessions, the first, devoted to Patent Information Sources , was chaired by Dr L S Ganesh of IITM. He commenced the session by stressing the need to document every activity in science, engineering and technology; and giving an insight into the biopiracy by citing the example of an Indian plant being patented in 1,000 combinations simply because that has not been documented. He also indicated as to how India is learning to keep pace giving examples from our recent space-related activities including satellite communication.

The first paper of the session was by Mr B Sudarshan of CMTI which was also presented in the Seminar on the same theme held on 12 May 2000 [Vide ITT 2000, 19(3), 29]. The presentation by K S Geethamani of CMTI dwelt on the activities of WIPO, INPADOC and EPIDOS; the development of intellectual property law; industrial property treatises; the information available on Internet on WIPO; explained the databases of INPADOC and the coverage thereof; and the information products of EPIDOS including CD-ROMs and online databases. The session also saw the demonstration by Ms Saraswathi Subramaniam of some of the databases on CD-ROM subscribed by VAPIS. The accessibility of patent data of the USPTO, PCT, EPO, INPADOC, PATOLIS, Micropatent and Derwent were also demonstrated.

The second session chaired by Dr Harish Chandra, Librarian, IITM dealt with patent processes. The paper presented in the session by Dr S Chandrasekharan was also presented in the Seminar on the same theme held on 12 May 2000 [Vide ITT 2000, 19(3), 29].

Communicated by Mr M Srikantiah, Deputy Director, NICMAP, Bangalore

Programme on Information Technology (IT) Application in Library and Information Services

The Programme conducted during 6 _ 8 September 2000 at Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIML) was attended by senior librarians and information managers from various organisations in India. The training package comprised discussion sessions with eminent experts from the academia and the IT industry on themes like Overview of IT; IT application in LICs; Information network and Internet applications; Digital libraries; Web publishing; Web promotion and policy; User and HRM issues.

Dr Pritam Singh, Director, IIML, while delivering the valedictory address exhorted the information professionals to accept the changes and challenges posed by the IT as opportunities to serve their clientele in a better way.

— Communicated by Prof Roshan Lal Raina, Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow

Conference on Advances in Information Access and Science Communication. Chennai, 16-17 September, 2000

The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Chennai along with sponsors like Current Science Association, Larsen & Toubro, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, and NISSAT, organized the two-day conference meant as a tribute to Dr Eugene Garfield on his 75th birthday. The Inaugural session of the conference commenced with a (recorded) invocation by Ms. M S Subbulakshmi (whose birthday also falls on the same day!).

Welcoming the participants, Prof P C Kesavan, Homi Bhabha Chair and Executive Director of MSSRF, dwelt upon the ever-increasing cost of journal prices and database subscriptions, and emphasized the need to bring down the barriers to scientific and scholarly communication. Dr M S Swaminathan, Chairman, MSSRF, in his presidential address recalled his association with Dr Eugene Garfield and The Scientist, the newspaper for scientists founded by Garfield. He paid rich tributes to Garfield for the many contributions he has made over the past five decades in creating access tools that help scientists and scholars alike in finding information relevant to their work. Dr Swaminathan hoped that the two-day deliberations would bring out concrete suggestions towards meeting the challenges faced by scientists and scholars, especially in the developing countries, in accessing and communicating scientific information.

Prof Subbiah Arunachalam, conference coordinator, introduced the theme of the conference and explained the purpose of organizing the meet. He emphasized that scientists and scholars in India faced two major problems, viz. getting the information they need at a reasonable cost and getting their work noticed and used by other scientific workers around the world.

Inaugurating the conference, Prof P Balaram, Editor, Current Science, spoke about what information access and science communication meant to him and how changes in technology are transforming the processes. Taking the IISc Library as an example, he noted that one would find the back issues of the Current Contents of the sixties or seventies tattered and soiled; and those of the eighties and nineties would look much better and cleaner. The reason could be the change in access from print media to the electronic delivery of the Current Contents. Prof Balaram was also concerned with the improper use of citation process and impact factor data by many in the library / information profession and noted the harm it could do to scientists if such an exercise is adopted by funding agencies and research councils.

Mr Alan Gilchrist, Editor, Journal of Information Science, paid rich tributes to Dr Garfield by tracing his multi-faceted life from early childhood in New York to his present status of an accomplished world leader and elder statesman in the fields of librarianship, information science, and scientometrics. He also narrated Garfield's many professional achievements and brought out the greatness of the man and the significance of his accomplishments.

Dr V Balaji, Director, Informatics Division, MSSRF, spoke about how the state-of-the-art information and communication technologies could be used to provide information that the rural poor need and could use in their day-to-day existence. He shared his group's experience in working with people in a cluster of villages in the Union Territory of Pondicherry in the past two years. He emphasized that it was important to satisfy a genuine need - something everyone in the information profession ought to know - and what technology one used was secondary. The MSSRF Informatics Group has won some major international awards for their innovative use of technology, especially combining wired and wireless communication technologies in a hybrid mode and taking information to the rural community.

