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Advances in information handling
and access for the environment:
new emerging technologies Expo 98 Workshop

Report by Hans-Georg Stork, DG XIII-E/4

Created: 08 JUL 98

Some 100 participants from Portuguese organisations (institutes, libraries, companies) attended the seminar that had been organised jointly by DG XIII/E-4, the Portuguese High Council for Libraries and the Instituto Nacional de Engenharia e Tecnologia Industrial, the Portuguese Node of MIDAS-NET. Its topic fitted in well with the overall theme of EXPO'98 (The oceans – mankind's heritage for the future). And although two contributions (Mr Maes's keynote address and the presentation of the INFO2000 Polar Perspectives project) had to be canceled at very short notice it is fair to say that the event has been a success.

In his introductory speech, Mr Costa Ramos highlighted the importance of European public support of content production. A European infrastructure without genuinely European content to carry, he argued, would only further the interests of non-European providers and thus be detrimental to rather than beneficial for the creation of a European identity (or European identities?).

The subsequent presentation by Simonetta Luz, the co-ordinator of the Portuguese pavilion, of NAVEGAR, a multimedia product created with support from INFO2000, was certainly a must at this kind of seminar. Although not directly related to its subject area proper it was greatly appreciated by the audience. NAVEGAR may be considered a take-away version of the Portuguese pavilion, picking up on many of its larger scale exhibits and letting the excitement of the early Portuguese discoveries be experienced in sound, animation, text and pictures from everybody's desktop.

The second part of the seminar, introduced by myself with an overview of our Directorate's activities in the field of environmental information (see the attached copies of my slides), focused on the rationale and technicalities of three selected projects, BALTICSEAWEB and UNIVERSE from the TAP Libraries Sector, and TWENTYONE from the TAP Information Engineering Sector. Unfortunately, as pointed out above, the INFO2000 GI project Polar Perspectives could not be presented. However, its results were operational at the German pavilion and everyone patient enough to queue up for admittance to the German underwater wonderworld could watch them.

The presenters of the three projects did an excellent job catching their audience's attention. BALTICSEAWEB in particular, dealing with environmental information about the Baltic Sea, matched exactly the general EXPO theme. Each contribution provoked numerous questions and comments.

It was interesting to note the educational ambitions of most of the exhibitors at the EXPO. Many of the participating countries had designed their pavilions with a view to attracting young people and to raise their awareness of the necessity of protecting the (marine) environment. Also in this context much of the work supported by DG XIII/E in the domain of environmental information which I could report on (multimedia projects such as ENVIDUCATION , Polar Perspectives and NATREP) certainly deserves the credit of being timely and useful. methods used in connection with continuing education have need to take account

European Commission
DG Information Society
Cultural Heritage Applications Unit
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