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ERCIM News No.50, July 2002

Digital Library Competence Center

by Maria Bruna Baldacci and Stefania Biagioni

IEI-CNR, Pisa, Italy is operating a Digital Library Competence Centre. The Centre provides specific user communities with tutorials, demonstrations and case-studies of digital library technologies, services and expertise. It also offers hands-on experience with advanced digital library testbeds.

Digital library technologies will dominate the Internet of the 21st century. As the global information infrastructure becomes an essential part of everyday life, digital libraries will become a necessary component of this infrastructure. They will become one of the major tools that provide European citizens with access to scientific knowledge and to information on their cultural heritage. Independently of the extent to which librarians, archivists and museum curators are happy with this vision of the future, they are now demanding knowledge of digital library technologies and of the new type of services that digital libraries can deliver.

To satisfy this demand, a Digital Library Competence Center has been set up in Pisa, Italy, coordinated by IEI-CNR, under a contract from the EC IST Programme (IST-2001-32587). The Institute has a well-consolidated experience in the research and development of various types of advanced digital library systems. The objective of the Centre is to provide specific user communities, eg librarians, archivists, scholars and technicians, with access to advanced digital library services, expertise and training that will allow them to understand and use these new technologies.

The following courses have been scheduled for April 2002 – November 2003. Each course is supported by a specific DL prototype, mainly developed at the Institute:

Self-publishing/Scholarly Publication:
The aim is to facilitate transition from the current centralised, discrete publishing model, to a distributed, continuous, self-publishing model.
Test-bed: ETRDL – The ERCIM Technical Reference Digital Library

Digital Library Based Collaboration:
The objective is to demonstrate new ways in which digital libraries, ie, collections of documents and associated services, can facilitate collaboration within and between user groups.
Test-bed: SCHOLNET — A Digital Library Testbed to support Networked Scholarly Communities

Open Access to Digital Libraries:
The Open Archives philosophy is explained; the aim is to facilitate the implementation of infrastructures that provide open access to digital libraries. This environment is built on top of the Open Archive Initiative which develops and promotes standards for interoperability that aim to encourage the efficient dissemination of content.
Test bed: CYCLADES — an open collaborative virtual archive service environment

Permanent Access to On-line Journals:
The aim is to enhance the confidence of the librarian community in the Web as a more effective medium for scientific and technical communication than material published on paper. A prototype system preserving access to scientific journals published on the Web will be demonstrated. This system has been designed and implemented at Stanford University Libraries with funding from the National Science Foundation and Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Test-bed: LOCKSS — A Permanent Web Publishing and Access System

Indexing and Searching Audio-visual Material: Archivists and other interested user communities will be trained in the (semi)-automatic indexing and searching of audiovisual material. The aim is to improve the productivity and cost effectiveness of producing and using digital audiovisual archives. An advanced metadata editing environment integrated within a film digital library will be demonstrated. Test bed: ECHO — European Chronicles Online.

The courses are free of charge. Registration is requested and no more than ten participants are accepted per course.


Please contact:
Maria Bruna Baldacci or Stefania Biagioni, IEI-CNR
Tel: +39 050 315 2899/2900
E-mail: baldacci|