you had the chance to see Zagreb and what are your first
impressions about the things you have seen and people you
I am here for the first time and I have seen a little bit
of it, but I want to see more. I got lost and I went for
a run in a park. Tomorrow I am going to Maksimir. I hope
to see the old town, too. Everyone was very friendly. Apart
form the sightseeing, I've just been here on the conference
but impressions are of a beautiful, well-preserved town.
Most of the towns in the U.K. have had the centers destroyed
either by developers or during the war, either way the effect
is the same. A lot of old buildings are gone and there is
a lot of ugly new buildings but here is a lot of old buildings
and the height is lower and there's not so many high-rise
office blocks. If it stays the same it could be very big
tourist attractions, there are not so many cities in Europe
that are like that.
How come that you chose to come to Croatia and this conference?
I think it's important for us to promote international collaboration
in this area because the Internet doesn't know anything
about borders and boundaries so we should develop working
practices that mirror that, if we're trying to build high
quality services on the Internet, particularly for small
countries like England for example and Croatia as well.
We need to make a lot of international contacts and collaboration
because there is a huge amount of resources internationally.
It's in our interest to allow our users to access those
high quality resources from around the world and the best
way to build that is to make our work available to other
people so that we can have exchange agreements and they
would make their work available to us.
Have you come just to teach or you think that there are
things to learn here?
There's lot that I can learn here. I've already learned
several things and later today I'm going to have a tour
around the faculty here, where, I understand, are several
secularities including virtual reality work going on here
and I hope to learn a lot. I think that, as I said, the
collaboration is important for us as well. We need to get
out to see what other people are doing and I have been very
"We" meaning your faculty?
Well, yes. I work in a research unit in the university,
there is about 65 of us and we are probably the leading
unit in the country for developing research technology but
particularly focused on researchers ad lecturers and we
also run a number of international services. So it is very
important for us to find out what is happening in that area
in other countries and to develop working relationship.
Because if you're trying to build a catalog of the Internet
you need people who speak languages and people from different
cultures and people with different expertise to be able
to do that so it is very important for us.
What are negative influences of Internet regarding the
information (do people lose the sense of evaluating information;
important from unimportant)?
Well, one of the negative things about the Internet is that
the new users, particularly student users, tend to think
that if it's on the Internet it must be true and that is
a big mistake to make. There are a lot of things on the
Internet that are not true either because someone is really
maliciously trying to mislead but usually just because there
is all sorts of rubbish out there just lying about and you
don't always know where that came from, who said it and
so on. That is why a lot of our work focuses on issues like
where that information came from, who said it, can I really
believe that they said it, that is why things like digital
signature are going to be so important, because you'll be
able to rely on the fact that information has come from
a particular place. It is up to date, has this web page
been put on yesterday, will it change tomorrow or is it
five years old and no longer relevant and what do my colleagues
from around the world think of this? Have they recommended
it or do they think it's not worth looking at? So all those
issues are very important to taking the Internet from its
current stage where there is lots of stuff and you have
to make your own mind up individually about what is good
and what's not taking it to a real high quality of information
they find there.
What could be possible solutions for better and easier
search for information on Internet?
One of solutions is to share data, to share information
as I said earlier. Not one library however big it is can
take responsibility for making judgments on the whole of
the Internet. So you here have specialists on this geographical
area, you have language specialist that can comment on resources
that are relevant to your history and your culture and so
on. Our librarians in the U.K. would not be able to make
those judgments and the other way around. So, we can share
our data and that way we can rapidly build a high quality
international library. So, I think that is the first thing:
to share the data. Second thing is to follow the international
standards, so there are emerging standards like the Dublin
core, like the RDF (Resource Description Framework). We
need to follow standards in cataloguing and classification
practice so that you're selecting the same kind of quality
resources that we are. So, that when somebody comes in to
search, they do not care whether the cataloguer has lived
in Croatia or the U.K. They just want to rely on finding
a high quality resource. We have to follow the same standards.
Do you believe that the majority of people are capable
of making the most of using Internet or is it only for a
highly educated elite?
I think the majority of people are capable of using Internet.
I don't think that there is any problem with that. I think
we have some way to go in designing good interfaces for
them so that they can do that. When the telephone was first
invented you were only allowed to use it if you were a telephone
technician and now everybody has a telephone in their home
and most people have one in their pockets. It's the same
with Internet. We are at a stage now when it's mainly the
academic people accessing the high quality research information
but there is no reason why the information couldn't go to
everybody. The kind of information that ten years ago would
go to top researchers in the world can just be available
to everybody in their home. The other thing that will really
affect is that computers won't be so recognizable as computers.
So now, a computer is a box and you sit behind it and I
cannot see your face but that will stop. There will be computers
in all sorts of devices. In the very near future there will
be a device I call it clever banana, it's my codeword for
it. Clever banana is a little thing that you can hold in
your hand and it knows where you are thanks to the
Global Satellite Navigation. So it knows exactly where you
are in the world even if you don't and it can give you geographical
information about the area that you are in. It will tell
you where the nearest restaurant is, how to get a taxi to
How much does it cost?
Well, mobile phones were very expensive when they first
came out and now they are just giving them away. Banana
will have access to those data bases we talked about earlier.
It will make connection to your Internet Service Provider
and it will look you up and it will say: O.K. you are subscribed
to our geographical service and it will make connection
to a data base and it will come back with a little map of
the piece of information that you want. I thin it will be
used by all sorts of people. People who want to know where
the nearest restaurant is.
What will happen to tour-guides?
This is a future for tour-guides, this is where tour guides
are, tour guides are the ones who will be able to supply
those information, because they are the people who are already
classifying and cataloguing information. You can imagine
much more serious uses for it. You are working for an Aid
agency and there's been famine in a country and you have
to organize relief effort and they send you into the country
and you're not very well briefed because it's all happened
very quickly, there's a refugee crisis and people don't
have water to drink. And there is hundreds of thousands
people on the move. You turn on your Banana and you can
find out where you are in the world, where the nearest water
supply is, you can compare information and decide.