EU Libraries Programme
Relevant programmes
Map interface demonstrator
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Library
Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany, Library
Federal Research Centre for Fisheries, Library
Technical Research Centre of Finland, Information Service
Environmental links:
Baltic Sea:
Helsinki Commission
Third Periodic Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea
BALLERINA Initiative
Baltic Environment Database
Baltic Sea drainage basin GIS
European Environment Agency
Marine Biology Web Pages

Geographical user interface for network-based Baltic Marine Environment Information System

The aim of the project was to launch a Baltic Marine Environment Information System which allows users to search information using a geographical user interface with connection to text retrieval tools and to retrieve bibliographic references as well as electronic original documents over the Internet. It promotes, facilitates and improves co-operation, resource sharing and networking between libraries in Baltic Sea countries.
The information system developed is an extension of an existing bibliographic database, which is accessible via traditional online information retrieval systems as well by common WWW search form. Bacause a sizeable number of the bibliographic references in the database have an identifiable geographical content, they have previously been relatively poorly accessible to professional and end users. For this reason a new geographical user interface was developed.
The project yielded a demonstrator (i.e. an Internet based service), which greatly improves the accessibility and usefulness of the existing database on Baltic marine environment issues. Two versions of the demonstrator are available for viewing. Their usefulness can later be improved by adding more content, including more original documents. They are likely to serve as a generic model for future developments in the area of enhanced information retrievability.
Objectives of the project
  1. Definition of functional requirements and modes of access from users' perspective.
  2. Creating an input system for bibliographic information with specific geographic indexing
  3. Developing a geographical user interface with for bibliographic information retrieval engine.
  4. Storing original documents on the Internet so that they can be retrieved by hyper links from the corresponding bibliographic records.
  5. Building a demonstrator, which allows users to search information using the geographical user interface and text retrieval tools and retrieve bibliographic references and original documents over the Internet.
  6. Validation of the demonstrator by the project user groups and end users on the Internet / World Wide Web.
  7. Producing exploitation plan
Compliance of the Project with the objectives of the Libraries Programme of the Commission of the European Communities
BALTICSEAWEB promoted, facilitated and improved co-operation, resource sharing and networking between libraries by demonstrating a GIS-solution to bibliographic information and full text documents of the Baltic Sea marine environment.
BALTICSEAWEB was based on a real user need for more accessible information on Baltic Sea environmental condition. The project produced a practical and visible demonstrator, which will likely serve as a generic model for future developments in the area of enhanced information retrievability.
Because the goal of the project was to develop a test bed for demonstrating the usability of GIS-based interface solution for bibliographic information and full text documents, it focused more "to the integration of existing and emerging technologies into demonstrable applications" than to full-fledged inter-operability of network resources. In the exploitation plan the various aspects of developing BALTICSEAWEB into real "network library" have been detailed.
Involvement in and relationship to national, EU or other relevant programmes
BALTICSEAWEB complemented a number of other relevant initiatives and projects, such as MARIS initiative, BALLERINA and EDMED. It will be of considerable benefit to decision makers in the area of environmental policies but also to commercial companies whose need to take account of environmental factors is ever increasing.

MARIS intitiative, The Maritime Information Society, is an activity created by the G7 conference in 1995 in Brussels. It is one out of eleven projects promoted by the G7 conference to introduce the information society. MARIS is representing the political will to support the development of the information society in the marine world. One of its components, MARSOURCE (Managing resources for the future), is particularly relevant as this project's main objective is to create a framework for linking existing databases into a world-wide information network.

BALLERINA (Baltic Sea Region On-line Environmental Information Resources for Internet Access) is an initiative which originates from the United Nations Environment Programme. BALLERINA focuses at upgrading statistical information, whereas BALTICSEAWEB bridges the gap between geographic and bibliographic information of Baltic Sea area.
EDMED, the marine information directory of EU, has been developed to provide users of marine data with the means of identifying sources of that data. The aim of EDMED is to produce a comprehensive directory of the marine environmental data sets and collections held within the member states of the EC. The preparation of a comprehensive directory of marine data sets is seen as an essential first step to developing a European perspective to the management and utilisation of marine environmental data.
Background and context of the Project
Bibliographic material on the Baltic Sea has been collected since 1975 within the framework of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM). Presently, the database covers material since 1970 and is available online in Germany and Finland.
The Baltic Marine Environment Bibliography covers information on all marine areas from the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia in the east and north to the Belt Sea and Kattegat in the west. The major part of the material for the database is obtained directly from authors, institutes and libraries (so called "grey literature") and to a lesser extent from monitoring journals and serials. The original documents are deposited in officially nominated contact libraries in every Baltic Sea state. The documents can be ordered as loans or photocopies through local scientific libraries from the contact libraries.
At the moment, the Baltic Sea bibliographic information is used almost entirely by marine researches, although the databases contain valuable information for a wide range of users e.g. educational institutions, officials in governments, in industry, in environmental organizations, and media. The main difficulty with the Baltic Sea information has been its poor accessibility. In the past the bibliographic database was available only in one really international online system. Even the main target group, the marine researchers, has not been well aware of this information.
Other institutions around the Baltic Sea including national research institutes and international organisations like International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), Maris (Marine Information Service in Netherlands), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), European Environment Agency (EEA) and Worldwide Fund For Nature make requests of the environmental information.
  Demo pages
Take a look at the BalticSeaWeb map.
Last updated on September 12th, 2002 by VTT Information Service
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