Dysphonia, Merlin and The Trunk are not characters from a Terry Pratchett novel but three winners in the 1998 European Academic Software Awards.
The jurors spent a hardworking weekend in Oxford studying the websites and CD-Roms of the 35 finalists, selected from 249 entrants. They emerged on Monday with ten winners.
An even bigger crop of entries can be expected for the next contest in the year 2000. By then the organisers, the European Knowledge Media Association, hope to have expanded the list of participating countries beyond the current seven (Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom). This year a French contestant took part by having a British collaborator, and won an award.
"I expect we will have another four countries on the list in 2000," said EKMA representative Wim Liebrand of the University of Groningen. He explained that the organisation has grown slowly because in each country it has to find some government arm willing to pay the subscription of 15,000 Swiss francs.