DL Interoperability, Best Practices and Modelling Foundations (DL.org)

Published on: 11/12/2009

The goal of the DL.org, Coordination Action on Digital Library Interoperability, Best Practices, and Modeling Foundations, is to create a framework where key representatives from major initiatives and on-going Digital Library related projects may collaborate, discuss experiences, exchange expertise, work on interoperability of their solutions, promote shared standards, and provide the DL community with a deeper understanding of key issues and new directions. The ultimate objective will rapidly advance research and development techniques thus facilitating the creation of a European Information Space. In using the DELOS Digital Library Reference Model as its conceptual and operational basis the project will be making an innovative attempt to achieve the above and concrete, far-reaching results that will be much broader and have a much more significant impact that any other similar effort in the past. DL.org will be active at a crucial time by executing coordination actions that target essence of integration amongst a series of many DL efforts that are currently on-going, each one acting in isolation and adopting ad-hoc solutions and methodologies. The main instrument of the project to promote interoperability among all relevant efforts consists of six thematic Working Groups composed by DL.org partners and representatives from prominent DL projects and organisations. Key expected outcomes of DL.org include

  • (i) a "Digital Library Technology and Methodology Cookbook" providing a portfolio of current best practices and patterns to facilitate cross-fertilization between existing systems and their enhancement in terms of critical interoperability issues;
  • (ii) (a consolidated and enhanced version of the DELOS Digital Library Reference Model;
  • (iii) workshops, summer schools, eCourses and dissemination activities to communicate the impact of DL.org achievements to relevant communities.

Lessons learnt

Today's society is confronted with an over-abundance of information, either old or new, either digitized or born-digital. With all this information available, there is an ever-growing need to make this information accessible; to preserve it and manage it; to support knowledge creation, sharing and re-use; and to exploit the knowledge created. Many on-going DL projects are attempting to address one or more of these challenges. Most of them, however, act in isolation and adopt ad-hoc solutions and methodologies. This results in duplicated efforts, slow progress in enhancing the quality of the developed system, and little or no interoperability with other DLs. There is an evident lack of shared understanding of concepts in the sector, which hinders communication between different projects. Furthermore, there are only very sporadic and un-coordinated opportunities for these projects to meet, present their requirements and proposed solutions, collaborate, and build a consensus on a set of best practices and standards. The lack of coordinated outreach activities makes it extremely difficult for a DL project to advance the state of the art in a way that is immediately exploitable by all DLs. As a result, the wider uptake of results generated by European DL research becomes infeasible and the creation of European Information Space stagnates.

Scope: International