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									Report of the conference

The National Central Library of Italy invited ELAG to organise its 26th Library Systems
Seminar in Roma. We gathered from 17 to 19 April 2002 in the capital of Italy. The
theme of the meeting: “Semantic WEB and Libraries”, together with the nice location
attracted 136 members from 26 different European countries. The high number of
participants was partly due to the great interest of many Italian colleagues. Also some
newcomers from other countries were present.
The seminar was successful in varying aspects. The programme attracted for its actuality
in the field of the Semantic WEB, for the diversity of the Italian projects presented and
for the special interest of other topics covered. Thanks to the splendid local organisation
in the new premises of the National Central Library, the conference went very smoothly.
The general strike, that hit the whole country the day before the meeting started, nearly
not disturbed the event. The social gatherings around the meeting forged new
professional and private contacts and the ELAG activities widened the minds of the
participants with new challenging ideas.

As usual the seminar consisted of progress reports from the participating organisations,
classical presentations and workshops. During the progress reports session the audience
discussed many important questions. The presentations and the workshop sessions
evolved as summarised hereafter.

The local papers
Most of the local papers were covered the first day. This was due to the fact that some of
speakers from abroad suffered from the strike and did not arrive in time.
The Italian Digital library project stole the show:
Francesca Niutta from our hosting organisation, the National Central Library, broke the
lance with the paper “The Italian Digital Library (BDI): a survey. She presented the goals
and guidelines for the Italian Digital Library and focused on its first project, concerning
manuscripts and rare books. Truly she stressed the importance of supplying the
knowledge of the “cultural heritage” to the universal public.
“The feasibility study on the BDI” was highlighted by Gabriële Lunati. As expected he
disclosed among others the objectives, the existing situation, a coordination study and a
model for the BDI, which is not a purely technical one.
Giovanni Bergamin plans to solve a key problem: the fragmentation of the digital
resources, the most precious part of the BDI. He discussed the pros and cons of different
approaches in the paper: “Sharing Italian digital resources: in search of a model”. The
choice between a central physical catalogue, a virtual catalogue or a central index has not
been made yet.
Cristina Magliano reported on the “Italian Working Group on metadata: standard and
new initiatives in cultural affairs”. This very interesting, but also very extensive paper
gives an overview of the metadata issue. The main objectives are to define a logical
common model for the interoperability and the definition of an ontology or metathesaurus
for the digital library.
Next to the Digital Library project two other activities within ICCU were presented.
First came the paper from Jan Ashton “The ONE-2 Project (BL & ICCU experience). By
absence of Jan, Poul Henrik Jørgensen, who was heavily involved in the project,
volunteered to cover the results of a “Bibliographic User Trial”, with emphasis upon
Z39.50 and copy cataloguing. The USEMARCON software was used for the data
conversion while working with UKMARC, MARC 21 and UNIMARC. The cataloguing
client relies on XML for record exchange purposes. The experience turned out to be
positive, as well from the contents side, as from the technical realisation side.
The last ICCU paper was brought by Gabriella Contardi, who talked on the “New
architecture of SBN” A complete overview of the evolution of SBN (The Italian National
Library service) was given. Much attention was payed to the functional and technical
objectives. A new architecture and a planning for its realisation were presented.

Theme papers
The speakers approached the subject “Semantic WEB and Libraries” from different
Poul Henrik Jørgensen give a “double” paper. In the first part he situated and introduced
the RDF concept, giving among others a RDF Dublin Core example. The second part he
continued with the possibilities of RDF for FRBR applications. Among others he
presented an FRBR RDF Schema. One of his conclusions was that RDF is a convenient
method to present IFLA FRBR information. He illustrated this while giving the principles
of FRBR editing for the work-, the expression- and the manifestation levels. As usual
Poul Henrik was very clear and to the point.
A completely different aspect of the Semantic WEB was prepared by Odile Artur,
Nicholas Crofts and Patrick Le Boeuf. The paper was presented, by the last two
colleagues, in a very original way. An overview of the subject and the aims of an
ontology came first. How can it be used? And how can it be constructed? Also the
important role ontologies can play in our profession (libraries, museums and archives)
was highlighted. The authors were very successful in presenting a complex subject by
building an ontology around the simple subject of a cup of tea. Not only the cup of tea
with the necessary accessories was physically present, but also the ppt presentation
turned out to be very stimulating. The whole thing was brought in a simple didactical

