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Exploring Digital Libraries

Jan 2014 | 352pp

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9781856048200
Price: £54.95
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9781783300297
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Exploring Digital Libraries
Foundations, practice, prospects

Karen Calhoun

A landmark textbook on digital libraries for LIS students, educators and practising information professionals throughout the world.

Exploring Digital Libraries is a highly readable, thought-provoking authorative and in-depth  treatment of the digital library arena that provides an up-to-date overview of the progress, nature and future impact of digital libraries, from their collections and technology-centred foundations over two decades ago to their emergent,  community-centred engagement with the social web.  

This essential textbook:

  • Brings students and working librarians up to date on the progress, nature and impact of digital libraries, bridging the gap since the publication of the best-known digital library texts
  • Frames digital library research and practice in the context of the social web and makes the case for moving beyond collections to a new emphasis on libraries’ value to their communities
  • Introduces several new frameworks and novel syntheses that elucidate digital library themes, suggest strategic directions, and break new ground in the digital library literature.
  • Calls a good deal of attention to digital library research, but is written from the perspective of strategy and in-depth experience
  • Provides a global perspective and integrates material from many sources in one place - the chapters on open repositories and hybrid libraries draw together past, present and prospective work in a way that is unique in the literature.  

Readership: Exploring Digital Libraries suits the needs of a range of readers, from working librarians and library leaders to LIS students and educators, or anyone who wants a highly readable and thought-provoking  overview of the field and its importance to the future of libraries. 

1. Emergence and definitions of digital libraries

  • Overview
  • The emergence of digital libraries (1991-2001)
  • Early digital-library projects
  • Definitions of digital libraries
  • Conclusion  

2. Outcomes of digital libraries’ first decade

  • Overview
  • A new field of research and practice
  • The transformation of scholarly communication processes
  • Technical innovations
  • Digitization and digital preservation
  • Metadata and standards
  • Working digital libraries
  • Conclusion
  • References to websites in Table 2.1  

3. Key themes and challenges in digital libraries

  • Overview
  • The key themes of digital library work
  • Key challenges
  • Conclusion  

4. Digital library collections: repositories

  • Overview
  • The traditional library worldview
  • Repositories, libraries and the web
  • The evolution of digital library repositories
  • Conclusion  

5. Hybrid libraries

  • Overview
  • Changing information-seeking behaviors
  • Libraries’ response: changing hybrid library collections
  • Changing technologies for hybrid libraries
  • Conclusion  

6. Social roles of digital libraries

  • Overview
  • Introduction
  • Foundations of digital libraries’ social roles
  • A possible framework of social roles
  • Conclusion  

7. Digital libraries and their communities

  • Overview
  • Approach
  • Successful, sustainable digital libraries
  • Inception: Purpose and focus
  • Inception: Branding and awareness
  • Creation: Community and needs orientation
  • Creation: User-centered design, ease of use and reliability
  • Growth: Quality content
  • Maturity: Funding and sustainability
  • Conclusion  

8. The prospects of open access repositories

  • Overview
  • Successful subject-based repositories
  • The value of institutional repositories
  • The policy and legal frameworks
  • Deposit mandates
  • Other issues with self-archiving
  • ‘Google has won’
  • Making institutional repositories more valuable
  • Future of repositories
  • Conclusion  

9. Digital libraries and the social web: scholarship

  • Overview
  • Introduction
  • Background: Web 2.0 and Library 2.0
  • What is the social web?
  • Digital libraries and the social web
  • Digital libraries’ social evolution: a visual framework
  • Scholarship
  • From personalization to collaboration
  • Scholarly collaboration on the social web
  • Conclusion 

10. Digital libraries and the social web: collections and platforms

  • Overview
  • Visualizing the shift from collections to platforms
  • The dilemma of the national or local collections focus
  • Optimizing the reach and visibility of digital libraries
  • Mass digitization and digital libraries
  • Large-scale digital libraries, portals and platforms
  • Crowdsourcing and citizen science
  • Conclusion

“It is a strong foundational text in the area, and provides enough theory and practice of digital libraries to be a useful postgrad textbook.”
- Diane Pennington, Lecturer in Information Science, The University of Strathclyde

