D-Lib Magazine
April 1996

ISSN 1082-9873

Clips and Pointers

DELOS kick-off meeting reviews US and European digital library research projects. Forty-five participants, including representatives from the University of California, Michigan Digital Library Project (UMDL), Stanford University Integrated Digital Library Project, Networked Computer Science Technical Reports Library (NCSTRL) as well as a number of representatives from industry and the user community, attended the two-day, inaugural meeting of DELOS, which was hosted by INRIA at Sophia Antipolis March 4-6, 1996. DELOS is a working group funded by the IT Long Term Research programme (LTR) of the European Commission to study and investigate digital library research issues and is sponsored by the national computer science research institutions who constitute the European Consortium of Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) in association with Elsevier and the University of Michigan.

The main objectives of DELOS are:

  1. to stimulate research activities in areas which are relevant for the efficient and cost-effective development of digital libraries;
  2. to encourage collaboration between the research teams of the DELOS consortium; and
  3. to establish links with on-going projects and activities in the field of digital libraries in industry and other public and private institutions.

The first day was given over to presentations by the representatives from US projects and organizations. Recurrent themes were: evolving views of the digital library, relationships with traditional libraries, system and content heterogeneity, use of software agents, and distributed systems and services. The second day was devoted to presentations by members of the DELOS consortium. Topics covered ranged from digital library architectures, multilinguality, and multimedia information retrieval to economic models and payment schemes. General discussions throughout the two day workshop among the US and European participants gradually articulated a set of key research issues that encompassed technological as well as economic, social and legal problems. Particularly relevant topics on which future activities could be concentrated were identified and included interoperability and metadata, multilingual access and retrieval, intellectual property rights, economic models and charging systems.

Some of the topics identified at the first meeting will form the basis for subsequent DELOS Workshops. These workshops will also pay attention to establishing relationships with industrial and non-ERCIM institutions with the intention of preparing the ground for the definition of new joint activities. The next DELOS Workshop will be on Metadata and Interoperability and will be organised by Tom Baker, GMD, in autumn '96. A Call for Contributions will be issued soon and will be publicised on the ERCIM Web. The pre-workshop abstracts are accessible on Digital Libraries page of the ERCIM Web at http://www-ercim.inria.fr/activity/delos.html. The proceedings in the form of extended abstracts of the presentations will be available shortly. For further information, please contact the Coordinator of the DELOS Working Group and the ERCIM Digital Library Initiative: Costantino Thanos, IEI-CNR, thanos@iei.pi.cnr.it.

(Prepared with material provided by Carol Peters, Istituto di Elaborazione dell'Informazione, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, carol@iei.pi.cnr.it; a longer story will appear in ERCIM News No. 25, April 1996 - ( http://www-ercim.inria.fr/publication/Ercim_News/en.html.

Do you know who is accessing your World Wide Web (WWW) pages? There are ways to find out. Statistical programs exist that will help you determine the "who, what, where, when, and how" of the users of your WWW site. WWW transaction log analysis is used in combination with a statistical program to provide clear, meaningful results about your users. Discover:

  • What documents users are looking at (URLs)
  • Where users are coming from (domain names)
  • When users are coming (date)
  • How users use your site (browser)
  • Both commercial products and freeware or shareware programs are available. WWW usage statistics programs are listed at http://www.uiowa.edu/~libsci/studentalumni/asis/d-dlib.htm . (Contributed by Eva Holtsmark, The University of Iowa in Iowa City, eva-holtsmark@uiowa.edu)

    New Astronomy, an international, refereed journal covering all fields in astronomy and astrophysics will become available on May 15, 1996 ( http://www.elsevier.com/locate/newast). The journal will be fully available on the World Wide Web and will also be offered as a Local Area Network (LAN) application and in print format. The 1996 site license rate has been set at US $366, which provides subscribing institutions with unlimited and unrestricted access for all its scientists, the LAN application, and the print edition. Author guidelines and subscription information (including a form for electronic subscription) are available at the web site.

    The Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) has announced the beta release of a World Wide Web Interface to the CIESIN Gateway system ( http://wwwgateway.ciesin.org). The CIESIN Gateway is a metadata search system enabling users to identify data bases, information systems, and other resources about environmental issues on a global scale, including global environmental change, human interactions, and sustainable development. The CIESIN Gateway retrieves resource locators that have been registered at various sites throughout the Internet. These include the Global Change Master Directory, which is maintained by NASA; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) directory; the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) human dimensions directory, and the CIESIN Information Cooperative.

    The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has organized the World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT), a consolidation of some 40 databases containing information on agriculture, fisheries, forestry, nutrition and rural development.. The database (http://apps.fao.org /lim500/Agri_db.pl may be queried via the Internet and contains time series information on production, trade, population, land use, fisheries, commodity demand, and commodity supply. FAO mission and programs are described at http://www.fao.org/defau lt.htm.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has sponsored creation of the on-line USDA Economics and Statistics System at Cornell University's Mann Library ( http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda). The system contains nearly 300 reports covering US and international agriculture and related topics. The reports are text files that may contain time-sensitive information; most data sets are in spreadsheet format and include time-series data that are updated on an annual. The material is browsable by report title, subject, or agency name, and is searchable by keyword. Searches by may be further refined by agency name and data type.

