Elpub buttonEP Topic News: 13th June 2002

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Future of Interactive Digital Content Study
IEP Conference papers online
Funding opportunity for new media
Wharton/INSEAD Forum results
Active Worlds Version 3.3
Discreet addresses web 3D
Alertbox on hypertext design
Information Society futures
Language Technologies newsletter
Castor - data binding framework
Newspaper digital printing report
MSXML toolkit reviewed
DOM Level 2 recommended
The future for Python
FastPage Version 3.5
Filtering and rating systems
First Monday June 2002
Lucid XML Toolkit v1.0 alpha 3
Future of IST under FP6
German newspaper voice online
Domain "Porn-Napping"
FpML 2.0 Trial Recommendation
WebStandards.org relaunched
Digital heritage in EU study
XML Spy 4.4 Suite enhanced
TV Meets the Web report
VoiceXML Dialog Editor
IBM developer resources

The Future of Interactive Digital Content

In the recent reader survey, many people expressed an interest in providing feedback on topics. We have decided to initiate a Delphi style study to gather your views on the future development of interactive digital content. The results will feed into the European Commission's programme development, be reported to people taking part in the study and a summary published as part of the El.pub information service.

If you take part you need to choose one of a number of areas that you have particular expertise or interest in. You will be sent a small number of questions and asked to write a response to the questions and any other views you have about the area. The replies will be merged and summarised, possibly into alternative scenarios. These will be circulated for a second set of responses.

At this point a cross-impact matrix will be drawn up using the area results and the matrix circulated to everyone for an assessment of the impact between different outcomes in the areas.

The areas are:

• Market aspects such as business models, pay for content, e-books, convergence, mergers, ease of use

• Delivery issues such as mobility, broadband, screen size, interactive TV, finding info

• Regulation / management issues such as IPR, DRM, content management

• Creation aspects such as authoring tools, interfaces, text / video / animation, navigation, usability

If you wish to take part in the study email to mailto:delphi@ketlux.demon.co.uk and indicate which area ONLY ONE you wish to be part of in the first stage. If you think there are other important areas or topics please list them in your reply.

The study is being run by Geoffrey Stephenson the INFORM project co-ordinator.

Email: mailto:delphi@ketlux.demon.co.uk

IEP Conference papers online

Papers presented at the Interactive Electronic Publishing Conference entitled: "Multimedia Content & Tools - Towards Information & Knowledge" organised by the INFORM project are available for download from El.pub. The conference held on May 30-31, 2002 in London was used by the European Commission to both publicise and develop their thinking on how multimedia content and tools will develop prior to the launch of the next EC funding programme, FP6, which will focus on this sector. The PowerPoint presentations (available for download via the link below) include those from:

Introduction to FP6
Franco Mastroddi, Deputy Head of Unit, European Commission, Information Society DG

- Achievements of FP5 projects
- What have we learnt - what are the developing trends?
- Introduction to FP6 - what is it about? Where will it lead us?

The knowledge lifecycle,
David Worlock, Chairman, EPS
- What do we mean by 'knowledge lifecycle'?
- What processes are involved?
- Which technologies can be most effective?

Where are we now?
Paul Ormerod, Director, Synchroni Ltd
- Where have we got to in terms of multimedia content handling?
- What are the current challenges we are facing?
- Cross-sectoral case studies drawn from both the corporate and public service environments

Knowledge Technologies for the Semantic Web: Reality, Hype, Hopes and Fears
Prof. Nigel Shadbolt, AKT Project, Southampton University
- Review of technologies for knowledge management
- The role of knowledge technologies in the Semantic Web
- The achievements and aspirations of the UK funded Advanced Knowledge Technologies project

Interactive Digital Content Technologies
Anne Foster, Founder, LaneFoster
- Introduction to the session and speakers
- What are 'interactive digital content technologies'?
- Meeting the demands for content 'any time - anywhere'

Case Study - KnowledgeBoard, building a community of KM professionals
Ben Heald, Co-Founder and Director of Communities, SIFT
- Introduction to KnowledgeBoard
- Key issues and lessons learned
- Future developments - how will the community develop?

