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ELPUB2007 Conference Report

Ann Apps
Mimas, The University of Manchester
ann.apps@manchester.ac.uk

[TU Wien photo] ELPUB2007: The 11th International Conference on Electronic Publishing was held in Vienna, Austria on 13-15 June 2007. Vienna is a feast of splendid architecture and the venue, TU Wien, the Technical University of Vienna was no exception (if one ignored the unfortunate building site separating the two conference rooms). It is set on the edge of the pleasant Karlspltaz public park, and its former students include Johan and Josef Strauss and Antonio Vivaldi.[Vienna Karlsplatx church photo]

The first day of the conference was a workshop day. The main conference took place on the Thursday and Friday with beginning and closing keynote talks. The remainder of the conference consisted of two parallel paper sessions, presenting the peer-reviewed paper published in the proceedings. These reports are of the sessions I attended and noted. All papers and presentations are available via the conference website (http://info.tuwien.ac.at/elpub2007/).

DCMI Tools Workshop: Ontologies for Digital Application Description. Thomas Severiens.
This workshop was essentially a meeting of the DCMI Tools Community Group, but open to anyone interested. Its purpose was to discuss a proposed Application Profile to describe software tools. (Draft Tools Application Profile and Glossary.) Apart from some detailed discussion of properties within the Application Profile, it was indicated that the group needs a collections policy, e.g. are algorithms and software packages in scope? An outstanding question was whether there is a standard vocabulary of programming languages already in existence.

DRIVER Workshop: Supporting Institutional Repositories in Europe. Mary Robinson, Wolfram Horstmann.
I attended only the second half of this workshop, but did hear about some of the technicality of cross-repository searching.

There were two presentations about related work. The first of these was about initiatives in the Netherlands: DAREnet, CRIS and NARCIS. They provide a national focal point to access research information in the Netherlands, including harvesting repositories. The second presentation was about institutional repositories in Latin America. Repositories are more important in developing countries because they have very weak publishing systems, making it more difficult for researchers to interact with their peers in other countries.

Opening Keynote. Technical Infrastructure and Policy Framework for Maximising the Benefits from Research Output. Keith Jeffrey.
This talk was about open access to information for researchers. It covered a large amount of material.

Paper Session: Emerging Business Models for e-Content Delivery

Changing Content Industry Structures: The Case of Digital Newspapers on ePaper Mobile Devices. Leo Van Audenhove, Simon Delare, Pieter Ballon, Michael Van Bossuyt.
This project was to develop a business model for a mobile digital newspaper using ePaper. Used the iliad eReader on eInk. Tested some common hypotheses concerning success factors in practice. The business modelling framework included: technical model; financial model; value proposition. Its objective was a viable, sustainable model.

Introducing the e-news-paper - Audience Preferences and Demands. Carina Ihlstrom Erisson, Maria Akesson.
This was a report from the DigiNews project in Sweden, looking at an end-to-end solution from production to distribution to customers, including personalisation by user intelligence.

Cultural Content Management at a NEW Level: Publishing Theatre and Opera Details by Means of Open Technologies from the Web 2.0. Markus Schranz.
This was a topical Vienna project providing personalised information to customers about theatre and opera events, using RSS feeds. A web content management system is used to capture event descriptions and programme details because it is conveniently usable also as locally installed software. AJAX is used for workflow and task management, and Bugzilla as a software development tool.

Centralised Content Portals: iTunes and the Publishing Industry. Leo Pennings, Matthijs Leendertse.
This report was from a media policy point of view, about the FLEET project (Flemish ePublishing Trends). This uses centralised content portals not designed round the requirements of content suppliers. Most customers are locked into a centralised content portal, eg. on a PC: iTunes and MySpace, or digital TV networks. Should we care? Issues are:

A vision for 2012:

iWiki Publishing for peer based publishing / production, in a Wiktionary - this will become the dominant method of e-publishing

Another scenario is: all of above, like now!

Paper Session: Enabling Accessibility

The Open Document Format and its Impact on Accessibility for Persons with a Reading Impairment. Jan Engelen, Christrophe Strobbe.
Reading impairment covers: low vision or blind; dyslexia; can't hold a book; some deaf people (if trained in using sign language they lose some ability to handle text).

