D-Lib Magazine
January 1998

ISSN 1082-9873

Clips & Pointers

Report from International Symposium on Research, Development and Practice in Digital Libraries 1997 (ISDL'97)

Shigeo Sugimoto
University of Library and Information Science
Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305, Japan
[email protected]

The International Symposium on Research, Development and Practice in Digital Libraries 1997 (ISDL'97) was held from November 18 to 21, 1997 in Tsukuba, Japan. ISDL'97 was sponsored by University of Library and Information Science (ULIS), which also sponsored the previous symposium ISDL'95. In this short report, the author would like to summarize the topics discussed in the symposium. The full conference proceedings, with 19 presentations invited from representatives from Asia-Pacific, Europe, the United States, and Japan and 17 contributed papers selected from submissions from 5 continents, were printed and made available at the conference; a web version shall be released shortly.

As set forth in the Call for Participation, various research and development projects are in progress in many countries and regions. ISDL'97 was intended as an international forum for researchers, developers and practitioners of the digital library and for discussion not only from technological viewpoints but also from cultural and social points of view. The major topics discussed were metadata (Dublin Core), electronic journals and journal-oriented digital libraries, advanced information technologies for digital libraries, information access in digital libraries, digital library projects and so forth. Some highlights:

In his keynote address, Gary Olson, Associate Dean of the School of Information, University of Michigan, talked about knowledge and knowledge network showing various research projects at his school. He showed that knowledge and information intensive work done by a single person or a group of people requires an environment where the digital library is a central component.

Metadata is one of the key aspects for information access in digital libraries. In the metadata session, Stuart Weibel, OCLC, gave an overview of the Dublin Core and recent activities at the series of Dublin Core workshops. Global access to information requires internationalization and multilingualization of metadata. Thomas Baker, Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand presented a basic approach to multilingual metadata description of Dublin Core.

Electronic journals and electronic document delivery have been widely accepted by users and libraries. There are major projects oriented to electronic journals and electronic collection of journal articles and there is lots of experience in this area, for example, JSTOR in the USA and NACSIS-ELS in Japan. Cliff McKnight, University of Loughborough, UK, talked about user aspects of electronic journals. For example, readers seem to prefer different media reading, browsing, and searching. He also described user behavior when searching information in electronic journals and related issues. Takeo Yamamoto, ULIS, talked about the conditions required for electronic journals to be viable in the digital library. Jun Adachi, National Center for Science Information Systems (NACSIS), Japan, described his experience in the NACSIS-ELS project, which is a nation-wide digital library project.

The digital library is an integration of digital contents and various advanced information technologies built on high performance computing and communication. The program featured many talks on advanced information technologies. The technical topics include advanced searching and retrieval, information visualization and navigation, multimedia information retrieval and access, support tools for information access and management, and so forth. Y.T. Chien, USA National Science Foundation (NSF), discussed knowledge networks and the digital library in the context of human-centered information systems. He showed several key concepts for the digital library research and talked about new research initiatives in the USA.

Discussions from a comprehensive point of view is crucial for the digital library being accepted as a library. Mel Collier from Dawson, UK talked about the role of digital libraries and surveyed the primary aspects required to develop the digital library based on his experience at De Montfort University. Michael Buckland, University of California, Berkeley, outlined a three-level process of information selection: selecting libraries, selecting documents, and selecting data. These discussions clarified the fundamental requirements for digital libraries.

ISDL'97 also hosted a variety of talks about specific digital library projects and activities; Steve O'Connor, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia talked about the related activities at Australian universities. Edie Rasmussen described the Pennsylvania Education Net Digital Object Repository (PEN-DOR). Hiroyuki Taya, National Diet Library (NDL), Japan, outlined the NDL's activities and plan for the next century. Hiroshi Mukaiyama, Japanese Information Processing Development Center (JIPDEC), talked about their information technology development project for digital libraries. Sadao Kurohashi, Kyoto University, Japan, presented the digital library project at the Kyoto University Library. The Kyoto University's digital library, which is designed based on their former prototype, Ariadne, will provide a digital collection of Japanese classic literature including Japanese national treasures and publications by Kyoto University. Ray Suzuki talked about the campus-wide digital library at NAIST (Nara Institute of Science and Technology), Japan.

