From the Conference Chairs


Welcome to Digital Libraries '94, the first international research conference on the theory and practice of digital libraries. This annual conference is dedicated to presenting the best of new research, practice, and experience from the various science and engineering disciplines that comprise this multidisciplinary field. This first conference has been prompted by the NSF/ARPA/NASA announcement on digital libraries and the tremendous amount of work that went into the formation of interdisciplinary and inter-institutional teams. We will use this opportunity to get to know one another and to chart the boundaries of this new, vibrant research field concentrating on one of the most important topics of our time.

A staggering array of research must be accomplished. We must build multidisciplinary research teams based on mutual respect. At this time, no one knows what a "real" digital library is, or what a concise definition would be, or what the boundaries of the field are. We do know that one must have a very long term commitment and that this field will take decades to mature. We must not reinvent prior research results from constituent sub-fields. This places a heavy burden upon us because digital libraries research requires the integration of results from many diverse fields. We must conduct broad-based research set in a clear understanding of its context.

In reviewing and selecting the papers for this first conference, the program committee attempted to identify leading edge research and thinking about the future roles of digital libraries and to maintain a balance among all of the submitting constituencies. Each paper received at least three reviews. The focus this year was on "building the community" and "keeping an open mind." We hope you will find papers that cause discussion, argument, and a general exploration of the boundaries of this new field of study. The program committee and our reviewers deserve tremendous thanks for the hours they donated on very short notice.

At the next conference, we expect to see the more common distribution of research results, practice, and experience papers. We also expect to add other venues for presenting research results in addition to the standard research paper presentation. We welcome contributions from all areas of the social, information, library, and computer sciences, and electrical and computer engineering, as well as the various disciplines building and using digital libraries.

In keeping with the current world status of publishing, the proceedings are available in two forms: traditional paper and at the URL http://atg1.WUSTL.edu/DL94 of the World Wide Web. A paper proceedings has been created to remind us of the fundamental qualities of paper and, through the cover design, to indicate that "the slate is clean" -- we have a "blank sheet of paper," an "open book" if you will. We can make digital libraries anything we want and everything they can be.

On the administrative side, we would like to thank those organizations that have joined us in sponsoring the conference. We especially acknowledge the contribution of resources by Texas A&M University's Office of the Vice President for Research and Associate Provost for Graduate Studies, by Southwestern Bell Technology Resources, Inc., and by the Washington University School of Medicine Library's Advanced Technology Group. Their recognition of the pioneering nature of the research topic allowed us to organize this conference in only four and half months.

We hope you enjoy DL'94, find it stimulating for your own research, and actively participate in this exciting new field!

Richard Furuta
General Chair

John Leggett
Program Chair

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