ERCIM News No.32 - January 1998

Lampe'97 - International Workshop on Electronic Page Models

by Christine Vanoirbeek and Jacques André

Lampe'97, an international workshop on Electronic Page Models, was held at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, 22-23 September 1997. The workshop was co-organized by Inria-Rennes and sponsored by ERCIM. It aimed at providing a forum for researchers with diverse backgrounds in the document processing community (especially those from the document recognition world and those from the document production world) to articulate critical issues and to offer avenues of investigation in the area of electronic document layout models. The workshop was attended by 22 researchers mostly from European countries (with 2 North American attendees).

Production, dissemination and use of information through electronic documents is of common practice. The advent of the World Wide Web has reinforced this trend and clearly highlighted the problems related to document management.

The presentation of documents, either to be printed or to be manipulated in a interactive context, has always been of major concern in document-oriented applications. Distinguishing between documents' content and their multiple rendering is at the basis of standardization efforts (SGML/DSSSL, HTML/CSS, XML/XSL, HyTime, etc.).

Lampe'97 gave the opportunity to compare and discuss different approaches for modelling the physical appearance of more and more complex documents (including not only text, graphics and still images but also video and sound) for various purposes: recognizing the logical structure of document images, producing high quality typographic documents, providing hypertext interfaces, etc.

The workshop was organized in four thematic sessions.

The first session was dedicated to the presentation and discussion of different models used in specific communities. As an example, we may mention the models used in optical recognition of documents and, a reading model, based on the spatial organisation of objects in a plane.

The second session addressed the problem of style sheet specifications. An introductory presentation aimed at emphasizing some facts from traditional typography. Latter interventions covered various aspects of the problem such as the formal specification and edition of style sheets, the impact of the DSSSL standard, the Cascading Style Sheets mechanism, etc.

The third session concentrated on the use of constraint-based methods in layout specification; in particular, the problem of formatting multimedia documents integrating both spatial and temporal dimensions was explicitly discussed.

The last session tackled the problem of page model design under a less technical angle, allowing for the consideration of perceptive and cognitive factors in that process. It was concluded by a lively presentation, supplemented with edifying examples, clearly emphasizing the way readers are influenced by layout.

The active participation of the attendees throughout the workshop as well as the concluding open discussion confirmed the interest and growing importance of the topics discussed. It also demonstrated the benefits of exchanging and comparing point of views. The attendees express their desire to continue this exchange through the establishment of a web site (, where a bibliography on the topics as well as related papers are posted), and a possible future workshop 'Xampe'98', the location and, hence value of X, to be determined in the future.

Please contact:

Jacques André - Irisa/Inria-Rennes
Tel: +33 2 99 84 73 50

Christine Vanoirbeek - EPFL
Tel: +41 21 693 25 75

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