Aloha! Bon Jour! Hallo! Hola! Ciao! And thus began the Fourth Conference on Library and Information Services in Astronomy (LISA IV), held in Prague, Czech Republic from July 2-5, 2002. Over one hundred participants from twenty-seven countries met for the purpose of discussing a variety of topics that centered around the theme: Emerging and Preserving: Providing Astronomical Information in the Digital Age.
LISA IV created a venue for astronomers, database specialists, publishers and librarians to verbalize and demonstrate their joys and frustrations with astronomical libraries and the environments in which they function. Whereas, on the one hand, we librarians agreed that we are living in the most exciting time ever for information retrieval and dissemination, we are, on the other hand, sensitive to a fragile coexistence with current technologies and the communities we serve. In addition to the oral presentations and panels, a record number of poster papers were submitted. These program additions enabled us to pause and reflect on a myriad of topics that ranged from new digitization projects to rare book collections.
Of course, none of the meeting's success took place without the behind -the -scenes efforts of many people. Peter Hingley's analogy best described the essence of the situation: "Running a meeting such as this one is rather like watching a swan swim, everything appearing as smooth sailing above water, while below their feet are paddling madly in an effort to get where they're going…." The Friends of LISA IV (FOL) committee once again worked miracles in soliciting financial support from our corporate and individual colleagues. Of particular note, our thanks go to Ellen Bouton, Brenda Corbin, Marlene Cummins and Ron Enders.
We also wish to acknowledge the Local Organizing Committee, whose attention to miniscule details provided us with a smooth transition from start to finish. We give heartfelt thanks to Michaela Crliková, Martina Kovárová, Milena Kucová, Petr Pudivitr, Ladislav Subr, and especially to Radka Svasková and Marek Wolf, Co-chairs of the LOC, for a lifetime of wonderful memories that were acquired during our stay in the magical city that is Prague.
We want to thank Bill Hartkopf and Brian Mason (USNO astronomers and LaTex gurus) who gave us enormous help throughout the preparation, Gregory Shelton (USNO Library) who cheerfully assisted with many tasks, Dennis Crabtree (NRC Canada) who willingly assisted with image conversions, Malia Mallchok (CFHT) who also graciously offered LaTex help, and, of course, the SOC, for their invaluable expertise and support.
Last, but not least, these proceedings were prepared with the help of Brenda's husband, Tom Corbin and Liz's husband, Gordon Bryson without whose emotional and editorial support we probably could not have completed the task at hand. In addition to editorial support, Tom Corbin also formatted the photographs and provided computer assistance on all aspects of these proceedings.
In short: thanks to all. It was a great meeting!
Brenda Corbin, Liz Bryson, Marek Wolf, The Editors
© Copyright 2003 U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, DC, USA