Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics it is our pleasure to welcome you to Charles University whose historical premises at Karolinum will host for the next three days the 4th International Conference on Library and Information Services in Astronomy.
We are proud that so many experts in the field of this Conference decided to take part in the event that has been co-organised by our staff members. We consider this to be a nice contribution to celebrating 50 years of existence of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, which is involved, amongst other activities, also in teaching astronomy. It is very symbolic that reputable astronomers and experts in information services in astronomy meet in Prague, which was once the city of the famous astronomers Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe.
A few days ago I learned from Professor Wolf, the chairman of local organizing committee, about the main goals and expected results of your conference. Amongst many items of your full program, two appeared relatively close to my expertise and experience. My professional background is biophysics. Thus my work is also connected with optical microscopy, and therefore I relatively well understand your interest in developing digital means of publishing papers and books on astronomy, which are often heavily loaded with pictures. Another interesting goal of this conference concerns different ways of helping developing countries. For obvious reasons this sounds familiar to scientists and university teachers in this part of Europe. About 10 years ago we could enjoy the help of the European Community that was delivered to our Universities within the framework of the Tempus program. A lot of good work was done for money that was far from reaching any astronomical numbers and that was reasonably allocated. Hopefully, you will be able to formulate some ideas that may be useful in a similar way for those countries that still need this kind of help. \medskip
Let me finish this address by wishing your conference real success and you all to enjoy also the beauty of Prague. Welcome to our city and get in touch with the history of astronomy you can feel here.
Prof. Jaromír Plásek
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