The printed version of the symposium proceedings was published at ISDL'97. The electronic version of the symposium proceedings will be made available on the Web. ULIS is planning ISDL'99 in September 1999 as part of its 20-year anniversary.

Canadian Initiative on Digital Libraries (CIDL): Developing Digital Resources in Canadian Libraries

Gwynneth Evans
Director General
National and International Programs
National Library of Canada
[email protected]

Paula Tozer
CIDL Secretariat
National Library of Canada
[email protected]

About CIDL

Early in 1997 the National Library of Canada initiated a national consultation to establish the status of digital library resource development in Canadian libraries. The first step was to distribute, within the Canadian community, a questionnaire related to digitization activities and the management of digital collections. From approximately fifty responses, twenty libraries with experience in one or both of these areas were invited to a meeting held at the National Library in March 1997. The primary objective of the meeting was to determine which issues concerning the development of digital resources that merit national discussion and co-ordination and to assess the preparedness of libraries to work toward common solutions.

The participants reached consensus that a co-ordinated approach to the development of Canadian digital collections was needed. The National Library was asked to assist with the creation of a group of self-selected institutions whose mission is "to promote, co-ordinate and facilitate the development of Canadian digital collections and services in order to optimize national interoperability and long-term access to Canadian digital library resources". The Canadian Initiative on Digital Libraries or CIDL was launched at the Canadian Library Association's annual conference in June.

By September 1997, 53 Canadian public, research and special libraries had joined CIDL. In so doing, the members indicated a willingness to commit funds, expertise and staff resources to work to resolve issues of common and national concern. The National Library agreed to host the Initiative's secretariat, the CIDL Web site and listserv.

Members of CIDL elected a Steering Committee of representatives of seven member libraries from across the country in October 1997. At the first meeting, held in late November 1997, Ernie Ingles, Associate Vice-President (Learning and Systems) at the University of Alberta, was elected as Steering Committee chair. The six other members are Pam Bjornson, Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (CIHM), Claude Bonnelly, Biblioth�que de l'Universit� de Laval, Aldyth Holmes, Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI), Carole Moore, University of Toronto Library, Marianne Scott, National Library of Canada and John Teskey, University of New Brunswick, Harriet Irving Library. Secretariat staff presented the committee with the results of a more recent survey on members concerns, ranked according to priority. On the basis of the results, it was agreed that CIDL would act as the co-ordinating body to address these concerns. The focus of the alliance would be to support the development of Canadian digital content, following a standards-based approach to ensure quality and access in both the short and long-term.

At the November meeting three priorities were chosen for working groups to address. They are:

  1. Creation and Production Issues
  2. Organizational and Access Issues (metadata)
  3. Advocacy and Promotional Issues
Next Phase

The next meeting of the Steering Committee will be held in March 1998. The agenda will include a half-day session on advocacy and communications to allow the Steering Committee to develop a Communications and Advocacy Plan. In the meantime, the working groups will begin their efforts. Each working group is led by a member of the Steering Committee and is comprised of member libraries with experience in working with digital resources or in interest in working to resolve the many issues.

Further details about CIDL, including a list of member libraries, can be found in both English and French on the CIDL Web site. <http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/cidl>

For further information regarding CIDL activities, please contact:

Gwynneth Evans
Director General
National and International Programs
National Library of Canada
[email protected]
Tel: (613)995-3904
Fax: (613)947-2916


Paula Tozer
CIDL Secretariat
National Library of Canada
[email protected]
Tel: (819) 953-8312
Fax: (819) 994-6835

Initiative canadienne sur les bibliothèques numériques (ICBN): création de ressources numériques dans les bibliothèques canadiennes

Gwynneth Evans
Directrice générale
Programmes nationaux et internationaux
Bibliothèque nationale du Canada
[email protected]