Web Publishing: Metadata, Ontologies & Semantics
Prof. Michael Wilson, Manager of the UK office of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
- The development of the cognitive approach
- The introduction of the semantic network
- The Semantic Web - past, present and future

Case Study - the Knowledge Media Institute (KMi)
Dr Enrico Motta, Director Knowledge Media Institute
- Introduction to the work of the KMi
- Multimedia content and the learner experience
- Role and strategic impact of knowledge management
- Project ONTOWEB

Case Study - IMS
Kevin Riley, Director, European Development IMS Global Learning Consortium
- Introduction to the IMS Global Learning Consortium
- Developing web technologies and their impact on education and learning
- Developing open technical specifications - supporting distributed learning

The event was attended by business development directors, technology directors, technology operatives - all those with an interest in information and knowledge systems and how they may affect their business. It provided detailed background information to all those interested in applying for funding from the European Commission for their work in this area.

FP6 Newsletter

The INFORM project has launched a FREE email newsletter with information about the 6th FP in relation to projects concerned with digital content. The newsletter appears occasionally (once every month or so) - the first issue has been published - and will point to recent information on CORDIS and in other documents, and to meetings relevant to the programme organised by the Commission and other organisations, and projects. If you are interested in receiving this free newsletter please subscribe by sending an email to the address below, with "Subscribe FP6News" in the subject field.

Email: mailto:fp6iepnews@ketlux.demon.co.uk

URL: download papers from agenda23.htm

Funding opportunity for new media

Initial Cut is an Interactive media Incubator. The SACD, Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers has taken the initiative in establishing Initial Cut to ensure new media authors and creators have the opportunity to gain a significant share of the contents market. For this, Initial Cut has set itself an overtly commercial objective, raised an appropriate budget, and recruited an operational team. The process works through an annual call for proposals. The current call closes 30th June.

URL: http://www.initialcut.com/

Wharton/INSEAD Forum results

To address the themes of risk and uncertainty, Wharton and INSEAD held an Economic Forum May 16 and 17, 2002, in Paris that drew together global leaders from business, government and academia. In their coverage of the Forum, they present insights from a number of speakers on how to best manage both the chaos and the opportunity that are part of the new business reality. Representatives of two key industries - broadcast and publishing - laid down, with surprising assurance, the directions they plan to take as part of a panel discussion on media, entertainment and technology.

URL: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/060502_ss.html

QuickTime 6 goes live

QuickTime 6 has gone live with a "Public Preview" which includes MPEG-4 Video, MPEG-4 Audio (AAC) and the MPEG-4 file format. It has an "instant on" feature, and is supported under Mac (from OS 8.6 and up) and Windows (98/NT/ME/2000/XP).

URL: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/preview/quicktime6/

Information Society futures

The PROACTe team, on behalf of the European Commission's DG Information Society have issued an invitation to the workshop on "Technologies for Major Work and Business Challenges" to take place on the 14 June 2002 in Brussels. The Workshop will enable discussion of an internal document on this subject, produced by the Commission staff based on the input provided by the constituencies in the areas of e-Work, e-Business, eGovernment and e-Learning. Further information and background documents on EC funded research on ICT for learning, including the outcomes of the Open Consultation Process on "New Research Challenges for Technology Supported Learning" can be found on via the links below.

URL: http://www.proacte.com
URL: http://www.proacte.com/challenge

Language Technologies newsletter, latest

The May 2002 issue of the Euromap Language Technologies monthly newsletter (available in English and French) has been published and includes a feature article based on research which contrasts the US and European frameworks for Human Language Technologies research and poses the question: "Are we losing ground to the US?". In addition the issue includes a monthly round-up of news, events, and EC Calls in the sector. Euromap Language Technologies is a European Commission supported intiative dedicated to promoting greater awareness and faster take-up of Human Language Technologies within Europe.

URL: http://www.hltcentral.org/euromap

Castor - data binding framework

The Castor Team and the ExoLab Group have released the latest version of Castor, an open source data binding framework enables the mapping the components of a given data format, such as SQL tables or an XML Schema, into a specific Java representation. The developers claim that this "allows developers to work naturally in the native format of the programming language, dramatically reducing development time and simplifying project maintenance". The developers encourage comment and questions via the the Castor mailing lists.

URL: Castor http://www.castor.org
URL: castor mailing lists http://www.castor.org/lists.html
URL: ExoLab Group http://www.exolab.org

Newspaper digital printing report

A report "Digital Newsprint for Roaming Readers" considers what newspaper publishers need in order to make digital newsprint economically viable and the important contribution it could make to their business. To be co-published in July, 2002 by Digital Dots and IFRA, the worldwide technical association for the newspaper industry, the report involved the participation of over 50 European newspapers. It has the potential to provide "a barometer of industry requirements for internationally distributed titles, national and regional newspapers as well as digital press manufacturers, conventional newspaper press manufactures, front end systems developers and workflow systems developers".

