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National event: "Verso la Biblioteca Digitale Italiana della Scienza e della Tecnica" (Towards an Italian Digital Library for Science and Technology)

On June 16th, 2004, at the Italian National Research Council in Rome, DELOS organized a day of presentations and discussions on the theme "Towards an Italian Digital Library of Science and Technology". Objective of the day was to open a debate in the Italian scientific community about the opportunity and the possibility to create an Italian Digital Library of Science and Technology, containing all the national scientific production, by federating the libraries of all the Italian universities and those of other research institutions, such as CNR (the National Research Council), ENEA (National Agency for Energy and Environment), INFN (National Institute for Nuclear Physics).

The present state of the art in Digital Libraries would allow the creation of such a library, through the development of a common software platform combining in a single view the individual libraries, allowing interoperability between them and enriching them with advanced services such as annotation, personalization, collaboration, recommender systems, etc.

Most of the present libraries are already moving to become "digital", based on various systems (e-print, OpendLib, D-Space, ETRDL-Dienst etc.), and manage a wide variety of scientific material, such as publication drafts, technical reports, internal reports, project advancement reports, doctoral thesis, teaching material, etc. All of them are supporting or paving the way for a new distributed model of dissemination of scientific information, based on "self-archiving/self-publishing".

The event attracted more than 140 persons, mostly from scientific libraries and the research world. The discussions were spurred by a total of thirteen presentations, with lecturers coming from various Italian universities, university consortia and research agencies, and one presentation from a representative of the "National Science Digital Library", presently being implemented in the USA.

The audience learned or was updated on a number of national and international projects or initiatives:

  • advanced systems for the implementation, management and maintenance of digital libraries seen as an aggregation of heterogeneous systems
  • dynamic definition of virtual views of the information space, personalized according to the needs of different classes of users
  • services for the digital publishing in the academic world
  • services to support research, didactics and dissemination of scientific information
  • software infrastructures for the management of information portals
  • specific projects to improve access to a number of open archives through a single user interface
  • systems based on peer to peer architectures
  • a European project aiming at establishing a network for the "Culture of the Information", whose main objective is the development of technical skills for the dissemination of scientific information and the effective use of digital library technologies.

From the discussions and comments received during the presentations and in the closing session, it emerged clearly the need and the willingness to improve cooperation among the different initiatives, and the need to define a common strategy for the achievement of the Italian Digital Library of Science and Technology. It was agreed to have a follow-up meeting in November, to lay the foundations of this library, to find a funding mechanism, and to start the implementation of the Science Library.

Additional information and most of the presentations can be found at the event web site: with the caveat that the web site and all the presentations are in Italian (except of course the one about the US National Science Digital Library).

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Last update: 2004-09-01