Indo-US Workshop on


Open Digital Libraries and Interoperability

Holiday Inn at Ballston, Arlington, VA, USA

June 23-25, 2003


Funded by


Fulbright House, 12 Hailey Road, New Delhi 110011 INDIA

(ref. Approval Order IUSSTF/WS/Q3- 35 Digital Library/2002, 5 May 2003)


Internet Technology Innovation Center (Virginia, USA)


Organized by

In USA: Virginia Tech and Old Dominion University

In India: Indian Institute of Science and University of Mysore





Edward A. Fox (

Department of Computer Science

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

660 McBryde Hall – Mailcode – 0106

Virginia Tech., Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA


N Balakrishnan

Division of Information Science

Super Computer Education Research Centre

Indian Institute of Science



Shalini Urs

Department of Library and Information Science

University of Mysore, Manasgangotri

Mysore-570 006, INDIA


Mohammad Zubair

Department of Computer Science

Old Dominion University

Norfolk, VA  23529



Draft Workshop Report

  1. Vision
  2. Mission
  3. Expected Outcomes
  4. The Meeting
  5. Results and Tenor of the Meeting
  6. Summary of papers and Presentations
  7. Breakout Presentations
  8. Recommendations
 “Books are my friends; Books are my teachers; Learning improves creativity; Creativity leads to knowledge; Knowledge empowers me; hence, books are our friends.”


Poem from Dr. Abdul Kalam, President of India in a telephone talk with the Coordinators of the Workshop


Draft Workshop Report



An Indo-US DL Forum, sustaining Indo-US collaboration on digital libraries, to:



To explore possibilities for collaboration in the development of digital library technology in India and US, expand the amount of full-text, multimedia, and metadata content, and pursue inter-continental joint research on digital libraries.

Expected outcomes


The Meeting

Forty people representing different organizations and agencies from two countries met in Holiday Inn in Arlington, VA, outside Washington D.C during June 23-25, 2003 to explore collaboration between India and US related to the rapidly growing field of digital libraries. Participants included government officials from India and US responsible for programs in education, digital libraries, and other areas of research; researchers in the US and India in the area of digital libraries, digital infrastructure, and processing; and representatives of providers and consumers of digital library data. Their deliberations covered many dimensions, from content management to technology to policy. Key content areas considered included health/medical/bio-sciences, culture/history/language, and education. It was clear that   making very large numbers of computer across the two countries work together (“interoperate”), with reasonable performance, leveraging investments in networking and declining prices of storage, posed many technical challenges. The Meeting resolved to work towards addressing these challenges.


The Workshop Programme:


The Programme consisted of  -


Results and Tenor of the meeting


Summary of Papers & Presentations


After the registration, Co-coordinators Edward Fox and Shalini Urs extended a warm welcome to the delegates. Ed Fox set the program moving by outlining the structure of the three day meeting and Shalini  Urs traced the milestones in Indo-US collaboration program as a backdrop to the Meeting. N Balakrishnan in his keynote address discussed the issues and  challenges of taking a million books to the Web.  Reducing the human overhead in obtaining information from Digital Library and general web resources, while retaining the valuable contents, was the problem addressed by Gio Wiederhold in his keynote talk on “Increasing the Information Density in Digital Library Results”. Stephen M Griffin and Zia Lee from NSF highlighted the digital library initiatives in USA in the third keynote talk.


During the workshop over 20 presentations were made. The deliberations took place on several key issues dealing with Open Archives Initiative (OAI), Web archives, Multi-lingual content, Protocols, Data Security, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Metadata, Data mining, Networking, etc.


V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice Chairman, University Grants Commission, India gave an overview of the status of “digitization in Indian Universities”.


S. Ramani, who discussed technical aspects of the Indian Education System, in particular regarding network capabilities, attracted immense interest. He presented a paper on “Digital Libraries for Colleges”.


Jagadish Arora presented a paper on “INDEST Consortium: consortia-based subscription to electronic resources”, where the benefit of Consortia-based Subscription is also passed on to other educational institutions.


Sunder Singh touched upon issues like content for digitization, creation of digital resources and management of language resources, standards, technologies, skill development and IPR in his talk on “Digital Provide: an Indian experience”.


T.A.V. Murthy presented an over all picture of the problems arising out of dealing with multi-lingual issues associated with Indian modern languages while digitizing and using Unicode based metadata.


T.B. Rajashekar talked about improving the visibility of  Indian Research. He proposed that India evolve a network of distributed, interoperable institutional digital research repositories covering, to begin with, research output of academic institutions and public-supported research laboratories. 


Sadagopan  in his  presentation on “Libraries in Higher Education”  took stock of independent developments in digital library efforts, and challenges in their integration, particularly from a developing country perspective with limited access to computing resources. 


Sathyanarayana    presented an approach for libraries to develop local archiving models as an extension of their e-journal consortia. 


