Excerpt from



Newsletter 11, November 1995

Prepared and issued by:
Prof. B. Hauck
Institut d'Astronomie
Universite de Lausanne


3.1 Reports on Meetings

3.1.1 Library and Information Services in Astronomy II (LISA-II)
(This report was published in "The ESO Messenger" No. 81, September 1995, p. 27)

Library and Information Services in Astronomy II (LISA-II), an IAU Technical Workshop, was held at the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Garching near Munich, Germany from May 10-12, 1995. LISA-I had been held in Washington D.C. in 1988. The aims of LISA-II were twofold: (1) to provide the opportunity for librarians of astronomical observatories and institutes to meet to discuss common problems, and ways of stimulating greater cooperation between libraries and their services; and (2) to raise discussion about the interface areas between astronomical libraries and the wide range of online and other astronomical computer-based services which are becoming ever more widespread.

Various groups of people, and disciplines, were involved in LISA-II. These included, of course, those who run astronomical libraries. The astronomical library is seeing many changes. Online and other digital information is on the increase. Wide- area telecommunication networks are commonly used for accessing and ordering new material, cross-checking references, and so on. And catalogues of library holdings are becoming automated, through DBMS-based and accompanying scanning systems.

Information science work was strongly represented. This includes information retrieval, increasingly computer network- based; indexing and searching; and the handling of information and data in very diverse forms.

Astronomers, not only those who participated, are acutely concerned with the presentation and dissemination of data and information, and ultimately knowledge.

An important part of the meeting was devoted to current evolution in electronic publishing. Representatives from many of the major publishing houses and establishments took part.

A secular trend which is quite apparent is the convergence of concerns, and often indeed of priorities, in these fields. It is always exciting to witness significant changes in the way we do things. There are attendant difficulties lurking also, especially for those who face major problems in regard to resources.

This meeting was truly international. 121 LISA-II participants from 26 countries learned about projects, research and efforts taking place all over the world. The local organisers wish to thank colleagues at ESO for help in lots of ways, which led to a very productive meeting. The help of the many sponsors of LISA-II is gratefully acknowledged. The "Friends of LISA-II" committee (Brenda Corbin, U.S. Naval Observatory; Marlene Cummins, University of Toronto; and Ellen Bouton, NRAO) worked tirelessly to facilitate participation on a wide basis.

The proceedings of LISA-II will be published as a special issue of the journal Vistas in Astronomy. The volume contains a selection of papers as well as abstracts of poster contributions. Full texts of posters can be found in the LISA-II area on the World-Wide Web at URL http://www.eso.org/lisa-ii/lisa-ii.html; some other "goodies" are also available on the Web, like the complete programme and the group photograph taken during the conference.

LISA-II once again has shown how important meetings of this kind are, especially to librarians, who have not always had a possibility to meet their colleagues personally in the past. The results will be manyfold, be they additional information about techniques and tools in information services, closer working relationships, or higher motivation in general. We are looking forward to LISA-III which hopefully will take place in the near future.

Uta Grothkopf, Fionn Murtagh, Miguel Albrecht