Welcome to issue 8 of the Web version of Ariadne.
As John mentions in the editorial  for the Print version of Ariadne, the eLib programme  is no longer a youngster; some projects are approaching the end of their funding; some projects have already produced significant deliverables, or contributions, towards the building of this elusive, shimmering, Electronic Library. Overall, the programme is now gearing up towards a more concerted dissemination push  , at the level of individual projects, groups of projects, and the programme as whole, aimed at our target community - those people in the UK Higher Education community who will build, use, or be influenced by Electronic Library resources, infrastructure and practises.
But, hey! The eLib programme is not the only digital library initiative in the world - very far from it. For example, the December 96 edition of D-Lib magazine carried an article giving information on several Australian Digital Libraries initiatives and projects , some of which are featured in detail in this issue of the Web version of Ariadne , with some more to come in the May issue. Also, in Europe there is the Telematics programme, from which some projects are flagged in Netskills Corner , while the US has several huge Digital Library projects ; the best place to start looking for digital library programmes and projects are on the IFLA index .
It is good to see the work of programmes and initiatives starting to blend and cross-fertilise. While eLib is dedicated to the UK, conferences that mix people from Digital Library initiatives around the world will hopefully lead to projects discovering common interests and goals - thus (hopefully) removing some duplication of work, and leading to new ideas, strategies and ultimate deliverables; two such conferences   are flagged in this issue.