Digital Library Research in Asia
Since the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the USA announced its first Digital Library Initiative (DLI) in 1994, many interesting digital library research projects have been launched, creating significant impact on computer science and library science research as well as on the IT industry. Today, digital libraries are much faster and easier to implement, as digital library toolkits are readily available in the public domain. Digital libraries are also quickly being implemented in different domain areas, including education, medical informatics, customer relationship management, etc.
In Asia, digital library technology has also caught the attention of both academia and industry. Many digital library projects at institutional, national and international levels have been or are being developed. Governments in this region, realizing the huge educational and commercial benefits digital library technology can bring, are now actively promoting digital library-related technology and applications. National libraries in this region are also creating and maintaining digital libraries as a means to extend their services.
On the conference scene, an Asian equivalent to the US ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL) has been formed, called the International Conference on Asian Digital Libraries (ICADL). ICADL has grown steadily from being a small workshop in 1998 to its current status as a full annual conference attracting more than 200 participants each year. ICADL is held in a different city in Asia each year and has successfully built up a sizeable digital library community in the region. This year, the 9th International Conference on Asian Digital Libraries will be held on 27 - 30 November in Kyoto, Japan.
In this special issue of the IEEE TCDL Bulletin, we have four articles that report on different digital library projects being conducted in Asia. Each of them provides an overview of digital library research and development in the region. While the articles by no means address all digital library issues in the Asian context, they highlight several important strategies for deploying digital library technology and provide solutions to some of the research problems relevant to countries in the region.
This special issue would not be possible without the immense efforts from the article authors. I would like to acknowledge them for their support and patience throughout this project. Lastly, I hope that with this special issue, readers will pay closer attention to the digital library activities in Asia and will consider joining the efforts to expand the field in this fast growing region.
© Copyright 2006 Ee-Peng Lim