D-Lib Magazine
July/August 2000

Volume 6 Number 7/8

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief

Digital Libraries 2000, Fifth ACM Conference on Digital Libraries

Contributed by:
Fernando Adrian Das Neves, Edward A. Fox
Robert France, Marcos Gonçalves, and Hussein Suleman
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia, USA
<[email protected]>

Report on Digital Libraries 2000, Fifth ACM Conference on Digital Libraries
June 2-7, San Antonio, Texas

Digital Libraries as a field has experienced rapid growth in recent years, and the ACM Digital Libraries conference is one of the premiere forums where research and implementation communities converge to confer on common and emerging trends in platform development, design and evaluation, content digitization, storage, and retrieval. Twenty-three full papers and 21 short papers were presented at this year�s conference; 19 had authors representing institutions outside USA. These were on a variety of topics, supplemented by posters and demonstrations. Many attendees also participated in tutorial sessions and workshops on emerging areas such as XML, Interoperability Standards, E-Books, and Open Source Digital Library Software. International participation broadened the discussion; several papers focused on issues related to languages other than English or to cultural issues pertinent to specific countries and regions. ACM DL2000 was co-located with ACM Hypertext 2000, allowing for researchers in these two related fields to discuss their different points of view on common problems.

This short article presents an overview of the conference as seen by the group from Virginia Tech that attended the conference, and therefore is necessarily incomplete; all interested readers are encouraged to consult the proceedings of this conference when they become available online in the ACM Digital Library <http://www.acm.org/dl/>.

The major themes of the conference can be grouped into two broad categories: infrastructure, and impact on users and society. The two keynote speakers, Susan Leigh Star and Rick Prelinger, highlighted these themes.

Susan Leigh Star�s talk focused on infrastructure in a way that encompassed both operative and content infrastructure, reflecting the two main, and sometimes conflicting, tendencies in this field: what comes first -- structure to support content, or content to push the demand for structure? A variety of papers reflected on related issues, including cost-effective capture of three-dimensional library objects, development of additional services (like citation linking) into existing digital libraries, full-scale and free implementations of DL platforms (like the comprehensive Greenstone Project <http://www.nzdl.org/> from the University of Waikato, New Zealand), and different approaches to interoperability solutions. A complete workshop was dedicated to furthering the work of the Open Archives Initiative <http://www.openarchives.org/> in creating common standards for interoperability of digital libraries.

Rick Prelinger focused his multimedia presentation on the impact of DLs on particular users and society in general. Using the telephone as a metaphor of change, he provided concrete examples of how the telephone -- as a direct, simple way of communication and exchange of information among people -- affected the lives of people in the USA in ways we now take for granted. Many other papers included insights into the human factors aspect of DLs. Prominent among those was one entitled "Effects of Annotations on Student Writers" by Joanna Wolfe from University of Texas at Austin, who won this year�s Vannevar Bush award for best paper. This field was explored in many directions by various papers, including novel user interfaces to access non-traditional library material, user evaluation of non-conventional interfaces to access library content, and new visualizations to understand and access the content of DLs.

The demonstration sessions provided attendees a sampling of existing and on-going projects. Among those that attracted lots of interest was Cervantes Virtual <http://www.cervantesvirtual.com/>, a large-scale digital library encompassing the classic works in Spanish and Latin American literature, in many cases including audio renditions of works by the original authors. "A Digital Library from Newspaper Archives" <> served as a fascinating example of using digital technology to access artifacts from one of the oldest, currently existing Greek publishing houses. A team from Middlesex University (UK) presented a detailed and carefully crafted web-based questionnaire which can be used to gather user input and evaluate the usability of publicly-accessible digital libraries (see <http://www.cs.mdx.ac.uk/dl/>).

All in all, DL2000 was an excellent opportunity to see how the digital library field is maturing and what the future challenges are. We would like to encourage all interested parties to attend the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL) <http://www.jcdl.org/>, to be held next year in Roanoke, Virginia, USA. This conference promises to raise the bar even higher by merging the IEEE and ACM digital library conference series into a single gathering.


