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A digital library, also called an online library, an internet library, a digital repository, or a digital collection is an
online database An online database is a database In computing, a database is an organized collection of Data (computing), data stored and accessed electronically from a computer system. Where databases are more complex they are often developed using formal #Des ...
of digital objects that can include text, still images, audio, video,
digital document An electronic document is any electronic content (media), media content (other than computer programs or system files) that is intended to be used in either an electronic submission, electronic form or as printed output. Originally, any data (compu ...
s, or other
digital media Digital media means any communication media that operate with the use of any of various encoded machine-readable data Machine-readable data, or computer-readable data, is data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of informa ...
formats or a
library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A library provi ...

library
accessible through the
internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

internet
. Objects can consist of
digitized DigitizationTech Target. (2011, April). Definition: digitization. ''WhatIs.com''. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/digitization is the process of converting information into a digital Digital usually ...

digitized
content like
print
print
or
photographs A photograph (also known as a photo) is an image An image (from la, imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment (biophysical), environment thro ...

photographs
, as well as originally produced digital content like
word processor A word processor (WP) is a device or computer program that provides for input, editing, formatting, and output of text, often with some additional features. Early word processors were stand-alone devices dedicated to the function, but current ...
files or
social media Social media are interactive technologies that facilitate the creation Creation may refer to: Religion * Creation ''ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) ...

social media
posts. In addition to storing content, digital libraries provide means for organizing, searching, and retrieving the content contained in the collection. Digital libraries can vary immensely in size and scope, and can be maintained by individuals or organizations. The digital content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely via computer networks. These information retrieval systems are able to exchange information with each other through
interoperability Interoperability is a characteristic of a product or system, whose interfaces are completely understood, to work with other products or systems, at present or in the future, in either implementation or access, without any restrictions. While the ...

interoperability
and
sustainability Sustainability is the capacity to endure in a relatively ongoing way across various domains of life. In the 21st century, it refers generally to the capacity for Earth's biosphere and human civilization to co-exist. For many, sustainability is ...

sustainability
.


History

The early history of digital libraries is not well documented, but several key thinkers are connected to the emergence of the concept. Predecessors include
Paul Otlet Paul Marie Ghislain Otlet (; ; 23 August 1868 – 10 December 1944) was a Belgian author, entrepreneur, lawyer and peace activist; he is one of several people who have been considered the father of information science Information science (a ...

Paul Otlet
and
Henri La Fontaine Henri La Fontaine (; 22 April 1854 – 14 May 1943), was a Belgium, Belgian international lawyer and president of the International Peace Bureau. He received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1913 because "he was the effective leader of the peace move ...

Henri La Fontaine
's
Mundaneum The Mundaneum was an institution which aimed to gather together all the world's knowledge and classify it according to a system developed called the Universal Decimal Classification. It was developed at the turn of the 20th century by Belgian law ...

Mundaneum
, an attempt begun in 1895 to gather and systematically catalogue the world's knowledge, with the hope of bringing about world peace. The visions of the digital library were largely realized a century later during the great expansion of the Internet, with access to the books and searching of the documents by millions of individuals on the World Wide Web.
Vannevar Bush Vannevar Bush ( ; March 11, 1890 – June 28, 1974) was an American engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are Professional, professionals who Invention, invent, design, analyze, build and test Machine, machines, complex syste ...

Vannevar Bush
and
J.C.R. Licklider Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider (; March 11, 1915 – June 26, 1990), known simply as J. C. R. or "Lick", was an American psychologistMiller, G. A. (1991), "J. C. R. Licklider, psychologist", ''Journal of the Acoustical Society of Am ...

J.C.R. Licklider
are two contributors that advanced this idea into then current technology. Bush had supported research that led to the bomb that was dropped on
Hiroshima is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperi ...
. After seeing the disaster, he wanted to create a machine that would show how technology can lead to understanding instead of destruction. This machine would include a desk with two screens, switches and buttons, and a keyboard. He named this the "
Memex Memex is the name of the hypothetical electromechanical device that Vannevar Bush Vannevar Bush ( ; March 11, 1890 – June 28, 1974) was an American engineer, inventor and science administrator, who during World War II, World War II he ...

