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Important Technical Issues for Digital Libraries with Multiple Collections, Different Languages, and Diverse Audiences (Co-sponsored by SIG III and SIG DL)

Dr. Gregory M. Shreve ( Dr. Lois Mai Chan ( Dr. Marcia Lei Zeng (mzeng@KENT.EDU) Dr. Daqing He (

Presented at ASIST 2004 Annual Meeting; "Managing and Enhancing Information: Cultures and Conflicts" (ASIST AM 04), Providence, Rhode Island, November 13 - 18, 2004


This session will focus on important technical issues when implementing digital libraries with multiple collections, different languages, and diverse audiences. A group of experts who have both research and implementation experiences of such digital libraries will join the panel to discuss the following key issues:

(1) Metadata strategies: Digital libraries may contain resources in many languages and serve individuals in other cultural/linguistic "locales" seeking resources in their own languages or searching across languages for resources in languages other than their own. In order to enable the efficient and effective acquisition, storage and retrieval of cross-cultural and cross-linguistic resources, a digital library has to be designed from the outset to allow for heterogeneous linguistic and cultural content. Corresponding metadata strategies have to be in place to achieve this goal.

(2) Interoperability among various knowledge organization systems adopted by different collections: In the networked environment, cross-domain, cross-subject, and cross-language searching are common practices. However, users are often unaware of the diverse knowledge organization systems (KOS), which impede optimal retrieval. These include thesauri, subject headings lists, classification systems, and other categorization schemes used to index or organize different databases and digital collections. This presentation surveys activities and 18 research projects aimed at achieving interoperability among KOS and analyzes the eight methods used in achieving interoperability.

(3) Multilingual information access: Cross language information access systems provide an opportunity for users to access sources in different languages. This presentation discusses the design of interactive process in cross language information access systems, which raises some interesting problems that do not exist in monolingual setting. Research work conducted at University of Maryland and other institutions will be used to illustrate possible solutions to these problems, and their potential applications to digital libraries will be presented to conclude the presentation.

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