Institute for Legal and Ethical Issues in the New Information Era: Challenges for Libraries, Museums and Archives

Contributed by:
Tomas A. Lipinski, J.D., L.L.M., Ph.D.
Co-Director and Assistant Professor, Center for Information Policy Research
School of Library and Information Science
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
<[email protected]>

The Institute for Legal and Ethical Issues in the New Information Era: Challenges for Libraries, Museums and Archives (ILEI) was held from May 20 through May 26, 2000. ILEI was sponsored by Center for Information Policy Research and the School of Library and Information Science University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and funded by a National Leadership Grant: Institute of Museum & Library Services.

Over fifty professionals and graduates students (anthropology/museum studies and library and information science) attended the intensive week long Institute on legal and ethical issues. Topics included traditional areas such as copyright, privacy, intellectual freedom, gifting but also included new issues involving the applications of existing laws like the American with Disabilities Act and trademark to the provision of online services. The presentations included a mix of legal, ethical and practical applications, such as web based resources of legal and ethical information and policy drafting. Eventually the papers presented will be published in book form. Although this author could not attend all sessions, a summary of several of the sessions that were attended may be found at http://www.dlib.org/dlib/july00/07lipinski.html.

More information on ILEI may be found at the ILEI web site: <http://www.slis.uwm.edu/cipr/conferences.htm>. A full listing of the topics and speakers is included below. Those marked with an asterick (*) are discussed in the attached summary.

  • *Deeds of Gift: Caressing the Hand that Feeds by Robert J. Vanni;
  • The Appraiser and the Appraisal: What Makes a Book Valuable? by Andrew Mclean;
  • The Rights of Privacy and Publicity in Personal Information and Persona Contained in Library, Museum and Archive Collections, Materials, Exhibits and Displays by Tomas A. Lipinski;
  • Censorship and Controversial Materials by Judith Krug;
  • Legal and Ethical Foundations of Museum Collecting Policies by Marie C. Malaro;
  • Collections Management: Hypothetical Cases for Discussion, Acquisitions, Deaccessions, and Loans by Ildiko P. DeAngelis;
  • *Legal Issues Involved in the Privacy Rights of Patrons in Public Libraries and Archives by Tomas A. Lipinski;
  • *The Legal Responsibility to Offer Accessible Electronic Information to Patrons with Disabilities by Mary Minow;
  • Seven Levels of Safety; Protecting People in Public Buildings by Bruce A. Shuman;
  • The Bout of the Century? Information Ethics vs. E-Commerce by Marsha Woodbury;
  • Information Ethics: Its Demarcation and Application by Johannes J. Britz;
  • Organizing Ethics in Archives, Museums, and Libraries: Challenges and Strategies for Meeting Ethical Responsibilities by Elizabeth A. Buchanan;
  • Copyright for Libraries, Museums and Archives: The Basics and Beyond by Shelly Warwick;
  • *Copyright Protection and Technological Reform of Library Services: Digital Change, Practical Applications, And Congressional Actions by Kenneth D. Crews and Dwayne K. Buttler;
  • *Legal Issues Involved in the Design, Construction and Use of Web Sites in Libraries, Museums and Archives: Lessons from the Web Site Linking, Trespass and Other Controversies by Tomas A. Lipinski;
  • *Legal-Technological Regulation of Information Access by David A. Rice;
  • Getting Started-Legal and Ethical Resources by Jane Colwin;
  • *Designing, Drafting and Implementing New Polices by Claire Weber; and
  • Agents of Change: Planning, Communication and Implementation Strategies by Thomas D. Walker.


Report from the NKOS Workshop, Held in San Antonio, Texas, on June 7, 2000

Contributed by:
Linda Hill
Research Specialist
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California, USA
<[email protected]>

The Networked Knowledge Organization System/Services (NKOS) group held a workshop at the ACM Digital Library 2000 (DL'00) conference in San Antonio, Texas, on June 7, 2000. This was the third in a series of workshops that started with one organized by Joseph Busch at the ACM Digital Library conference in 1997.