"[Karen Calhoun] has done an amazing job of capturing the digital library world from the 90's to today. She does this not as some sort of annotated bibliography, but as a conceptual evolution. You can see the development of digital libraries from collections of stuff, to communities of interest. She also merges the disparate worlds of computer science and library science together in a masterful way. She uses the history to create a robust platform for understanding digital libraries today…in essence making the field feel relevant and refreshed. If you have a chance I strongly recommend the book."
- R. David Lankes

"This book provides an overview of the digital turn in libraries. It is informed by the rich and varied professional experience of its author, by extensive research across several national and international contexts, and by a rare synthesizing ability. It fills a clear gap in the library literature, exploring technical and research developments from the perspective of evolving library services and organization."
- Lorcan Dempsey

"Exploring Digital Libraries fills a gaping hole in library science literature and textbooks. Supported by her own extensive professional experience, Calhoun traces the history and impact of digital libraries from the 1990s through today. Not only does she give a comprehensive history of digital libraries, but she also queries how the digital library might evolve in the future, as our knowledge and experience with the web and web-based projects deepen. From the “cloud” to “community,” and from the “mass digitization” to the “digital divide,” Calhoun has meticulously covered everything the reader needs to know in this clear, easy to follow textbook. Exploring Digital Libraries also transcends the traditional textbook, and will be incredibly useful to practicing librarians. Calhoun has meticulously gathered data on digital libraries and their respective projects, giving valuable insight into what worked, what did not work, and why. This is a book by a librarian for other librarians, and that really is what makes this book stand out. This is a must-have reference for the library, and it will be especially helpful to those librarians looking to understand where the digital library has been, where it stands now, where it may be going, and how we, as librarians, can most effectively employ digital libraries for our communities."
- VOYA

"Despite all of the rhetoric about digital libraries over the past decade, what do we really know about their success? Calhoun uses hard data to determine which projects have been successful and which have not--and why. More importantly, she inspires all of to think about what digital libraries could be--again, not with aspirational language, but with hard evidence. This is the definitive statement of the development of digital libraries to date. Calhoun has been a leading thinker in designing the digital future, and, as it turns out, she is equally good at assessing our progress."
- Deanna Marcum, Ithaka S+R

"The students studying Digital Libraries and Information Services Master's programme at our University are the first to whom I am recommending this book. I would suggest it also to other library and information science programmes as a course book - it addresses most of the topics related to digital libraries as collections and services. Practicing librarians and information specialists should read it looking for examples of best practice and useful ideas for strategic planning and everyday work, but also for making sense of what is happening in the digital library world."
- Information Research

"This book should be in all libraries serving LIS programmes, but is also a recommended read for all information managers involved with the development of digital libraries."
- The Electronic Library

"This well researched, easy to read text is a must have for those interested not only in digital libraries but in the future of libraries in general, as well as those seeking new ways to engage with their community and promote the value of libraries in challenging times."
- Australian Academic and Research Libraries

"...an interesting book bringing together many topics with which LIS professionals are likely to be familiar. It will appeal to students, researchers and professionals keen to further their professional development."
- Elucidate

Karen Calhoun B.A., M.S., M.B.A. is an internationally respected librarian and change leader who is currently at the University of Pittsburgh helping to develop community-centred services. She is an active researcher, writer, speaker and consultant on digital libraries and related disciplines and has just completed a celebrated tenure at OCLC.

1. Emergence and definitions of digital libraries

This chapter traces the first decade of progress in digital libraries (1991–2001), with emphasis on the foundational innovations, vision, motivations, new technology, funding and early programs that prompted their emergence and rapid development. It next turns to the question of how to define the concept of ‘digital libraries’ in an environment of multiple perspectives and continuous technological and societal change. The chapter’s intent is to orient the reader to the field as well as to ground the rest of the book in the context of the aspirations and efforts of many diverse communities and individuals.

2. Outcomes of digital libraries’ first decade

This chapter identifies and discusses a set of significant outcomes from the first decade of digital library research and practice (1991 to 2001). It describes accomplishments that set the dominant themes and continue to shape the field of digital libraries today. The chapter’s overall purpose is to offer a framework for understanding the productive work of thousands of people during that period, one that reveals the interplay of people (producers and providers of digital libraries), enabling technologies and the collections, services and communities they support. The chapter discusses the elements of the framework in the following order: 1. A new field of research and practice, 2. The transformation of scholarly communication processes, 3. Open access, 4. Technological innovations, 5. Digitization and digital preservation, 6. Metadata and standards, and 7. Working digital libraries and the communities they serve.These are the elements that formed the foundations as digital libraries moved into their second decade.

