September, 17-22, 2006. Alicante, Spain
"Towards the European Digital Library"

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Sustained Digital Libraries for Universal Use


How content, technology and users should be interwined to develop applications and services for universal use remains a real problem.

In Europe, TEL (The European Library) is already a reference of the definitive desire of cooperation among the European national libraries. Also relevant have been the efforts of DELOS, the Network of Excellence for Digital Libraries, a key reference in research and developments. Meanwhile, other related activities have been also promoted, supported by the European Commission, national governments, and individual institutions, which, even localized, can prove to be very relevant for scenarios of universal use.

Promoted from the USA, and supported by the NSF/IDLP Program, the Global Memory Net initiative is another example of a collaborative model to bring distributed global digital library applications together by addressing an interdisciplinary model. Also funded by the NSF, the NSDL (National Science Digital Library) programme is another example of a relevant initiative, while more application-centric programs are available in agencies like the IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services).

At a global scale, we should recognize the commitment of UNESCO with the Memory of the World Programme, to guard against collective amnesia calling upon the preservation to the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination.

However, in spite of all of these efforts, the gaps between research and experimental developments from one side, and models of final universal sustained services in the other side remains to be filled. This panel will try to contribute to bridge these gaps. It is not a goal of the panel to provide any state-of-the-art discussion, which is not possible with many ongoing initiatives and different visions of the future of digital libraries as well as diversified focuses of entities involved. Instead, we believe that the unique variety of experiences of the participants in the panel will make it possible to promote an open discussion that might result in the pointing of the most desired (and also of the undesired) strategies.