Topics investigated include: distribution, current digital printing technologies, benefits to advertisers, commercial viability, key target areas, roaming readers, web investments and new market opportunities. A US focussed investigation will follow this European publication. The results will be published in a variety of forms, ranging from a simple PowerPoint presentation, summarising publishers' expectations, through to the complete statistical results, analysis and commentary. Further information will be available from Digital Dots, "shortly".

URL: http://www.digitaldots.org/
URL: IFRA http://www.ifra.com/

MSXML toolkit reviewed

XML.com reports that "over the course of its development, Microsoft's XML toolkit, MSXML, has come in for criticism for its questionable adherence to standards". This review of the latest version of the toolkit, MSXML 4.0, however confirms that it not only boasts "good standards conformance, but also many useful features for the application developer" - which the author highlights for the reader.

URL: http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2002/06/05/msxml4.html

DOM Level 2 recommended

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has announced that DOM Level 2 HTML is a W3C Candidate Recommendation. The review period ends on 1 July 2002 and developers are requested to send review comments to the list below prior to this date.

URL: http://www.w3.org/TR/2002/CR-DOM-Level-2-HTML-20020605
Email: review comments mailto:www-dom@w3.org

The future for Python

O'Reilly have published "An Interview With Guido van Rossum" online, in which Python's founder talks about the future of the language and the benefits of open source development.

URL: http://www.onlamp.com/pub/a/python/2002/06/04/guido.html

FastPage Version 3.5

Internet Expressions has released FastPage Version 3.5, its web site administration tool. The software is designed to enable site administrators (web masters) to assign users with editorial permissions for editing web site content at a page and sub-page level.

URL: http://www.iexp.com

Filtering and rating systems

Test Achats, as part of the Safer Internet Action Plan's project, CISA (Consumer Internet Safety Awareness), have released their findings from a study on filtering and rating systems. The Safer Internet Action Plan's newsletter reports that: "their results indicate that good filters are probably the best way to block at least most "adult" sites". In addition the report presents facts about filtering systems and how they work along with advice on "how to get the best" from such systems.

URL: http://www.net-consumers.org/erica/policy/cisanews.htm

First Monday June 2002

The June 2002 issue of First Monday (volume 7, number 6) is available and includes the following articles:

"Electric Symbols: Internet Words And Culture";
"The Next Stage: Moving from Isolated Digital Collections to Interoperable Digital Libraries";
"The Soundproof Book: Exploration of Rights Conflict and Access to Commercial EBooks for People with Disabilities";
"Cave or Community? An Empirical Examination of 100 Mature Open Source Projects";
"Open Source Intelligence";
"Censoring the Internet: The Situation in Turkey";
"The Place of Law in Cyberspace";
"The Medical Journal Meets the Internet".

The issue also includes a selection of book reviews.

URL: http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue7_6/

Lucid XML Toolkit v1.0 alpha 3

Lucid’i.t. has released the Lucid XML Toolkit - v1.0 alpha 3, a Java API, created to simplify XML development. The core of this tool is an XML SAX1/2 parser as well as a DOM level 1 and a DOM level 2. The integration of the JAXP ensures a complete interoperability with other parsing tools. Lucid XML Toolkit allows the validation of XML documents and therefore offers a complete DTD support, and proposes a partial implementation of the XML Schemas. This version improves the stability and the quality of the parsing and constitutes the last step before the beta version set-up. A JDK 1.1.x or superior is required. For further information on Lucid XML Toolkit, or to make comments to the developers use the email below.

URL: Lucid XML Toolkit http://www.lucid-it.com/lxtk.html
URL: Lucid'i.t. http://www.lucid-it.com
Email: comments mailto:lxtk@lucid-it.com

Future of IST under FP6

As a preparation for IST under the 6th Framework Frogramme (FP6), the European Commission set up Internal Reflection Groups to identify constituencies and topics for future IST activities. Their findings provide input for discussing the way forward to FP6 with R&D stakeholders across Europe in a series of workshops. The final reports, as well as further information on preparatory workshops, can be found on the CORDIS web site.

