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Bulletin, October/November 2010

Background and Beginning of the Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) Conference

by Tefko Saracevic

The Libraries in Digital Age (LIDA) conference, held annually in Dubrovnik, Croatia, starting in 2000 and moving to Zadar, Croatia in 2009, had two significant precursors. The earlier one was a series of conferences organized at the Interuniversity Center in Dubrovnik by Prof. Bozo Tezak (1907-1980). These conferences, held in 1977, 1979 and 1980, had a general title “Universities in World Network of Information and Communication” and attracted an international audience. Among the issues raised in presentation and lively discussions were effects of technology on libraries and universities. Digital libraries were not around then, but the subject of libraries, technologies and networks was very much present.

The later precursor was the Third International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science (COLIS 3) held in May 1999, also in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Conference chairs were Peter Ingwersen, Denmark, Tatjana Aparac-Jelusic, Croatia, and Pertti Vakkari, Finland; program chair was Tefko Saracevic of the United States. The theme of the conference was digital libraries; papers and discussions covered a wide range of related issues and topics.

Out of this experience came the idea to hold conferences specifically oriented toward a variety of contemporary topics related to libraries in the digital age – not only digital libraries. Consequently, the first LIDA conference was organized in 2000 drawing heavily from the legacy of these prior efforts. The purpose formulated then still holds today: “[T]o address the changing and challenging environment for libraries and information systems and services in the digital world.” While the purpose is constant, topics have changed every year. Directors for all the LIDA conferences have been Tatjana Aparac-Jelusic and Tefko Saracevic, while program chairs have changed every year depending on the topic chosen.

Year Themes
2000 Part I: Positioning Libraries on the Internet
Part II: Using Internet in Libraries

2001 Part I: The Internet ethics and legal issues.
Part II: Information services - practice and research.

2002 Part I: Integrating information seeking and information retrieval (IR).
Part II: Information services in digital environments - practice and research.

2003 Part I: WWW and information retrieval.
Part II: WWW and libraries.

2004 Part I: Human information behavior and digital libraries.
Part II: Competences for digital libraries.

2005 Part I: What can digital libraries do that traditional libraries cannot? or do in addition?  Achievements and prospects.
Part II: Building a small digital library and digital library network.

2006 Part I: Cultural, social and institutional effects and place of digital libraries.
Part II: Building a digital library for children and young adults.

2007 Part I: users and use of digital libraries.
Part II: Economics and digital libraries.

2008 Part I: Education and training in digital libraries.
Part II: Reference in digital environments.

2009 Part I: Reflections: changes brought by and in digital libraries in the last decade.
Part II: Heritage & digital libraries - digitalization, preservation, access.

2010 Part I: Digital scholarship: Support by digital libraries
Part II: Digital natives: Challenges & innovations in reaching out to digital born generations.

The International Calendar of Information Science Conferences ( is a nonprofit collaboration between the Special Interest Group/International Information Issues (SIG/III) and the European (ASIST/EC) and New England (NEASIST) chapters of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, with the additional support of Haworth Press.

Tefko Saracevic is professor II emeritus at the School of Communication & Information, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a past president of ASIS&T. He can be reached at tefkos<at>