The International Mathematical Union (IMU) has just released Math-Net, a worldwide electronic information and communication system for mathematics, see www.math-net.org.

Why is Math-Net needed? Today, almost every mathematics department or research institute offers information on the World Wide Web. But the content, structure, and presentation of these pages vary widely, making it difficult for users to navigate and find information. Math-Net is an alternative way for academic departments and research institutes to present information about themselves and their programs consistently. Math-Net has been designed to facilitate access to high quality mathematical information worldwide, both by human users and search engines.

A special feature of Math-Net is the Math-Net Page, a web portal for mathematics departments and institutes that presents information in a standardized, well-structured, and easy-to-use format.

The Math-Net Page is an additional entry point to institutional information, immediately accessible from the department's homepage, and not meant to replace it. Using this secondary homepage, mathematicians, scientists, students, and the news media can easily find relevant data, such as staff, student programs, colloquia, seminars, and publications.

The Math-Net Page is an enhanced version of a web page that originated in a project in Germany, targeted at establishing a nation-wide information and communication system for mathematics departments. A tool for generating Math-Net Pages as well as assistance is available at no charge at www.math-net.org/Math-Net_Page_Help.html. Mathematics departments around the world are currently setting up Math-Net Pages.

The Math-Net Pages are collected by the Math-Net service NAVIGATOR, see www.math-net.org/navigator, that gathers the local information and makes it globally available. Other services of this type are MPRESS, see mathnet.preprints.org, collecting information about mathematical preprints, and PERSONA MATHEMATICA, a search engine for mathematical researchers, see www.mi.uni-koeln.de/Math-Net/persona_mathematica.

Math-Net paves the way towards open and free exchange of information within and for the international mathematics community. In May 2000, the IMU adopted the Math-Net Charter, see www.math-net.org/Charter/. The IMU?s Committee on Electronic Information and Communication (CEIC) has issued a recommendation that universities and institutes worldwide install a Math-Net Page.

Contact: Martin Grötschel, Konrad-Zuse-Zentrum, Takustr. 7, D-14195 Berlin, Germany, e-mail: math-net@zib.de.

The International Mathematical Union (IMU) is an international non-governmental and non-profit making scientific organization, with the purpose of promoting international cooperation in mathematics. It is a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU).