Elsevier Collaborates with MIT Researchers to Increase Access to Scientific Web across the Developing World

Search Scirus with TEK” provides connectivity solution for global researchers

Amsterdam, December 13, 2005 – Elsevier announces a special collaboration with researchers in the renowned Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to bring the benefits of the scientific web to researchers around the world. Low bandwidth and poor connectivity often prevent scientists in developing countries from reaping the full benefits of searching the Internet. The “Time Equals Knowledge” (TEK) technology developed at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) overcomes this barrier by minimizing the time users need to be connected, while still enabling them to carry out an online search. “Search Scirus with TEK”, combines Scirus, Elsevier’s award-winning scientific search engine, with TEK’s low bandwidth solution to maximize access to the scientific web in developing countries.

Researchers at institutions in developing countries submit a query through the TEK search engine, which is emailed directly to MIT. The TEK Server searches the web, locates pages, selects which pages to send back, compresses them, and returns them back to the user. Because the search results are returned asynchronously, by email, the connectivity charges are lower, addressing the common low bandwidth concerns experienced in developing countries.

Elsevier’s Scirus search engine will add to the TEK project by providing access to the scientific subset of the web. As part of “Search Scirus with TEK,” Scirus will enable researchers to retrieve only the most accurate and relevant search results while spending minimum time online. Moving forward, Elsevier and MIT researchers will expand their collaboration to include institutions with specific expertise in information provision to developing countries in order to move the project through to the deployment phase.

“Search Scirus with TEK” can help bridge the information divide between technologically advanced and developing countries, serving the global scientific community at large,” said Sharon Mombru, Senior Product Manager of Scirus. “Scirus’ involvement in the TEK project also builds on Elsevier’s ongoing commitment to delivering valuable scientific information to developing areas and bringing researchers closer to both peers and individual research communities.”

"We are excited to collaborate with Elsevier to offer a robust, user-friendly and valuable service to researchers across the globe,” said Saman Amarasinghe, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. "Elsevier brings years of experience in organizing and retrieving information, and understands the needs and constraints of end-users. We hope that organizations with access to users in these countries will take Elsevier’s lead and get involved in “Search Scirus with TEK” to help put this initiative into practice and extend the reach of valuable scientific information available on the Internet.”

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About TEK
For the past five years, researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have been developing an alternate model of Web access called TEK. The TEK system empowers users in developing countries by providing a full Interent experience using cheap email accounts to transfer all information. TEK stands for "Time Equals Knowledge", as users "pay" to access information with "time" needed to transmit queries and results via email. TEK offers significant economic savings, as email accounts can be up to 10 times cheaper than full Internet access in many low-connectivity areas. To further minimize connection charges, the TEK Server performs specialized filtering and compression, and keeps track of the pages sent to each user to avoid wasting bandwidth on duplicate content. On the client side, downloaded content is available for offline viewing and indexing using a standard Web browser. The TEK effort is part of a larger goal to develop novel technologies that are specifically designed to meet the economic and social constraints of the developing world. http://tek.sourceforge.net/

About Scirus
Scirus is the most comprehensive science-focused search engine available on the Internet, supporting over one million researchers, scientists and students worldwide. Scirus offers users a unique combination of free Web information and journal content, clearly branding search results from proprietary sources, assuring users the validity of the content. Web sources searched by Scirus include research institutes, governments, scientific organizations, conferences, scientists' homepages and company homepages worldwide. Optimized for science-related queries, Scirus uses a dictionary with over 1.6 million scientific terms, unique pattern recognition tools and linguistic analysis, to classify the content type and recognize the relevance of each document. Searching both the full-text and metadata of over 200 million scientifically relevant pages, Scirus offers users unique search functionalities such as the ability to search on bibliographical information and specific content types. Scirus is the recipient of numerous International awards, including the Search Engine Watch award for Best Specialty Search Engine and the WebAward for Best Search Engine or Directory. http://www.scirus.com/srsapp/.

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Research Intelligence and ClinicalKey— and publishes over 2,500 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and more than 35,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a world-leading provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com

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