ERCIM News No.46, July 2001 [contents]
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.
Digital Libraries National Initiatives and EU Actions: The Need for Harmonization
An EU-DELOS Workshop on Harmonization of European and National Initiatives in Digital Libraries took place on 11 May 2001 in Brussels.
Currently, the situation in Europe in the field of digital libraries varies widely from country to country. A number of national initiatives are either under way or under definition. The EU 5th Framework Programme has also funded a large number of DL projects. However, so far, all these initiatives have proceeded independently without interactions between individual projects or with the EU programmes. The goal of the meeting was therefore the identification of means which could make the harmonization of national and EU DL initiatives feasible. Other important goals of the meeting were to provide valuable input for the definition of appropriate actions in the DL field under the 6th Framework Programme and the establishment of bilateral relationships between those initiatives which share specific goals. To this end high-level representatives of national funding agencies and/or DL national initiatives, and representatives of EU programmes were invited to meet and exchange their views. Organizations from the following countries were represented: UK, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Portugal, Finland, Norway, France and Greece. The European Space Agency was also represented.
The meeting was organized into two sessions. In the first session each national initiative gave a presentation on its current achievements and/or planned programs. In the second session the crucial question of how to proceed was addressed. The central point, shared by all participants, was the identification of joint actions which are important to begin now, but which should be fully deployed under the forthcoming 6th Framework Programme.
Digital Libraries: Future Research Directions for a European Research Programme
A DELOS brainstorming meeting took place on 13-15 June 2001 in San Cassiano (Dolomites), Italy.
Digital libraries is an important research field with many technologies contributing to its progress (databases, information retrieval, networks, multimedia, user interfaces, artificial intelligence, visual computing, multilinguality, etc.). The field is of particular importance for Europe given the enormous richness of its cultural heritage and scientific content. This has been recognized by the 5th Framework Programme which has funded a number of projects in this area. With respect to digital libraries, the challenge of the 6th Framework Programme is to define a new vision in which the convergence of new information infrastructures and advances in digitalization and other enabling technologies can provide new models for making available, using and enjoying them. The objective of the meeting was therefore to outline the main research directions of a future European research programme in the field of digital libraries. Prominent members of the European research community were thus 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. Some 20 EU and US high-level researchers attended.
The first DELOS-Russia collaboration workshop took place in Moscow, Russia
The goal of the workshop was to evaluate possibilities for establishing collaborations between EC-funded groups and Russian partners in the field of digital libraries and to identify key issues for such collaborations. In addition, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education in Moscow expressed its interest in supporting this workshop, and therefore a session was held on 9 June dealing mainly with Digital Libraries in Education, with additional participants invited by UNESCO.
Collaboration with China
Costantino Thanos, Director of the DELOS NoE, was invited to present the main DELOS activities at the 12th International Conference on New Information Technology (NIT2001) held on 29-31 May 2001 in Beijing, China. Future possibilities for further collaboration were explored.
International Summer School on Digital Library Technologies
The first DELOS International Summer School on Digital Library Technologies will take place in Pisa, Italy on 9-13 July 2001.
The main purpose of the school is to foster research in and understanding of the fundamental technologies underlying the digital libraries field. The school is directed towards members of the research community in the wide sense, that is, graduate students, young researchers and professionals involved in R&D in DL-related areas, possibly representing both the information technology scientist, the industrial communities (electronic publishing, broadcasting, software industry, etc.) and the user communities interested in digital libraries technologies (libraries, archives, museums). The school will consist of a one-week intensive course of nine half-day lectures and one half-day dedicated to BOF (Birds of a Feather) sessions, ie discussions in smaller groups on specific topics of common interest, with the participation of the lecturers.
Workshop on Personalization and Recommender Systems in Digital Libraries
The second workshop on Personalization and Recommender Systems in Digital Libraries took place in Dublin, Ireland on 18-20 June 2001.
One of the important ways for users to feel comfortable with and become productive using information technology is the ability to personalise and tailor systems to individuals or groups of users. This covers both explicit personalisation directly by the user, and implicit tailoring by systems which track users usage patterns and preferences and adapt systems and interfaces accordingly. The concept of personalisation thus is about making systems different for individual people, but the concept of personalisation itself can mean different things. One type of personalisation that is growing in use is recommender systems. Such systems take input directly or indirectly from users and based on user needs, preferences and usage patterns, recommender systems will then make personalised recommendations of products or services. These vary from recommending books to buy or TV programs to watch, to suggesting web pages to visit. The ultimate goal of such recommender systems would be to reduce the amount of explicit user input and to operate, effectively, based on usage patterns alone, thus giving users what they want without them having to ask. The workshop focus will be on techniques and technologies that are now applied to personalisation and recommender systems in digital libraries, or that have a reasonable potential of applying within a few years.
Tutorial on Multilingual Access for Information Systems
A DELOS tutorial on Multilingual Access for Information Systems will be held at IFLA 2001 (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) taking place in Boston, USA on 16-20 August 2001.
Much attention has been given over the past few years to the study and development of tools and technologies for multilingual information access (MLIA) and cross-language information retrieval (CLIR). This is a complex, multidisciplinary area in which methodologies and tools developed in the fields of information retrieval and natural language processing converge. Two main sectors are involved: multiple language recognition, manipulation and display; multilingual or cross-language search and retrieval.
The tutorial will provide participants with an overview of the main issues of interest in both these sectors. Topics covered will include: 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 will be on the needs of the userwhether information seeker, provider, or administratorand on how todays multilingual retrieval systems can impact on each of these user types.
The third DELOS workshop on Interoperability in Digital Libraries will be held on 8-9 September 2001 in Darmstadt, Germany. It will be held in conjunction with the fifth European Conference on Digital Libraries (ECDL2001) taking place in Darmstadt on 4-8 September 2001 (see announcement).
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.
The workshop will be organized into two sessions. The first session will be devoted to the presentation of research and standardization results in the audio-visual metadata modelling domain. The second session will be dedicated to the presentation of concrete experiences with metadata models and editors. Each presentation will last 20 minutes plus 5 minutes for questions-answers. All the speakers (about 10-12) will be invited speakers.