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HT '98 and DL '98

'Advance' Trip Report!

Marriott City Center, Pittsburgh, PA

June 20-24 (HT), June 24-28 (DL) 1998

Dear Colleague!

Ever read a conference trip report and wish you'd been there? Well -- thanks to 'now-declassified' government research, that problem has been solved! It's now possible to take trips in advance (although only briefly) to get an idea of how things will actually turn out.

In my case, I went to Hypertext '98 and Digital Libraries '98 -- both coming up in Pittsburgh this June. Very interesting indeed! And as Chair for these conferences, I thought you might like an 'advance' trip report on what they offer this year's attendees, as well as guidance on how you might best participate.

As you know, international conferences of this stature are major undertakings and involve intense contribution by scores of dedicated individuals to ensure their success. This is doubly so in this case since we have two conferences -- first HT98 from 20 June to 24 June, immediately followed by DL98 24 June to 27 June. We have many people involved in planning this year's conferences -- and during the course of this note I'll give you a glimpse into who they are as well as the impressive results of their hard work.

[Just in case it isn't obvious, I'm now back in the present -- and thus will try to keep my tenses straight!]

[Note: see either ks.com/dl98 or ks.com/ht98 -- for a 'URL-laden' version of this report!]

Collectively the two conferences received well over 400 proposals for papers, panels, workshops, and courses, as well as posters and demos. As you can imagine, giving all these proposals the in-depth attention they deserve was a considerable challenge. This challenge was met by our Program Chairs: Elli Mylonas and Kaj Grønbæk on the HT side -- and by Ian Witten on the DL side.

Elli Mylonas is Associate Director for Projects and Research of the Scholarly Technology Group at Brown University -- and has many years of hypertext systems and application experience, most notably her work on the Perseus Project . Kaj Grønbæk is a Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at Aarhus Univerity in Denmark -- a significant hotbed of hypertext activity in Europe -- well-known for research in the areas of open hypermedia and Dexter-based hypermedia. Ian Witten is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. He is the Project Leader for the New Zealand Digital Library , and has world-ranking stature in key fields of computer science such as data compression , as well as significant contributions to the field of digital libraries. [It appears that Ian is big enough for TWO home pages!]

All three of these scientists provided strong leadership to the very experienced program committees ( a core of 20 with 50 reviewers on the HT side and 40 PC members on the DL side).

The Conference Programs

The principal part of the program of any research conference is the set of papers to be presented. As in past years, we have two types of papers: "long" (max 10 pages) and "short" (max 2 pages). [Short papers represent late breaking research or interesting results that do not justify a full paper.]

Out of this largess, Elli, Kaj and their HT colleagues selected about 29 long papers and 14 short papers for HT98, while Ian and his crew selected a similar number for DL98 (28 long, and 20 short). To give you a gestalt for this aspect of the conferences, I've listed the titles and authors of the papers to be presented.

[Abstracts and other details for these papers will be posted shortly]

HT98 Papers

HT-S1: Hypermedia application design

HT-S2: Novel systems and interfaces

HT-S3: Mapping and visualizing navigation

HT-S4: Temporal models

HT-S5: Linking mechanisms

HT-S6: Articulation in hypermedia

+ 3 short papers (to be annouced)

HT-S7: Structural models

HT-S8: Open hypermedia

HT-S9: Structural queries

HT-S10: Cooperative hypermedia

DL98 Papers

Here are the papers for DL98 -- in their planned sessions combining both long and short papers that best relate to a common theme:

DL-S1: Document classification and clustering

DL-S2: Preservation and archiving

DL-S3: Tools and environments

DL-S4: Retrieval and performance issues

DL-S5: Document components

DL-S6: Coping with structured documents

DL-S7: Audio and video libraries

DL-S8: Search methods

DL-S9: Distributed libraries

DL-S10: User support and usage analysis

DL-S11: Metadata issues

DL-S12: Application areas

DL-S13: Internet information access

Doug Engelbart and Vannevar Bush Awards

As many of you know, the Hypertext community has an award for best paper -- given at the annual ACM Hypertext conference. The award, named in honor of Doug Engelbart, is now in its third year-- and comes with a cash prize of $1000 dollars. Past winners include Nitin Sawhney, David Balcom, and Ian Smith at HT96 for their paper "HyperCafe: Narrative and Aesthetic Properties of Hypervideo" ; and Kaj Gronbak, Niels Olof Bouvin & Lennert Sloth , who won last year at HT97 for their paper entitled "Designing Dexter-based hypermedia services for the World Wide Web".