The goal of the NKOS activity is to develop a collaborative group of researchers and developers who are working to create interactive Knowledge Organization Systems (KOS) accessible over the Web. Thus far, the group includes members who are thesaurus and ontology developers, digital library and information infrastructure developers, information scientists, and library professionals. Group members spend a portion of each workshop updating one another about current relevant projects. In addition, the group hosts invited presentations. Between meetings, discussions are continued through the NKOS listserv, hosted by the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI). At the NKOS website (see <http://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/~lhill/nkos/index.html>) one will find notes and presentations from the NKOS workshops as well as a link to the NKOS listserv archive, which is hosted by OCLC. In addition, links to all PowerPoint presentation slides from the San Antonio NKOS workshop are available on the website.

At the San Antonio NKOS Workshop, Gail Hodge (Information International Associates) provided background information on NKOS and outlined accomplishments to date. She reported on the two main NKOS activities: the development of protocols for searching and retrieving from distributed knowledge organization sources, and creation of a metadata content standard for KOS. Ms. Hodge also reported on two additional NKOS sub-activities: design of an NKOS registry system, and development of a taxonomy for knowledge organization resources.

Traugott Koch (Lund University & Library of Denmark) provided an update on European NKOS-related activities, including preparations for the NKOS workshop that will be held as part of the European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries (ECDL) in Lisbon, Portugal, September 17-21, 2000.

Also included at the San Antonio workshop were two presentations on ontological projects currently active in the UK. Sean Bechhofer (University of Manchester) described the development of OIL (Ontology Inference Layer) for describing and exchanging ontologies and providing a reasoning mechanism for the web. (See <http://www.ontoknowledge.com/oil>). Simon Buckingham Shum (The Open University) described the design rationale and implementation of ScholOnto (for Scholarly Ontologies), an ontology-based, digital library Web server to support scholarly interpretation and discourse. The goal for the ScholOnto project is to enable the submission of structured summaries of the contributions that scholars claim a particular document makes and to support interactive discussion of these claims. (See <http://kmi.open.ac.uk/projects/scholonto>.)

Ben Domenico (University Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado) described an application area for NKOS services: the development of the Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) which must be based on community supported knowledge organization systems, including controlled vocabularies, alphanumeric classification systems, thesauri, and gazetteers. (See <http://www.dlese.org>.)

Linda Hill (University of California, Santa Barbara) presented highlights from the NSF-funded Digital Gazetteer Information Exchange (DGIE) Workshop held in October 1999 at the Smithsonian Institution. The DGIE Workshop discussion concerned research and development needs and opportunities of indirect geographic referencing using digital gazetteers. The DGIE effort includes establishing the means by which gazetteer data can be developed and shared according to a common structure, and the development of a common request and response convention - a gazetteer protocol - for accessing distributed gazetteer services. (See <http://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/gazetteer>.)


Dublin Core Releases Recommended Qualifiers

Contributed by:
Dublin Core Metadata Initiative
Stuart Weibel and Eric Miller, Directors
Dublin, Ohio, USA
<[email protected]>

Building the De Facto Metadata Standard and Improving Access to the World's Information


(This is an excerpt from a July 11, 2000 Press Release which may be seen in its entirety at <http://www.zotgroup.com/development/dcmi/dcqualifiers.html>.)

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI), an organization leading the development of international standards to improve electronic resource management and information discovery, today announced the formal recommendation of the Dublin Core (DC) Qualifiers. The addition of the DC Qualifiers enhances the semantic precision of the existing DC Metadata Element Set.

"Think of Legos. The close tolerances of these simple toys ensure all the different Lego themes, built at different times, can work together smoothly. Dublin Core is the basic Lego block for promoting discovery of resources on the Web: a simple and interoperable foundation upon which many information solutions can be built. The introduction of Dublin Core Qualifiers is like adding color and themes to the Legos - it helps enrich the description of information resources on the Internet" said Stuart Weibel, DCMI Director.