Memex
". This way individuals would be able to access stored books and files at a rapid speed. In 1956,
Ford Foundation The Ford Foundation is an American private foundation with the stated goal of advancing human welfare. Created in 1936 by Edsel Ford and his father Henry Ford, it was originally funded by a US$25,000 gift from Edsel Ford. By 1947, after the death ...
funded Licklider to analyze how libraries could be improved with technology. Almost a decade later, his book entitled "''Libraries of the Future''" included his vision. He wanted to create a system that would use computers and networks so human knowledge would be accessible for human needs and feedback would be automatic for machine purposes. This system contained three components, the corpus of knowledge, the question, and the answer. Licklider called it a procognitive system. Early projects centered on the creation of an electronic card catalogue known as
Online Public Access Catalog The online public access catalog (OPAC), now frequently synonymous with ''library catalog'', is an online database of materials held by a library or Library consortium, group of libraries. Online catalogs have largely replaced the analog card ca ...
(OPAC). By the 1980s, the success of these endeavors resulted in OPAC replacing the traditional
card catalog A library catalog (or library catalogue in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Sax ...

card catalog
in many academic, public and special libraries. This permitted libraries to undertake additional rewarding co-operative efforts to support resource sharing and expand access to library materials beyond an individual library. An early example of a digital library is the
Education Resources Information Center The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) is an online digital library A digital library, also called an online library, an internet library, a digital repository, or a digital collection is an online databaseAn online database is a d ...
(ERIC), a database of education citations, abstracts and texts that was created in 1964 and made available online through
DIALOG Dialogue Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the Unite ...
in 1969. In 1994, digital libraries became widely visible in the research community due to a $24.4 million
NSF
NSF
managed program supported jointly by
DARPA The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a research and development agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. Originally known as the Ad ...
's Intelligent Integration of Information (I3) program,
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in differen ...

NASA
, and NSF itself. Successful research proposals came from six U.S. universities. The universities included
Carnegie Mellon University Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence ...
,
University of California-Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...

University of California-Berkeley
,
University of Michigan , mottoeng = "Arts, Knowledge, Truth" , former_names = Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania (1817–1821) , budget = $8.99 billion (2018) , endowment = $17 billion (2021)As of October 25, 2021. ...

University of Michigan
,
University of Illinois The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I, Illinois, or colloquially the University of Illinois or UIUC) is a public university, public land-grant university, land-grant research university in Illinois in the twin cities of Champaign ...
, University of California-Santa Barbara, and
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
. Articles from the projects summarized their progress at their halfway point in May 1996. Stanford research, by
Sergey Brin Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin (russian: Сергей Михайлович Брин; born August 21, 1973) is an American business magnate A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership o ...
and
Larry Page Lawrence Edward Page (born March 26, 1973) is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur. He is best known as one of the co-founders of Google, along with Sergey Brin. Page was the chief executive officer of Google from 1997 unt ...

Larry Page
, led to the founding of
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...

Google
. Early attempts at creating a model for digital libraries included the DELOS ''Digital Library Reference Model''L. Candela et al.: ''The DELOS Digital Library Reference Model: Foundations for Digital Libraries''. Version 0.98, February 2008
PDF
)
and the 5S Framework.


Terminology

The term ''digital library'' was first popularized by the
NSF
NSF
/
DARPA The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a research and development agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. Originally known as the Ad ...
/
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in differen ...

NASA
Digital Libraries Initiative in 1994. With the availability of the computer networks the information resources are expected to stay distributed and accessed as needed, whereas in
Vannevar Bush Vannevar Bush ( ; March 11, 1890 – June 28, 1974) was an American engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are Professional, professionals who Invention, invent, design, analyze, build and test Machine, machines, complex syste ...

