Assessment of Japanese Research and Development Related to Digital Information Organization Technologies and Systems

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Report Information

WTEC Panel Report on Digital Information Organization in Japan (February 1999) is available in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format.

Workshop Information

The WTEC Digital Information Organization Panel presented its preliminary findings at a public workshop, which was held on May 12, 1998 at the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel 1401 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA.

Panel presentation on Digital Information Organization


The objectives of this study are to compare research on digital information organization (e.g., digital libraries and other electronic information access technologies and systems) underway in Japan with that in the United States, to identify opportunities for collaboration, and to suggest ways to refine the thrust of U.S. research programs. Of special interest are: Japanese infrastructure and policies to promote this new technology; new Japanese experimental facilities established for the development and evaluation of new information access technologies, including digital libraries; new search engine technologies; and interaction technologies.


The World Technology Evaluation Center (WTEC) at Loyola College receives funding via a cooperative agreement from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Additional support from the Department of Energy, DARPA, the Department of Commerce, the Army Research Office, ONR, USAF, and NASA has been received for studies in which these agencies have an interest. Panels of experts organized by WTEC have assessed or are assessing international R&D in over 30 technologies. The details of the WTEC methodology, including the reporting requirements, are documented in NSF's cooperative agreement with Loyola College. This statement of work is a brief plan for a comparative assessment of information access technologies under the provisions of the cooperative agreement for 1997-8 studies now funded by NSF.

Of interest to this study are technologies for computer-based information creation, access, and management under development that are designed to improve the input and output of information to and from computerized information systems, the ability to conduct efficient and effective searches of computerized databases including digital libraries, and the quality and usefulness of information content in those databases. These technologies are designed to address problems in existing information systems such as information overload, insufficient speed of information processing, multi-language information, and intellectual rights protection. Also of interest are the recent large scale experiments in Japan.

Task Statement

WTEC has selected a panel to conduct the study. The chair will define the scope of the study (with guidance from all of the agency sponsors) and assign each panelist a subset of the scope -- to be responsible for presenting at the Washington workshop and preparing a corresponding chapter of the panel's written report. A schedule for the study will be established, including dates for the Japan trip, Washington workshop, and completion of the report/proceedings. During the preliminary study, WTEC, with the input received from Dr. Kahaner's preliminary study, will assist the panelists by conducting electronic literature searches and by acquiring, extracting, and reproducing relevant literature. Subsequently, WTEC, with the help of an advance contractor in Japan, will organize a fact-finding trip to Japan for the panel, including site visits to relevant Japanese R&D facilities.

Following the trip to Japan, WTEC will organize a two-day workshop in Washington for presentation of the panel's findings. Over one hundred key participants from government and the private sector are expected to attend the this workshop. Copies of the visual aids will be available at the meeting.

WTEC will then produce a final report containing the proceedings of the Washington workshop, the study's overall findings, and site reports for the Japanese R&D facilities visited during the Japan trip. The complete final report/proceedings will be converted into hypertext (including all graphics and tables) and made available on the WTEC World Wide Web server. The Web service for this study will include an interactive comment page inviting community input on the study from the outset, providing a forum for international exchange of information on the topic.


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21 March, 1997; WTEC Hyper-Librarian