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Recommendations on Information and Communication

The Math-Net Charter

The Charter
General

In the spirit of the centuries-long tradition of open exchange within the mathematical community, this Charter describes an international effort to establish, maintain, and continue to develop a global electronic information and communication system for mathematics. This system, called Math-Net, is intended to organize and enhance the free flow of information within mathematics. The objective is to place efficient access to high quality mathematical information at the fingertips of the user. The use of Math-Net is free. Information in Math-Net is freely available whenever and wherever possible limited only by technical, legal, and privacy constraints.

Math-Net is supported and fostered by individuals, mathematical organizations and institutions worldwide. Math-Net is organized under the aegis of the International Mathematical Union and is steered by the IMU Committee on Electronic Information and Communication (CEIC). See also the Web server of CEIC http://www.ceic.math.ca/.

Principles

Math-Net, from a technical point of view, is a structured, distributed, interoperable, user-friendly, and high quality electronic information and communication system. Math-Net is organized via a user-driven and not-for-profit activity open for all willing to provide mathematical information electronically.

Math-Net is based on voluntary contributions of organizations or individuals. Depending on their role, they are designated as Math-Net Members or as Math-Net Service Providers. Math-Net Members make their information resources electronically available in a standardized fashion. They have full responsibility for the quality, accuracy, timeliness, and appropriateness of the data they contribute. Math-Net Service Providers combine these data into services. These services aim at providing fast and well-structured access to the mathematical resources within Math-Net (andpossibly beyond).

Efforts will be made to facilitate participation in Math-Net for those who have limited financial means.

Organization

The organizational structure supporting Math-Net is intended to be light and flexible yet sufficient to coordinate and steer this activity.

The following institutions form the organizational backbone of Math-Net:

Their tasks and responsibilities are as follows:

CEIC steers and coordinates all activities. CEIC, in particular, appoints a Technical Advisory Board (TAB). TAB supports CEIC in the development of technical concepts and their realization.

Any institution, person, or group of persons willing to make its mathematical electronic resources available within the scope of Math-Net may become a Math-Net Member. Each Math-Net Member, represented by its Information Coordinator, participates in the advancement of Math-Net through Math-Net Member Associations.

Services, useful for the mathematical community, will be defined and developed within Math-Net. Each Math-Net Service is established and maintained by a Math-Net Service Provider which may be a single institution, or a group of institutions or volunteers. CEIC will especially draw on the expertise of representatives of Math-Net Service Providers to form the Technical Advisory Board.

Status of the Charter

This Charter forms the basis of the Math-Net activities. It has been accepted by the Executive Committee (EC) of the IMU at its meeting on May 16, 2000. CEIC is asked to report to the EC by May 30, 2002 about the experience with the Charter and the way Math-Net is operating. CEIC is also requested to suggest possible modifications so that the General Assembly of the IMU can decide on (a possibly adapted version of) the Charter at its meeting in August 2002.

CEIC is asked to formulate a supplement to this Charter in which organizational and other issues necessary to implement Math-Net are explained in more detail. This supplement should be made available electronically together with the Charter employing appropriate links. It is expected that the organization of the Math-Net System and the Math-Net activities undergoes an evolutionary process and that changes are reflected in the supplement of the Math-Net Charter whenever necessary.

Supplement

The Math-Net endeavor is specified by its

Aims

The general aims of the Math-Net activities are

Math-Net will engage itself to

Contents

Math-Net intends to cover the complete range of mathematical information, e.g.,

In order to enable user-friendly access to mathematical information Math-Net intends to develop suitable methods, tools, and standards. Math-Net is

Organization
Math-Net Membership

To become a Math-Net Member it is necessary:

Application for membership has to be directed to CEIC or an institution authorized by CEIC. The CEIC or an authorized institution will advise applicants and decide on membership applications.

Math-Net Member

The Math-Net Members constitute the base of Math-Net. They are, in particular, the prime data providers. Math-Net Members may actively take part in the Math-Net activities.

Tasks

Math-Net Members offer

Information Coordinator

Every Math-Net Member appoints its Information Coordinator who is the Member's official contact person for all Math-Net activities.

Tasks

Math-Net Member Associations

Guided by CEIC, the Math-Net Members organize themselves in Math-Net Member Associations. These associations may arise by regional, national, subject-oriented, or other forms of cooperation. Mathematical societies are requested to engage in forming Math-Net Member Associations and to support their work.

Tasks

The Committee on Electronic Information and Communication

The IMU appoints the members of CEIC. CEIC has the final responsibility for all activities within Math-Net. CEIC may form Math-Net Member Associations, appoint subcommittees, a secretariat, boards, or task forces to serve special purposes or to suggest solutions for open problems. All activities proposed by these groups are subject to CEIC approval.

Tasks

Tasks of CEIC are, in particular, to

The Technical Advisory Board (TAB)

TAB is a subcommittee of CEIC. CEIC appoints the members of TAB. Math-Net Service Providers are represented in TAB. TAB may form task forces for the solution of technical problems and may draw on expertise from the Math-Net Member Associations and outside.

Tasks

Math-Net Services and Math-Net Service Providers

A Math-Net Service is an official predicate awarded by CEIC. Math-Net Services are portals to Math-Net resources. The quality of Math-Net Services is essential for the use and the acceptance of Math-Net. Math-Net Services work independently within the limits of the Math-Net Charter. A Math-Net Services Provider can be a consortium of institutions and/or persons or a single institution and/or person. The Math-Net Service Providers are represented in TAB.

Tasks

Math-Net Standards and Math-Net Recommendations

Math-Net Standards define minimal criteria and requirements for the structure, the contents, and the design of the local information offered by Math-Net Members. They similarly guide the contributions of Math-Net Services Providers.

Math Net Recommendations are intended to structure enhanced and emerging services or to test future standards. Math-Net Standards and Math-Net Recommendations are essential for the interoperability within Math-Net and the compatibility with other scientific information services. CEIC together with TAB and the Math-Net Member Associations organize a transparent and open discussion process about Math-Net Standards and Math-Net Recommendations and their development.

Math-Net Communication Platform

The Math-Net Communication Platform ensures the mutual interplay of the institutions participating in Math-Net. The contents of the Math-Net Communication Platform will be defined by CEIC. TAB together with the Math-Net Member Associations organize the Math-Net Communication Platform. Possible forms are, e.g., web servers and newsgroups, mailing lists, electronic newsletters, conferences, workshops, and meetings.

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