Other topics covered
Several other interesting subjects have been covered. They were of great interest, but I
will limit myself here to briefly mention them and refer you directly to the papers
First of all there were, next to the previously handled RDF-FRBR paper, 3 other FRBR
papers. One in relation to cataloguing rules: “FRBR and the revision of cataloguing
rules” by Isa de Pinedo and Alberto Petrucciani. In fact this paper is also a local paper.
The group of people working on this task went through a deep analysis of FRBR and
formulated some very interesting conclusions.
The two other FRBR papers reported on the results from two different projects working
on the detection and matching of the FRBR entities work, expression and manifestation
in existing “MARC” bibliographic files. Hans-Henrik Lund presented “DBC FRBR work

match activities” And Eeva Murtomaa reported on “Data mining Marc to find: FRBR”,
work which was realised in cooperation with Knut Hegna. Both projects proceeding with
a different approach have in common that the work was hard and the results not always
too stimulating.
To conclude still four other topics were covered:
“OCLCPICA in the European Information Landscape”, where Michel Wesseling among
others presented the ambitious EUCAT project;
“ – Integration of National and Local library services”. Leif Andresen reported
on the interesting service presented to all Danish citizens which consists in the possibility
to search and access with equal opportunities the libraries’ shared catalogue of holdings.
“Multilingual access to subjects, the MACS prototype”. This European project under the
patronage of CENL aims to provide multilingual subject access to library catalogues.
Geneviève Clavel brought us a state of the art of the prototype. In the next ELAG
meeting planned in Bern in 2003 this topic will get further attention.
The last paper scheduled, was a kind of side-slip. It reported on new technical
developments in Asia. Wong Tack Wai took the audience to a kind of magic world. He
reported on the amazing success and the very quick development of “Large Scale
Application of Radio Frequency Identification in public libraries in Singapore”.

So far the overview of the papers of this ELAG meeting, they were numerous this year.

The workshops
In spite of the abundance of papers enough time was left for the workshops. These were
organised on varying actual topics. As usual the participants attended with lots of
enthusiasm and ideas, so the results proved very satisfactory. The following topics were
1. “How to integrate Web-resources in a library catalogue?” / Liv Holm
2. “Portals: is there a role for libraries?” / Johan van Halm
3. “MARC and XML” / Mette Båstrup
4. “Personalising the User Interface” / Bo Öhrström
5. “Multimedia Archives” / Geneviève Clavel-Merrin and Petra Otten
6. “FRBR (continued)” / Patrick Leboeuf and Maja Zumer
For the results of the debates I refer directly to the reports.

All documents reviewed above are published in these conference proceedings and are
accessible on the WEB at:  
In order to come to a livelier “picture” of the course of the meeting, snapshots can be
admired in the rubric: Conference Picture Gallery.
Documents on previous ELAG Libraries Systems Seminars can be consulted at the
following sites: and

The next ELAG seminar is planned in Bern from 2 to 4 April 2003. The topic chosen is
related to the multilingual character of the host country Switzerland:
        “Cross language applications and the web”.
The preliminary programme has been fixed as follows:

Theme papers
   Semantic modelling

   Free text cross lingual access

   Renardus update

   Language independent metadata

   Web services

Local papers
   Swiss Union catalogue of Posters

   TEL: access to European national library collections


Other papers
   Interparty project

   FRBR activities at VTLS (with demo)

   Metadata harvesting

   Mobile user interfaces

   Branding and library identity

   Cross lingual applications


   Collection level metadata: needs and solutions

   Evaluation of electronic services

   Distributed access control

   The use of open resource software for semantic (library) web

Please consult the latest version of the program at:

The meeting went well.
It is my great pleasure to thank Livia Borghetti director of the National Central Library
and here staff for the invitation and for all the efforts making the meeting so successful. I
want to address some special thanks to Maria Gaia Gajo who was so helpful from the real
start of organisation at the Praha meeting in 2001, until now and until the end of all left
activities. The continuous availability, the helpful hands and the cheering up smiles from

our colleagues Simonetta Buttò, Giovanna Cordani, Patrizia Costabile, Alessandra Mariani,
Natalia Santucci and last but not least Maria Grazia Villani give us great support. Thank you all
for this.
Thanks also to most of the participants, who in one or another way (as speaker, or as workshop
moderator, etc., etc.) were involved in the well functioning of the seminar.
Fortunately there were also a number of generous sponsors, who made our life easier and
more interesting in different ways. I want to thank 3M Library Systems, Akros
Informatica, Finsiel and ifnet.

We had to leave Rome after three exciting days and now are looking forward to another
ELAG experience in Bern in 2003.

Koninklijke Bibliotheek Albert I
Brussels, 16 January 2003

Paula Goossens
President of ELAG


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