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Convergence in the Digital Age:

Challenges for Libraries, Museums and Archives
Proceedings of the Seminar held in Amsterdam, 13 - 14 August 1998

Table of Contents





Introduction to Session I
Archives, Libraries, Museums (ALM) and the Digital Challenge
ELISE II (Electronic Library Image Service for Europe - Phase II)
Project UNIVERSE: Large Scale Demonstrators for Global, Open Distributed Library Services
Library of Congress National Digital Library: a Unique Public/Private Partnership


Introduction to Session II
Some Fundamental Principals of the Knowledge and Information Organisation for the Purpose of Improving the Citizens' Access to the Digitized Heritage
Van Eyck: an Art Historical Information System for Museum Professionals in an Archival Context, Built Using Library Expertise
Danish Audio History / Cultural Network Denmark
Time Travels in Virtual Online Landscapes: Virtual Reality - A New Challenge in Dramaturgy?


Introduction to Session III
Memory and Digital Technology Convergence: an Archives Perspective on Long-term Access
NEDLIB: Towards a Networked European Deposit Library
The Information System of the Archivo General de Indias
The International VOC-Project


Introduction to Session IV
Technologies and Standards for Digital Collections
ONE and ONE-2 - European Network Projects: Results, Experiences and Plans
Metadata and the Memory Institutions
Rethinking Library Standards


Future Models for Co-operation Between Libraries and Publishers
New Services in Their Legal Context


The European Union's Fifth Framework Programme for Research and Technical Development
Digital Information in Africa: an R&D; Challenge



Libraries, museums and archives all deal increasingly with documents, publications and information in electronic form. This new environment requires them to take on digitisation, archiving, preservation, new user services and new economic models in a complex legal framework.

At the same time, during the last few years a growing convergence among these institutions have been observed. This convergence is mainly a consequence of the use of multimedia systems and networking technologies in these "memory institutions". Text, images, sound are digitally stored, processed and presented to the end-user via networks. This creates a situation that users can access archival records via library services or otherwise that the presentation of historical records can be linked up with digital images of objects in museums. The possibility of the creation of one-stop-shopping situations for end users of libraries and archives has consequences for the functioning of libraries, archives and even museums in society.

Aware of these trends, the European Commission in the framework of the Telematics for Libraries Programme, supported a seminar on Convergence in the Digital Age: Challenges for Libraries, Museums and Archives , organised by TNO-STB and that took place on 13 and 14 August 1999 in Amsterdam. The seminar was a satellite event of the 64th General Conference and Exhibition of the International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions (IFLA) that was held in Amsterdam on 16-21 August 1998. The seminar was a unique opportunity for libraries, museums or archives professionals to share their experiences of handling digital information and to discuss the common issues and challenges faced.

The seminar programme was organised around six main sessions:

  1. The organisation of knowledge in a digital environment
  2. The citizens' access to digital heritage
  3. The future of the digital present
  4. Converging technologies and standards for digital collections
  5. New services in their legal context
  6. Strategic issues in R&TD;

Well-known experts in the different areas presented these themes, that were then illustrated by presentations of ongoing projects, many of which are sponsored by the European Commission.

During the panel discussion at the end of the seminar, a lively debate took place among the seminar participants. The main conclusions from the debate were that all the involved organisations agreed on the importance of convergence under the new information technologies. This, however, was not an easy task and work had to be done in the area of organisational and technical issues.

This volume contains the seminar proceedings. The questions for reflection that were sent in advance to the panel participants have also been included at the end.



