ERCIM News No.38 - July 1999

Ninth DELOS Workshop focuses on Distance Learning

Pasquale Savino and Pavel Zezula

The 9th DELOS Workshop on Digital Libraries for Distance Learning was held in Brno, Czech Republic, 15-17 April 1999. The objective of the DELOS Working Group, part of the ERCIM Digital Library Initiative, is to promote research into the further development of digital library technologies. This year, Brno Technical University held its 100 year anniversary. It also recently become an associated partner of DELOS. The workshop was organized in celebration of these two events.

The workshop addressed two relatively new areas : Digital Libraries and Distance Learning. Access to education has become increasingly important for individuals who need to gain a competitive edge in the labour market through acquisition of specialized or new knowledge. This demand for new information, coupled with the ever increasing quantity of information available in digital form, has lead to a change in traditional teaching methods. Face to face teaching is gradually being replaced by distance education. In order to make this form of education both effective and efficient, advanced information and communication technologies must be exploited. Digital libraries of distributed complex multimedia data can serve as suitable repositories of continuously changing up-to-date information, which are indispensable for distance education.

The DELOS organizers cooperated with the Czech Association of Distance Learning Universities and the European Association of Distance Learning Universities in preparing the programme for the workshop.

The final programme contained contributions from nine countries. The invited talk, by John A.N. Lee, concentrated on distance learning experiences at the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech, USA. The remaining presentations can be divided in two categories. Papers in the first category concentrated on conceptual issues of distance learning, emphasizing the position of digital libraries in the global process of knowledge acquisition. Papers in the second category presented information about actual prototypes for distance learning or addressed some of the advance technology tools necessary to meet this aim. The workshop attendees also greatly appreciated the session dedicated to prototype demonstrations; six different prototypes were presented. The workshop inspired numerous, very lively discussions.

The Proceedings of the Workshop have been published in the DELOS Workshop series and can be found at:

Please contact:

Pasquale Savino - IEI-CNR
Tel: +39 050 593 408

Pavel Zezula - Technical University, Brno
Tel: +420 5 4214 1202

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