Joint ERCIM Actions
ERCIM News No.47, October 2001 [contents]

Digital Libraries: Future Research Directions for a European Research Programme

A brainstorming meeting took place on 13-15 June 2001 in San Cassiano (Dolomites), Italy.

The objective of the meeting was to outline the main research directions of a future European research programme in the field of digital libraries. To this end, prominent members of the European research community were invited to participate in and contribute to the definition of this new vision of digital libraries, and to translate it into concrete research actions which will become an integral part of the next 6th FP. Some prominent members from the US research community were also invited, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation. 15 EU and 5 US high-level researchers attended. The meeting was also attended by a representative from the Commission.

The meeting was divided into three sessions. On the first day a plenary session was held where the main objective of the meeting was presented. All participants briefly presented short position statements reflecting their views about the main advances expected over the next few years in their field of activity and expertise, and how these developments can contribute to the generation of new systems and services. The aim of this session was to provide a common background to facilitate the drafting of the final results of the meeting. On the second day three parallel sessions were held to discuss and draft a set of recommendations for a future research agenda relevant to Digital Libraries. A rapporteur was assigned for each group. On the third half-day a final plenary session was held, where the rapporteur of each group presented the proposals and recommendations of his/her group. A discussion was then held to try to consolidate all the proposals in order to draft a report on the outcome of the meeting.

The agenda (including slide presentations), position statements and list of participants are available on the delos web site. A report on the outcome of the meeting providing recommendations on the main research directions of a future European research programme in the field of digital libraries will be available at the site in October 2001.

DELOS / IPI-RAS / IITE Workshop on European-Russian Cooperation
in Digital Libraries

A DELOS-Russia Collaboration Workshop took place on 7-8 June 2001 in Moscow, Russia.

The Workshop was organized in the framework of the DELOS ‘Inter-national Cooperation’ Forum according to the DELOS-Russian DL Programme. The objective of the 2001 Workshop in Russia was to organize a meeting between European and Russian representatives of active DL projects to identify areas of common interest and potential cooperation. In May 2001 the list of participating projects from both sides was fixed. The list was based on the European projects that in Luxembourg, at the EU-DL All Projects Coordination meeting in February 2001, had expressed interest in possible cooperation with Russian DL projects. At that time, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) proposed to host the workshop in Moscow, including in the agenda a UNESCO Expert Meeting on DL in Education.

The following European projects were represented at the Workshop: ARTISTE, SCHOLNET, TEL, MIND, ARION, RENARDUS, ECHO, GLOBAL INFO (now DL-Forum). The following Russian projects from Moscow, St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk were represented at the Workshop: RSL project, Integration of Infosources of RAS, Subject Domain Mediation, GENEEXPRESS, Cultural heritage network, Cultivate - Russia, Russian Archives Online, AEROSPACE MEDIATECHA, Open Education: Models. The topics discussed helped to identify significant overlap in the interests of European and Russian DL professionals.

After the presentations and discussions, the Workshop formulated and approved several recommendations for concrete actions, including:

  • Forming a DELOS-Russia network which, on the one hand, will be a node in the DELOS Network of Excellence and, on the other hand, will be a network of Russian (sub)nodes with activities similar to those of DELOS proper. DELOS-Russia may be analogous to the CULTIVATE-Russia network.
  • Improving and intensifying the exchange of research results and development efforts in the area of DL between existing European and Russian projects, building on existing DELOS and UNESCO IITE frameworks to establish cooperation between existing projects or to form new joint projects within the current and future funding programs.
  • Identifying joint activity areas that deserve to be generalized and extended to the level of DELOS working groups. DL frameworks for scientific collection support can be suggested as one such potential direction.

Tutorial on Multilingual Access for Information Systems

A DELOS tutorial on Multilingual Access for Information Systems was held at IFLA2001 (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) on 23 August 2001 in Boston, Massachusetts.

40 participants attended the tutorial which provided an overview of the main issues of interest in the following two sectors:

  • multiple language recognition, manipulation and display
  • multilingual or cross-language search and retrieval.

The topics covered included: the specific requirements of particular languages and scripts, processing of multilingual document collections, multilingual metadata, techniques for cross-language retrieval, presentation issues, system evaluation. The focus of the tutorial was on the needs of the user - whether information seeker, provider, or administrator - and on how today's multilingual retrieval systems can impact on each of these user types. The tutorialists were Páraic Sheridan (Director of MNIS-TextWise Labs, the R&D division of Manning & Napier Information Services based in Syracuse, New York) and Carol Peters (Researcher at the IEI-CNR). 

