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Digital Libraries Essay

Ashley Tipton Digital Libraries Introduction A simple definition of a digital library is a library where collections are stored in digital formats instead of physical formats and accessible via computers. The content can then be accessed locally, as in within a library, or remotely such as from other places on a college campus or from a user’s home. Many people believe that digital libraries are the future. There are also those that still hold on to the thought that the traditional brick and mortar building is the way a library is supposed to be and that moving to the digital real is not the direction a library should be heading.

History The information revolution is one of the marvels of the 20th century. We are now living in an information society where almost everyone around us has a computer, a smartphone, and is connected to the Internet. As our society has become more and more connected, libraries have also started to become more digitized. Library automation came into popularity in the early 1950s. It started with punched card applications to library technical services operations. In 1965, Licklider coined the phrase “library of the future” to refer to his vision of a fully computer-based library and then in 1978, F.W. Lancaster wrote of the “paperless library” (Harter, 1996).

Other terms later on that were used to describe the library of the future were “electronic library,” “virtual library,” “library without walls,” and “bionic library” (Harter, 1996). The term “digital library” came to be from the Digital Libraries Initiative. In 1994, six universities in the United States were granted 24 million dollars for digital library research. This was brought on by the sudden boom of the Internet.

“Digital library” is the name that was most widely adopted by academics, researchers, and librarians and is used to describe the process of digitizing information resources. Digitization According to Ram Nath Maurya, there is a stress for three things in the digital world (Maurya, 2011): • Awareness of information which gives the breath of vision. • • Awareness of technology which gives the power to make the visions manifest. Awareness of needs provide the insight to use professional skills and talents to greater effect.

The meaning of this is that it is important for the user to have information that is easily locatable and easily accessible. Nowadays, library patrons have become information conscious and no longer want to wait and go to the library to find what they need. They want to access it access the information electronically. The process of digitizing implies the production of a digital surrogate for a physical object (Unsworth, 2004). There are many different items in libraries that are digitized.

This ranges from serials that can be found either in print or online to rare books and archives that are now being preserved in a digital format. There are many positive outcomes that come from digitizing parts of a library’s collection. There is less cost in reshelving the item. The item is simultaneously available to multiple users. The item does not have to be replaced, since it is not being used and there is no chance of it being lost. Also, if it is a rare item, it can be preserved more easily as it will be less frequently handled. Why Go Digital?

The most valuable aspect of the digital library is its reduction in cost. There are many fees that are negated such as staff pay, book maintenance, rent, and additional books. This makes the cost of the digital library much less to maintain than that of a traditional library. Also, increased reduction in the use of paper has a positive impact on the environment. Environmental scientists all over the world favor digital libraries to help reduce paper usage. Libraries that have a digital presence can be reached all over the world, thus allowing the library to have a far greater audience beyond their local community.

Their collection can be shared and accessed from anywhere. As distance education becomes more popular, it is even more important for libraries to have an online presence. Students who might not be able to physically access their school library’s collection can instead find what they need on their website. Many libraries are offering a vary large amount of databases containing full-text journals and also electronic books. The interlibrary loan program allows students to order books from their own school and other libraries without leaving their home.

The role of the librarian in a digital library is still vastly important. They are needed to package and repackage information. Librarians set up the proxies and open-URLs. They do electronic publishing, provide reference instruction, and teach patrons how to use electronic resources. Also, there is always more information that needs to be digitized. Disadvantages of Digital Libraries There are many threats to the nature of digital libraries. Computer viruses are a danger if libraries are not careful to protect their hardware and software.

Also, the high initial cost of infrastructure such as the hardware, software, network, and IT professionals can be a downside and then also the cost to maintain and upgrade when needed. Standardization is another issue that libraries can face when moving to a digital format. Each library is different and therefore it is extremely likely that each library will have a very different way of digitizing their collection and presenting their information online. Another potential problem is copyright. Digital libraries have to find a way to properly distribute information without violating copyright law.

The copyright of the author has to be protected as items are digitized and put into an online collection. Future of Digital Libraries The future trend for libraries is to keep moving toward a digital format. Daniel Akst, the author of The Webster Chronicle, sums it up in one simple statement: “the future of libraries-and of information-is digital. ” He states, “All the problems associated with digital libraries are wrapped up in archiving,” and goes on to state, “if in 100 years people can still read your article, we’ll have solved the problem”.

Computer storage continues to grow at an exponential rate and the cost keeps going down. It is believed that eventually, given the current advancement of technology, a person will be able to virtually access all recorded information. There are many large scale digitization projects underway at places such as Google, the Million Book Project, and Internet Archive. The technology behind scanners and the digitization techniques also keeps improving. There have been recent advancements in how books are handled and presentation technologies such as optical character recognition.

Libraries will continue to become more equipped to digitize their own collections and share them with the world. Bibliography Akst, Daniel. The Webster Chronicle. New York: Bluehen, 2002. Print. Harter, S. (1996, September). What is a digital library? definitions, content, and issues. A paper presented at KOLISS DL ’96: international conference on digital libraries and information services for the 21st century, Seoul, Korea. Retrieved from http://php. indiana. edu/~harter/koreapaper. htm Lagoze, C. , Krafft, D. , Payette, S. , & Jesuroga, S. (2005). What is a digital library anymore, anyway?.

D-Lib Magazine, 11(11), Retrieved from http://www. dlib. org/dlib/november05/lagoze/11lagoze. html Maurya, R. (2011). Digital library and digitization. International Journal of Information Dissemination & Technology. , 1(4), 228-331. Retrieved from http://web. ebscohost. com. proxy. lib. fsu. edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer? vid=7&hid=9&[email protected] Unsworth, J. (2004, May 17). The value of digitization for libraries and humanities scholarship. Retrieved from http://people. lis. illinois. edu/~unsworth/newberry. 04. htmlю

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