I'm looking forward to learning which of the above long papers for HT98 will receive the award. And, since Doug is with us this year we'll be sure to have him present the award to this year's winner. [Having Doug with us this year will be a special pleasure given that he is the receipient of the 1997 Turing Award -- ACM's most prestigious technical award.]

In addition, this year we are introducing the analogue of this award in the DL conference series -- named the "Vannevar Bush Award" . Just as with the Engelbart Award, the Vannevar Bush Award is for the best paper and comes with a cash prize of $1000 dollars.

Here is a list of the papers nominated for the Vannevar Bush Award!

And the award goes to!

"Cathy Marshall" for

You can access Cathy's paper in PDL format via

You can access Cathy's paper in HTML format via


While some panels are still under construction, a number of panels are already in place. I believe you'll find some of these of interest to you -- and I encourage you to send advance thoughts to the organizers to help fine-tune their planning.

On the HT side, under the leadership of Uffe Wiil (Aalborg University Denmark) and Mark Bernstein (Eastgate Systems ), we have the following panels.

DL Panels

On the DL side, we currently have three panels organized by our Panels Chairs -- David Levy and Cathy Marshall of Xerox.

Conference Workshops

Kicking off the week will be a set of workshops on hypertext research issues. Workshops provide an opportunity for a group of 20 or so participants to discuss issues in both research and applied areas -- from one half day to two days in duration. Workshop attendance is normally by invitation, based on each attendee's response to a call for workshop participation. You are strongly encouraged to consider participating in a workshop -- as this is an excellent way for you to get to know other people working in the field and develop new insights into core issues. [See web site for details on participating in the workshops described below]

The HT98 workshops

The HT98 workshops begin on the Saturday before the conference (20 June) and in the case of two of them -- continue on through Sunday. Thanks to the leadership of Peter Nürnberg , we have an outstanding set of workshops planned for Hypertext '98.

To take a peek at the details of these offerings, hop over to the HT98 Workshops web site Peter is maintaining at his home base at Aarhus University in Denmark.

Leading the HT pack is the " Fourth Workshop on Open Hypermedia Systems ". Organized since its beginning in 1994 by Uffe Wiil (Aalborg University, Denmark) this workshop continues the long-standing effort to develop consensus about mechanisms for open hypermedia.-- harking back to the late-80's with the activities of the Dexter Group. One highlight -- Doug Engelbart will be giving the opening keynote for this two-day workshop. So-- If you're pondering issues about open systems, this is the workshop for you!

Similarly strong leadership is provided by the other three workshop organizers: David Lowe, Deena Larsen, and Peter Brusilovsky.

So as you can see folks -- this truly is the deep end of the pool -- and for those of you who want an extended exploration about core issues confronting the field -- this is where you dive in. I would encourage you to seriously consider joining one of these workshops and contributing your expertise and experience to furthering the group's goals.

For DL98 we currently have two workshops:

On the Wednesday morning just preceding the conference we have: DLIB Metrics WG Meeting followed up by the DLIB Metrics Workshop on Saturday

And on the Saturday following the conference we have two workshops. Linda Hill is organizing a workshop entitled:

and Bill Pottenger is organizing:

Tutorials/Courses .....

Courses/Tutorials precede the conference and allow attendees to become familiar with basic principles of the field, to receive technical training in a HT (or DL) related area, or to explore advanced topics in depth. They are taught by experts in the area and cover topics at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels.