Workshop on Audio-Visual Metadata Modelling

A DELOS workshop on Audio-Visual Metadata Modelling will be held on 23 September 2001 in London, UK in conjunction with the FIAT/IFTA Annual Conference (London, 22-25 September). The workshop will be divided into two sessions. In the first session, research results and on-going standardization activities will be reported. In the second session, a panel of leading representatives from application domains (eg broadcasting, archives, movie industry) will present and discuss real-life experiences with metadata models and editors in order to stimulate a discussion and an exchange of opinions with the audience.

Workshop on Collaboration between DELOS and Non-EU Mediterranean Countries

A DELOS workshop on the Design and Implementation of Digital Libraries will be held at the Alakhawayn University in Ifrane (AUI), Morocco on November 8-9, 2001. This practical workshop aims at bringing together Digital Libraries’ researchers from both sides of the Mediterranean to present and discuss their experiences in designing, implementing, and maintaining digital libraries with respect to today’s technological and economic environment. The main objective of the workshop is to facilitate an exchange of experiences among researchers involved in technologies of interest to digital libraries, to explore and discuss subjects of common interest for possible international cooperation, and to allow the AUI library to learn from other practical experiences and to have a good and clear idea on how to monitor the design and the implementation of its own digital library.

Setting up of DELOS-NSF Joint Working Groups

DELOS and the NSF have agreed to set up seven joint working groups whose aim is to work together on research areas of important relevance to the digital library community. Each working group will be co-chaired by a prominent member of the European and the US digital library research community, and will consist of approximately 10 members. The joint working groups presently being set up are:

  • Spoken-Word Digital Audio Collections
  • Information Seeking, Searching
    and Querying in Digital Libraries
  • Personalization and Recommender Systems in Digital Libraries
  • Emerging Language Technologies and Cultural Heritage
  • Digital Imagery for Significant Cultural and Historical Materials
  • Preservation and Archiving
  • Evaluation and Test Suites.

NSF / EU DL All Projects Meeting

DELOS is planning to hold a NSF/EU All Projects meeting in Rome, Italy 10-11 January 2002 (tentative date). The European Commission’s Information Society Technologies Programme and the National Science Foundation are supporting substantial research concerned with digital libraries. Both expect to develop the enabling technologies as well as principles for DL design and operation, to study the economic and legal issues surrounding electronic distribution of IR, and to better understand the social context - for example, human information needs - in which DLs will operate. By and large, scientists involved in the EU and NSF projects have not had the opportunity to meet regularly. A coordination effort in the DL field can help avoid duplication of effort, prevent the development of fragmented digital systems, and encourage productive interchange of scientific knowledge and scholarly data around the world.

In this context, DELOS is planning to hold the first of a series of annual meetings to bring together scientists involved in European and NSF projects. The objectives are to exchange working experiences and research results in the field of digital libraries, and to establish collaborative links between on-going projects. From the US side, participants will be representatives from the Digital Library Initiative (phase2) projects. From the European side, representatives will be from EU funded Digital Library projects and from DL projects funded by European National Initiatives.

The second DELOS workshop on Personalization and Recommender Systems in Digital Libraries was held on 18-20 June 2001 in Dublin, Ireland (see article in this issue). 

The first DELOS International Summer School on Digital Library Technologies was held on 9-13 July 2001 in Pisa, Italy (see article in this issue).

A CLEF 2001 Workshop of the Cross-Language Evaluation Forum was held on 3-4 September 2001 in Darmstadt, Germany (see article in this issue).

The Fifth European Conference on Digital Libraries (ECDL2001) was held in Darmstadt, Germany on 5-7 September 2001. An article on the conference will appear in the next issue of ERCIM News.

The Third DELOS Workshop on Interoperability and Mediation in Heterogeneous Digital Libraries was held on 8-9 September 2001 in Darmstadt, Germany, in conjunction with ECDL2001. An article on the workshop will appear in the next issue of ERCIM News.

The DELOS Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries, funded by the 5th Framework Programme of the European Commission, provides a framework to foster national and international research activities in the Digital Libraries domain and to disseminate the research results in the relevant user communities.

The activities of the DELOS Network of Excellence are organized into five Forums: the Research Forum, the Evaluation Forum, the Standardization Forum, the Technology Transfer Forum and the International Cooperation Forum.

The activities of the DELOS Network of Excellence are open to all those working or interested in DL-related research or applications.

Delos website:

Please contact:
Costantino Thanos - IEI-CNR
Network Director
Tel: +39 050 315 2910/2912