Vannevar Bush
's essay ''
As We May Think "As We May Think" is a 1945 essay by Vannevar Bush Vannevar Bush ( ; March 11, 1890 – June 28, 1974) was an American engineer, inventor and science administrator, who during World War II, World War II headed the U.S. Office of Scienti ...
'' (1945) they were to be collected and kept within the researcher's
Memex Memex is the name of the hypothetical electromechanical device that Vannevar Bush Vannevar Bush ( ; March 11, 1890 – June 28, 1974) was an American engineer, inventor and science administrator, who during World War II, World War II he ...

Memex
. The term ''virtual library'' was initially used interchangeably with ''digital library,'' but is now primarily used for libraries that are virtual in other senses (such as libraries which aggregate distributed content). In the early days of digital libraries, there was discussion of the similarities and differences among the terms ''digital'', ''virtual'', and ''electronic''. A distinction is often made between content that was created in a digital format, known as
born-digital The term born-digital refers to materials that originate in a digital Digital usually refers to something using discrete digits, often binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital electronics is a field of e ...
, and information that has been converted from a physical medium, e.g. paper, through
digitization DigitizationTech Target. (2011, April). Definition: digitization. ''WhatIs.com''. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/digitization is the process of converting information into a digital Digital usuall ...

digitization
. Not all electronic content is in
digital data Digital data, in information theory and information systems, is information represented as a string of discrete symbols each of which can take on one of only a finite number of values from some alphabet, such as letters or digit (unit), digits. A ...
format. The term hybrid library is sometimes used for libraries that have both physical collections and electronic collections. For example,
American Memory 180px, right American Memory is an Internet The Internet (Capitalization of Internet, or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks a ...
is a digital library within the
Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order ...

Library of Congress
. Some important digital libraries also serve as long term archives, such as
arXiv arXiv (pronounced "archive"—the X represents the Chi (letter), Greek letter chi is an open-access repository of electronic preprints and postprints (known as e-prints) approved for posting after moderation, but not Scholarly peer review, ...
and the
Internet Archive The Internet Archive is an American digital library A digital library, also called an online library, an internet library, a digital repository, or a digital collection is an online databaseAn online database is a database In computing ...
. Others, such as the
Digital Public Library of America The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is a US project aimed at providing public access to digital holdings in order to create a large-scale public digital library. It officially launched on April 18, 2013, after 2.5 years of development. O ...
, seek to make digital information from various institutions widely accessible online.


Types of digital libraries


Institutional repositories

Many academic libraries are actively involved in building repositories of the institution's books, papers, theses, and other works which can be digitized or were 'born digital'. Many of these repositories are made available to the general public with few restrictions, in accordance with the goals of
open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis o ...
, in contrast to the publication of research in commercial journals, where the publishers often limit access rights. Institutional, truly free, and corporate repositories are sometimes referred to as digital libraries.
Institutional repository An institutional repository is an archive for collecting, preserving, and disseminating digital copies of the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution. An institutional repository can be viewed as "a set of servic ...
software is designed for archiving, organizing, and searching a library's content. Popular open-source solutions include
DSpace DSpace is an open source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product. The open-source mode ...
,
EPrints EPrints is a free and open-source software package for building open access repositories that are compliant with the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). It shares many of the features commonly seen in document ...
,
Digital Commons Digital Commons is a commercial, hosted institutional repository platform owned by RELX Group. This hosted service, licensed by bepress, is used by over 500 academic institutions, healthcare centers, public libraries, and research centers to sho ...
, and
Fedora Commons Fedora (or Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture) is a digital asset management Operations on a collection of digital assets require the use of a computer application implementing Digital Asset Management (DAM) to ensure t ...
-based systems Islandora and
Samvera Samvera, originally known as Hydra, is an open-source software, open-source digital repository software product. Samvera main components are Fedora Commons, Solr, Blacklight (software), Blacklight, and HydraHead (a Ruby on Rails plugin and RubyGems ...
.