3. Key themes and challenges in digital libraries

This chapter provides a high-level view of the key themes, current position and challenges of digital libraries and their technologies, social aspects, collections and communities. It begins by identifying the key themes of the second decade (2002–12) of progress in the diverse, multidisciplinary, international field of digital libraries. A concept map visualizes the results of an analysis of second-decade digital library literature. The map provides new insights into this complex field by exposing thematic connections between technologies, collections, social forces and online community building. The chapter concludes with a consideration of key challenges facing digital libraries: interoperability, community engagement, intellectual property rights and sustainability.

4. Digital library collections: repositories

This chapter and the next discuss digital libraries and the web through the lens of collections and collection building. This chapter begins with an exploration of the parallel but separate developments of the web, digital library repositories and hybrid libraries. It then turns to an examination of digital library repositories. Topics include numbers, usage and discover - ability of repositories; current position and roles; systems and software; federation and dissemination of repository content; next-generation repository systems; and cyberinfrastructure, data and e-research support. The next chapter moves on to the examination of hybrid libraries, then concludes with thoughts about advances, opportunities and challenges for both hybrid libraries and repositories.

5. Hybrid libraries

This chapter continues the discussion of digital collections with a detailed look at the interplay between library users, hybrid library collections and enabling technologies for hybrid library systems and services. Hybrid library collections contain non-digital, digitized and born-digital resources. This chapter examines changing information-seeking behaviours and preferences, explores how they have fostered new collections strategies, and analyses the impact of both on discovery services and other enabling technologies for hybrid libraries. The chapter ends with some thoughts about the parallel but separate evolutionary paths of hybrid libraries, repositories and the web.

6. Social roles of digital libraries

This chapter examines the social value of digital libraries. It begins by exploring past and present understandings of the value of libraries to their communities. Taking a well known framework that lays out libraries’ social roles as a starting point, the chapter then suggests a possible new framework to describe the social roles of digital libraries. The remainder of the chapter explicates this potential framework, exploring aspects of each social role. The sections offer examples, consider benefits and challenges, and draw attention to key readings from digital library researchers and practitioners.

7. Digital libraries and their communities

What sets thriving, long-lived digital libraries apart from those that attract only modest attention or have faded into memory? Why have some digital libraries had a distinctive impact on the communities they were built to serve, while others are more or less ignored? This chapter examines these issues. It builds on chapter 2’s descriptions of a sample of working digital libraries that have been successful since they began in the first decade of digital libraries (1991–2001). It also takes up themes from Chapter 6, which examines the ways that digital libraries produce, or could produce, value for the communities they serve.

8. The prospects of open access repositories

This chapter focuses on the potential of open access repositories for having a distinctive positive impact on scholarship and, more broadly, on their prospects for increasing the social and economic value of digital libraries. In addition to extending Chapter 4’s discussion of open access repositories into new territory, it relates the frameworks presented in Chapters 6 and 7 to this particular type of digital library. Topics include subject-based and institutional repositories and their value; issues around recruiting repository content, including deposit mandates; legal frameworks, copyright and open access; discipline-specific norms, practices and reward systems; the discoverability of scholarly content; the sustainability of repositories; e-research data management; and prospects for the emergence of a global ecosystem of repositories.

9. Digital libraries and the social web: scholarship

This chapter is the first of two that consider the responses of digital libraries to the social web and to web-based practices for information seeking, learning, teaching, research, professional recognition, work, recreation and socializing. Both chapters elaborate on ideas introduced in Chapters 3–8. This chapter’s first part examines the origins and chaotic, fast-moving nature of the social web, explores the possibility of digital libraries as social platforms and introduces a visual framework that attempts to bring some coherence to the many confusing elements of digital libraries’ evolution toward the social web. The second part of the chapter turns to the branches of the visual framework that pertain to the social web’s existing, emergent, or potential impacts on scholarship, research and researchers.

10. Digital libraries and the social web: collections and platforms

This chapter continues the consideration of digital libraries’ responses to the social web. It builds on the visual framework introduced in Chapter 9 to consider the transition of digital collections to platforms that align well with how people find information, work and play on the social web; are highly visible and invite interaction; and re-mix and re-use data from other sources. The chapter closes with some thoughts about future digital libraries and libraries’ digital future.

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