Lifelong Digital Libraries


The organisation of personal data is receiving increasing research attention due to the challenges that are faced in gathering, enriching, searching and visualising this data. Given the increasing quantities of personal data being gathered by individuals, the concept of a lifelong digital library of rich multimedia and sensory content for every individual is becoming a reality. This panel brought together researchers from different parts of the information retrieval and digital libraries community to debate the opportunities and challenges for researchers in this new and challenging area.


Recent technological advances have introduced new types of sensors (informational sensors, physical sensors) and devices (for example Google Glass or Apple’s iWatch) which allow the individual to compile vast archives of personal data. Captured over a long period of time, these heterogeneous digital libraries can provide a detailed picture of the activities of an individual and will require search, summarisation and knowledge extraction tools to make them valuable. Therefore it comes as no surprise that Lifelong Digital Libraries are receiving increasing attention within the research community . An example is NTCIR Lifelog, a new evaluation task at NTCIR-12 that focuses on the evaluation of personal digital libraries, commonly referred to as lifelogs. Apart from technical challenges arising from gathering and accessing such vast amount of data (see [1] for a detailed discussion of these challenges),  various additional aspects need to be considered that are concerned with the impact on these new technological advances both for individuals as well as for society as a whole.

This panel discussion aimed to bring this topic to the attention of the JCDL audience and motivate some of the key research challenges that  the community will need to address in the coming years. The main questions discussed include:
What are the main technical challenges for the creation and access to personal digital archives?
How to make progress towards making personal digital libraries easier for an individual to manage and extract value from?
What are the most  promising current approaches to maintain and access such archives?
In which areas are further technical advances required to improve access to such archives?
How best to motivate and encourage research in the area?
How to deal with privacy and data security challenges that arise when such archives become commonplace?
What ethical issues arise from the creation of such archives?
Who should own these archives and where should the data be hosted?
How to ensure digital  preservation of such archives?
What are the concerns and expectations of the research community towards this area in the years to come?
What will personal digital libraries look like in ten years time?
After each panel member introduced themselves, their research and expertise, they individually shared their point of view on these topics. In addition, the chairman encouraged and welcomed input and questions from the floor.

[1] C. Gurrin, A. F. Smeaton, and A. R. Doherty. Lifelogging: Personal big data. Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval, 8(1):1–125, 2014.

Cathal Gurrin, Dublin City University, Ireland
Håvard Johansen, University of Tromso, Norway
Taro Tezuka, University of Tsukuba, Japan

Frank Hopfgartner (Panel Chair)
The Future of Digital Preservation of Cultural Heritage

Strategies of Organizational Design to Promote Access and Longevity


Cultural Heritage content is increasingly being not only created digitally but also digitized. Preserving this content has been a much discussed and debated question in the Digital Libraries and Digital Humanities communities. Many concerns that have been raised around the organizational challenges. Centralized preservation is often praised for their unified access and consistency. But at the same are criticized for their reliance on the continued interest of maintainers. Alternatively, decentralized preservation leads to better longevity but often at a cost of consistency or ease of access. This panel will discuss these issues with the goal of finding a balance between these often conflicting approaches. As well as dealing with issues of privacy and ownership that often arise in Cultural Heritage collections.

To address this, we will discuss the following broad categories of questions:

What – To set the stage for discussion we need to have an idea about what we are talking about when we speak of Cultural Heritage Digital Libraries (CHDLs). What makes a digital library a cultural heritage one? What does it mean to preserve in a CHDL? Is the CHDL preservation itself? Is it preserved without metadata? How much metadata? Do we try and select and curate or do we just preserve everything? If not everything, how do we deal with bias of the preserver itself? Are there things we may not want to preserve at all? Privacy?

Who – There has been a big push by funding agency to have archival and preservation planning as part of the grant. Some people take this more seriously than others. Some in the archival field don’t feel that the scholars and artifact creators have the expertise to perform preservation tasks. So the question is who should be doing the preservation? Should we leave it to the professionals? Should preservation be an integral part of the process?

When – The question of what is worth preserving is one that many people have struggled over. There is concern that we may not preserve artifacts that we will want later, or that we will preserve junk. Does time help preservation? Should we prefer post-facto preservation over immediate preservation?

Where – There have been numerous approaches with locality of preservation. Many items are preserved close to their creation. Backups and records maintained by the digitizing entity itself. In other case the preservation is carried out by a third party who remains responsible, sometimes this is even a private company or a centralized national digital library. Other people have built exchanges of preserved forming loose confederations of preserving entities. The where in this question often has potential issues with resources, long-term survivability, and privacy. How do we balance these issues?

Why – Why do we preserve cultural heritage? Jason Scott of the Internet Archive has often taken a kind of “because it’s there” approach rooted in nostalgia of the past. Other areas view preservation as a way to prevent the disappearance of cultures and ways of life. Is there a reason beyond sentimentality or emotion? What else do we gain from preserving these materials.

Piotr Adamczyk, Program Manager, Google Cultural Institute
Unmil Karadkar, Assistant Professor, Information School, University of Texas
Katherine Skinner, Executive Director, Educopia Institute
Stacy Kowalczyk, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Dominican University

Paul Logasa Bogen II, Software Engineer, Google