National library collections

Legal deposit Legal deposit is a legal requirement that a person or group submit copies of their publications to a repository, usually a library. The number of copies required varies from country to country. Typically, the national library is the primary reposit ...
is often covered by
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
legislation and sometimes by laws specific to legal deposit, and requires that one or more copies of all material published in a country should be submitted for preservation in an institution, typically the
national library A national library is a library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's need ...

national library
. Since the advent of
electronic document An electronic document is any electronic media content (other than computer program In imperative programming In computer science, imperative programming is a programming paradigm that uses Statement (computer science), statements that change a ...
s, legislation has had to be amended to cover the new formats, such as the 2016 amendment to the ''
Copyright Act 1968 The copyright law of Australia defines the legally enforceable rights of creators of creative and artistic works under Australian law The legal system of Australia has multiple forms. It includes a written Constitution of Australia, constit ...
'' in Australia. Since then various types of electronic depositories have been built. The
British Library The British Library is the national library A national library is a library established by a government as a country's preeminent repository of information. Unlike public library, public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow book ...

British Library
's Publisher Submission Portal and the German model at the
Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The German National Library (DNB; german: Deutsche Nationalbibliothek) is the central archival library and national bibliographic centre for the Germany, Federal Republic of Germany. Its task is to collect, permanently archive, comprehensively d ...

Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
have one deposit point for a network of libraries, but public access is only available in the reading rooms in the libraries. The Australian
National edeposit National edeposit (NED) is a collaboration between Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the is ...
system has the same features, but also allows for remote access by the general public for most of the content.


Digital archives

Physical
archives An archive is an accumulation of historical records – in any media – or the physical facility in which they are located. Archives contain primary source In the study of history History (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece An ...

archives
differ from physical libraries in several ways. Traditionally, archives are defined as: # Containing
primary source In the study of history History (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its populatio ...

primary source
s of information (typically letters and papers directly produced by an individual or organization) rather than the secondary sources found in a library (books, periodicals, etc.). # Having their contents organized in groups rather than individual items. # Having unique contents. The technology used to create digital libraries is even more revolutionary for archives since it breaks down the second and third of these general rules. In other words, "digital archives" or "online archives" will still generally contain primary sources, but they are likely to be described individually rather than (or in addition to) in groups or collections. Further, because they are digital, their contents are easily reproducible and may indeed have been reproduced from elsewhere. The
Oxford Text Archive Oxford Text Archive (OTA) is an archive of electronic texts and other literary and language resources which have been created, collected and distributed for the purpose of research into literary and linguistic topics at the University of Oxford, Eng ...
is generally considered to be the oldest digital archive of academic physical primary source materials. Archives differ from libraries in the nature of the materials held. Libraries collect individual published books and serials, or bounded sets of individual items. The books and journals held by libraries are not unique, since multiple copies exist and any given copy will generally prove as satisfactory as any other copy. The material in archives and manuscript libraries are "the unique records of corporate bodies and the papers of individuals and families". A fundamental characteristic of archives is that they have to keep the context in which their records have been created and the network of relationships between them in order to preserve their informative content and provide understandable and useful information over time. The fundamental characteristic of archives resides in their hierarchical organization expressing the context by means of the
archival bondThe archival bond is a concept in archival theory referring to the relationship that each archival record has with the other records produced as part of the same transaction or activity and located within the same grouping. These bonds are a core com ...
. Archival descriptions are the fundamental means to describe, understand, retrieve and access archival material. At the digital level, archival descriptions are usually encoded by means of the
Encoded Archival Description In communications and information processing, code is a system of rules to convert information—such as a letter (alphabet), letter, word, sound, image, or gesture—into another form, sometimes data compression, shortened or secrecy, secret, ...
XML format. The EAD is a standardized electronic representation of archival description which makes it possible to provide union access to detailed archival descriptions and resources in repositories distributed throughout the world. Given the importance of archives, a dedicated formal model, called NEsted SeTs for Object Hierarchies (NESTOR), built around their peculiar constituents, has been defined. NESTOR is based on the idea of expressing the hierarchical relationships between objects through the inclusion property between sets, in contrast to the binary relation between nodes exploited by the tree. NESTOR has been used to formally extend the 5S model to define a digital archive as a specific case of digital library able to take into consideration the peculiar features of archives.


