Int J Digit Libr (2004) 4: 23–24 / Digital Object Identiﬁer (DOI) 10.1007/s00799-003-0063-7
Umberto Straccia, Costantino Thanos
I.S.T.I - C.N.R., Area della Ricerca, Via G. Moruzzi, 1, 56124 Pisa, Italye-mail:
@isti.cnr.itPublished online: 23 July 2004 –
is a system that combines severaltechnologies from the information retrieval and digital li-brary ﬁelds, where users and user communities may dealwith a rather large set of heterogeneous digital archives.
provides a highly personalized environmentwhere users may organize (and search) information spaceaccording to individual taste and use; in addition,
provides advanced features of collaborative workamong users.
Personalization – CollaborationIt iswidelyrecognizedthattheInternetisgrowingrapidlyintermsofthenumberofusersaccessingitandtheamountof
(DLs) created and accessible throughit. This has made it increasingly diﬃcult for individualsto control and eﬀectively seek information from the po-tentially inﬁnite number of DLs available on the Internet.A common characteristic of most DLs is that
they do not provide personalized support to individual users
. In prac-tice, users use the same information resources over andover again and would beneﬁt from advanced search andbrowse features to reduce the repetition of manual laborexpended only to ﬁnd documents that are identical to theﬁrst ones. Additionally, users are highly interested in be-ing able to organize information space according to theirown subjective perspective. The requirement of personal-ized search in the context of DLs is already known, andsome DLs provide related functionality ([1–5]). Many of themfallintothecategoryof
,i.e.,servicesthatnotifyauser(bysendingane-mail)withalistofrefer-encesto newdocuments deemed tobe relevant.Typically,all these services are based on the so-called notion of
(amachinerepresentationoftheuser’sinformationneed), acquired either automatically (by user–system in-teraction) or set up manually (by the user) and used to
relevantdata.Very rarely are DLs considered as
, where users may become aware of each other, open communication channels, and exchangeinformation and knowledge with each other or with ex-perts. Users usually access a DL in search of some infor-mation. This means that it is quite probable that usersmay have overlapping interests if the information avail-able in a DL matches their expectations, backgrounds, ormotivations. Such users might well proﬁt from each oth-er’s knowledge by sharing opinions or experiences or byoﬀering advice. Some users might enter into long-termrelationships and eventually evolve into a community if only they were to become aware of each other. Such a ser-vice could be important for a DL as it supplies very fo-cused information.
is indeed a DL environment supportingcollaboration and personalization at various levels, whereusers and communities may search, share, and organizetheir information space according to their own personalview and where the system generates recommendationsfor various types based on user and community proﬁles.The logical view of its functionality is depicted in Fig. 2.The digital archives to which
users have ac-cess are those adhering to the
Open Archives Initiative
Informally, the OAI is an agreement betweenseveral digital archive providers to provide some min-imal level of interoperability among them. The avail-ability of the metadata records from the OAI-compliantarchives then makes it possible for
tobuild higher levels of functionality. In this sense,
grants access to the metadata provided by thesearchives and through them access to the representeddocument (if it exists and the access is allowed). Infor-mally, the various environments are the following. The
collaborative work environment
provides a folder-based