Editorial

Jacques-Louis de Beaulieu & Sheila Hicks

For the second time, the EPD Advisory Board/Executive Committee meeting was not held at the database centre (Arles) but in a host institution. Our warm thanks to Magdalena Ralska-Jasiewiczowa and Brian Huntley for their excellent organization of the two meetings in Krakow in 1996 and in Durham in 1997, respectively. They offered us the opportunity for a thorough discussion on the strategy of the database and its future perspectives and for collectively writing the newsletter. The meetings also ensured the renewal of the Advisory Board/Executive Committee members.

This year four new members were invited to join the team: André Lotter as a member of the EC, Tiiu Koff, Ramon Perez-Obiol and Chronis Tzedakis as members of the AB. Welcome on Board! The EPD needs your expertise and conviction. Our warmest thanks go to those who contributed to the launching of the EPD and are now leaving the group, namely Brigitta Amman, Sytze Bottema and Roel Janssen. We know anyway that they will continue to promote the EPD. After 6 years of existence, the EPD has achieved several of its objectives, thanks to its active contributors and manager. About 750 sites have been compiled so far and the number of contributions is constantly increasing.

The EPD is now well known and researchers from fields other than palynology look to its structure as an example to follow. This is an opportunity to remind you that the EPD is available on two Web sites but can also be requested on diskettes directly from the database manager. Please have a look at it and provide us with your comments.

We have already started applying depth/age models to some pollen sequences and this task will require more of your assistance and help in the near future. With respect to this, the database manager will receive the help of a doctoral assistant from September 1997. Accurate chronologies are necessary to link all the European pollen records available in the database so that they can be used reliably at the continental scale. We hope that this joint effort will provide a forum for discussion and that the results we obtain will convince those colleagues who have not had the opportunity to contribute that it is worth archiving their data in the EPD.