Features of digital libraries

The advantages of digital libraries as a means of easily and rapidly accessing books, archives and images of various types are now widely recognized by commercial interests and public bodies alike. Traditional libraries are limited by storage space; digital libraries have the potential to store much more information, simply because digital information requires very little physical space to contain it. As such, the cost of maintaining a digital library can be much lower than that of a traditional library. A physical library must spend large sums of money paying for staff, book maintenance, rent, and additional books. Digital libraries may reduce or, in some instances, do away with these fees. Both types of library require cataloging input to allow users to locate and retrieve material. Digital libraries may be more willing to adopt innovations in technology providing users with improvements in electronic and audio book technology as well as presenting new forms of communication such as wikis and blogs; conventional libraries may consider that providing online access to their OP AC catalog is sufficient. An important advantage to digital conversion is increased accessibility to users. They also increase availability to individuals who may not be traditional patrons of a library, due to geographic location or organizational affiliation. * No physical boundary: The user of a digital library need not to go to the library physically; people from all over the world can gain access to the same information, as long as an Internet connection is available. * Round the clock availability: A major advantage of digital libraries is that people can gain access 24/7 to the information. * Multiple access: The same resources can be used simultaneously by a number of institutions and patrons. This may not be the case for copyrighted material: a library may have a license for "lending out" only one copy at a time; this is achieved with a system of
digital rights management Digital rights management (DRM) tools or technological protection measures (TPM) are a set of access control In the fields of physical security and information security, access control (AC) is the selective restriction of access to a place ...
where a resource can become inaccessible after expiration of the lending period or after the lender chooses to make it inaccessible (equivalent to returning the resource). * Information retrieval: The user is able to use any search term (word, phrase, title, name, subject) to search the entire collection. Digital libraries can provide very user-friendly interfaces, giving click able access to its resources. * Preservation and conservation: Digitization is not a long-term preservation solution for physical collections, but does succeed in providing access copies for materials that would otherwise fall to degradation from repeated use. Digitized collections and born-digital objects pose many preservation and conservation concerns that analog materials do not. Please see the following "Problems" section of this page for examples. * Space: Whereas traditional libraries are limited by storage space, digital libraries have the potential to store much more information, simply because digital information requires very little physical space to contain them and media storage technologies are more affordable than ever before. * Added value: Certain characteristics of objects, primarily the quality of images, may be improved. Digitization can enhance legibility and remove visible flaws such as stains and discoloration.


Software

There are a number of software packages for use in general digital libraries (for notable ones see :Digital library software). Institutional repository software, which focuses primarily on ingest, preservation and access of locally produced documents, particularly locally produced academic outputs, can be found in Institutional repository software. This software may be proprietary, as is the case with the Library of Congress which uses Digiboard and CTS to manage digital content. The design and implementation in digital libraries are constructed so computer systems and software can make use of the information when it is exchanged. These are referred to as semantic digital libraries. Semantic libraries are also used to socialize with different communities from a mass of social networks. DjDL is a type of semantic digital library. Keywords-based and semantic search are the two main types of searches. A tool is provided in the semantic search that create a group for augmentation and refinement for keywords-based search. Conceptual knowledge used in DjDL is centered around two forms; the subject
ontology Ontology is the branch of philosophy that studies concepts such as existence, being, Becoming (philosophy), becoming, and reality. It includes the questions of how entities are grouped into Category of being, basic categories and which of these ...

ontology
and the set of
concept search A concept search (or conceptual search) is an automated information retrieval method that is used to search electronically stored unstructured data, unstructured text (for example, digital archives, email, scientific literature, etc.) for informatio ...
patterns based on the ontology. The three type of ontologies that are associated to this search are bibliographic ontologies, community-aware ontologies, and subject ontologies.