Multimedia Modular Training Packages by EUAN. Neil McKenzie.
EUAN is the Dutch association for the blind. Objective is to improve accessibility in publishing workflows. They intend to bring together as a knowledge base: publishers (federation of European publishers); specialised organisations for the visually impaired; researchers in academia; technology providers. Developing training materials to encourage use that meet industry needs, so need market / business requirements (moving away from charity user needs).

First International Accessible Content Processing Conference in Brussels, 18-19 September - will include Open Access issues.

File-Formats for Preservation: Evaluating the Long-Term Stability of File-Formats. Carl Rauch, Harald Krottmaier, Klaus Tochtermann.
This paper was about issues related to ensuring digital objects can still be opened in 10 or 20 years time.

Paper Session: Assessment of Open Access and Enabling Frameworks.
I didn't take notes in this session because I was chairing it. Papers were about the Open Access movement, including a paper about issues in developing countries such as South America.

Paper Session: Ontology and Meaning Extraction

Towards a Semantic Turn in Rich-Media Analysis. Tobias Burger, Georg Gunter.
Project to support queries about sacred works in Salzburg. Need a model of semantics, also to support temporal and geographical queries. All this knowledge is external to the media itself.

Towards an Ontology of ElPub/SciX: A Proposal. Sely Costa, Claudio Gottschalg-Duque.
SciX is the online proceedings of the ELPUB conference series. Research is looking for quantitative aspects, eg. number of papers per country. Also qualitative aspects, mostly about approached themes / environment. The problem is a lack of standard data. There are many variations of author names and institutions. For qualitative analysis there is a lack of standard data, eg. keywords, abstracts.

Ontologies at Work: Publishing Multilingual Recreational Routes Using Ontologies. Bert Paepen.
This is using an ontology for a real application, not just theoretical.

Paper Session: Digital Heritage and Access

Digitisation and Access to Archival Collections: A Case Study of the Sofia Municipal Government (1878-1879). Maria Nisheva-Pavlova, Pavel Pavlov, Nikolay Markov, Maya Nedeva.
This paper described a practical experiment to test the method, using international standards (EAD) and semantic technologies. It uses proper domain specific ontologies. Includes electronic transcription (TEI) of documents as well as digitised image.

The Digital Scholar's Workbench. Ian Barnes.
Preservation of text is not sexy so not much work has been done on it.

Evaluating Digital Humanities Resources: The LAIRAH Project Checklist and the Internet Shakespeare Editions Project. Claire Warwick, Melissa Terras, Isabel Galina, Paul Huntington, Mikoleta Pappa.
First usage survey based on quantitative log data. Dissemination - how do people find out about projects? Those that talk at conferences get more use. [Comment - they should register in a registry such as IESR.]

Paper Session: Interoperabilty and Open Repositories

The Semantic Institution: An Agenda for Publishing Authoritative Scholarly Facts for Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web. Les Carr (via skype).

The Project of the Italian Culture Portal and its Development. A Case Study: Designing a Dublin Core Application Profile for Interoperability and Open Distribution of Cultural Contents. Irene Buonazia, Emilia Masci, Davide Merlitti.
Take people as resources. Additional DC types: Institution; PhysicalPerson; Project.

Disclosing Freedom of Information Releases. Ann Apps.
Last but not least, my paper about the initial design of the UK HE FOI application profile and repository as part of the JISC Information Governance Gateway (JIGG) project.

Closing Keynote: Scientific Publishing in the Digital Era. Norbert Kroo.
Growing significance of knowledge and innovative knowledge based societies.

[Secession Vienna photo] ELPUB2007 was no exception in this conference series for the range of nationalities represented, mainly from Europe, but also from US, Australia and South America. There was the usual mixture of presentations from experienced researchers and younger colleagues.

As usual there were opportunities for social interaction, including a conference dinner held in a taverna in a vineyard on the outskirts of Vienna. Plentiful carafes of the local white wine drunk out of half pint tankards made for a relaxing, outdoor evening.


5 July 2007

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