We will be offering an extensive set of tutorials this year -- especially on the HT side where our tutorials chairs, Jörg Haake (GMD, Germany] and Steve DeRose [Inso Corporation and Brown University] have orchestrated the ten tutorials listed below:

HT-T1: Paul Kahn: Mapping Websites and Creating Site Maps 1/2 day; intermediate - advanced

HT-T2: Paul Kahn: Website Information Architecture 1/2 day; novice - intermediate

HT-T3: Michael Bieber: Applying hypertext principles to Information Systems; 1/2 day; novice

HT-T4: George Landow & Dan Russel: Teaching & Learning with HT and WWW 1 day; novice

HT-T5: Hugh Davis & Wendy Hall: Link Services on the WWW 1/2 day; intermediate?

HT-T6: Lloyd Rutledge: The use of existing public domain standards and tools for adaptive hypermedia 1/2 day; novices

HT-T7: Lynda Hardman: The Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language 1/2; novice - intermediate

HT-T8: Franca Garzotto and Paolo Paolini: Model-based Design and Evaluation of Hypermedia Applications (CD-ROMs and WWW sites) 1 day; novice

HT-T9. David Durand and Steve DeRose: "The XML and XLink Specifications", Full- day-- intermediate, David Durand and Steve DeRose

HT-T10. Jim Whitehead:"WebDav" [half day]

[The XML tutorial will be on Saturday 20 June, while the rest will be on Sunday the 21st.]

Each of these instructors have over a decade of serious work in these areas -- and so you expect to get a 'big jump' from the lessons they have learned!

For details on these tutorials, see Steve DeRose's web site on these tutorials

On the DL side we currently have 3 course offerings -- to be given on the morning of Wednesday the 24th -- just prior to the start of the main DL98 conference.

(1) Linda Hill and Mary Larsgaard -- both involved with the Alexandria Digital Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara -- will be teaching a half-day course entitled "Building Geospatial Collections: Metadata Creation / Ingest Procedures". Designed for librarians, data center operators, and others creating geospatial collections -- the course will build on the basic principals of collection building (selection, acquisition, metadata creation, object processing, and quality control) to address in detail the characteristics of georeferenced information objects.

(2) Tim Finin , Charles Nicholas (University of Maryland Baltimore County), along with James Mayfield (Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory), will be teaching a course entitled: "Software Agents for Information Retrieval" .

Aimed at the general audience of practicing computer scientists and managers of information technology R&D projects, this tutorial will provide an introduction to software agents concepts and technologies and their applications in information retrieval systems.

(3) Ed Fox and Rob Akscyn will be presenting a course titled "Fundamentals of Digital Libraries " -- which will review a number of core issues confronting the field as well as a number of on-going projects that are addressing these issues.

Further tutorial goodies!!!!!

Furthermore -- to make things more conducive to your attendance at these tutorials, we've lowered and simplified our pricing for tutorials ($150 for 1/2 day, and $225 for full; 50% discount for students). These prices will be good from now until the end of the conferences -- no matter when you register (no deadline for early rates), or what your "membership". Nor are there any penalties for refunds should you be unable to arrive in time (or whatever) -- so feel free to sign up! [See web site for schedule]

Keynotes Speakers

Part of the 'icing on the cake' for our conferences is a fine selection of keynote speakers -- who will help us all refine our visions of how best to proceed in our work. The value of good keynote speakers is perhaps well-illuminated by a saying from Japan. Roughly translated it goes: "To be great, is to be equal to the past".

Indeed, we have a considerably legacy in the fields of hypertext and digital libraries -- in the form of Vannevar Bush, Doug Engelbart, and Licklider as well as Ted Nelson and others whose visions we are still unfolding. And thus it behooves us all to understand the nature of our past, and what it implies for us today. Merely standing on the shoulders of our predecessors is not enough.