Shalini Urs presented the complexities and intricacies of Indian languages and scripts, the enormous advantages of the XML-Unicode environment and the Vidyanidhi approach and their experiment in successfully taking Indian language theses to the Web.


Speakers focusing particularly on DL projects and research included Dave Fulker, author of a paper on enhancing Science Education through a Partnership of Digital Libraries, in which he explained the NSDL vision. He identified  four facets of advancement and the challenges for that.


Martin Halbert explained the OCKHAM initiative - a working group   sponsored by the Digital Library Federation to investigate digital library architectural approaches that might foster greater interoperability and affordability of such infrastructure.


 Thomas B. Hickey presented “Web Services for Digital Library Construction using Standard Protocols”. The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) is an international consortium focused on furthering the interoperability of digital libraries (DLs) through the use of "metadata harvesting". 


Michael L. Nelson presented U. S. Government use of the OAI. 


The OpenURL Framework is about the delivery of highly targeted information services in an intuitive way.  Regarding this general mission, Eric F. Van de Velde invited everyone to think imaginatively about new ways of putting this tool to work.


Mohammad Zubair presented Kepler and related tools that can be used for building communal digital libraries, building upon personal collections supported by client-side tools.


The importance of metadata in digital libraries underlies the development of schemas such as Dublin Core and frameworks for interoperability such as RDF; this was addressed by Padmini Srinivasan.


Stephen Helmreich focused on those tools, resources, and areas of research that might be of value for developing and enhancing the value of digital libraries, and particularly those that might be of value in Indo-US collaboration.


Culture and “Cyber infrastructure: the need for a cultural informatics” was the topic of the talk given by Gregory Crane. He focused on the problem of cultural communication: understanding cultures, our own and those of others very different from us, and communicating our understanding both of ourselves and of others to the rest of the world.


Bob Allen presented paper on “Event gazetteers and timelines for history and cultural access”. He explained how special tools could help us manage available information such as from collections of newspapers, turning them into usable digital libraries.


Ching-chih Chen presented the potential of Global Memory Net, in that  her NSF/International Digital Library Project, has expanded the original Chinese Memory Net to include invaluable cultual and heritage resources of countries around the world.  She hopes that Indian Memory Net can be a part of the global digital network

Breakout Session Presentations

There were two sets of breakout sessions, with three groups discussing the same general issues, and then reporting in plenary for group discussion. All breakout sessions were asked to develop recommendations in three areas: content, technology, and policy. The first breakout session focused on putting forward a research agenda. The second breakout session focused on putting forward an action plan: moving these recommendations to proposals involving funding sources, collaboration, sustainability, and plans for future work.


The following are the key recommendations of the Workshop:

A. Follow on Workshop

1.       The Workshop was an important land mark in fostering and promoting US- India collaboration in the area of digital libraries.

2.       In order to realize the full significance of the progress made at this Workshop and to build on the interest & the momentum generated, it is strongly recommended that a follow on Indo-US Workshop be held in India sometime in 2004.

3.       Consideration should be given to solicit support from institutions such as the NSF, Ford Foundation, Andrew Mellon Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other organizations in the USA for funding the US part of the expenses for the forthcoming Workshop and/or other future collaborative activities.

4.       The following organizations/institutions could be approached for funding the Indian part of the expenses and the organization of the Workshop and/or other future collaborative activities:

o           Indo-US Science and Technology Forum

o           DST to support the same if requests are made jointly to NSF- DST

o           Department of Culture

o           MHRD

o           UGC/INFLIBNET

o           DBT/MIT

o           Department of IT and BT, Government of Karnataka

o           and others.


B. Major areas of Collaboration

·                               Languages/culture/history

·                               Education

·                               Bio/medical/health

·                               Performance/networking/storage


C. People

Makeup of the coordinating group – – stakeholders

·             Researchers

·             Funding agencies / sponsors – representatives

·             DL practitioners

·             Government and other policy level representatives

·             Industry

·             Users (scientists, teachers)

D. Content and Collection Development

·                               Analog/Print Resources

·                               Born digital materials

·             Theses / Dissertations

·             Culture-specific literature

·             Flora/fauna (with connections to genomics)

·             Biodiversity

·             Geo-based: water flow, weather

·             Enhanced open source collections in other areas, as available


E. Content /Collection Management

F. Services
G. Education and training
H. Research

The workshop identified the following areas of research:

I. Infrastructure development
J. Funding – possible sources:


K. Plan of Action

·                               Publicizing the workshop report by putting it on WWW

·                               Opening participation in collaboration

·                               Establishing a coordinating group

·                               Forming teams for preparing collaborative project proposals

·                               Organizing the next workshop

·                               Work towards institutionalizing Indo-US collaboration

L. Key Topics for Future Discussion


M. Coordinating groups – Goals:

Site last updated 10/18/2003 by Edward A Fox  (, Ramesh C Gaur ( and Mini Ulanat (