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Parallel Publishing for Transactions


Parallel Publishing for Transactions (PPT) is a two-year research project under the Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) funded from October 1995 by the Follett Implementation Group on Information Technology (FIGIT) sub-committee of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the Higher Education Funding Councils (HEFCs), as part of the Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib), arising from the Follett Report. The project is due to be completed by the end of 1997.

The purpose of the project is to undertake the development and implementation work in electronic publishing for a journal with

  • a range of particular problems of representation
  • a readership and range of authors unfamiliar with electronic publishing
  • an editor who is a full-time academic and edits the journal from his/her normal place of work
The journal to be developed is Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, a scholarly journal spanning the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, produced by a scholarly society (Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) (RSG-IBG)) outside a commercial publishing house.

The project is being undertaken jointly by three organizations:


The objectives of the PPT project are:

  • to shift from conventional to parallel publishing of the scholarly journal, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, i.e., the journal will be published in a printed version, and an `electronic' version, simultaneously
  • to preserve page fidelity in the electronic format
  • to preserve complex diagrams in the electronic format
  • to facilitate electronic intra- and inter-document cross referencing on a specified range of features
  • to explore the possibilities of, and if possible to implement, personalized cross referencing
  • to access the archive of the journal for reproduction in electronic form
  • to explore the possibilites for - but not do any development work on - electronic refereeing
  • to develop and assess a variety of deliverables including archive material for a target community with reasonable access to hardware but limited awareness of the possibilities of electronic formats
  • to transfer the publication press to similar and related journals


The technology used is Adobe Acrobat, allied to the World Wide Web (WWW). The electronic version of the journal will be produced on CDROM. Some sample papers and, eventually, complete issues of the journal will be available over the web. The initial stage of the project involves adapting and extending techniques already developed by EPRG for its CAJUN and OJF projects.

Adobe's Acrobat system will be used for the electronic version of the journal. Acrobat allows the creation, modification and display of documents in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) - a device independent format for representing electronic documents. The advantages of this format are:

  • it has a direct relationship to PostScript (the de facto standard for device independent representation of printed documents) which is used by the printers of Transactions
  • it can preserve the look and feel of a printed document, page fidelity and complex graphics
  • it facilitates the incorporation of additional functionality in an electronic document (e.g., searching, HyperText links, annotations and bookmarks)
  • the software required to view PDF documents (Acrobat Reader) is freely available and distributable


Roger Lee
Editor, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Prof. David Brailsford
Head of Electronic Publishing Research Group
Eddie Clarke
Research Assistant, PPT project