The Executive Committee (EC) and Advisory Board (AB) of the EPD held their Annual Meeting in Bonn, Germany 19-21 March 1998, hosted by Prof. Thomas Litt. Following normal tradition this Newsletter primarily reports what took place at that meeting. As agreed in 1997, besides the internet web sites the newsletter is also being announced via the EPD list-server. Paper copies are being sent only to those scientists who have specifically requested that they receive the letter in this form. We realise, however that the number of subscribers to the list server is fairly small so if you suspect that any of your colleagues have omitted getting their names on the list then do, please, take this opportunity to remind them. Remember you may subscribe by sending an e-mail to:
firstname.lastname@example.org (with the sole contents of this message: SUBSCRIBE EPD-L <your-full-name>)
In order to try and reach a wider public we are sending out an announcement of this letter on the QUATERNARY and TILIA lists as well. We do apologize to those who will thus receive this information several times. At the same time we would like to encourage people to use the EPD list as an active forum for questions and answers. All the EC and AB members are only too happy to answer queries as they arise and also welcome suggestions for improvements to the EPD. It is certainly not necessary to wait until the annual meeting to have problems ironed out. Many queries - such as one recently received requesting clear guidelines as to how data from the the EPD should be acknowledged in publications in which it has been used (see later in this letter) are of wide interest to all European pollen analysts. We would also like to see more use of the EPD list for the exchange of information and advise between the European pollen community. We are delighted that the coverage of sites in the EPD is now approaching a density where it is possible to start making national and regional syntheses (see the examples by Simon Brewer and Joël Guiot later in this letter) and start addressing wider problems. The EPD has plans to set up projects to involve contributors in just such syntheses (see details of EUPALMAP later in this letter) but we hope that individual contributors will also begin using the EPD more actively. In order to insure that projects involving the database have the best temporal and spatial precision and that data can be added to and even reinterpreted within the framework of such projects, we would like to encourage both present and future EPD contributors to be particularly careful over the following two points: (1) that basic metadata is always provided in an unambiguous form, and (2) that a depth-age chronology is provided along with the original pollen counts. Chronologies, whether based on radio-carbon or calendar years are essential and some extra guidelines for these are provided later in this letter. We have always had strong links with the North American Pollen Database and these are now being extended to ones with the African Pollen Database and the European Pollen Monitoring Programme's database of annual modern pollen deposition. We look forward to seeing a really strong development and expansion of EPD activities in the coming year.