Magazine article Computers in Libraries

DVD Front and Center at SIGCAT '97

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

DVD Front and Center at SIGCAT '97

Article excerpt

The Emerging Technology track was the hottest one of the conference.

The Special Interest Group on CD Applications and Technology (SIGCAT) held its sixth annual conference May 18-22 at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Virginia The theme of what is billed as the "world's leading conference on CD technology" was "Conference on Convergence," and it focused on the ways in which CD technology is converging with the Web, document management, and other synergistic information technologies. Over 1,000 attendees made their way to Reston for the four days of sessions, for a day of preconference tutorial workshops, and to visit the nearly 100 exhibitors.

SIGCAT president and founder E. J. "Jerry" McFaul welcomed attendees with the observations that. "So many technologies are `converging' around us that the term is already practically a cliche. But it does reflect a trend that affects us all, particularly those of us in the information technology professions. The CD industry, even though it is going into its 12th year, is still blessed with incredible innovation and energy, resulting in many new and emerging developments in the field. DVD, DVD-ROM, packet writing, CD-RW, and other developments will be shaping new applications over the next several years. SIGCAT '97 will focus on these developments and provide insight as to where the industry is going and how fast we can get there."

Similar sentiments were expressed by keynote speakers at the opening plenary session. These dignitaries included Michael Grainger of KonnectSoft Limited; Robert Unterberger, vice president of Eastman Kodak; and Mark Schaefer, deputy assistant secretary for water and science, U.S. Department of the Interior.

Organized by program chair Simon Cargill, chief of publications policy with the U.S. Geological Survey, SIGCAT '97 was planned around five four-day tracks, each complemented by a preconference tutorial workshop. The tracks were Document Management, produced by Terry Menta of Emerge Consulting; Multimedia and Computer-Based Training, produced by Thomas McLaren, contributing editor for CBT Solutions; Emerging Technologies and DVD, produced by Hugh Bennett of Forget Me Not Information Systems and contributing editor for EMedia Professional; Networked Solutions, produced by Rubin Nieves, network analyst with HIS, Inc.; and Connected CDs, produced by David Guenette, editor of EMedia Professional magazine.

Judith Lamont, editor of SIGCAT's bimonthly DISCourse newsletter and technical journal, commented that: "Of the five tracks, Emerging Technology with its preconference workshop `A Journeyman's Guide to DVD, CD, MO, and PD' by Hugh Bennett and Paul Nicholls and conference sessions on DVD clearly attracted the most attention. After a long development period in which standards and copyright protection were being established, DVD products are now entering the market. The great appeal of DVD-ROM is a capacity ranging from 4.7 GB (the capacity of about seven CD-ROMs) to 17 GB, depending on the particular type of DVD disc."

Lamont continued that the Emerging Technologies sessions "helped sort out the various flavors of DVD, including the read-only DVD-ROM, DVD-Recordable, and the rewritable DVD-RAM. Compatibility with existing CD products was also a key issue. Although all DVD drives were compatible with CD-ROM discs, some first-generation DVD drives did not support CD-Recordable discs. The industry is quickly moving to a second generation which does, however, through use of a dual laser system as in Sony and Hitachi's products. …

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