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< Contents ERCIM News No. 59, October 2004

DELOS Information Day

by Costantino Thanos

The DELOS Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries organized an Info-Day in conjunction with the European Conference on Digital Libraries (ECDL'04) in Bath, UK, on 15 September. The purpose was to present DELOS to the wider European digital library research community in terms of its objectives, organization, activities and results so far achieved.

DELOS is a Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries funded by the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) of the European Union. The Network is planned as a four-year activity and began in January 2004. It aims to build on the results of a previous DELOS initiative under FP5. The Network is currently constituted by members from 46 research institutions in 13 European countries and is coordinated scientifically by ISTI-CNR and managed by ERCIM.

Costantino Thanos, DELOS coordinator, opens the Information Day.

The Info-Day was opened by Costantino Thanos (ISTI-CNR), the scientific coordinator of the Network, who welcomed the participants (80 attendees) and presented the main directions of DELOS, its internal organization into clusters (work-packages) and the cluster specific topics of interest. The main objective of DELOS is to define and conduct a joint programme of activities in order to integrate and coordinate the on-going research activities of the major European research teams in the field of digital libraries for the purpose of developing the next generation digital library technologies. The Network is organized into eight Clusters (Work-packages):

  • Digital Library Architectures
  • Information Access and Personalization
  • Audio/Visual and Non-Traditional Objects
  • User Interfaces and Visualization
  • Knowledge Extraction and Semantic Interoperability
  • Preservation
  • Evaluation
  • Dissemination.

Claude Poliart, the DELOS project officer, also welcomed the participants and outlined the Commission's expectations from the Network. DELOS should tackle the fragmentation of European research in the digital library area by integrating a critical mass of expertise around a joint programme of activity thus spreading excellence and establishing European leadership at the global level. The Commission wants to see a joint management of the knowledge portfolio between the Network’s members and a sharing of research platforms, tools and facilities. DELOS should become a world reference for the digital library community.
Following these two introductory talks, Yannis Ioannidis (University of Athens) presented the results of a recently organized DELOS brainstorming workshop on 'Digital Libraries: Future Research Directions'. In particular, he presented the DELOS vision for DL as user-centred systems which function not just as passive repositories but as active communication and collaboration tools. He stated that the actual challenge for the DL research community was to develop powerful, generic digital library management systems rather than ad-hoc solutions meeting the particular needs of a specific application community.
The various workpackage leaders then presented their clusters in terms of activities and results so far achieved. So far, in addition to the brainstorming meeting in Covara, Italy, attended by 24 internationally recognized experts in digital-libraries-related research areas, the Network has organized nine scientific events on a wide range of topics, several national and regional events, and an international summer school on digital library technologies.

The two important evaluation initiatives supported by the Network, the Cross Language Evaluation Forum (CLEF) (see workshop report in this issue) and the Initiative for the Evaluation of XML Retrieval (INEX), which aim at promoting research into multilingual information retrieval systems and into content-oriented XML retrieval, respectively, were also presented.

The meeting concluded with a presentation by Vittore Casarosa (ISTI-CNR) illustrating the dissemination and technology transfer activities of the Network and the research exchange programme.

DELOS Website:

Please contact:
Costantino Thanos, ISTI-CNR, Italy
Tel: +39 050 3152910