Paula Tozer
Secrétariat de l'ICBN
Bibliothèque nationale du Canada
[email protected]

À propos de l'ICBN

Au début de 1997, la Bibliothèque nationale du Canada a amorcé une consultation nationale dans le but de connaître l'état du développement des ressources documentaires numériques dans les bibliothèques canadiennes. La première phase visait à distribuer, dans le milieu canadien, un questionnaire sur les activités de numérisation et la gestion de collections numériques. À partir d'environ cinquante réponses, vingt bibliothèques qui possèdent de l'expérience dans l'un de ces domaines ou les deux ont été invitées à une réunion tenue à la Bibliothèque nationale en mars 1997. La réunion avait principalement pour but de déterminer les questions concernant la création de ressources numériques qui méritent une discussion et une coordination nationales et d'évaluer la mesure dans laquelle les bibliothèques sont prêtes à travailler à des solutions communes.

Les participants ont tous convenu qu'il fallait aborder de façon coordonnée le développement de collections numériques au Canada. On a demandé à la Bibliothèque nationale d'aider à la création d'un groupe d'établissements qui se sont eux-mêmes proposés et dont la mission consiste �à favoriser, à coordonner et à faciliter le développement des collections et des services numériques au Canada en vue d'optimiser l'interfonctionnement à l'échelle nationale, et l'accès à long terme aux ressources documentaires numériques au Canada�. L'Initiative canadienne sur les bibliothèques numériques (ICBN) a été lancée à la conférence annuelle de la Canadian Library Association, organisée en juin.

En septembre 1997, cinquante-trois bibliothèques canadiennes publiques, de recherche et spécialisées s'étaient jointes à l'ICBN. De par leur participation, les membres ont indiqué leur bonne volonté à engager des fonds, des compétences et du personnel pour travailler à la résolution de questions d'intérêt commun et national. La Bibliothèque nationale a accepté d'accueillir le secrétariat de l'Initiative, le site Web de l'ICBN et la tribune électronique.

En octobre 1997, les membres de l'ICBN ont élu un comité directeur composé de représentants de sept bibliothèques membres à travers le pays. À la première réunion tenue à la fin de novembre 1997, Ernie Ingles, vice-président associé (apprentissage et systèmes) à la University of Alberta, a été élu président du comité directeur. Les six autres membres sont Pam Bjornson, Institut canadien de microproduction historique, Claude Bonnelly, Bibliothèque de l'Université de Laval, Aldyth Holmes, Institut canadien de l'information scientifique et technique (ICIST), Carole Moore, bibliothèque de la University of Toronto, Marianne Scott, Bibliothèque nationale du Canada, et John Teskey, Université du Nouveau-Brunswick, Bibliothèque Harriet Irving. Le personnel du secrétariat a informé le comité des résultats d'un plus récent sondage sur les préoccupations des membres, classées par ordre de priorité. En fonction des résultats, on a convenu que l'ICBN servirait d'organisme de coordination pour traiter de ces préoccupations. L'alliance aurait pour but d'appuyer le développement de contenu numérique canadien, conformément à une approche fondée sur des normes afin d'assurer la qualité et l'accès à court et à long termes.

À la réunion de novembre, on a établi les trois priorités suivantes dont traiteront les groupes de travail :

1. les questions de création et de production;
2. les questions d'organisation et d'accès (métadonnées);
3. les questions de défense des intérêts et de promotion.

Phase suivante

La prochaine réunion du comité directeur se déroulera en mars 1998. L'ordre du jour englobera une séance d'une demi-journée sur la défense des intérêts et les communications afin de permettre au comité directeur de dresser un plan de communication et de défense des intérêts. Dans l'intervalle, les groupes de travail se mettront en train. Chacun de ces groupes sera dirigé par un membre du comité directeur et composé de bibliothèques membres qui possèdent de l'expérience relativement aux ressources numériques ou manifestent de l'intérêt à travailler à la résolution des nombreuses questions.

