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Over 365,000 Historic Books Made Available Online With Autonomy

CAMBRIDGE, England, March 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Autonomy, an HP Company, today announced that Mimas, a world-class academic data centre based at the University of Manchester which provides researchers in the UK with key information assets, has launched a new pioneering search and discovery platform on behalf of JISC Collections - JISC Historic Books, powered by Autonomy IDOL (Intelligent Data Operating Layer).

Part of the JISC eCollections service, this new platform gives the UK academic community access to vast amounts of digitized content across a wide range of disciplines. This revolutionizes research in the UK by suggesting relevant content automatically and in real time, and opens up a world of resources to students and researchers.

"Autonomy's ability to infinitely scale is absolutely central to the project," said Vic Lyte, Head of Technology Services at Mimas. "It is easy for us to add new content as and when needed, and IDOL automatically works its magic by understanding concepts within the data and serving it up to the appropriate users according to what they are looking for. This represents a massive advance for the research community, showing, for the first time in this sector, how meaning based technology can be used to unlock some of our country's most valuable assets – its literature."

JISC Historic Books contains the full text or page images of over 300,000 books published in Britain before 1800. The service, developed for JISC Collections and the British Library, draws content from two of the best-known and longest-established early book collections, Early English Books Online (EEBO) and Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO). This is combined with the British Library Nineteenth Century Collection, offering digitized versions of more than 65,000 original editions from the nineteenth century, covering philosophy, history, poetry and literature. The collection extends to over 25 million pages of rare and previously inaccessible content.

"The new platform brings together digitized collections of historic books which are otherwise distributed on different publisher platforms or not otherwise available," explained Lorraine Estelle, CEO of JISC Collections. "It provides UK academic researchers and students with a single sign-on and interface to a vast corpus of primary source material."

"We're delighted that JISC Historic Books, and our partnership with JISC, JISC Collections and Mimas, enable Higher Education users to explore and research many thousands of texts – whether they're classics or the hitherto more obscure end of the spectrum," says Caroline Brazier, the British Library's Director of Scholarship and Collections. "Shelves and shelves of books, that could previously only be read in our St Pancras Reading Rooms, by one reader at a time, are now simultaneously and instantly available to thousands of JISC eCollections members' users."

"Autonomy is delighted to be part of this innovative project, helping to ensure that 25 Terabytes of invaluable digital libraries are now made available to the academic community in a truly meaningful way," said Nigel Hutchinson, VP Autonomy Power Solutions, EMEA. "Autonomy's unique ability to understand meaning in information is transforming the way researchers and users access and interact with content, opening the possibility to solve some of the great academic questions."

JISC Journal Archives, also part of the JISC eCollections service, uses IDOL to provide meaning based discovery across more than 3.75 million articles from the archives of over 600 journals of major publishers and societies, such as Taylor & Francis, Royal Society of Chemistry, Oxford University Press, ProQuest, Institute of Physics, Institution of Civil Engineers, Brill, and Cambridge University Press.

Researchers are now able to benefit from cross-search and access to a range of national repositories, search results that are clustered according to conceptual themes, and guided navigation of search results. IDOL also offers the possibility to develop capabilities for customized recommendations based on users' search histories, and at-a-glance overviews of topics relevant to fellow researchers.

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