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Digital Libraries and Information Access

Sep 2012 | 256pp

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9781856048217
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Digital Libraries and Information Access
Research perspectives

Edited by G. G. Chowdhury and Schubert Foo

An authoritative and truly global exploration of current research in digital libraries.

Internationally-renowned academics discuss what has been achieved with digital libraries and what we can expect in the future through the prism of research. The increasing number of digital libraries in all sectors and the pressure of ever demanding and diverse user needs has encouraged development of user-centred interfaces, intelligent search and retrieval capabilities, effective metadata description and contents organization.

In addition to the two editors who are renowned for their works in digital library research, this collection brings together established international names in the field to analyse these developments in relation to users and information access and the future trends and challenges that practitioners will face.  

Readership: LIS students, academics and researchers interested in digital libraries and access and those developing, managing or just starting out with digital libraries.

Foreword - Christine L. Borgman
1. Digital libraries and information access: introduction - Gobinda Chowdhury and Schubert Foo
2. The design and architecture of digital libraries - Hussein Suleman
3. Metadata and crowdsourced data for access and interaction in digital library user interfaces - Ali Shiri and Dinesh Rathi
4. Information access - Gobinda Chowdhury and Schubert Foo
5. Collaborative search and retrieval in digital libraries - Dion Hoe-Lian Goh
6. The social element of digital libraries - Natalie Pang
7. Towards socially inclusive digital libraries - Chern Li Liew
8. Users’ interactions with digital libraries - T. D. Wilson and Elena Macevičiūtė
9. Digital libraries and scholarly information: technology, market, users and usage - Jeonghyun Kim, Angel Durr and Suliman Hawamdeh
10. Digital libraries and open access - Gobinda Chowdhury and Schubert Foo
11. iSTEM: integrating subject categories from multiple repositories - Christopher C. Yang and Jung-ran Park
12. The usability of digital libraries - Sudatta Chowdhury
13. Intellectual property and digital libraries - Michael Fraser
14. Digital preservation: interoperability ad modum - Milena Dobreva and Raivo Ruusalepp
15. Digital libraries and information access: research trends - Gobinda Chowdhury and Schubert Foo

"...with such a broad range of content and very recent research included, this book would definitely be useful to librarians doing work related to digital libraries...It would also make a very appropriate textbook for an introduction to digital libraries."
- Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship

"Professors Chowdhury and Foo are to be commended on assembling this thoughtful body of work on digital libraries from around the world. The volume is a valuable addition to library collections, digital and otherwise."
- Christine L Borgman

"...a stimulating book that covers the field very well."
- Journal of Librarianship and Information Science

"Chowdhury and Foo have shaped a compilation of thoughtful approaches to current issues in digital libraries as they relate to information access. The authors throughout provide numerous opportunities to extend the reader’s exploration of these topics by virtue of well-chosen case studies, timely examples, and identified trends, as well as the comprehensive bibliographies included with each chapter. Readers seeking to better understand the fundamentals of how users engage with digital libraries as well as gain a contextual grasp on both the historic and contemporary attendant research will be able to satisfy both of these goals."
- Library Resources and Technical Services

"Digital Libraries and Information Access is a mine of information...Chapters are consistently and helpfully laid out, each with an introduction which functions as an abstract, a summary to remind us what we have just read, and at least two pages of references. Descriptions, evaluations, comparisons and case studies are present in abundance, and these assist with general readability. This is a book by experts, clearly written, with an authoritative yet accessible tone, and a useful index. It is highly recommended."
- Australian Library Journal

Professor Gobinda Chowdhury BSc Hons, MSc, PhD, FCLIP is Professor in Information Science at iSchool@northumbria, and Head of the Department of Mathematics and Information Sciences at Northumbria University. Before joining Northumbria University he was a Professor and Director of the Centre for Information and Knowledge Management at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. For over 25 years he has worked as an academic and researcher in information science in different parts of the world including Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia. For the past few years he has been actively involved in the iSchools activities. Professor Chowdhury has written or edited 15 books and over 150 research papers. 