There were two speakers from the library/information area - one from a large multidisciplinary laboratory and the other from a small, narrowly focused laboratory. They shared their experiences on coping with the demands made by their clients at a time when budgets are dwindling, prices of information materials soaring and new technologies emerging. Dr S Venkadesan, a materials science-turned-information manager and head of Library/Information Services at the IGCAR, Kalpakkam explained the different initiatives he and his team have taken in the past couple of years. The library is automated to a large extent, the scientist could access much of the information they need from their desktops. They also have electronic access to a large number of journals through Science Direct. Dr A Ratnakar, Raman Research Institute, Bangalore, narrated how they have been serving users from three different areas viz. astrophysics, theoretical physics, and liquid crystals, with limited budget. Dr. Ratnakar shared his experience in interlibrary cooperation among a number of science libraries in Bangalore, and how keeping in constant touch with one's clients one could enhance one's capacity to serve well. In a way, one must admit that both Dr Venkadesan and Dr Ratnakar are fortunate in that their directors and scientist clients not only appreciate and support their work but also understand the importance of information access in research.

Mr N V Sathyanarayana, Managing Director, Informatics India Pvt. Ltd., spoke about the important role played by intermediaries such as publishers of journals and databases, vendors, and subscription agents and opined that all the talk about de-intermediation was misleading. This observation was hotly contested by Prof Stevan Harnad, Professor of Cognitive Science, University of Southampton and a champion of the Open Archives Initiative. Mr Sathyanarayana gave several business models operating in the transfer of information from the creator of information to the ultimate end user and said which models would be successful in turn depended on multiple factors such as people and technologies. He noted that if the services by the intermediaries were not required, then they would not survive in the market. Dr Harnad had other views and felt that all refereed journals would soon be available online; most of them already are. This means that one can access them from any networked desktop. The literature will all be interconnected by citation, author, and keyword/subject links, allowing for unheard of power and ease of access and navigability. Successive drafts of pre-refereeing preprints will be linked to the official refereed draft, as well as to any subsequent corrections, revisions, updates, comments, responses, and underlying empirical databases. All are enhancing the self correctiveness and interactiveness of scholarly and scientific research communication in remarkable new ways. New scientometric indicators of digital impact are also emerging [] to chart the online course of knowledge. But, there is still one last frontier to cross before science reaches the optimal and the inevitable. Just as there is no longer any need to be constrained by the access-blocking restrictions of paper distribution, there is no longer any need to be constrained by the impact-blocking financial fire-walls of Subscription/Site license/Pay-Per-View (S/L/P) tolls for this give-away literature that its authors have always donated for free (and its referees have refereed free), with the sole goal of maximizing their impact of research (by accessing the eyes and minds of fellow researcher) and hence on society. Generic institutions to install facilities so that their authors can self-archive their refereed papers publicly in Auto-Archives [] for free. This will usher in the optimal and the inevitable. Journal publication will down-size to just implementing the service of quality-control and certification (QC/C, through peer review and editing), which will be paid for upfront at the author-institution end out of only a small portion (about $300 per paper) of the annual savings from the cancellation of all S/L/P tolls at the reader-institution end. Journal publishers are best advised to prepare for and accommodate the optimal/inevitable solution for science in the new era of Scholarly Skywriting rather than to try to delay or block it via restrictive submissions and copyright policies that merely amplify the conflict of interest inherent in the revolutionary possibilities for scholarly and scientific communication opened up by the Post-Gutenberg Galaxy.

There were two presentations in the area of scientometrics — one by Dr Aparna Basu from NISTADS, New Delhi on the productivity of Indian scientists and Indian science. She also stressed on the need for the creation of a database of Indian scientific publications and mapping of Indian science. Mr. Subir Sen, Calcutta University attempted a synthesis of the ideas of Gerald Holton (themata), Richard Dawkins (memes) and Leo Egghe (IPP) and model the citation process.

The conference had three presentations concerned with the use of information in medicine, government and industry. Dr V Mohan, a diabetes expert, spoke about a database of medical records on diabetes which his group had created in collaboration with a Danish group and showed how such data could be of immense value in designing large scale programmes to deal with growing incidence of diabetes. Mr S Vaithianathan, Larsen & Toubro Ltd, Chennai recounted as to how a small group of library/information professionals could provide effective support to the technical staff of a major engineering and construction company and underlined the great importance of such a group in such organizations. Mr V S R Krishnaiah of National Informatics Centre, New Delhi, discussed the steps being taken in India to bring about greater transparency in governance through the creation of databases on government information.

