Digital Library II

Digital Library II

A Digital Library Part II – How?

By Mark Sivy

The following are considerations to be made when planning a digital library. Even though this post provides a basic set of guidelines and information for establishing a digital library, the final details will depend upon the actual planning and development process for a given digital library and will be determined by its target audience and needs.

Digital Library

1. Who Are the Patrons?

It is of great importance at the onset of the project to define the target users of a digital library. Once these users and their communities are identified, it is then essential to establish their needs, abilities, and access related to the library.

2. Collaboration

For the library concept to develop and eventually succeed it is essential to identify stakeholders and collaborators who will be instrumental in establishing and maintaining the library and in developing and applying the criteria for content inclusion and to acquire the holdings.

3. Operating and Managing

Determine the organization structure, operation, and sustainability of the library.

4. Digital Library Technologies

Identify and address issues related to the digital existence and operations of the digital library. This includes such considerations as hardware, software, meta-data structure, and converting non-digital media to digital media.

5. Accessibility and Usability

Identify and address issues related to the usability of the library including functionality issues, the user interface, the user experience, and policies that govern the use of a digital library.

6. The Content

Decide upon the content and the materials to be contained in the digital library.

7. Maintenance

Determine what is needed for the short-term and long-term upkeep of the digital library.

8. Legal Concerns

Define and address the legal implications of providing materials in the library including copyrights, intellectual property rights, and fair use of materials

9. Access and Security

Incorporates the issues to be addressed when determining who will access the library, how they will access it, and what security needs to be considered to safeguard the library and its patrons.

10. Support

Support requirements and mechanisms for the digital library and its patrons.

11. Professional Development and Training

Identify library staff and patron development and learning needs.

12. Communications / Media

Establish the means for internal and external communications such as announcements, notifications, contacts, discussions and feedback.

13. Cost Implications

Identify the key factors affecting the cost of developing and maintaining a digital library.

14. Outreach

Create a social media plan, a marketing strategy and external partnerships.

Reflection Point – A library is not a luxury, but of the necessities of life. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Parts of this post are based upon the Joint United Nations recent Programme on HIV/AIDS (2010) publication Planning Tool for Developing a Digital Library of Monitoring and Evaluation Resources.

Digital Library Part I

A Digital Library Part 1 – What and Why

By Mark Sivy

A digital library is a repository of electronic versions of what would be found in a traditional library, including books, articles, journals, magazines, audio sources and video productions. Even though some information could be stored on local computer, due to the volume and continuous addition of content it is best located in a large managed database that is  can be publicly available and accessed remotely via computer networks through devices such as personal computers, laptops, tablets, or smartphones.

The digital library can open the wonders, benefits and values of the human collective of knowledge, creations, cultures, and histories to the breadth of global citizenry. This in turn can help nurture and grow our educational reach, intellectual capacities and scholarly endeavors. These digital vessels can also enable distributed access to not only classic works and masterpieces, but also the opportunity to present the efforts and crafts of lesser known individuals and upcoming contributors.

Digital LibraryWith this occurring in the realm of electronic networks, new approaches to the traditional library can more readily be integrated into the fabric of this intellectual net. Connectivity, sharing and collaborations can be developed between digital libraries and other digital repositories, thus expanding collections and conserving resources. For the digital library patron, commonly available social media can be tied in with the library to create an engaging and enriching social aspect. The vast online library storehouse is capable of distributing educational information to a great number of primary and secondary students across geographic and economic boundaries.

On the logistical and strategic fronts, digital libraries allow innovative and advanced services to be made available to a greater number of individuals at a lower per patron cost than traditional libraries. The preservation and storage of existing acquisitions becomes more readily addressed. The electronic system also tackles issues concerning the collection and retrieval of the exponentially increasing global knowledge base.

It is less expensive to scan existing content and to store new content electronically than to attempt to maintain physical versions. A digital library removes the concerns and expense of unreturned materials, damaged books, checking-out /checking-in, theft, and following up with patrons. Digital libraries allow more acquisitions and innovative materials to be made available to more individuals and a greater diversity at a lower per user cost.

Reflection Point: If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Digital Libraries Part II will outline what is involved in creating a digital library.