The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 23, Number 2
1999


News

European Network for Conservation Education

In November 1997, representatives of 30 European academic institutions providing education and research in conservation met in Dresden to discuss the establishment of a network to promote the exchange of ideas, teaching and research. They agreed on a constitution, elected an interim board to prepare for a General Assembly, and later published a record of the meeting.

In 1998 they met in Copenhagen and decided to call the organization ENCoRE (European Network for Conservation-Restoration Education). Rene Larsen of Denmark was elected chairman of the board; Anne Bacon of the UK was elected the Special Affairs Officer, and the remaining four board members are from Germany, Austria, Belgium and Portugal.

One of the main objectives of ENCoRE is exchange of information and ideas between member organizations and with other partners on an international basis. It will promote research and education in conservation of the cultural heritage, based on the directions and recommendations in the E.C.C.O. guidelines and the "Document of Pavia" of October 1997. Emphasis will also be placed on the integration of institutions within Eastern Europe, which took an active part in setting up ENCoRE.

For other plans, activities and policies of the organization, see the IIC Bulletin for August 1999, p. 2-3; or the website, http://www.kulturnet.dk/homes/ks/encore/or write to the Chairman, Rene Larsen at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Conservation, Esplanaden 34, 1263 Copenhagen K, Denmark.

A Master's Degree in Digital Preservation

The National Preservation Office at the British Library reported in the January NPO Journal that an MPhil course [program] in Digital Preservation Studies has been developed at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. It is expected to provide students with the background skills that they need to manage digital information resources and electronic records in libraries, archives and records centers. For more information, go to the website of the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute, http://www.hatii.arts.gla.ac.uk/.

World Survey of Digitized Collections Planned

The IFLA Core Programs for Preservation and Conservation (PAC) and Universal Availability of Publications (UAP) are working together, on behalf of UNESCO, to survey digitization programs in major cultural institutions, in order to establish a "virtual library" of digitized collections worldwide. The two IFLA Core Programs correspond nicely to the two goals of UNESCO's Memory of the World program: preservation of documents and collections, and improvement in access to them.

The project began in 1998 with the distribution of questionnaires to national libraries about their digitization programs and how they are preserving the digital records they make. It will result in a freely accessible database on the UNESCO website <http://www.unesco.org>

Standards Organizations Predict E-Books' Success

The second annual workshop on innovations and standards in the electronic book industry, sponsored by NISO and NIST, will be held September 21-22, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The sponsors predict the e-book will redefine opportunities for the information industry. Users can now "carry" in one small unit 10 to 100 books. The newer models of e-books, according to NISO's flier, are leaner, lighter, less expensive, and have higher screen resolutions. Users can still mark their place with an electronic bookmark, write notes in the margins, highlight and underline text. They can change the font size, look up words in the included dictionary, and download books directly from the Internet.

The workshop will focus on standards, content, and applications. Presentations will deal with web-based electronic books, new e-book enabling technologies, progress on the Open Electronic Book Standard, digital rights management, and accessibility, among other things. For registration information see the Coming Events list, for Sept. 21-22; for additional information contact Nancy Knight at 301/654-2512, or e-mail: nisohq@niso.org.

Way to Go!

Researchers from Michigan Technological University report in the August issue of Nature Biotechnology that they have developed aspen saplings that grow nearly twice as fast as normal trees and contain about 50 percent less lignin and 15 percent more cellulose through gene modification. (From TAPPI Online, a weekly newsletter for TAPPI members, July 30)

Library Binding Institute Moves to New Office

The LBI moved in June to another address in the same town, with new telephone and fax numbers too:

Library Binding Institute
5241 Lincoln Drive, Suite 321
Edina, MN 55436-2703
Tel: 612/939-0165
Fax: 612/939-0213
E-mail: info@lbibinders.org

The LBI Booktesting Laboratory at the Rochester Institute of Technology has moved twice and is now in a temporary location until a new building is built. Werner Rebsamen is there, at the School of Printing Management and Sciences, College of Imaging Arts & Sciences, RIT, Rochester, NY 14623-5603.

5F

Machine Translation is Alive and Well

The Association for Machine Translation in the Americas sent out an announcement in June about a special price to members for subscriptions to the journal Machine Translation, and since the Association had its 50th birthday only recently, it assessed the state of the art for its members' benefit. Here are the first two paragraphs:

"As the study and practice of machine translation enters its 51st year, it is gratifying to see how vibrant this enterprise is. Machine translation started the work in computational processing of human language, and--together with information retrieval, speech recognition, and text summarization--is increasingly in demand today. Thanks to the World Wide Web and electronic mail over the Internet, local and international communication is increasing at a phenomenal rate. Different communities, including the commercial, scientific, educational, and entertainment, are gradually developing their own specialized needs and styles. Many of these require translation. Our MT systems help.

"They do not, however, fully satisfy. One thing has become clear during the past fifty years: language is not simple! Machine translation theory continues to develop at a steady pace, but remains a long way from enabling us to build systems that produce high quality output in unrestricted domains. The gradual inclusion of increasingly abstract semantic rules and representations, and the recent advent of statistics-based techniques for learning translational correspondences of words and word patterns, illustrate just how complex the task really is, and how far we have still to go."

There are associations for machine translation in the Americas, Asia and Europe, united in an international association in the early 1990s. The website of AMTA is http://www.isi.edu/natural-language/organizations/AMTA.html.

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