ERCIM News No.26 - July 1996

ERCIM participated at the Conference on Information Society and Development

by Jacques Ducloy

Developing and developed nations launched a 'Dialogue' on the Global Information Society at the Conference on Information Society and Development (ISAD), hosted by the South African government in Midrand 13-15 May 1996. The ISAD Conference was a follow up to the G7 Conference on the Information Society hosted by the European Commission in February 1995. ISAD was attended by ministers and senior officials from 40 countries and 18 international organisations as well as leading businessman. In the exhibition that was held in conjunction with the conference, theG7 Pilot Projects demonstrated their first results showing network services or relevant projects. Exhibitors included Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Africa, United Kingdom, USA and also the European Commission.

ERCIM was asked to exhibit in the French area of the exhibition on the stand of ORSTOM, the French scientific research institute for development and cooperation. László Kovács (SZTAKI) and Jacques DUCLOY (INRIA) were responsible for the ERCIM demonstrations. These were focused on 'Tools for the Information Society', with two kind of applications: digital libraries and 'how to build a web server'. The presentation was dedicated to the experimental ERCIM library.

Several ERCIM members have already built a first prototype of a European Digital Library for Computer Science and Applied Mathematics. It is currently possible to access technical reports and similar material stored in a number of important European IT research sites (SZTAKI, INRIA, CNR, FORTH, INESC, SICS) and also in major US universities and institutions. This project uses the DIENST protocol of the US Networked Computer Science Technical Report Library (NCSTRL) project, but will be developed to include several European oriented extensions and in particular to permit multilingual access and retrieval of documents.

A demo which attracted a lot of visitors was the 'Virtual Visit of Art Nouveau in European cities' ( This project, carried on at INRIA, proposes to use the European Art Nouveau collection along various axes: museographics (for the network of European towns and cities involved); touristic (to make the cultural products available throughout the world for commercial, informative or promotional purposes); educational (from students to research); artistic (offering artists new, little-used media). It is also a research and development platform for designing new WWW tools. Once the attention of the visitors had been caught by the artistic attractions, it was possible to speak about tools (the DILIB toolkit from INRIA) and standards (SGML, WWW etc.).

Close to ERCIM and again on Digital Libraries, another important demonstration was organized by the Bibliotheca Universalis. Bibliotheca Universalis is an electronic library project that will offer the major works and artifacts of the world's cultural and scientific heritage via multimedia technologies to foster cross-border dialogue and enhance services to end users. Its objective is to create a large distributed virtual collection of the humankind's knowledge, and make it available to a wide public through networking.

For ERCIM, this exhibition was an excellent opportunity to establish some fruitful relationships with G7 projects.

Please contact:
Jacques Ducloy - INRIA
Tel: +33 83 59 30 38

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