ERCIM News No.48, January 2002 [contents]

ECDL - European Conference on Digital Libraries 2001

by Ingeborg Solvberg

ECDL2001 is now history, and it was a great success! The conference was the fifth in the series of European Conferences on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries, and the event took place in Darmstadt, Germany, 4-9 September 2001. It was jointly organised by the Technical University of Darmstadt, FhG-IPSI, and Die Deutsche Bibliothek (The German National Library).

ECDL2001 was seen as a good opportunity to review the impact that Digital Libraries have had on science, technology and society in general. This was partly answered in the 38 papers and in the three panel sessions presented at the conference. The topics of the conference are reflected in the names of the sessions: Data and metadata models; Digitisation, interpretation, and annotation of documents; Information retrieval and filtering; Integration in user communities; Knowledge management; Multilinguality; Multimedia digital libraries; User modelling.

Three invited talks from very different perspectives were given in plenary sessions by Mike Keller from Stanford University, Eric Miller from W3C, and Michael Türkay from Senckenberg Museum.

The panels were popular. Rather different topics were discussed. A specific type of digital library was discussed under the title ‘What’s holding up the Development of Georeferenced DLs?.’ No answers were given, but the importance of georeferenced DLs was stressed. The topic of ‘Open Archive Initiative, Publishers and Scientific Society: Future of Publishing – Next Generation Publication Models’ raised important questions from a wide variety of panellists. The funding of research and the political side were covered in ‘Collective Memories Programs.’

Six workshops and four tutorials were arranged immediately before or after the conference and extended the range of subjects and the opportunities for exchange of knowledge and possibilities for establishing professional and personal networks.

The ECDL2001 conference was a real international event. The 350 participants of the conference and the affiliated workshops and tutorials came from 34 different countries, and the authors of the accepted papers were from twenty different countries.

The first ECDL conference in Pisa in 1997 attracted mainly computer scientists. The number of participants from other areas, such as librarianship, social science and information providers, seems gradually to have increased over the years. A special thanks to ERCIM for awarding 21 fellowships to young researchers! We are already looking forward to learning more about exciting DL research and to meeting new and old colleagues at the next ECDL – ECDL2002 in Rome, 16-18 September 2002.

The proceedings of ECDL2001: Panos Constantopoulos, Ingeborg T. Sølvberg (Eds.). Proc. 5th European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries (ECDL2001). Lecture Notes in Computer Science Vol.2163, Springer Verlag, 2001, 462p.

DELOSELSEVIER Science Award at ECDL2001
The Elsevier Science Prize was given to Jon Riley from Great Britain in the closing ceremony of ECDL2001. Jon Riley won the prize for the best entry to the MetaLibrary of the DELOS Digital Library Test Suite during the Demonstration session at the conference.

The building of a European Digital Library Test Suite is one of the key objectives of the DELOS Network of Excellence which will provide DL researchers with a dedicated testbed for their investigations, enabling them to match their requirement needs with possible testbeds. To achieve this objective, a preliminary step has been the creation of a MetaLibrary service which is an extensible survey database where each DL collection/test-bed can register and provide information about itself. It provides intelligent testbed selection functionality for researchers. The hope is that the MetaLibrary will allow researchers to compare their digital libraries with others, to stimulate the interest of other researchers, and to assess future needs in this field of research.

A questionnaire was developed based on a novel holistic approach to DL classification and evaluation covering all major dimensions of DL systems: users/usage, collection, technology. Each dimension is subdivided into smaller areas resulting in a hierarchy of descriptive items.

If you are involved in a DL project, please fill in data about your Digital Library. The questionnaire can be accessed on the web at:

The organisers of ECDL2001 appreciate the financial support given to the conference by Elsevier Science, and the DELOS Test Suite Task expresses its thanks for the prize supporting the MetaLibrary.

ECDL 2001 website:

Please contact:
Ingeborg Solvberg, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Tel: +47 73 596 027