D-Lib Magazine
October 1998

ISSN 1082-9873

From the Editor

blue line

To all things there is a season

It is autumn in the East, which is my favorite time of the year. Possibly because it combines the promise of opportunity in the context of maturity. Or perhaps I am just fond of hot cider and warm sweaters, neither of which works in a Washington summer.

Fall is also a season of transitions. And here at D-Lib, we have a number to report. We have begun work on the creation of a test suite of testbed collections, with support from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), that will support research in digital libraries. The existence of this test suite goes to an important issue: testbeds that contain valuable content but must also support ongoing research. The existence of such well-managed collections poses an archival function but more importantly -- from the perspective of research -- goes to fundamentals of experiment design. That is, the testbed over which an experiment is run can be controlled, potentially eliminating the secular effect of the testbed on the outcome of the experiment. Moreover, re-use of the existing testbeds -- which means managing and updating them as the underlying technologies evolve -- frees scarce research dollars and hours from issues associated with testbed creation for use in the research itself. This is not to say that digital collection development is unimportant but rather that the costs of creating test collections should not be pointlessly multiplied for want of good management.

The DARPA effort will enable research on D-Lib Magazine to go forward. Several activities are proposed that examine introduction of new technologies in the context of a working production system. It is an important issue that resonates beyond the workflow associated with an on-line periodical.

I am leaving to pursue other opportunities. There will be a new editor, who is appropriate for the challenges that D-Lib faces and can take the magazine to the next level.

Sometimes a door is just a door. But sometimes it is a portal to something unimagined and wonderful. Thank you all -- readers, writers, critics, and fans -- for making D-Lib a portal. It's been great; it's been fun; and I wish you all the best.

God speed.

Amy Friedlander

Copyright (c) 1998 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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