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Conference Report


D-Lib Magazine
October 2006

Volume 12 Number 10

ISSN 1082-9873

Digital Library Goes e-Science (DLSci06)

Workshop Held in Conjunction with ECDL 2006, September, 17-22, 2006. Alicante, Spain


Rachel Heery

Red Line


The Digital Library Goes e-Science (DLSci06) workshop considered integration of Digital Library practices and technology with e-Science to enrich the scientific process. e-Science has tended to focus on those scientific domains and tasks that create or use very large data sets, and require large amounts of computational power, i.e., the "traditional" Grid user community. Increasingly e-Science is seen as encompassing a far wider spectrum of scientific activity, 'now all science is e-science' remarked one workshop participant. The Digital Library community has the opportunity to contribute experience and technologies to the scientific process, not only in management of digital documents and content, but also in developing collaborative research environments, tools for semantic interoperability and preservation services.

Claudia Niederée, Fraunhofer IPSI, set the scene for the workshop by proposing an architecture blueprint emerging from current projects (EGEE and BRICKS) that will provide the basis for the creation of an e-Science infrastructure for the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft in the FRESCO project.

The keynote from Jane Hunter, University of Queensland, gave a fascinating review of developments within the DART project that illustrate what can be achieved. She reviewed a number of innovative demonstrators involving visualisation techniques, annotation services and collaborative groupware working with Grid services. The first case study demonstrated remote access to scientific instruments based on federated personal identity management and showed how remote analysis of crystals can incorporate an annotation tool. The Semantic WildNet demonstrator integrated species sighting with climate sensor and topographical data. Collaborative tools are being developed incorporating rich user interfaces, this was demonstrated by a multimedia collaborative tool used by swimming coaches to give advice sessions remotely.

The role of repositories in e-Science is significant. Matthias Razum, FIZ Karlsruhe, reviewed eSciDoc, a joint project with the Max Planck Society that will establish a collaborative authoring environment with the repository at the core of the architecture.

Jane Hunter then presented a paper on Provenance Explorer, a visualization tool developed within the DART project, designed to dynamically generate customized views of scientific data provenance. Using work of material scientists to optimize fuel cells as a case study, this paper showed how scientists can view the data, states and events associated with a scientific workflow.

Andreas Aschenbrenner, Goettingen State and University Library, outlined The DGrid programme, part of the German e-Science initiative, which aims to establish a generic infrastructure based on grid technologies for other e-Science projects to plug into. As part of this programme TextGrid, a recently funded project, aims to establish a generic platform with a set of key tools for scholarly text processing, extensible for integration of new tools and open for re-usability. The project reviews existing tools for adaptation, re-develops them where necessary or useful, and aims to include current research regarding information engineering and semantic technologies.

Leonardo Candela, CNR, presented the European Commission funded Diligent approach which supports 'virtual research organisations' to enable digital resources to be shared for the duration of a research collaboration. Research is more and more becoming a cooperative and multidisciplinary effort. Digital Libraries are created on-demand for resource sharing and combination of basic services.

Bhaskar Mehta, Fraunhofer IPSI, discussed design principles for creating a Digital Library using the Grid. There are significant challenges, for example data models used by Digital Libraries for contextual querying take into account document structure, associated metadata, access characteristics and annotations made by end-users. The file-based structure provided by the Grid is often inadequate to capture this information and richer constructs have to be used. Similar challenges also exist in how Grids deal with metadata and the complicated workflows typical of Digital Libraries.

The workshop ended with discussion of the converging interests of Information Technology specialists and scientists. There are evolving standards and protocols, metadata structures and data models (such as FRBR and OAIS) that need input from users including scientists. The workshop noted the importance of funding education in informatics across all scientific disciplines. Workshops that reach across disciplinary divides were seen as a welcome sign of progress, in particular the recent NSF Cyberinfrastructure multi-disciplinary workshops and the NSF Workshop on New Collaborative Relationships: the Role of Academic Libraries in the Digital Data Universe, September 2006 (see <>).

All DLSci06 papers are available in the workshop proceedings at <>.

Copyright © 2006 Rachel Heery

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