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UI libraries to help professors and students create Web sites for academic passions

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Libraries' Information Arcade invite faculty members, staff, and students to explore their personal "bailiwicks" on the World Wide Web. This new electronic scholarly publishing project will allow professors to bring their academic passions to the surface using HTML to create highly specialized and creative Web sites.

A bailiwick, as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, is "a particular area of activity, study, or interest specialty, field, area, arena, bag (slang), department, domain, dominion, orbit, precinct, province, realm, region, sphere, terrain, territory, world."

Bailiwick is not just a space for personal home pages and it serves a different purpose than course Web sites or academic departmental information servers. It provides a Web space for faculty, staff, and graduate students to experiment and focus on a particular area of scholarly interest (or, as Joseph Campbell writes, "to follow their bliss") in digital form.

Most electronic publishing initiatives arise from an attempt to transfer existing models of print publishing to the digital environment. A small number of electronic scholarly journals are currently published on the UI campus, and the University Libraries already provides a number of ways to support this medium -- including archiving, cataloging, and hosting journal sites -- as part of the Libraries' new Scholarly Digital Resources Center.

Bailiwick, instead, provides a Web space that allows creators to harness and exploit this new electronic medium, permitting new models of publishing with multimedia, hypertext, and the ability to incorporate anything already out there on the Internet in digital form. Bailiwick provides a home to academic Web sites that are experimental in nature, provide comprehensive and in-depth resources or take on a narrow, highly specialized topic. It might serve as a home for artistic expression and collaboration between artists working in Iowa and other countries, or as a showcase for digitally-produced art that incorporates interactivity meant to be viewed on a monitor screen.

Bailiwick would be a natural home for hypertext experiments that explore new forms of

non-linear argument or open-system documents that welcome, even depend on, links to other Web sites to expand or counter those arguments. Perhaps a librarian would team up with a specialist in popular culture to study fan culture as it develops on the World Wide Web, or a librarian working in the archives and a professor who studies 19th-century trade cards would build a site that takes advantage of the library's holdings and the professor's ability to put the collection into context. Not all Bailiwick sites need to be full of bells and whistles or be interactive. It could serve as the host for narrowly-focused pages of links to resources on the American Civil War, or as a way to deliver specialized bibliographies, or reproductions of rare documents.

Open to faculty, staff, and graduate students, Bailiwick runs on a dedicated Web server within the Libraries-Wide Information System (LWIS) and is supported by the University Libraries' Web server infrastructure. Content providers retain editorial control and freedom and have the ability to define their topic of interest, identify the audience, and design a customized Web site. Each Bailiwick is initially limited to 5 MB of space with the option to petition for more based on specific needs for a given project.

Authors can proceed to design the site on their own, or take advantage of the facilities, resources and staff expertise in the Information Arcade and in the Hardin Library's Information Commons. Questions can be addressed to Paul Soderdahl at the Information Arcade, by e-mail or phone (319) 335-5287. To find out more about the Bailiwick project, see