Friday, October 4, 2013

2013-10-04: TPDL 2013 Trip Report

I attended the 2013 Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries (TPDL) Conference on September 22-26 in Valletta, Malta.  Although I've had papers at several of the prior TPDL (known as ECDL prior to 2011) conferences, I think this is the first one I've personally attended since ECDL 2005 in Austria.  Normally I prefer to send students to present their papers, but this year we had five full papers accepted, so I could not afford to send all the students and I went in their stead.  An unfortunate side effect of having so many papers is that between preparation and my own presentations I was unable to see as much of the conference as I would have liked.

The conference began with Herbert Van de Sompel and I giving a tutorial about ResourceSync.  Attendees registered for all tutorials and were free to attend whichever one they preferred.  We had as many as ten people in ours at one point, but more importantly we had some key people present who will be implementing ResourceSync in their organizations.  We also received some feedback and will probably reorder the slide deck to focus more on particular cases instead of a reference list of all possible capabilities and their implementation.

The main conference began with an opening keynote from Chris Borgman, reviewing the state of scholarly communication with her talk "Digital Scholarship and Digital Libraries: Past, Present, and Future".  The slides are already available, and I believe videos will be eventually be posted on the TPDL Vimeo channel, but directly form her slides the best summary is 1) Open scholarship is the norm, 2) Formal and informal scholarly communication are converging, 3) Data practices are local, and 4) Open access to data is a paradigm shift. 

I had two papers in the "Aggregating and Archiving" session following the keynote, although Herbert helped me out and presented one of them.  I first presented "On the Change in Archivability of Websites Over Time" (with Mat Kelly, Justin Brunelle, and Michele Weigle), and then Herbert presented "Profiling Web Archive Coverage for Top-Level Domain and Content Language" (with Ahmed AlSum, Michele Weigle, and Herbert Van de Sompel). 

There was a single parallel session after lunch, followed by a panel on the EU Cooperation on Science and Technology (COST), and then the Minute Madness and poster session that evening.  At the reception, they honored Ingeborg Sølvberg for her upcoming retirement.  Ingeborg has been active in the community for quite some time, and Herbert and I were PC co-chairs with her for JCDL 2012.

The following day opened with a large panel on DLs and e-Infrastructure, and then a single session that featured the eventual best paper winner, "An Unsupervised Machine Learning Approach to Body Text and Table of Contents Extraction from Digital Scientific Articles" by Stefan Klamp and Roman Kern.  In the "Architectures and Interoperability" session after lunch, I presented the paper "Evaluating the SiteStory Transactional Web Archive With the ApacheBench Tool" (with Justin Brunelle, Herbert Van de Sompel, Robert Sanderson, and Lyudmila Balakireva).  This paper quantified the negligible impact of running the SiteStory Transactional Web Archiving software on Apache systems. 

There was a single session after this on the Semantic Web, and then the conference dinner in Mdina that evening. 

The next day opened with a keynote about linked data and DLs from Soren Auer:

On this topic is a great blog post from Max Kemman entitled "The Future of Libraries is in Linking".   Max covers the entire TPDL from the point of view of linked data and I think he's spot on.

In the closing session, I presented two papers: "Resurrecting My Revolution: Using Social Link Neighborhood in Bringing Context to the Disappearing Web" (with Hany SalahEldeen), and "Who and What Links to the Internet Archive" (with Yamin AlNoamany, Ahmed AlSum, and Michele Weigle). 

We were fortunate enough to have Yasmin's paper win "Best Student Paper"!  Scott Ainsworth's paper was a nominee for this award at JCDL 2013, but this represents the first win for our research group!  Congratulations to Yasmin and Ahmed!

After the close of the conference, I had the opportunity to do a little bit of touring with George Buchanan and Annika Hinze, going to the Tarxien Temples and then to the picturesque fishing village of Marsaxlokk.  Most of the following day on Thursday was spent getting back to US, in time to watch Va Tech beat Ga Tech.  Additional photos can be found in TPDL 2013 flickr pool

Next year, JCDL and TPDL will be held together September 8--12 in London.  George Buchanan is the conference chair and the web site for the conference will be available soon. 


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