Schubert Foo BSc, MBA, PhD, CEng, CITP, FIMechE, FBCS, PPA(P) is Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Humanities at Nanyang Technological University. He was a former member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Information Science, Journal of Information and Knowledge Management and International Yearbook of Library and Information Management. He has co-written and edited a number of books including Knowledge Management Tools and Techniques, Design and Usability of Digital Libraries: Case Studies in the Asia Pacific, Social information retrieval systems: Emerging technologies and applications for searching the Web effectively, Handbook of Research on Digital Libraries: Design, Development and Impact.

1. Digital libraries and information access: introduction - Gobinda Chowdhury and Schubert Foo

This chapter provides the background and an introduction to the book, beginning with an introduction to the concept of the digital library and then providing a brief overview of research in digital libraries, and finishing with a brief introduction to the content of the book.

2. The design and architecture of digital libraries- Hussein Suleman

Access to information depends quite significantly on the architecture of a digital library. In Chapter 2, Suleman discusses various issues related to the architecture of digital libraries. Core digital library design considerations are presented first, followed by a discussion of how these principles are used to build large digital libraries. The chapter then discusses how various digital libraries are interconnected into larger, networked digital library systems, exemplified by international projects such as the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD). Various challenges related to integration and scalability are then discussed. This is followed by a case study of an architecture designed specifically for digital libraries in developing countries that as yet do not have reliable and high penetration of internet access.

3. Metadata and crowdsourced data for access and interaction in digital library user interfaces - Ali Shiri and Dinesh Rathi

Metadata forms the foundation of a digital library in that it allows us to design a structure for better organization of and access to information. Metadata standards are created by expert communities of practice that specify the data elements and the corresponding features to be created in order to design a digital library database of one or more specific types of content and data. In Chapter 3, Shiri and Rathi discuss the importance of metadata, with special reference to user interface and interaction features of digital libraries. They review four digital libraries in order to discuss new developments in the use of metadata and to explore the emerging trends and new features and functionalities, such as social tags, recommendations, reviews and ratings in digital library user interfaces.

4. Information access - Gobinda Chowdhury and Schubert Foo

In Chapter 4, Chowdhury and Foo discuss various issues related to information access in digital libraries. Using examples from several large digital libraries, they discuss how access to information and its use depend on different factors such as the nature of the content and data, users, search interface features and the overall objectives and business of the digital library and the organization responsible for the digital library service concerned. The chapter also provides a brief review of literature and research projects in order to show the trends in R&D activities in relation to information access in digital libraries. Thus, this chapter provides the background for discussions of various issues related to information access that come later, in subsequent chapters of the book.

5. Collaborative search and retrieval in digital libraries - Dion Hoe-Lian Goh

Recent developments in the web and social networking technologies have had significant implications for the access and use of digital libraries, especially in relation to collaborative search and retrieval. In Chapter 5, Goh discusses collaborative search and retrieval in digital libraries. Drawing on the relevant research in information seeking and retrieval, he argues that collaboration with other users has always remained a central feature of information seeking. He then discusses research on collaborative querying, collaborative filtering and collaborative tagging or social tagging, which facilitate access to digital information.

6. The social element of digital libraries - Natalie Pang

In Chapter 6, Pang discusses how the penetration of the internet and social media, accompanied by the adoption of computing devices by the masses, has led to an increase in the amount of information accumulating online. She examines how social media technologies have implications for information access in digital libraries and points out a number of further developments of digital libraries in the online world.

7. Towards socially inclusive digital libraries - Chern Li Liew

Access to digital libraries requires extensive use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). However, there are significant gaps in our society in terms of access to technologies, as well as in users’ information and digital literacy skills. Thus, various social issues such as the digital divide, social inclusion, information literacy and web accessibility are associated with access to information in digital libraries. In Chapter 7, Liew discusses these issues in the context of access to and use of digital libraries. Focusing specifically on the issue of social inclusion, she argues that the mere digitization of cultural heritage of a community does not guarantee social inclusion. She explores and seeks some answers to two major questions: what are the current barriers to a socially inclusive use of digital libraries, and what initiatives towards overcoming exclusion can be incorporated and implemented in digital library projects?

