PersDL 2007

10th DELOS Thematic Workshop on

Personalized Access, Profile Management, and Context Awareness in Digital Libraries

Foreword
Aims and scope
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Aims and scope

Future digital libraries require new solutions to several problems related to content organization, information access, and user-system interaction. A key characteristic of emerging systems will be customizability of their behavior, in particular, taking into account the various characteristics, preferences, and needs of individual users or groups of users, as well as the context in which these users interact with the system. Presently, there are many research efforts within various fields that are trying to address several research problems that arise when developing such systems. Most of these efforts are associated with the general notions of "personalization" and "contextualization". which are nevertheless, interpreted quite differently by researchers coming from different research areas. For example, context could represent the processing power of peers and the network throughput; or it could be seen as the knowledge domain of the user; or even the set of external interaction conditions. As the meeting point of several diverse fields, Digital Libraries encompass many existing notions of personalization and contextualization and would benefit greatly from a common, broader definition of them that would cover all views and needs.

In personalizing the behavior of digital libraries (or any other system for that matter), there are three major stages one has to go through, each one raising its own rich set of problems: user modeling, where particular user characteristics, interests, preferences, abilities, etc., are identified as critical for the applications of concern and placed within an appropriate framework or model; user profiling, where through observations of a user s behavior or through direct input, a particular profile for the user is created following the structure of the user model of choice; personalization, where the particular profile is used to modify some aspects of the system behavior. These three stages may be similarly identified for contextualization, giving rise to analogous sets of research problems. Furthermore, exploring the possible relations between contextualization and personalization is of particular interest. First, contextualization can be used as a personalization mechanism by viewing a user s profile as a particular case of context. Alternatively, users may have different profiles depending on the context in which they operate each time.

Personalization and contextualization may affect the overall user experience when interacting with digital libraries at different levels: content selection, where different users are provided with different content according to their interests, background, preferences, and context; content presentation, where the content presented to a user may be adjusted to the user's knowledge and preferences, or the displaying device used, e.g., in summarized or extended form, or in different layout and colors; user interaction, where personalized navigation shortcuts, guided tours, and companions may be introduced; and services provision, where different services may be offered to different users and these may be customized according to the needs and preferences of the users or their context. Such mechanisms would also affect various components of the architecture of a digital library system: from designing the user interface, enhancing and reformulating the user query, implementing query routing in a digital library federation, to managing the actual data at the database level. It is therefore imperative that people working at the different components of a digital library system clarify their view of contextualization and personalization and describe the ways and degree to which these can be applied to their components of interest.
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