URL: workshops http://www.cordis.lu/ist/fp6/workshops.htm

German newspaper voice online

F.A.Z. Electronic Media, the Internet subsidiary of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), a leading German financial daily newspaper, is using ScanSoft's speech products to voice-enable FAZ.NET, an electronic edition of the publication. ScanSoft RealSpeak and automatic speech recognition (ASR) SDKs are used to speech-enable the FAZ.NET Fonservice, which delivers news, stock quotes, traffic information and weather forecasts to users via mobile and fixed-line phones.

The FAZ.Net Fonservice on ScanSoft's ASR product to enable the voice-control of the service using natural German language commands. The system responds to words such as "news," "traffic" or "weather," providing users with immediate access to content and information. ScanSoft RealSpeak is used to convert FAZ.Net text content into human-sounding synthesised speech, allowing Web information to be re-purposed and read over the phone. The service is available in Germany at a cost of 0.62 Euro per minute.

URL: F.A.Z. Electronic Media http://www.faz.net/fonservice
URL: ScanSoft http://www.scansoft.co.uk

Domain "Porn-Napping"

The Filter newsletter, providing public-interest Internet news and commentary from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, includes an interesting item which considers the practice of what is described as "Domain Porn-Napping". The preamble to the piece explains:

"In casual web surfing, many an Internet user has stumbled upon a seemingly innocuous domain name that, startlingly, presents a screen full of sexually explicit images. Typically, the incident is quickly forgotten and the user moves on. But when it happened to Berkman Center Affiliate Ben Edelman upon accessing bicyclebills.com, he decided to investigate the "Tina's Free Live Web Cam" operation to which bicyclebills.com had redirected him. The result: he discovered that 4,525 distinct domains led to the same pornographic website, and that a majority of the domains had previously been registered by others - domain name owners who had allowed their registrations to expire".

Alarmed, Edelman proceeded to document the phenomenon, then posted his findings online. Follow the links below for Edelman's study, "Domains Registered for Distribution of Unrelated Content: A Case Study of Tina's Free Live Web Cam," plus selected press coverage.

URL: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/edelman/renewals
URL: The Filter online http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/filter/

FpML 2.0 Trial Recommendation

ISDA has re-published the FpML 2.0 Trial Recommendation. This version incorporates feedback on the FpML 2.0 Trial Recommendation published on January 14, 2002. Steven Lord, FpML IRD Working Group Chair has stated that the standard will not advance to a recommendation without having had successful implementations. He is requesting that readers of El.pub submit details of any implementations of the standard together with any feedback to via the email below. A copy of the standard can be obtained on the web.

Email: comments mailto:fpml-issues@yahoogroups.com
URL: FpML 2.0 http://www.fpml.org/spec

WebStandards.org relaunched

The Webreference Update Newsletter of June 10, 2002 includes a brief interview with the Web Standards Project (WaSP), originally launched in 1998, and now relaunched following a significant "makeover". WaSP originally focused on the adoption of web standards by browser and authoring tool manufacturers, but has now been expanded to encompass the wider remit as represented by web designers. As Webreference explains: "as part of their efforts to educate and convert web designers and developers, the WaSP crew plans to build up the "learn" section with tutorials and articles to help people understand and implement web standards, in addition to adding more helpful link resources".

URL: Webreference Update http://www.webreference.com/new/
URL: WaSP http://www.webstandards.org/

Digital heritage in EU study

The final report of the UK's Higher Education Digitisation Service's (HEDS) study (on behalf of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation) into the differences in practice for the sale of analog versus digital formats in heritage organisations (libraries, museums, galleries, archives) is due out in late June 2002 and will be freely available at the HEDS web site. The HEDS study covers UK and European institutions: 51 institutions surveyed, 15 institutional service providers interviewed in depth. Surveyed institutions include university, public and national libraries plus museums, galleries and archives.

A sneak preview of the survey will be presented at the HEDS Annual Conference, June 26, 2002 in London, UK. There will also be a demonstration of the Metadata Engine - a new prototype software tool that takes in scanned page images from books and journals to export XML metadata to the depth and detail on the METS metadata schema standard in a highly automated fashion. HEDS is a EU project partner in the Metadata Engine project (see link below).

URL: HEDS home page http://heds.herts.ac.uk/
URL: Metadata Engine project http://meta-e.uibk.ac.at/
URL: Metadata Engine project http://heds.herts.ac.uk/projects/projectsE.html
URL: HEDS Conference 2002 http://heds.herts.ac.uk/conf2002/conf2002.html

XML Spy 4.4 Suite enhanced

Altova, have released XML Spy 4.4 Suite, which is described as "a comprehensive product-line of developer tools for advanced XML application development, consisting of the XML Spy 4.4 Integrated Development Environment (IDE), the XML Spy 4.4 XSLT Designer, and the XML Spy 4.4 Document Editor".

