In this issue you’ll find most of the papers of the 14th Conference of the Groupe des Cartothécaires de LIBER, which was held in Cambridge at the Cambridge University Library, from Tuesday 31 August 2004 to Saturday 4 September 2004. The title of the conference was “Map Collections and GIS or Digital Data - the death of the paper Map?” The conference consisted of two business meeting, four working sessions, visits of two libraries in London, and ended with an excursion to an number of places of interest in the Fenland area, north and east of Cambridge.

Discussions centred on the rise and availability of digital data, how libraries handle these and are used alongside traditional paper collections. Other topics were access to digital map images, initiatives for scanning, archiving of maps for preservation and disaster recovery purposes, and digitisation projects. In many presentations the use of Geographic Information Systems ( GIS) within the map library was mentioned: the use by the map librarians for collection management, by users for the production of their own maps, and to enhance remote access to the collections. GIS is having much impact on map libraries.

Usually I write an introduction to the articles, but Pete Jones, secretary of the Groupe des Cartothécaires de LIBER, wrote an excellent report on the conference, which is at the same time a good introduction to the papers and presentations. The 14 national reports presented at the conference by the national representatives will be published separately on the website of the Groupe des Cartothécaires de LIBER.

Trix Bakker

Web sites referred to in the text

GIS – Geographic Information Systems. http://www.gis.com/index.html

Groupe des Cartothécaires de LIBER. http://www.kb.nl/infolev/liber/intro.htm