ELAG 2007: 31st Library System Seminar

European Library Automation Group (ELAG)

Proceedings of the 31st Library System Seminar: ELAG 2007: Library 2.0

University of Barcelona, 9-11 May 2007
Edited by Paula Goossens



E-learning and its effects on libraries: Discussion paper for ELAG workshop
  Author: Lucy Tedd (University of Wales, Aberystwyth)


The proliferation of e-learning was identified as one of the major trends in the research and learning landscape in OCLC's Environmental Scan (De Rosa et al., 2004) which aimed to "identify and describe issues and trends that are impacting OCLC, libraries, museums, archives and other allied organisations worldwide". The parallel growth of course management systems (known elsewhere as Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs)) was also noted as these are needed to manage the various electronic 'objects' that comprise the e-learning course or module. The promotional material for a collection of essays from (mainly) UK library and information service (LIS) professionals on supporting e-learning (Melling, 2006) states that "increasingly library and information services are directly involved in the development of e-content and in delivering services to support e-learning". In some libraries/learning resource centres/information service departments there are now specific posts that are linked to e-learning and the development, population and use of VLEs within the institution. For instance, at the London School of Economics, the Centre for Learning Technology (CLT) is a joint initiative by the Teaching and Learning Development Office, IT Services and the Library and has its own Learning Technology Librarian. The current holder of that post has written a guide for librarians in which she states "... the information environment is changing enormously and learning solutions are becoming increasingly digital. Therefore new approaches and practical solutions for librarians are vital if the profession is to remain relevant and focused on the needs of the users" (Secker, 2005). Such developments have an impact on the skills needed and job specifications of those currently working in libraries.

The aim of this workshop will be to investigate:

Arrow WHAT exactly is e-learning? PDF Document

Arrow WHY has e-learning developed significance in recent years? PDF Document

Arrow HOW are library staff involved in e-learning? PDF Document

Arrow WHO, within libraries, are involved with e-learning? PDF Document

Arrow WHERE can we learn from other librarians' experiences? PDF Document


Participants will be expected to contribute to the discussion of these topics based on personal experiences in their own institutions.


Arrow De Rosa, Cathy, Lorcan Dempsey and Alane Wilson (2004), The 2003 OCLC Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition. A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. Available at: http://www.oclc.org/info/escan/default.htm
Arrow Melling, Maxine (ed.) (2005), Supporting E-learning: a Guide for Library and Information Managers. London: Facet Publishing.
Arrow Secker, Jane (2004), Electronic Resources in the Virtual Learning Environment: a Guide for Librarians. Oxford: Chandos.


A prototype of a Digital Library Management System

  Authors: Heiko Schuldt (University of Basel, Switzerland) and Vittore Casarosa (ISTI-CNR, Pisa, Italy)


In parallel with the efforts for defining a Reference Model for Digital Libraries, DELOS, the Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries, has started a global integration effort for the implementation of a prototype of a Digital Library Management System, which can show combined text and audio-visual search functionality, personalized browsing using new information visualization and relevance feedback tools, annotation and processing of retrieved information, integration and processing of sensor data stream. From a systems engineering point of view, the DELOS DLMS allows simple configuration and adaptation, while being reliable and scalable. It can be considered as a first step towards the implementation of a system embodying the ideas and principles being defined by the DELOS Reference Model.

The prototype is being built by integrating digital library functionality provided by the DELOS partners into the OSIRIR/ISIS platform, i.e., a middleware originally developed at ETH, and presently being extended at the University of Basel. The OSIRIS middleware (Open Service Infrastructure for Reliable and Integrated process Support) supports programming-in-the-large; i.e., the combination of arbitrary application services into so-called processes. This is realized by a set of generic (application-independent) services that include the registration of services and processes, interfaces for application development, an engine for decentralized execution of processes, and services for load balancing. In addition, it features reliable execution by applying advanced database concepts at the level of processes for failure handling and concurrency control.

ISIS (Interactive SImilarity Search) is a set of Digital Library services that have been developed on the basis of the OSIRIS middleware. ISIS includes a sophisticated index structure (VA-file) for similarity searching, which is particularly well suited for high-dimensional vector spaces. Furthermore, in terms of Digital Library functions, ISIS features support for content-based audiovisual searching and rudimentary textual searching. It also provides basic support for relevance feedback and visualization.

The services that have been integrated or are being integrated into the DELOS DLMS are the following.

Arrow Interactive SOM-Based Retrieval (use of the Self Organizing Maps to help users in browsing and retrieving);
Arrow 3D Content Based Retrieval (retrieval of 3D objects based on similarity);
Arrow Audio Retrieval (retrieval of music based on similarity);
Arrow Advanced user interfaces (the Daffodil system and the MedioVis system; visualization of structured meta data with the DARE system);
Arrow Active Paper (interaction with the digital library through a digital pen and special paper);
Arrow Annotation Service (annotation of digital objects and search for annotations);
Arrow Natural Language and Speech interface;
Arrow Semantic Video (semantic storage and retrieval of video content);
Arrow Video Annotation;
Arrow Video Retrieval by content;
Arrow Indexing Term Extraction (sophisticated term extraction from multi lingual text documents);
Arrow XML Query (improved search functionality for XML content);
Arrow Peer to Peer Search Engine (retrieval of text and images from a P2P distributed environment);
Arrow Alternative user interface (for the naïve user).

For testing purposes, the DELOS DLMS includes a number of image and video collections, assembled from various sources. The main ones are the following.
Arrow ISIS collection, about 54'000 images with mixed contents (cars, space missions, paintings, drawings, commercial photo stocks);
Arrow ETH World collection, about 625'000 images and text files from the websites of ETH;
Arrow Medical images collection, about 50'000 images with medical contents (radiology, nuclear medicine, pathology);
Arrow Art gallery, about 16'000 images from the Web Gallery of Art;
Arrow 3D collection, about 1'000 3D models of different objects;
Arrow Audio collection, about 1'000 audio files (speech and music);
Arrow Video collection, about 1'200 video sequences, mostly with contents related to sports.

The main purpose of this workshop is to stimulate discussion on the overall functionality and architecture of the "ideal" Digital Library Management System. The outcome of the workshop will be useful input for planning further development of the prototype and, of equal importance; it will provide valuable feedback for the Reference Model and the Reference Architecture.

In each of the first three "sessions" of the workshop it is planned to briefly introduce and demonstrate the topics to be discussed, starting with the architecture and the functionality provided by the supporting middleware (the OSIRIS system) and continuing with the tools and services presently available, in order to start a discussion on the relevance, the advantages and the disadvantages of each component. The final session will try to draw some conclusions about the architecture and functionality of the system, providing a prioritised list of issues and recommendations.





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