ECDL '97 - First European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries
by Carol Peters
The very first European Conference on Digital Libraries was held in Pisa, Italy, at the beginning of September. This Conference provided an important opportunity for the European Community interested and/or now working in this emerging area to come together and begin to compare and discuss their activities and results with colleagues from outside Europe. Major aims of the Conference, sponsored by the TMR programme of the European Commission, were to stimulate young scientists to explore new areas of interest in DL development and to establish a forum for the discussion of issues of particular relevance to Europe such as interoperability, multilinguality, intellectual property rights and economic charging mechanisms.
The Conference was attended by over 100 delegates: approximately seventy Europeans and the others from the rest of the world, including places as far afield as Japan and Australia. An important stimulus was provided by a significant contingent from the US - where DL activities have been under way for some time.
23 papers were presented covering a wide variety of DL-connected fields including system architectures, user interaction, metadata, information retrieval, multilinguality and case studies of the activities of four European DL projects. There were also two invited talks: for the US by Mark Stefik of Xerox Parc on Libraries and Digital Property Rights, and for Europe by Serge Abiteboul of INRIA on Object Database Support for Digital Libraries.
Of particular interest to the participants were the Demo Sessions. The NASA-DARPA-NSF sponsored US Digital Library Initiative was well represented: demonstrations were given by four of the six US DLI projects; the other ten demos showed the ongoing activities of European projects in the field. The ERCIM DLI was represented by a demonstration organised jointly by CNR, FORTH and SZTAKI.
Approximately forty researchers attended the tutorial day, held immediately previous to the Conference. Tutorials were held by experts in the following areas:
- Knowledge Management, Information Gathering and Digital Libraries (Uwe Borghoff, Laurent Julliard and Remo Pareschi, Xerox, Grenoble)
- Thesauri for Knowledge-based Assistance in searching Digital Libraries (Dagobert Soergel, Univ. of Maryland)
- Multimedia Information Retrieval (Carlo Meghini, Pasquale Savino and Fabrizio Sebastiani, IEI-CNR)
- Metadata (Carl Lagoze, Cornell, and Stuart Weibel, OCLC).
The Proceedings of the Conference have been published by Springer as No. 1324 in their Lecture Notes in Computer Science Series.
ECDL'98 will be organised by ICS-FORTH and the University of Crete and will be held in Heraklion, Crete, Greece from 19-23 September 1998.
Costantino Thanos - IEI-CNR
ERCIM DLI Coordinator
Tel: +39 50 593492