HT98 keynotes

Our current HT98 keynote speakers include John Leggett of Texas A&M -- who founded the Dexter Group, the Texas A&M Hypermedia Research Laboratory, and most recently, the Texas A&M Center for the Study of Digital Libraries . John was also a founder of ACM's SIGLINK , as well as the organizer -- in conjunction with Rick Furuta -- of DL94 and DL95 -- the precursor to the Digital Library series now managed by ACM. I'm looking forward to John's talk -- and I'm sure it will be a significant contribution that bridges both fields.

Our second keynoter for HT98 will be Stuart Moulthrop -- Associate Professor at the School of Communications Design> University of Baltimore. His talk is entitled

And finally, Doug Engelbart, or "Mr Mouse" as they call him in Italy, will be giving a 'bridge keynote' in the luncheon period between HT98 and DL98: 12:20 --> 1:30 on Wednesday, 24 June 1998. Doug will be describing his latest thoughts on "augmenting human intellect", a trail he has been blazing for the past 36 years. The working title for his talk is " Collective IQ and a framework for bootstrapping our society ".

On the DL98 side, we have two 'heavy hitters' in the form of Jim Neal, Director of the Johns Hopkins University Library, and Michael Lesk Division Director, Information and Intelligent Systems, National Science Foundation, .

Jim Neal is currently Sheridan Director of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at Johns Hopkins University and, as many of you know, Michael , is the author of a recent book on digital libraries-- Practical Digital Libraries: Books, Bytes, and Bucks - that neatly encapsulates much of his work on the subject.

Both are outstanding speakers whose contributions are well known to many. I expect both Jim and Mike will pass along the seasoned lessons they've acquired over the years -- to help the field of digital libraries better steer its future course.

Here is the advance title and abstract for Jim Neals talk: "The Early Bird/Second Mouse Syndrome: Achieving Digital Library Success in an Era of Techno-Wonder.":

Progressive advances in electronic and network technologies are driving a reconceptualization of the global digital library concept. This presentation will seek to apply the experience and lessons of the industrial-age library to the hybrid structures and programs now in development, and outline key enablers for successful progress.

Demos, Posters, Internet....

Rounding out our program will be a set of demos on both the HT and DL sides -- which along with posters -- will provide you a chance to take a further look at what folks are up to. Both demos and posters will be part of our evening program. (see below) Ken Anderson , a Research Specialist in the Department of Information and Computer Science, at UC Irvine; along with Diane Greco, a graduate student Department of Science Technology & Society at MIT, is managing the HT98 demos and posters . Write Ken or Diane for additional opportunities to demo or present a poster at HT98.

If all goes according to plan, we will have extensive internet access for the conference -- in all meeting rooms and podiums. Not only will this be useful to those of you wishing to do demos (there's still room -- come on down!) but also will provide substantial support for presentations, and courses. Thanks to the generosity of several of our corporate sponsors, TCG , a telecommunications company that will be supplying the circuit, and Verio Pittsburgh , an Internet Service Provider that will connect our circuit to the Internet -- we will be able to provide a number of networking services throughout the duration of the conferences. David Hicks, our Texan-in-Germany and Associate Conference Chair, will be leading the organizational and technical effort to bring this all together 'at runtime'. Write David if you have any questions about the conferences' connectivity.

But the most important reason for coming....!

But by far the most important reason for you to come to these conferences is the impact it will likely make on your work in these fields, and your use of the technologies involved. Looking back over the past twenty years of my career, mostly in the field of hypertext, (and since '94 also in digital libraries) -- I can see how my participation in the field's conference have been much more a 'shaping force' than I envisioned up front. Much of what I have done has been conditioned by my interaction with many colleagues -- not simply through reading their papers - - but via the many deep discussions we had along the way. It was these long-term relationships that were key to my involvement in various field-organizing activities.

As some of you know from my previous ramblings, I believe the problems and issues before us -- in both fields -- will not yield without significant level of collaboration among the best minds we have. Given the current groundswell of interest in digital libraries worldwide , as well as the strong desire for next-generation hypertext technologies --- the need for true collaboration is as compelling as ever. Therefore I would strongly encourage you to come to this year's conferences and get to know others in the field in a non-trivial way. I have no doubt the experience will be very gratifying.

