Joint ERCIM Actions
ERCIM News No.33 - April 1998

EU-NSF Working Group on Interoperability between Digital Libraries

by Daniel L. Kiskis and Uwe Röhm

The first joint meeting of the working group on Interoperability between Digital Library Systems took place 10-11 February 1998 at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. The purpose of this meeting was to exchange ideas and opinions between the working group members and to generate a report on future research directions on interoperability between digital libraries.

The Interoperability working group assembles researchers from digital library systems and database and information systems. The US part, lead by William P. Birmingham (University of Michigan), is formed of Barry Leiner (MCC), Andreas Paepcke (Stanford University), Daniel Kiskis (University of Michigan), and Steve Ketchpel (Stanford University). The European side is represented by Vassilis Christophides (FORTH), Sophie Cluet (INRIA), Panos Constantoupoulos (FORTH), Sverker Janson (SICS), Olle Olsson (SICS), Fausto Rabitti (CNR), and Carlo Meghini (CNR), and is lead by Hans-Jörg Schek (ETH Zurich). In addition to the attending members, guest talks were given by Klemens Böhm (GMD/ETHZ) and Moira Norrie (ETH Zurich).

This working group exists in conjunction with working groups in Metadata, Intellectual Property Rights and Economics, Resource Indexing and Discovery in a Globally Distributed Digital Library, and Multilingual Information Access. Recognizing the interoperability issues inherent in each of these other groups, our group focussed on the architecture which would integrate these areas. Drawing from a number of sources, including the ARPA I3 Reference Architecture, the University of Michigan Digital Library agent architecture, and the Stanford InfoBus architecture, the group proposes an architecture which broadly divides the system into clients, mediators, and servers. Within this architecture, four indicative themes of research were identified:

The group is currently working on a research report on the mentioned topics, which will include the presentations given during the Zurich meeting. Further information, eg about scheduled meetings, will be available on the public web page of the working group at

Please contact:
William Birmingham ­ University of Michigan
Hans-Jörg Schek ­ ETH Zurich

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