The conference ended with a panel discussion. Prof P Balaram, Prof Stevan Harnad, Mr Alan Gilchrist and Mr Sunder Singh answered questions from the floor. Prof Balaram talked about the subcritical funding of basic science today, where, according to him, a large sum of the order a few billion rupees annually should be pumped in to support basic science. Dr Harnad emphasized that Open Archives (or self archiving) can solve at once both the problem of inadequate access to information and poor visibility of work done in developing countries. He urged India to take up Open Archives initiatives. Speaking on the concept of information, Mr. Gilchrist pointed out the confusion that surrounds the concept. He urged India not to imitate the West as she can draw upon her own inherent strengths to find solutions to her problems. He said that with all the new arrivals - Internet, the World Wide Web, Knowledge Management, etc, the importance of the basic tools of the librarian's trade, viz. classification, cataloguing and organizing large collections has now been realized. He stressed the need for information professionals to adapt themselves to the changes, which are taking place. Mr. Sunder Singh mentioned about the different initiatives that DSIR and NISSAT have taken and informed that they were keen to work together with the scientists and information professionals as only such synergy could take all of us forward.

The conference attended by scientists, librarians and information professionals, government officials and scientometricians from academia, industry, and S & T laboratories is likely to pave the way for self-archiving by many Indian scientists and the establishment of an Open Archives server in India. The audience truly reflected the wide-ranging influence wielded by Dr Garfield. Prof Arunachalam at the concluding session thanked the speakers, chairpersons of different sessions, members of the organizing committee and institutions that supported the conference.

— Reported by Prof S Arunachalam

UPLA Annual Seminar 2000

The Uttar Pradesh Library Association (UPLA) and Library Science Training Centre, Roorkee organised its Annual Seminar of Physical Verification of Library Collection in commemoration of the 109th birth anniversary of S R Ranganathan on 24 September 2000. The Seminar was attended by more than 150 delegates representing government departments, research institutions, universities, etc. Prof. Ved Prakash Sastri, Pro-VC, Gurukul Kangri University, Hardwar inaugurated the conference.

In all seventeen papers were presented in the Seminar. The papers dwelt on as to how the loss of books can be reduced, the shortcomings of the government rules as to writing-off , the conventional methods of stock verification, weeding out policy, verification problems of e-publications like CD-ROM, procedure of stock verification using Libsys software, computer application in stock verification, etc.

Recommendations emerged out of the deliberations are as follows: i) regular exercise of stock verification should be undertaken so that items found lost may be written off by the competent authorities; ii) existing rules must be modified keeping in view the social, economic and electronic environment; iii) writing off policy should be made flexible, and based on the usefulness of the document rather than the cost of it.

— Communicated by Mr R C Gupta, Uttar Pradesh Library Association, Roorkee Branch.


INFLIBNET and University of Pune is going to organize the National Convention on Creation and Management of Digital Resources during 15 _16 February 2001. Persons interested to attend the Convention may contact:

Mr S M Salgar, Convenor, CALIBER 2001, INFLIBNET Centre, P B No 4116, Opp. University Guest House, Navranrpura, Ahmedabad-380009
E mail: Fax: (079) 630 0990 Phone: (O) 630 5971, 630 8528 (R): 674 7958

Dr (Mrs) Neela J Deshpande, Organising Secretary, CALIBER 2001, Librarian and Head, Department of Library and Information Science, University of Pune, Ganeshkhind, Pune-411007
E-mail: Fax: (020) 565 3648 Phone: (O) 565 3648, 565 6061 (R) 565 1880, 565 0398

Third All India People's Technology Congress

The Congress being organized by Forum of Scientists, Engineers and Technologists (FOSET) is going to be held in Science City, Calcutta during 9 _ 11 February 2000.The theme of the Congress is Technology for Rural Development, Rural Development for the Nation. Information technology forms one of the areas selected for deliberation in the Congress. Another area of interest to information scientists is technology transfer which figures prominently under the sub-themes Energy, and Shelter. Persons interested to contribute papers and/or attend the Congress may contact:

The Organising Secretary, Third All India People's Technology Congress, Forum of Scientists, Engineers and Technologists (FOSET), 15N, Lindsay Street, New CMC Building (5th Floor), New Market Phase II, Calcutta-700087

Phone: 245 9675; Fax: (033) 246 0521
E mail: ; Web page:

Workshop on WINISIS

The Workshop was organized by the Institute of Information Studies, Bangalore during 23 _ 27 August 2000. The course module comprised : Overview of the WINISIS features in comparison with those of CDS/ISIS (DOS version); New SYSPAR.PAR parameters; Installation of WINISIS by participants; Creation of databases; Search facilities; Display/print format _ new features of hyperlink within a database and among databases; Inverted file; Data conversion, import/export options; Utilities _ global modifiers; printing of records; integrated and multiple database design; Multimedia databases and searching; WWWISIS. The Workshop included a blend of lectures, demonstrations, discussions and practice; and was attended by twelve participants comprising LIS professionals.

— Communicated by Mr K N Prasad, Institute of Information Studies, Bangalore.

Information Today & Tomorrow, Vol. 19, No. 4, December 2000, p.29-p.32