This year, in addition to many individuals from all quarters, we will be joined by a delegation from China. . And did I mention the Russians? No? Well -- the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! For DL98 -- and I'm hoping for HT98 as well -- we will be joined by a group of five senior members of the library community in Russia, all of whom are deeply involved with digital library initiatives. Thus I have no doubt you will learn, these conferences are excellent opportunities to build bridges with members of the international community within fields that are clearly destined to have long tenure.

To foster the development of new relationships as well as further strengthening old ones -- we have made a significant investment in events especially designed for this purpose. For example, to foster Birds-of-a-feather sessions, as well as SIG organizational meetings, and future conference 'planning sessions' -- we have extended the "lunch hour" from one hour to two! This expanded slot will provide ample time for everyone to grab something from our handy 'meals-on-wheels', and jump right into the thick of it discussing whatever (topics and causes) you wish to rally round.

During the evenings (Monday through Thurday) from 7:00 to 11:00 (and beyond), we will have "Afterglow" - a period of time to relax, have food and drinks, go into deep space on the demos, and listen to some musicians , as well as have extended conversations with one another. You can think of the "Afterglow" as a 'smoothie' of sorts that blends the ambience of traditionally-comfortable contexts -- such as connoted by "den", "library", "dinner party", and "pub" -- all into one!

Like the workshops, this is a good time to have extended conversations with the 'Doug Engelbarts' and others with decades of experience. Those of you who anticipate greater involvement in the field, should spend some time with our chairs to learn from their experiences. Elli and Kaj will have lots of lessons to tell you from their experience this year with 'all-electronic' dissemination and reviewing on the HT side. Ian and his committee can expound on the experience of "100%-email" DL program committee (no meetings of any kind). And Frank Shipman (Texas A&M) can tell you what it like to do two proceedings at the same time! So count on all of the chairs for many lessons learned. Remember your turn is coming sooner than you think! :-)

And on at least one of the DL afterglows (and maybe HT as well), we'll have several 'of our own' -- Ian Witten (clarinet) and Craig Nevill-Manning (piano) playing some tunes to regal us. Having had Ian stay with Kathy and I for three days in March-- playing his clarinet at every opportunity -- was a true joy. So be sure to bring your blue jeans (others will bring the vodka), some favorite books and fresh papers to pass around -- and perhaps your clarinet as well!


Both conferences are open for registration -- and all channels seem to be working well! To make it extra convenient for you to register -- we've supplied multiple ways to register: web forms, papers forms and email forms -- all accessible via the web from the HT98 and DL98 web sites (http:ks.com/ht98 and http://ks.com/dl98).

In addition to the streamlined pricing for tutorials (see above), we have instituted a 15% discount for registration should you wish to attend both conferences. That's 15% on the combined total for both --- equivalent to 15% for each. Furthermore -- for those of you with healthy appetites --- we have an 'All-you-can-eat-special' for $995 -- which entitles you to go to both conferences, attend as many tutorials and workshops as you have time, and get copies of everything published. You will get a complete set of tutorial notes for all tutorials, as well as 5 extra proceedings for each of the conference.

A final note about registration. Lori Karolat, one of our Conference Adminstrators based in Hawaii, is the mastermind for registration. She is your point of contact for any issues you need addressed about registration -- and can reached at lori@ks.com. Lori will also be in Pittsburgh for the week of the conferences.

Questions? Suggestions? Comments?

If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact me at rma@ks.com, or Lori Karolat, Conference Administrator, at lori@ks.com

I look forward to seeing you in June! Actually -- I did see you there didn't I?


Rob Akscyn

P.S. We have extended "Early Registration" to June 1st. And don't forget -- May 29th is the cutoff for the 'conference room rate' of $105 for single or double at the Marriott City Center.