De plus amples renseignements sur l'ICBN, dont une liste des bibliothèques membres, sont fournis en français et en anglais dans le site Web de l'ICBN <http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/cidl>.

Pour obtenir d'autres renseignements sur les activités de l'ICBN, veuillez communiquer avec :

Gwynneth Evans
Directrice générale
Programmes nationaux et internationaux
Bibliothèque nationale du Canada
[email protected]
Téléphone: (613)995-3904
Télécopieur: (613)947-2916


Paula Tozer
Secrétariat de l'ICBN
Bibliothèque nationale du Canada
[email protected]
Téléphone : (819) 953-8312
Télécopieur : (819) 994-6835


  • The Texas Union Catalog, a service of the Texas State Electronic Library, supports searches of 16 catalogs, which represent 57 academic, medical, public, and special libraries. Searches may be conducted within the collections of a single institution or may be submitted across groups of institutions, defined by type (e.g., academic) or geography (e.g., Texas Panhandle). Searches may also be submitted across all of the collections. A forms-based search is available over the web.

  • A Web of On-line Dictionaries is maintained by Robert Beard at Bucknell University. The site includes a number of vocabulary tools including dictionaries of the English language, thesauri, and multi-lingual dictionaries of modern and ancient languages (e.g., Sumarian). A forms-based "Quick Look-Up" is offered for English based on Merriam-Webster's Collegiate(R) Dictionary, Tenth Edition.

  • The Virtual Reference Desk, a project of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology and the National Library of Education with support from the Office of Science and Technology Policy, offers the K-12 education community a national cooperative digital reference service by offering research, services, resource creation, resource discovery, and a consortium of high-quality digital reference services. The Virtual Reference Desk does not actually answer questions, but provides resources and links to experts that offer these services.

  • The William Blake Archive is sponsored by the Library of Congress and supported by the Getty Grant Program, the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, Sun Microsystems, and Inso Corporation with additional support from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Presently under construction, the site offers an on-line bibliography of reference works, links to related sites, and search capability (text and images) over two of Blake's works: The Book of Thel and Visions of the Daughters of Albion.

In Print

  • GILS FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). The GILS FAQ is being developed with input primarily from the GILS Discussion list. It draws together material from several other FAQ sources and is expected to evolve over the years along with GILS itself. Comments and contributions are always welcome!
    Contributed by: Eliot Christian

  • Guidelines for Distinguishing Cartographic Materials on Computer File Carriers from other Materials on Computer File Carriers. Library of Congress, Cataloging Policy and Support Office, Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Geography and Map Division, and Special Materials Cataloging Division, January 1998. These guidelines have been prepared to assist catalogers who are working with cartographic computer files and are intended to ensure consistent selection of the correct USMARC Type of Record (Leader/06) code by offering definitions, selection criteria, and illustrative examples. Comments on the guidelines may be submitted to the Cataloging Policy and Support Office < [email protected]>.

  • Draft Interim Guidelines for Cataloging Electronic Resources have been released by the Cataloging Policy and Support Office of the Library of Congress (December 24, 1997). These are intended to provide a conceptual framework for cataloging electronic resources. Internet resources are not addressed because collection development guidelines are in the initial stages of formulation.

Goings On

  • RLG will offer Managing Digital Imaging Projects on February 4-6, 1998, in Chicago, Illinois. This 2.5-day workshop was previously held in October 1997 and has tentatively been scheduled for three more sessions later this year, two in May and one in November. Registration information for the Chicago session is available at: <http://www.rlg.org/preserv/>.

  • The Art Libraries Society of North America will hold its annual conference on March 5-12, 1998 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Among the sessions of particular interest to digital libraries are the following: The Architectural Vision: Non-Print Reference Sources on Architects, Learners' Permits, Licenses, and the Electronic Highway: Finding Your Way, and Accessing Cultural Heritage Information Through CHIN (Canadian Heritage Information Network), Intellectual Access to Information: Using Expert Systems as Filters in User Interfaces, Diamonds or Dinosaurs? New Technologies in Landmark Libraries, and Cataloging and Indexing in an Ideal World.

