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Conference Report


D-Lib Magazine
July/August 2004

Volume 10 Number 7/8

ISSN 1082-9873

Report on the Fourth ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL)

7 - 11 June 2004, Tucson, Arizona


Schubert Foo
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Red Line


The Fourth ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL 2004) was held at the beautiful Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, set in the breathtaking Catalina Mountains just north of Tucson, Arizona. In line with the theme of this year's conference, "Global Reach and Diverse Impact", Conference Chairs, Hsinchun Chen, Howard Wactlar, and Ching-Chih Chen assembled an international organizing committee comprised of Mike Christel (US) and Ee-Peng Lim (Singapore) as Program Co-Chairs; Schubert Foo (Singapore) as Tutorial Chair; Hsueh-hua Chen (Taiwan) as Workshop Chair; Christopher Yang (Hong Kong) as Poster and Demo Chair; Lee Giles (US) as Panel Chair; and Stuart Weibel (US), Su-shing Chen (US), Shalini Urs (India) and Mohan Tanniru (US) as Publicity Co-Chairs.

JCDL 2004 along with its tutorials and workshops drew a total of 600 participants from 23 countries over the five days of conference events. This was the highest number of participants since the introduction in 2001 of the merged ACM and IEEE digital library conferences. Previous conference numbers include: 450 participants from 20 countries in JCDL 2001 [1], 479 participants from 21 countries in JCDL 2002 [2], and 321 participants from 19 countries in JCDL 2003 [3]. The increase in the number of attendees to JCDL 2004 attest to the growth of interest in digital library research, the richness of the conference program, and the overall improving sentiments regarding the current global situation.

The tutorials at JCDL 2004 included previously popular topics such as "Introduction to Digital Libraries", "Thesauri and Ontologies in Digital Libraries", and "Building Digital Library Collections". In addition, a number of new tutorial topics were introduced including "Data Grid and Workflows", "Introduction to FEDORA and its Applications" and "Evaluating Digital Libraries".

The regular conference session began on Tuesday morning, June 8, with a keynote by Vinton Cerf, Senior Vice President of Technology Strategy, MCI. (He is also widely known as one of the "Fathers of the Internet" for co-designing—with Robert Kahn—the Internet architecture and TCP/IP protocol.) Cerf gave an intriguing talk, "Taking Internet's temperature: Prescriptions for the 21st century", in which he envisioned future Internet technologies and challenges. The audience was enthralled by his wit, wisdom, and anecdotes, and was entertained by various predictions of new technologies, such as one of a refrigerator that would assess its own contents and then use the Internet to communicate with its owner. The refrigerator might prompt its owner what to buy at the supermarket and suggest recipes, including healthy recipes if the bathroom scale had registered an unhealthy weight for the owner and passed that information electronically to the refrigerator! At the conclusion of his keynote, Cerf provided a number of follow-up URLs for those in the audience who might be interested in exploring his ideas further:

Joel S. Birnbaum, Special Technical Assistant to the Chairman and CEO of the Hewlett-Packard Company provided the second keynote address, which was given on Wednesday morning. His talk, "Cybersecurity Considerations for Digital Libraries in an Era of Pervasive Computing" examined one of the most important issues affecting the global information infrastructure today. He cited changes in the security landscape after the 9/11 incident and highlighted the U.S. White House February 2003 report "The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace" that advocated a framework to protect the cyberspace infrastructure [4]. Birnbaum also discussed the difficult strategic challenges facing us that will require a coordinated and focused effort from the entire society. He posits a future where "pervasive trusted systems" need to be in place to protect against cyber-terrorism.

The Conference Committee received a record number of 249 paper, poster and demonstration submissions. Of the 114 full papers and 90 short papers submitted, the Program Committee selected 34 full papers and 27 short papers for presentation, along with 35 posters and 16 demonstrations. The papers were presented over a series of technical sessions. Full papers were allotted 30 minutes and short papers 15 minutes, and they covered a diverse range of topics including repository architectures, books and reading, image, music, video and multilingual digital libraries, educational aspects of digital libraries, collaboration and group work, query processing, digital preservation, interacting with collections, evaluation, and others.

In addition to papers, the regular conference sessions also included four diverse and interesting panels that addressed issues and challenges facing cultural heritage institutions, educational organizations and academic libraries. "The Virtual and the Real: Current Research on Museum Audiences and Library Users" was moderated by Joyce Ray, Institute of Museum and Library Services; "Demonstrating Education Impact: Challenges in the Years Ahead" was moderated by Tamara Sumner, University of Colorado; and "Library Leaders on Digital Libraries and the Future of the Research Library" was moderated by Clifford Lynch, Coalition for Networked Information. All were well attended and led to invigorating exchanges between panel members and the audience. The final panel, which was moderated by Edward Fox, Virginia Tech, comprised an international set of panelists who assessed a decade of past achievements and projected the next decade of digital library challenges on "Digital Libraries Settling the Score: 10 Years Hence and 10 Before". It was an excellent panel on an appropriate topic with which to close the final conference session.

