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European Association for Health Information and Libraries
Association Européenne pour I'Information et les Bibliothèques de Santé


Conference Report: THE DIGITAL LIBRARY

Conference Report:


Organised by AIB-CNUR, AIB Sezione Regione Emilia-Romagna, The British Council, The British Library, GIDIF-RBM, and Sopraintendenza per beni librari e documentari Regione Emilia-Romagna, an important conference was held in Bologna to discuss the Digital Library : Challenges and Solutions for the New Millennium. The conference brought together experts from Italy, the UK and other countries to consider the role which librarians and documentalists should play during the digital revolution which is now affecting all walks of life.

Librarians and documentalists are already in the forefront of change. The 250 conference delegates (among which were approx. 40 from medical libraries) heard descriptions of digital developments in libraries in Italy, UK and other countries, showing how the rapid development of the internet was allowing library users to gain better access to information and library resources both in their own and in other libraries, nationally and internationally.

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Forum discussion during the conference in Bologna

The conference ventured over the whole information chain, from developments in electronic publishing, through the description and cataloguing of electronic publications and internet resources, and on to the provision of access through electronic document delivery.

The digital revolution has already made possible great improvements in library services, and librarians and documentalists have also played a vital role in improving information management in the broadest sense in their institutions and their sectors of activity. The conference recognised and celebrated the achievement of librarians and documentalists in Italy and in other countries, but also addressed the challenges and difficulties which they face: copyright, standards, and obstacles to collaboration.

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One of the speakers at the Bologna conference

On the copyright front, the digital revolution has brought new tensions between authors, publishers and libraries, and the conference discussed how libraries could most effectively give improved access to digital publications without damaging the intellectual property rights of authors and publishers. Standards are a vital prerequisite for a successful international digital library, but they are proving hard to develop, and are being constantly overtaken by new developments - many librarians and documentalists are active in the development of standards, but all must become more aware of them.

The greatest challenge of all is to remove the obstacles for collaboration. Librarians and documentalists at the conference clearly demonstrated their commitment to collaboration, but at the same time all agreed that still more was required. Only by working effectively together will they be able to maintain their positive and essential contribution to ensuring that the digital library brings benefits to education, research, science, industry and society as a whole.

The first day of the Conference was introduced by Brian Lang from the British Library and Lorenza Davoli, Assesore alla Cultura, Regione Emilia-Romagna and started with "Copyright for electronic publications" including the following presentations:

Un nuovo diritto d'autore per le biblioteche digitali? - Marco Marandola

Looking both ways; the library as an intermediary in an electronic age. - Graham Cornish

JISC Publishers' Association work on developing guidelines for copyright issues in the electronic environment. - Charles Oppenheim

Copyright or contract: publishing rights in the electronic future. - John Cox

The second session of the day was chaired by Silvio Henin, Roche Milano and was about "Electronic Publishing", including the following presentations:

Digital Libraries. - Claudio di Benedetti;

Gli scienziati per gli scienziati: JHEP ovvero il rinnovamento della communicazione scientifica. - Marina Candusso, SSISSA, Trieste;

Marketing during the transition from print to electronic. - Desmond Reaney, Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol;

After tea some practical case studies were presented:

The new NHS - Developing the new National Electronic Library for Health (NeLH) - Veronica Fraser, Department of Health, UK;

CILEA digital Library: un servizio di biblioteca in linea per l'universita e la ricerca. - Fabio Valenziano, Milano;

CIBIT project, Biblioteca Telematica Italiana. - Mirko Tavoni, University of Pisa.

The second day about "Standards and Protocols" was introduced by Rosaria Campioni, Sopreintendente Beni Libri, Regione Emilia-Romagna, Dick Alford from de British Council in Italy, Grabriele Mazzitelli, Coordinatore CNUR-AIB and Alfonsa Martelli, GIDIF,RBM with the following presentations:

Improved access for end users through the use of standards. - Andrew Braid , British Library;

Metadata e metatag: l'indicizzatore a meta strada fra l'autore e il lettore. - Riccardo Ridi, AIB-WEB;

Uno standard per il deposito legale delle pubblicazioni online. - Giovanni Bergamin, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Firenze.

After the coffee break there were reports on the following projects:

La cooperazione tra sistemi bibliotecari iniversitari in Italia (Cooperation bewteen university libraries in Italy). - Valentina Comba, Torino University;

SBBL: biblioteca virtuale, servizio reale (The virtual library). - Enrica Veronesi, Brecia University;

The CASA Project. - Peter Burnhill, University of Edinburgh

The last subject to be discussed at the conference dealt with "Electronic Document Delivery", the session was chaired by David Bradbury from the British Library:

Document delivery come alternativa all'abbonamento. - Anna Maria Tammaro;

The digital future: realities and fantasy; a view from marketing. - Mike McGrath, British Library;

Document delivery elettronico: nuovi strumenti e opportunita. - Antonio Scolari, University of Genova;

Electronic document delivery: the corporate competitive edge. - Arlene G Smith, Smith-Kline Beecham, USA.

The president of the AIB, Igino Poggiali presented a concluding summary of the conference.

The conference was very much appreciated for the interesting presentations, as well as for the extremely successful organization with outstanding work of Laura Cavazza from the local organizing committee.

Abstracts of all papers are available on the web at http://www.aib.it.

The full papers will be published by IFLA and be available for purchase in January 2000.

Wendy Semczuk & María Francisca Ribes Cot

Back to ToC EAHIL Newsletter Nr. 48 Aug 1999


La bibliothèque digitale: Défis et solutions pour le nouveau millénaire Bologne 17-18 Juin 1999


Une importante conférence sur la bibliothèque digitale a eu lieu à Bologne. La conférence réunissait des experts dans le domaine, venant d'Italie et d'autres pays. Le rôle que doivent jouer les bibliothécaires tout au long de la révolution digitale qui affecte tous les chemins de la vie aujourd'hui fut discuté.

Les développements digitaux dans divers pays furent présentés soulignant la facilité d'accès à l'information pour tous les utilisateurs grâce au développement d'Internet.

Pendant la conférence tous les aspects de la chaîne électronique de l'information furent passés en revue. Une attention spéciale fut consacrée à la question du copyright qui crée certaines tensions parmi les auteurs, les maisons d'édition et les bibliothèques.

Il est évident que des standards d'utilisation doivent être soigneusement définis pour assurer une bibliothèque digitale internationale, qui respectera les droits de la propriété intellectuelle.

La question de coopération fut également largement présentée. Il est évident que des efforts sont nécessaires dans ce domaine également pour assurer le maximum de bénéfices dans le domaine de l'éducation, de la recherche, de la science et de l'industrie.

Les résumés des présentations sont disponibles sur la Toile sous http://www.aib.it. Le texte complet des contributions sera publié par IFLA et disponible en janvier 2000.

Wendy Semczuk

Retour à ToC EAHIL Newsletter Nr. 48 Aug 1999


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