Beyond the Beginning: The Global Digital Library

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Principal, The Marc Fresko Consultancy

Attending this conference, and then assembling and editing the components of this report has been an encouraging experience. Encouraging because of the progress which is now being made. While we cannot yet answer all the questions which attach themselves to plans for digital libraries and services, enough is understood to allow exciting work to be done; we truly are beyond the beginning. Several of the papers in this report describe activities in progress, and in many cases they provide pointers to further information.

A number of consistent themes emerged from the conference. These themes concern:

The conference presentations are organised within these themes, rather than following the order of presentation.

The remainder of this report consists of accounts of the conference presentations, with a list of participants, the conference timetable and a glossary in annex. The accounts were prepared for UKOLN by the Marc Fresko Consultancy, and are intentionally prepared with British English conventions in mind – in the interest of consistency rather than with any desire to impose standards on our colleagues from other countries. The accounts not formal papers written by the speakers, though in many cases notes, slides and other materials were provided by the speakers. In all cases, speakers were offered the opportunity to review the account of their presentation.

I am grateful to the speakers who tolerantly supplied notes, slides and other materials to help generate this report. I hope that they find their ideas are expressed accurately, and that they will forgive any omissions by abbreviation. Thanks are also due to my colleagues Rob Davies and Glen McBeth, who respectively drafted several of the accounts and produced the very apposite cover illustration; and to Hazel Gott of UKOLN who, as chief organiser of this conference, patiently responded to the many requests for details and clarification during the preparation of this report.

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