Project Management Report Stanford Digital Library Project 2000-2001

Project CS98-92A DLI2

Financially, this has been a somewhat difficult year, due to the DLI funding delays. We have had to temporarily divert resources, and cover some expenses from other sources. The uncertainties also prevented us from recruiting graduate students as aggressively as we would otherwise have been able to.

Nevertheless, in part due to the cooling of the economy, we did make progress hiring a programmer. And we will try to recruit at least one new Ph.D. student from among the incoming group, now that DLI funding is more of a known quantity.

We structure our management report into the following sections. The Personnel section summarizes our hiring activities, as well as the distribution of students among the various subactivities. The Student Management section explains how we ensure project cohesion and progress monitoring. The section on Interlib collaborations explains our ongoing activities with our partners at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, the San Diego Supercomputer Center, and the California Digital Library. Section Outside Contacts, finally, summarize our activities outside of our Interlib home.

1. Personnel

We were fortunate in that we were able to hire a full-time programmer, Gary Wesley. A fraction of his time is covered by DLI2. He came on board during this past reporting period, and he is already contributing to the project. His initial assignments include maintenance of the Webbase archive, programming for the medical tablet, and work on the mechanical aspects of the new squeezable interface. Gary is very knowledgeable in these areas and has demonstrated that he can generate ideas of his own, and that he can effectively act upon the ideas of others.

The following students are currently actively engaged in DLI2 activities:

Orkut BuyokkoktenHandheld interfaces
Brian CooperArchiving
Arturo CrespoArchiving
Karen GrantInformation Wall
John HuangDistribution of personalized information
Pranav KantawalaSqueezable interfaces
Wang LamWebbase
Mor NaamanDistribution of personalized information
Sriram RaghavanWebbase
Jairam RanganathanSqueezable interfaces
Rebecca WesleyLibrary issues
Beverly YangPeer-to-peer protocols

Many are working together, although, of course, each student has his or her specific research topic.

We were lucky in that we again had the opportunity to partially fund Rebecca Wesley, who is a trained librarian. Having library science skills on the project is very important to us. In addition to helping with library-related questions, Rebecca assists us in tracking the thinking in neighboring communities, such as Library Science. In particular, she covers some of the Library Science conferences, where our Computer Science students tend not to submit papers as much.

2. Student Management

In spite of the differing specialties of these students, we hold weekly meetings of the entire project. This allows all of us to keep up with the activities throughout the project as a whole. We often invite speakers; other times one of the students presents ideas that need discussion. Sometimes, when a student is about to present a paper at a conference, we use the plenum meeting time for practice talks.

In addition to this plenum meeting, we have several smaller, more focused meetings with subgroups of the students. For example, the Webbase group meets weekly to coordinate work and report on the past week's progress. This coordination has become particularly important since we have started to work with 'customer' institutions outside of Stanford. Similarly, students interested in exploring the use of peer-to-peer technologies for information access meet weekly to discuss ideas.

Every student, both Masters and Ph.D. level, meet at least once every week with a faculty member or the project director. This meeting time is used for intense work on specific issues, and on review of the past week's progress.

3. Interlib Collaboration

We had two formal management meetings during the reporting period. One was hosted at Berkeley, the other at Stanford. In addition, we have one-to-one contacts among the students. These one-to-one contacts are the direct result of the formal management meetings, where we brought each other up to date on current activities in each project. For example, Sriram, one of our Ph.D. students, is working closely with a counterpart at Berkeley to enable Berkeley's use of our Webbase development.

In addition to the high-level formal meetings, individual researchers have also been meeting in person. For example, a meeting between one of our Stanford group and Bertram Ludaescher of SDSC led to the idea of using Berkeley's Cal Flora and Santa Barbara's Gazetteer as test cases for mobile online access. Similarly, meetings with John Ober of the California Digital Library (CDL) brought up the opportunity to access several CDL collections.

4. Outside Contacts

We have not limited our collaborative contacts to our Interlib partners. The group of Luis Gravano at Columbia University has been using materials from our Webbase to conduct experiments in the context of their own Digital Library efforts. The University of Washington is one of our 'clients' as well.

Large numbers of visitors continue to show strong interest in our group. They come from all over the world, stopping by to talk to various members of the group.

Every year we have had a visitor from Japan, who stayed for a full year. These visitors come from Japanese research labs and are funded by their company. Even though these visitors may choose to participate in any of the Stanford projects, for the past several years, they have chosen the Digital Library project as the place to invest their efforts. These 'alumni' of the project often return for short visits, where they bring us up to date on the work they have been engaged in subsequent to their time with our project.

Being a research group, we pay strong attention to publishing opportunities. We have again been very successful in this area. This success in staying visible has made many new collaborations possible in the past.