Welcome from the Chair of JCDL 2008
Ronald L. Larsen
On behalf of the School of Information Sciences (the iSchool) at the University of Pittsburgh, welcome to our wonderful city! We are delighted to host this year’s Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, the major international forum for those working in this leading edge field. It seems appropriate that Pittsburgh play host to this type of conference. The City, once an industrial mecca, has revitalized itself through strategic efforts to foster the arts, education, and information-related industries. Pittsburgh is home to more than 25 universities and colleges, the world-famous Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the long-revered Carnegie Library System, and the headquarters of IT leaders Ariba and Vivisimo. Your visit to Pittsburgh will offer you a chance to sample the latest in digital libraries research and the vibrant beauty of this city.
The Organizing Committee has assembled a full and rich week for you, beginning with a day of tutorials, three days of conference sessions and panels, and a workshop day that will provide a fitting end to the conference. You will find challenging presentations on topics as diverse as metadata extraction, portable digital libraries on iPods, and information seeking needs of cultural heritage experts.
In addition to an excellent technical program organized by the Program Committee, you will enjoy opportunities for informal technical dialogue at the Microsoft Posters & Demonstrations reception Tuesday evening and a fun evening aboard the riverboat Majestic, featuring views of the beautiful Pittsburgh skyline. Are you up to the challenge of counting the bridges that we will sail past or under? Hint – Pittsburgh has more bridges than even Venice, Italy.
I feel sure that you will enjoy the conference venue, the elegant Omni William Penn Hotel. The Omni is known as Pittsburgh’s Grande Dame hotel, having hosted some of the world’s most prestigious events and guests, including John F. Kennedy.
Pittsburgh is a compact and very walkable city. As our conference is ideally located in the downtown Cultural District, you are within 10 minutes of the riverfront walk and four professional theaters, and 20 minutes from the famous Strip District’s restaurants, shops, galleries, and museums. Across the Allegheny River, you can visit Station Square’s shops, restaurants, and night clubs, and ride one of the two historic Inclines to the top of Mount Washington for a breath-taking view of the city skyline and surrounding area. A short bus or car ride will take you into Oakland (home of the University of Pittsburgh), where you can view world-class art at the Carnegie Museum of Art. The museum is currently hosting the 55th Carnegie International, one of the pre-eminent international surveys of contemporary art in the world, on a par with the Venice Biennale. While at the Museum, stroll down one block to experience the new exhibit "Dinosaurs in Their Time" at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
A gathering of this magnitude would not be possible without the exceptional support of the JCDL 2008 Organizing Committee, our generous sponsors, and our kind student volunteers. I truly hope you find JCDL 2008 and your visit to Pittsburgh intellectually stimulating, professionally rewarding, and personally enjoyable.