  • The Second European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries will be held September 19 -23, 1998, Heraklion, Crete, Greece. Sponsored by the European Union, European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics, ICS-FORTH, and the University of Crete, this conference is the second of a series of European conferences on research and technology for digital libraries funded by the European Commission's TMR Programme. Its objectives are: to bring together researchers from multiple disciplines whose science relates to the development of digital libraries; to provide an opportunity for these scientists to form a research community in Europe specific to digital library development and to enable them to discuss issues and strategies specific to the European context; to assist young researchers in establishing relationships with senior scientists in their areas of interest; to enable review and discussion of research under way in Europe, the USA, Japan and other countries on digital libraries; to stimulate researchers, especially young scientists, to explore new areas of interest in digital library development; to establish a forum for discussion of issues specific to Europe such as interoperability, multilinguality, intellectual property policy, and information commerce; to provide an opportunity for researchers in the relevant enabling technologies and information sciences, to discuss issues related to interoperability between world wide distributed digital libraries.

    From a technical point of view, the European Conferences series aims to contribute to the definition of those digital library parameters which especially influence issues of access, retrieval, and interaction with information; to identify key problems which must be solved to make digital library services an effective reality; to identify a general structure or framework for integrating research and solutions; and to propose and encourage specific, high priority research directions within such a framework.

    The conference organisers solicit papers on topics related to digital libraries, including but not limited to the following list:

    • Digital Library Models, Frameworks, and System Requirements
    • Metadata
    • System Integration and Architecture Issues
    • Interoperability, Scalability
    • Networked Information Discovery, Agent Technologies
    • Information Retrieval, Organisation, Navigation - Tools and Paradigms
    • Multilinguality
    • Role of Knowledge Representation Systems in Digital Library Interactions
    • Collecting, Capturing, Filtering, Cataloging, Indexing,
    • Preserving
    • Intellectual Property Rights, Terms and Conditions, Rights Management
    • Authoring, Electronic Publishing, Electronic Commerce and Information Economies
    • Economic and Social Implications and Issues
    • User Interfaces
    • Handling of Graphics, GIS, Medical Data, Multimedia Information, Experimental Data and
    • Scientific Models
    The conference will be held in Heraklion, Crete, Greece. Additional information on tutorials, posters, submission requirements, scheduling, and registration are or will be available at the conference's web site. Proposals for tutorials, posters, and demos due to the Conference Chair by March 15, 1998.

Pointers in This Column

Art Libraries Society of North America
Annual Conference
March 5-12, 1998
Candian Initiatve on Digital Libraries http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/cidl
Draft Interim Guidelines for Cataloging Electronic Resources
Cataloging Policy and Support Office of the Library of Congress
December 24, 1997
GILS FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) http://www.usgs.gov/gils/faq.html
Guidelines for Distinguishing Cartographic Materials on Computer File Carriers from other Materials on Computer File Carriers
Library of Congress, Cataloging Policy and Support Office, Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Geography and Map Division, and Special Materials Cataloging Division
January 1998
International Symposium on Research, Development and Practice in Digital Libraries 1995
International Symposium on Research, Development and Practice in Digital Libraries 1997
Managing Digital Imaging Projects
February 4-6, 1998
Chicago, Illinois
Second European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries
September 19 -23, 1998
Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Texas Union Catalog http://link.tsl.state.tx.us/cgi-bin/unionlibs.CGI
Virtual Reference Desk http://www.vrd.org/
A Web of On-line Dictionaries
Robert Beard
Bucknell University
William Blake Archive http://www.iath.virginia.edu/blake/

The date of the next meeting of the Steering Committee for the CIDL has been corrected from February to March at the instruction of the CIDL Secretariat. The telephone number for the Director General, National and International Programs, National Library of Canada, has also been corrected. At the request of the Library, a French version has been added. Editor, January 15, 1998.

Copyright © 1998 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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