The DC Qualifiers build upon the DC Metadata Element Set, which provides 15 categories to describe resources on the Web - a catalog card with new dimensions. Known as the Dublin Core, the metadata model has become the de facto standard for description of information on the Internet.

For the past year, working groups of the Dublin Core developed these newly agreed upon refinements to the catalog card to give better access to information we seek. In essence, the new recommendations for Dublin Core Qualifiers increase the effectiveness of metadata by giving it finer granularity. For example, a publication's date, which would be the Dublin Core Metadata Element, may be further detailed as a particular type of date by using a Dublin Core Qualifier such as date last modified, date created, or date issued.

Dublin Core's Usage Committee today launches the next step toward a cohesive metadata standard. The DC Qualifiers improve interpretation of metadata values and can be easily recorded or transferred into HTML, XML, RDF or relational databases. The evolution of DC Qualifiers draws from the input of many individuals across a broad array of disciplines.

Users include museum informatics specialists, archivists, digital library researchers, libraries, and government information providers and a variety of content providers. Their efforts have led standards organizations, such as NISO (National Information Standards Organization) in the U.S. and CEN in Europe (European Committee for Standardization) to view the DC Metadata Element Set as a benchmark candidate for simple resource description on the Internet. More recently, new sectors, such as education and industry, have been attracted to Dublin Core's simplicity, multilingual scope, consensus philosophy and widespread adoption.

More information about the new recommendation can be found at: <http://purl.org/dc/documents/dcmes-qualifiers>.

The metadata for this press release can viewed at: <http://purl.org/dc/pressreleases/qualifiers20000711.htm.rdf>.


SFX Beta Testing Underway (Ex Libris Press Release)

Contributed by:
Oren Beit Arie
Vice President of Research and Development
Ex Libris (USA) Inc.
Chicago, Illinois, USA
<[email protected]>

SFX Beta Testing Underway (Press Release)
June 12, 2000 - Boston, Mass.

SFX, the context-sensitive reference linking solution, originating in research work by Dr. Herbert Van de Sompel at Ghent University in Belgium, and now owned by Ex Libris, enters a new phase as beta testing gets underway in some key US libraries.

    SFX Beta Test sites include:
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Harvard University Library
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

These institutions are making their e-collections interoperable with the SFX solution and in the process of so doing are involving some major information industry vendors from whom they license data. Many of these information providers have already enabled their resources to work with SFX through implementation of the OpenURL, a generic, public syntax to allow for metadata transportation and interoperability between information resources and service components. The OpenURL specification can be found at <http://www.sfxit.com/OpenURL>.

David Lewis, Dean of the IUPUI University Library, an SFX beta test site, believes that "SFX should solve two of the most vexing problems of web-based resources. Firstly, in linking the resources supplied by different providers in a way that allows librarians to embed their expertise into the system, users should be able to navigate the literature much more efficiently and productively. Secondly, SFX can provide uniform and vendor independent measures of use, thus providing a critical tool in the management of web resources." Eric Van de Velde, Director of Library Information Technology at Caltech, has a similar perspective. "If information resources and services are the bricks of the digital library, SFX is the mortar that holds the bricks together. Currently, users are expected to be aware of and to keep track of all relevant resources available to them. At best, they waste time. At worst, they miss out on crucial information. With SFX, librarians have the power to give the digital library a customized architecture, within which users are guided intuitively towards the appropriate resources."

For further details on SFX visit <http://www.sfxit.com>.


(A correction was made to the first item on this page, "Report on Digital Libraries 2000, Fifth ACM Conference on Digital Libraries" to encourage readers to consult the Proceedings of the conference when they become available online in the ACM Digital Library, rather than to imply that the Proceedings are available as of this date, July 19, 2000.)

Copyright (c) 2000 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/july2000-inbrief