9:00 - 10:00 Registration and coffee
10:00 - 10:10 Opening and Welcome
Welcome `Convergence in the digital age; Challenges for Libraries, Museums and Archives", by Mr. J.A. Dekker, Chairman of the Board of TNO, The Netherlands
Session I The organisation of knowledge in a digital environment
10:15 - 10:25 Introduction by Mr. Christian Lupovici, Member of the IFLA Section on Information Technology and librarian of the University of Marne-la-Vallée
10:25 - 10:55 Archives, Libraries, Museums (ALM) and the Digital Challenge, by Mr. B. Rugaas, National Librarian of Norway
11:00 - 11:15 Elise II : Electronic Library Image Service for Europe - phase II, by Mrs. S. Goddard, Project Manager, De Montfort University, United Kingdom
11:20 - 11:35 UNIverse : Large Scale Demonstrators for Global, Open Distributed Library Services, by Mrs. A. Kelly, Assistant Director, An Chomhairle Leabharlanna, Ireland
11:40 - 11:55 Library of Congress National Digital Library: A Unique Public/Private Partnership, by Mrs. Laura E. Campbell, Director National Digital Library Program, Library of Congress
12:00 - 12:30 Questions and Answers
Session II The Citizens' access to the digital heritage
14:00 - 14:10 Introduction by Mrs. S. Tyacke, Public Record Office, United Kingdom
14:15 - 14:45 Some Fundamental Principles of the Knowledge and Information Organization for the Purpose of Improving the Citizen's Access to the Digitized Heritage, by Dr. S.C. Tatjana Aparac and Mrs. M. Willer, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Philosophy
14:45 - 15:00 Van Eyck : An art historical information system for museum professionals in an archival context, built using library expertise, by Mr. J. H.E. van der Starre, Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD), The Hague, The Netherlands
15:00 - 15:15 Danish Audio History / Cultural Network Denmark, by Mrs. E. Fønss-Jørgensen, State and University Library, Aarhus, Denmark
15:15 - 15:30 Time travels in virtual online landscapes, by Dr. I. Braun, Kulturbox GmbH Electronic Media, Berlin, Germany
15:30 - 16:00 Questions and Answers
Session III The future of the digital present
9:00 - 9:10 Introduction `The future of the Digital present', by Mrs. M. Sliwinska of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland
9:10 - 9:40 Memory and Digital Technology Convergence: an Archives Perspective on Long-Term Access, by Prof. C. Dollar, of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, University of British Columbia
9:45 - 10.00 NEDLIB : Towards a networked European Deposit Library, by Mr. J. Steenbakkers, Director Information Technology and Facility management, National Library, The Netherlands
10:05 - 10:20 The Information System of the Archivo General de Indias, by Mrs. E. Carolina de Santos Canalejo, Ministry of Education and Culture, Spain
10:25 - 10:40 The International VOC Project, by Mrs. D. Sy-A-Foek, National Commission for UNESCO, The Netherlands
10:45 - 11:00 Questions and Answers
Session IV Converging technologies and standards for digital collections
11:15 - 11:25 Introduction by Mr. B. Royan, Chair IFLA IT Section, United Kingdom
11:25 - 11:55 Technologies and standards for digital collections, by Mrs. C. Lupovici, Jouves Digitalisation des Informations, France
11:55 - 12:10 ONE and ONE-2 : European network projects : results, experiences and plans, by Mrs. L.A. Holm, Brodd Oslo College, Norway
12:10 - 12:25 Metadata and the memory institutions, by Mr. M. Dekkers, TechServ, Expert Services to DGXIII/E of the European Commission, Luxembourg
12:25 - 12:40 Rethinking Library Standards, by Mr. T. Kuny, IFLA's UDT Core programme / XIST Inc.
12:40 - 13:00 Questions and Answers
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch
Session V New services in their legal context
14:00 - 14:30 Future Models for Co-operation between Libraries and Publishers, by Prof. J. Bing
14:30 - 14:50 New services in their legal context, by Mrs E. Giavarra, Project Director ECUP+, The Netherlands
14:50 - 15.10 Questions and Answers
Session VI Strategic issues in R & TD, closing of the seminar
15:15 - 15:25 Introduction by Mr. J. van de Walle, TNO-STB, Netherlands
15:25 - 15:55 The European Union's Fifth Framework Programme for Research and Technical Development, by Mrs. A. Iljon of the European Commission, DGXIII/E
15:55 - 16:25 Panel discussion
16:25 - 16:55 Digital Information in Africa: an R&D; challenge, by Mrs. C. Allardice, Director of the South African Library, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa
16:55 - 17:05 Closing of the seminar by Mr. J. van de Walle, TNO-STB, Netherlands
17:05 - 18:30 Cocktails


Organising committee

Ms. Concha Fernández de la Puente
European Commission DGXIII/E-4
Prof. Dr. F.C.J. Ketelaar
Professor of Archival Sciences at the Universities
of Leyden and Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Dr. Christian Lupovici
Member of the IFLA Section on Information Technology
and librarian of the University of Marne-la-Vallée
Dr. Maria Vittoria Marini-Clarelli
Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali
Mr. B. Rugaas
National Librarian, National Library of Norway
Dr. Juan Zozaya
Subdirector of the Museo Arqueológico Nacional
Mr. Johan van de Walle
Secretary of the National Focal Point
for the Telematics for Libraries programme
in the Netherlands
The Netherlands

Further contact:

Johan van de Walle
Schoemakerstraat 97
P.O. Box 6030
2600 JA Delft
The Netherlands
Phone +31 15 269 5455
Fax + 31 15 269 54 60
email removed)



J.A. Dekker, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific Research (TNO)

Welcome to attendants of the seminar "Convergence in the digital age: Challenges for Libraries, Museums and Archives".

