Web Magazine for Information Professionals

Editorial Introduction to Issue 32: The Grid -The Web Twenty Years On?

Philip Hunter with the editorial for Ariadne issue 32.

Issue 32 features a broad range of articles, including a second implementer perspective on setting up an e-prints server, following on from the one which appeared in the last issue. This time the experience at the University of Glasgow is featured (William Nixon). There is a related article by John MacColl on ‘Electronic Theses and Dissertations: a strategy for the UK’, and a brief Ariadne report on the first Open Archives Forum workshop, held in Pisa in May. The OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting continues to gather momentum - recently ingenta announced that they wish to become involved in the commercial development of e-prints software.

Historically Netlab is one of the most important organisations in the development of the idea of the digital library (Netlab had a WAIS server in a library before anybody else did). To mark their tenth anniversary Ariadne commissioned two articles. The first of these is an overview of the history of Netlab. This was contributed by Anders Ardö, Sigfrid Lundberg and Ann-Sofie Zettergren. The second is a report by Jessica Lindholm on the conference held at Lund University Library: ‘Netlab and Friends: Tribute and Outlook after 10 years of digital library development’. Both of these articles illuminate the continuing importance of the work towards the digital library done in Sweden.

Brian Kelly reports on another successful Institutional International Web Management Workshop held this year at the University of Strathclyde. This event is now up to number six. We were also lucky enough to get a report by Libby Miller of ILRT on the WWW2002 meeting, held this year in Waikiki, Hawaii (‘Tourist Hell’, according to Libby). Interesting to see the way wireless networks are taking off in the conference environment, and underpinning audience feedback to the organisers (the last three events attended by Ariadne were running temporary wireless networks, allowing everyone direct access to the internet from their seats). Other reports on events include an interesting one from John Paschoud, who attended the Internet 2 Spring Member meeting in Arlington, Virginia. Plus reports on a Web Archiving event, and a one-day Grid workshop in Edinburgh at the end of April. The last of these was notable for the fact that the Web Services community and Grid people are visibly coming together as it becomes clear that many of the issues faced are similar. And most of them revolve around the need for quality metadata. As Malcolm Atkinson put it on the day, metadata is ‘ridiculously important stuff’.

During the proceedings, one of the speakers articulated the idea (which Ariadne is sure has occurred to many) that when we are talking about the Grid, in many ways we are talking about a successor to the Web. And when we talk about the Semantic Web, we are really talking about the Grid.

We also have a user review of Oxford Reference Online by Pete Dowdell, of UKOLN. This follows on from the article in the last issue by the Director of the project, Dave Swarbrick.

There are numerous other interesting contributions to this rather fat edition of Ariadne. Too numerous to mention in detail. Those interested in library tools (Nick Lewis) and campus publishing software (Jonathan Maybaum) will not be disappointed. Those interested in the BBC’s recent entry into the search engine market won’t be disappointed either (Phil Bradley).

No cartoon for this issue I’m afraid. Ariadne’s excellent and popular cartoonist Malcolm Campbell has a new job as a medical statistician.

Shirley Keane assisted once again with the Newsline section, for which we are grateful.

Finally, Jessica Lindholm, who was seconded to UKOLN for five months, has recently returned to Netlab in Sweden. While here Jessica was working on the Renardus and ARCO projects, and for the duration of her stay she had on her desk a framed piece of embroidery which said simply (and profoundly): ‘Metadata Rules’. Jessica will be much missed in UKOLN, and we look forward to her visiting Bath again sometime soon.

Suggestions for articles for issues 33 to 35 are now being considered. Article proposals and books for review should be sent to: ariadne@ukoln.ac.uk.

Enjoy the issue.

Philip Hunter
Ariadne Editor