8. Users’ interactions with digital libraries - T. D. Wilson and Elena Macevičiūtė

A digital library is created for users. Sometimes these users are well defined and their needs are known, while in most other cases the target user communities of a digital library could be anyone anywhere, and consequently their information needs and information behaviour are not well defined. Coupled with this, the rapid changes in ICT, especially in the area of web, mobile and social media technologies, have continuously reshaped and redefined users’ needs and their interaction behaviour with digital libraries. In Chapter 8, Wilson and Macevičiūtė provide an overview of the current trends in research on the interactions between users and digital libraries. More specifically, they discuss the main results of user research in digital libraries and explore the applicability of existing models of information behaviour to the digital library sphere.

9. Digital libraries and scholarly information: technology, market, users and usage - Jeonghyun Kim, Angel Durr and Suliman Hawamdeh

Many new developments have taken place that have direct or indirect implications for digital information access and use. Alongside the institutional and commercial digital libraries and information services, many new players have appeared in the digital information field such as Google Books and Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search, which have brought many new opportunities and challenges for digital library designers as well as for users. However, one technology that has permeated almost every sphere of today’s society is the mobile technology. In Chapter 9, Kim, Durr and Hawamdeh discuss mobile technology for providing digital information services in libraries.

10. Digital libraries and open access - Gobinda Chowdhury and Schubert Foo

Parallel to the developments in commercial digital libraries and information services, a number of open access digital libraries have appeared and a variety of open scholarship activities have taken place over the past few years that have significantly influenced the digital library landscape, from both research and user perspectives. In Chapter 10, Chowdhury and Foo discuss the issues of open access and institutional repositories in the context of open access digital libraries. They briefly introduce the concept of open archives initiative and institutional repositories and then discuss how open access initiatives, coupled with recent developments in cloud computing technologies and associated developments, can help us to build digital libraries that are free at the point of use, and thus facilitate better access to and wider dissemination of knowledge.

11. iSTEM: integrating subject categories from multiple repositories - Christopher C. Yang and Jung-ran Park

A challenge is often faced in integrating several subject open access repositories and collections, like the National STEM Digital Library (NSDL), arXiv, Engineering Pathway and Internet Public Library, so as to enable the building of larger, interconnected and distributed digital libraries. In Chapter 11, Yang and Park discuss ongoing research on integrating and expanding taxonomy and subject categories derived from multiple repositories in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. They discuss the challenges involved in determining the semantic relationships between subject categories from different repositories through several text classification models and developing operations and processes for integration based on the identified subject category relationships from different repositories.

12. The usability of digital libraries - Sudatta Chowdhury

Usability is an important measure of the success of a digital library. Usability and user-centred design issues, their importance and the associated challenges and research issues, with particular reference to information access and interactions in digital libraries, are discussed by Chowdhury in Chapter 12.

13. Intellectual property and digital libraries - Michael Fraser

Digital libraries provide access to a variety of information and data, but while some digital libraries can be accessed for free, such as the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and Europeana, others require registration and payment of fees, such as the ACM Digital Library. In this respect, intellectual property and copyright are very important issues related to the design and management of digital libraries. In Chapter 13, Fraser discusses the economic challenges facing library and information services, open access initiatives and the provision of current copyright laws with regard to information services. After addressing the current debates on the economic viability of digital information services and the inadequacies of current intellectual property laws, he proposes a new framework for a digital copyright registry and discusses its features.

14. Digital preservation: interoperability ad modum - Milena Dobreva and Raivo Ruusalepp

As discussed earlier in this chapter, one of the objectives of digital libraries is to ensure future access to information and data. This calls for preservation of digital information and data. In Chapter 14, Dobreva and Ruusalepp discuss current research and development activities in digital preservation and point out that ensuring interoperability among various systems and services remains a major challenge for future access to digital information and data.

15. Digital libraries and information access: research trends - Gobinda Chowdhury and Schubert Foo

In the last chapter of the book, Chowdhury and Foo summarize and discuss the trends in research in digital libraries, with special reference to information access and interactions. The digital library as a field of study is significantly influenced not only by research and developments within the field, but also by a variety of other factors, including the developments and challenges associated with the web, social networking, green ICT and cloud computing technologies, and various other socio-economic and political challenges, including the digital divide and digital literacy. In Chapter 15 Chowdhury and Foo address some of these issues and discuss how they will influence access and interactions in digital libraries.