In order to reach at a mutual understanding which is a necessary condition to gain a European unity we have to know the histories of each others' countries. Only on this basis we can get at a real European unity and mutual understanding.

The great task we are standing for is the opening up of the sources of digital information. To reach that objective we need an open traffic of ideas and information and we need the tools to realise this disclosure of information. We reach at that by means of the use of modern technology and by co-operation in the use of modern technology. All our endeavours are directed at the organisation of the information streams by means of modern technologies. All projects of the Telematics for Libraries programme are entirely directed at opening up society and the break down of boundaries each in their own way.

Among the Telematics for Libraries projects there is one project, UNIVERSE, which strikes us mostly because of its clear objective. The aim of this project is to give a single entry point to information for the end user, He or she does not have to know where the information stored physically or geographically, or even the language of the people who handle the information, can remain unknown to the end user. The project strives towards a full transparency of the process of information handling.

The professional people whose business it is to give access to information and knowledge tend to do their work in the background. They take more or less the same position in the process of handling of information. Therefore the have more or less the same interest, which causes them to work in concert in their offices. In this respect they can be compared with soldiers in an army. An army of soldiers who work in concert is able to conquer enemy lands rapidly, as we all know from our history lessons. Therefore it is very wise of you that you decided to come together to tackle the common problems of your profession. To win a war, if we may speak so, compels the professionals of museums, archives as well as libraries to co-operate. When you are able to define a common programme it is possible to surmount the problems new technologies provoke.

The fact that you chose the Netherlands as place to confer is of course an honour to but it is also an intriguing decision, because the Netherlands takes quite a special position towards technological development.

In comparison to other countries the Netherlands have little technology students in the universities, about the half in comparison to the United States or Japan. 93 Persons per 1000 work in High Tech companies out of 145 in the OECD countries. On the other hand the Dutch are really big users of High Tech products, such as cellular phones and computers, in comparison to other European countries. Apparently most people with a higher education in the Netherlands are more inclined to spend their time with social or cultural matters.

This situation can be perceived as disquieting. It does not have necessarily to be so. The point is to find creative combinations of things cultural and technical developments, "die neue Kombinationen". It is this classical maxim of Schumpeters' to which organisations like TNO adhere. We try to do research and development work, in which we use the insights and results of both social sciences and humanities and as well as sciences. We found that combinations of this kind are necessary to put technological products in the market.

On the other hand no one can give a good advice without knowledge of technical matters, the "hardware" so to say. With a combination of both kinds of knowledge you will get the best results. You are perfectly aware of this and you perfectly aware that that all of you, museologists, librarians and archivists alike, face the same technological problems and you try to get new insights in the use of new technologies to open up new vistas for the development of your services and at the same time you try to be more able to cope with old problems.
Therefore it is good thing that professionals of all kinds meet today each other.

Robert J. Frankenberg, former Chief Executive Officer of Novell, once observed that the Internet is one enormous black hole, wherein all books of the world are thrown into. In fact it is even worse: All pages have been teared out of the books and are then thrown into that enormous black hole. It is up the end user to retrieve some relevant information out of this mess. Just to give information alone is not enough. Value has to be added by way of the organisation of information.

We have seen sometime ago a similar problem when desktop publishing became popular. This do-it-yourself practice worried then some professional publishers. But it came out very soon, that the sheer technical possibility for desktop publishing, did not suffice. Craftsmanship and professionalism in publishing and editorial techniques came out to be indispensable. They still are. Information without added value is apparently worthless. It needs special knowledge to handle information before information becomes a publication, an accessible database, a library or whatever. Professions such as editors, publishers, archivists, librarians and the like remain strategic ones.

We need experienced and proficient people for the handling and the unlocking of information, especially when it comes to insight and knowledge of the needs and the behaviour of the end user. The seemingly unlimited accessibility of digital information, makes this need even more urgent.

I sincerely hope that you will be able to find ways for a even more intensive co-operation and that you will be able to close the ranks to combat the problems information technology will give and that you will find inspiration in these two days in Amsterdam to get new ideas and insights. I wish you a lot of success during this seminar and a joyful stay in Holland.


The Proceedings of the Seminar " Convergence in the Digital Age: Challenges for Libraries, Museums and Archives " are available for download in Word and Pdf format:
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