Presenters and panelists were given unique individually handcrafted Karchinas (sometimes also called Kachina) dolls as a gesture of appreciation for their contributions to JCDL 2004. The idea of giving gifts of appreciation to presenters was first introduced in the series of the International Conference of Asian Digital Libraries (ICADL), which held around various countries in Asia in the latter part of each year. (ICADL 2004 will be held in Shanghai, China, in December of this year.)

Other JCDL events that took place from Tuesday through Thursday included a Conference reception, Poster and Demo session, and Conference banquet.

An electrifying pace of "salesmanship" promoted the poster papers and demonstrations during the always-popular "Minute Madness" session on Tuesday afternoon. The Minute Madness helps bring to participants' attention ones they want to be sure to view during the evening session. The Conference reception, held on Tuesday evening, appropriately complimented the Poster and Demo session with food, live music and a raffle drawing and created an excellent opportunity and informal environment for attendees to leisurely view the posters and demonstrations, make new friends and vote for the best poster of the conference. Four awards were given out during the evening including two new awards presented by the University of Arizona: the Best International Paper Award and Best Poster Award.

The Vannevar Bush Award for the Best Conference Paper was won by Mor Naaman, Yee Jiun Song, Andreas Paepcke, and Hector Garcia-Molina for their paper "Automatic organization for digital photographs with geographic coordinates". The IEEE-CS Technical Committee on Digital Libraries (TCDL) Best Student Paper Award (also a new award this year) went to Marcos Andre Goncalves, Edward A. Fox, Aaron Krowne, Pavel Caiado, Alberto H.F. Laender, Altigran S. da Silva, and Berthier Ribeiro-Neto for their paper "Automatically structured and translated queries". The Best International Paper Award (which has as a requirement that the first author must be from outside of the United States) was presented to Yi-Chun Chu, David Bainbridge, Matt Jones, and Ian H. Witten for their work on "Realistic books: A bizarre homage to an obsolete medium". Finally, the new Best Poster Award was presented to X. Liu, J. Bollen, M.L. Nelson, H.Van de Sompel J. Hussell, R. Luce, and L. Marks for their poster, "Toolkits for visualizing co-authorship graph". It was their poster that garnered the most votes from the large number of participants who stayed for the entire Conference reception. Three of these lucky participants won prizes in the raffle drawing. The second and third prizes were two large Karchinas dolls, and the top prize was an Apple super-slim iPod™.

The JCDL workshops commenced after the closing of the regular Conference sessions. The Second Symposium on Intelligence and Security Informatics (ISI-2004) was collocated with JCDL 2004 as the first workshop. It was particularly well attended with 160 participants from academia, law enforcement, intelligence, and the information technology industries. The workshop on "Global Reach and Impact on Digital Libraries" explored means to facilitate international co-operation and collaboration among the participants from countries across the US, Europe and Asia. The last workshop—"How Can Reusable Design Guidelines Improve the Usefulness of Educational Digital Libraries and Collections?"—focused on finding the ways and means to employ reusable techniques to improve education through digital library support.

The Conference banquet was held at the Old Tucson Studios, located on 180 acres of the cactus-inhabited, rugged landscape of the Sonora Desert. Participants gallantly donned cowboy hats and bandanas for the evening and wandered the authentic-looking Old West 1880's town that serves as a film studio where movies such as "Three Amigos!" and "Young Guns II" and the television series "Little House on the Prairie" and "High Chaparral" were filmed. An evening of good food, country western music and convivial company were enjoyed by all, and an impressive number of attendees spiritedly learned and showed off their line-dancing skills. The casual atmosphere also provided a good opportunity for attendees to network with each other and discuss possible future research collaboration.

The Conference logistics were particularly well managed and due credit must go to Cathy Larson and Jeanette McCray, the Local Arrangement Co-Chairs, and Byron Marshall, the Student Volunteer Coordinator. Words of thanks and appreciation are also in order for the tireless students and other helpers who did a magnificent job in organizing email access and session presentations, ushering and printing on-the-spot photographs for participants to take home.

Next year's conference, JCDL 2005, will be hosted by the Digital Library for Earth Systems Education (DLESE), National Science Digital Library (NSDL), and the Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado at Boulder. JCDL 2005 will be held June 7 - 10, in Denver, Colorado, with the theme "Digital Libraries: Cyberstructure for Research and Education". It aims to highlight the powerful role of digital libraries as cyberstructures: encapsulating convergence of computation, information management, networking and intelligence sensing to transform the conduct of research and education. (For more information, visit the JCDL 2005 website at <>).


[1] Borgman, C. L., and Hessel, H. "Report on the First Joint Conference on Digital Libraries", D-Lib Magazine 7(10), 2001. Available at <>.

[2] Rasmussen, E. M. "Report on the Second Joint Conference on Digital Libraries", D-Lib Magazine 8(9), 2002. Available at <>.

[3] Nelson, M. Report on the Third Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, D-Lib Magazine 9(7/8), 2003. Available at <>.

[4] The White House. "The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace", February 2003. Available at <>.


Copyright © 2004 Schubert Foo

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