XML Spy 4.4 Suite is available immediately as a free upgrade to current XML Spy 4.x Suite customers. New features include: enhanced web services standards conformance in the SOAP client and debugger; DocBook editing support; a
built-in multi-language spell-checker with support for English (British, US, Canadian), German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Dutch, Swedish, and other languages.

URL: XML Spy http://www.xmlspy.com
URL: Altova http://www.altova.com

TV Meets the Web report

For those who missed the "TV Meets the Web Seminar" on May 16-17, 2002 in Amsterdam, Van Dussledorp and Partners (the organisers) have published:

• a report on the keynote addresses and the issues raised
URL: http://www.tvmeetstheweb.com/may2002/overview.php

• several of the speaker presentations
URL: http://www.tvmeetstheweb.com/may2002/presentations.php

• interviews with speakers
URL: http://www.tvmeetstheweb.com/news/leader.asp

• a webcast of many of the key sessions
URL: http://www.tvmeetstheweb-tv.com/

VoiceXML Dialog Editor

German company, 8hertz technologies, has launched what it claims is "Europe's first web-based, VoiceXML application tool: the 8hertz Voice Dialog Editor. Using Voxpilot's pan-European VoiceXML (voice service provider (VSP), Dialog Editor provides developers with a web-based, graphical interface tool for voice application development in multiple languages".

Users receive their own personal account with PIN and a national telephone number for immediate testing. They log in, select a language (English or German, Italian, Spanish, French are planned) and are offered a set of basic functions to enable application development, including applications such as: telephone book, voice dialer, voice mails, top 10 music, and voice quizes. Other features include grammar editing and sound management, allowing users to upload their own spoken sound samples, which automatically integrate into their application.

URL: developer registration http://ode.voxpilot.com
URL: Voxpilot http://www.voxpilot.com

IBM developer resources

A couple of resources available from the IBM developer site that may be of particular interest to El.pub readers:

"Cocoon 2: Build database-driven sites" a series of tutorials on how to use Cocoon 2 to generate and publish XML and HTML content with database data. The first two tutorials in this series introduced the basic concepts of the Cocoon 2 architecture and XML Server Pages (XSP) as a means for creating and publishing dynamic XML content. This tutorial by XML columnist Leigh Dodds goes a natural step further, examining the main components in Cocoon 2 that allow you to work with information held in relational databases. Registration is required.

URL: http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/education/r-xdbc2.html?n-x-5302

"Charming Python: Book roundup, Part 3" which reviews a number of books concerned with Python.

URL: http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/library/l-pbook3.html?n-l-5302

Alertbox on hypertext design

The summary for Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox for June 9, 2002 reads: "User interface complexity increases when a single feature or hypertext link is presented in multiple ways. Users rarely understand duplicates as such, and often waste time repeating efforts or visiting the same page twice by mistake".

His company has also announced that they are working with Macromedia to develop the usability guidelines for Flash-based applications.

URL: Alertbox essay http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20020609.html
URL: Macromedia announcement http://www.macromedia.com/macromedia/proom/pr/2002/macromedia_nielsen.html

Active Worlds Version 3.3

Activeworlds has released Active Worlds Version 3.3, an addition to its 3D software. This version offers user improvements including Direct3D 8 support, faster frame rate, slide detection, coronas, skyboxes, search capability, enhanced contact list, 3 axes object rotation, new movement commands, global SDK capability and on-the-fly terrain editing and generation. The new version is available to download free at the Active Worlds Web site. For developers of 3D web enabled content, 3.3 includes a "3D URL" feature, which allows a website in whole or part to be displayed in the 3D window. This is advantageous in the use of whiteboards, streaming media, other 3D world platforms or Flash applications in a 3D world environment for such uses as education and online training.

URL: http://www.activeworlds.com

Discreet addresses web 3D

Discreet has confirmed the availability of plasma, the company's professional 3D animation software for creating 3D content for Web interface, graphics, and i3D. According to VREfresh, Jon Peddie Associates expects one million sites to be utilising 3D content and more than half a billion 3D-enabled browsers by 2007. plasma is available for purchase for US$650.00.

URL: http://www.discreet.com

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