Many of the underpinnings of digital libraries were created with United States federal funds. Two notable examples are the Internet and Mosaic. However, digital library research has only recently been recognized as an important field in its own right.
One of the first major research projects explicitly in this field was the Computer Science Technical Reports project, funded by ARPA from 1992 to 1995. This is a joint effort of five universities and the Library of Congress, led by CNRI. Last year, the National Science Foundation, ARPA and NASA created the Digital Library Initiative. The initiative awarded major grants to six consortia, led by universities. These major projects have received considerable publicity, but they are far from being alone. Research and advanced development of digital libraries is being carried out by private companies, universities, and goverment agencies, in the United States and throughout the world.
In addition to supporting specific research, the federal agencies have a number of associated activities. For example, this spring, the HPCC/IITA ran an invited workshop to articulate the research challenges of digital libraries, which will be reported on in the August issue of D-Lib Magazine.
D-Lib Forum, of which the magazine is a part, is a broader initiative. Its objective is to stimulate cooperation amongst researchers, so that research can lead to the development of high quality digital libraries.
Initially, D-Lib Forum is concentrating on two activities.
Because this field is so inter-disciplinary, many conferences, seminars and workshops are of potential relevance to a researcher, no single conference that brings everything together. This spring, the principal investigators of major projects found themselves overwhelmed by invitations to speak. At their request, D-Lib looked for a single conference to base our activities around.
We are delighted to have accepted an invitation to be a sponsor of the DL '96 conference. This conference will be held in Washington, D.C. from March 20 to 23, 1996. In addition to the regular program, DL '96 will include sessions for the D-Lib working groups to describe their progress and receive feedback from the research community. We hope that you will join us there.
Please send questions and comments about D-Lib to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
William Y. Arms
Chair, D-Lib Forum