    The Research Program in Environmental Planning and Geographic Information Systems (REGIS), University of California, Berkeley, develops geographic information system (GIS) tools and applies them in environmental planning, management, research, and education ( http://www.regis.berkeley.edu/index.html). It is housed in, and supported through, the University's Center for Environmental Design Research (CEDR), and currently collaborates with the other research programs, government agencies, and private, U.S. and international organizations. GRASSLinks offers public, Internet access to environmental information in REGIS database via a World Wide Web browser and is built on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public domain software, GRASS. A "point and click" interface permits users to access GIS information requiring them to learn any of the specific GIS commands. GRASSLinks is also seen as an important mechanism for creating a distributed database network for land use planning and management agencies who collect complementary data but continually share information across disciplines. A demo and further information (documentation, bug reports, source code, copyright, and licensing) are available at ( http://www.regis.berkeley.edu/grasslinks/index.html).

    The Library of Virginia has announced the completion of Phase I of its Digital Library Project (http://leo.vsla.edu/lva/lv a.html). The Project, initiated in 1995, preserves significant Virginia archival and library collections and extends access to these collections via the Internet. The project presently contains over 600,000 scanned images and 40 electronic finding aids. Major components are the Virginia Colonial Records Project, the U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph Collection, the collection of family Bible records, and the Electronic Card Indexes Project (indexes to 36 separate archival and library collections). The Electronic Card Index Project digitized and preserved more than 850,000 deteriorating catalog cards, comprising 36 unique finding aids to archival and library collections, which in themselves constitute a rare and valuable resource. These images are indexed via a VTLS, Inc. search engine originally developed for the Princeton University card catalog. More than 500,000 microfilm images of the Library's Land Office Patent and Grants collection were digitized and will be linked to the corresponding electronic card index during future phases of work. Other sets of linked records include (or will include) the Virginia Colonial Records Project, the Library's extensive family Bible Records collection; and the U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph Collection. Phase II of the Project is scheduled for completion by September 1996 and will provide an additional one million digital images of historic archival and library documents, as well as new electronic finding aids.

    "The Global Library", an exhibition at the New York Public Library, is now available as an on-line exhibit (http://www.nypl.org. The second of the Library's major Centennial exhibitions, the exhibition describes the digital information revolution within the context of a 5,000 year history of communications. The site provides basic descriptions of the underlying technology; offers instructional examples of how the HTML mark-up works; and offers a sample of the types of resources available on the web with illustrations drawn from policy, public libraries, and K-12 materials. The exhibition was supported by AT&T, Barnes & Noble, Inc., and Pinewood Foundation; the IBM Corporation contributed the computer technology.

    Two projects at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) deal with issues associated with computing technology in the classroom. With funding from the National Science Foundation, and technology grants from Apple Computer, the Computer as Learning Partner (CLP) project is focused on teaching science to eighth-grade students and employs networking technology to enable students to access previous work as they rotate through a succession of partnerships, to share information within the group, and to promote communication with experts who are off-site coaches. The project has also developed the Electronic Laboratory Notebook (E-LabBook) and other computer tools. A demo and additional information are available at http://www.clp.berkeley.edu/CLP.html.

    A related project at UC Berkeley is the Knowledge Integration Environment (KIE). KIE project focuses directly on educational uses of on-line information K-12 science instruction. It is jointly funded by the National Science Foundation and Pacific Bell, and has set three principal goals: to develop software for use in networked classrooms, to work with scientists and researchers to stimulate preparation of on- line science materials appropriate for classroom use, and to conduct research on use of on-line tools as educational technology. For more information, see http://www.kie.berkeley.edu/KIE.html.

    The Center of Excellence for Document Analysis and Recognition (CEDAR), located on the campus of the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY-Buffalo), is devoted to research in the computational structures for the visual perception and language comprehension associated with the interpretation of digital documents. With funding from the U.S. Postal Service and other federal agencies, staff at CEDAR are engaged in several projects involving handwriting recognition and interpretation and text caption/image recognition and interpretation. Overviews of projects and demonstrations are available at http://www.cedar.buffalo.edu/.

    Bellcore's SuperBook System is a two-part system comprising a preprocessor and a browser. The preprocessor accepts text from one of several popular word processing systems or in any of the common SGML (ISO 8879 Standard )DTDs. It then transforms a document into a hypertext version, which has been enhanced with rich indexing, advanced navigation, and dynamic formatting features. The hypertext can then be further enriched with animations, video, and other media. An overview, technical documentation, and a demo are found at http://superbook.bellcore.com/SB/ together with information on licensing. Demos illustrating projects underway at Bellcore's Computer Graphics and Interactive Media research group are described at http://community.bellcore.com/demo.html; these include Supreme Court Decisions, indexed by keyword and topic, and Britannica Online.

    Four items have been added to the Scout Toolkit: a"meta searcher" that allows subject searching in more than 250 searching engines ; an e-mail directory containing over five million entries; an on-line, national directory; and "The Whole Internet... By E-Mail". More information on these new services is available at http://rs.internic.net/scout/report/current/#16. The Scout Toolkit is an InterNIC service that helps users identify appropriate network tools ( http://rs.internic.net/scout/toolkit/.

    10th Revision Directory of Scholarly and Professional E-Conferences is available at http://n2h2.com/KOVACS/. The directory identifies discussion lists, interest groups, newsgroups, forums, MUDS, MOO'S, Muck's, Mushes, and other interactive mechanisms for informal scholarly and professional communication. It is both browsable and searchable alphabetically and by subject.

    The Copyright Management Center (CMC)on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is focused primarily on copyright issues as they related to higher education. The web site, however http://www.iupui.edu/it/copyinfo/), contains pointers to basic information in copyright and other intellectual property issues.

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