Metadata

In traditional libraries, the ability to find works of interest is directly related to how well they were cataloged. While cataloging electronic works digitized from a library's existing holding may be as simple as copying or moving a record from the print to the electronic form, complex and born-digital works require substantially more effort. To handle the growing volume of electronic publications, new tools and technologies have to be designed to allow effective automated semantic classification and searching. While
full-text search In text retrieval, full-text search refers to techniques for searching a single computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform ...
can be used for some items, there are many common catalog searches which cannot be performed using full text, including: * finding texts which are translations of other texts * differentiating between editions/volumes of a text/periodical * inconsistent descriptors (especially subject headings) * missing, deficient or poor quality
taxonomy Taxonomy is the practice and science of categorization Categorization is the human ability and activity of recognizing shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience Experience refers to conscious , an English Par ...
practices * linking texts published under pseudonyms to the real authors (
Samuel Clemens Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He was lauded as the "greatest humorist the United States has pro ...
and
Mark Twain Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), known by his pen name A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' () or a literary double, is a pseudonym A pseudonym () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) or ...

Mark Twain
, for example) * differentiating non-fiction from parody (''
The Onion ''The Onion'' is an American digital media company and newspaper organization that publishes satire, satirical articles on international, national, and local news. The company is based in Chicago but originated as a weekly print publication on ...
'' from ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'')


Searching

Most digital libraries provide a search interface which allows resources to be found. These resources are typically
deep web The deep web, invisible web, or hidden web are parts of the World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical syste ...
(or invisible web) resources since they frequently cannot be located by
search engine A search engine is a software system A software system is a system of intercommunicating software component, components based on forming part of a computer system (a combination of Computer hardware, hardware and software). It "consists of a n ...
crawlers. Some digital libraries create special pages or
sitemap A site map (or sitemap) is a list of pages Page most commonly refers to: * Page (paper) A page is one side of a leaf A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne ab ...

sitemap
s to allow search engines to find all their resources. Digital libraries frequently use the
Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) is a protocol developed for data harvesting, harvesting metadata (computing), metadata descriptions of records in an archive so that services can be built using metadata from ma ...
(OAI-PMH) to expose their metadata to other digital libraries, and search engines like
Google Scholar Google Scholar is a freely accessible web search engine A search engine is a software system A software system is a system of intercommunicating software component, components based on forming part of a computer system (a combination of Compu ...
,
Yahoo! Yahoo (, styled as yahoo''!'') is an American web services The term Web service (WS) is either: * a service offered by an electronic device to another electronic device, communicating with each other via the World Wide Web, or * a server run ...
and
Scirus Scirus was a comprehensive science-specific search engine, first launched in 2001. Like CiteSeerX CiteSeerx (originally called CiteSeer) is a public search engine A search engine is a software system A software system is a system of in ...
can also use OAI-PMH to find these deep web resources. There are two general strategies for searching a ''federation'' of digital libraries: distributed searching and searching previously harvested
metadata Metadata is "data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative property, qualitative or quantity, quantitative variable (research), v ...

metadata
. Distributed searching typically involves a client sending multiple search requests in parallel to a number of servers in the federation. The results are gathered, duplicates are eliminated or clustered, and the remaining items are sorted and presented back to the client. Protocols like
Z39.50 Z39.50 is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic disciplines * Norm (geology), an estimate of the idealised mine ...

Z39.50
are frequently used in distributed searching. A benefit to this approach is that the resource-intensive tasks of indexing and storage are left to the respective servers in the federation. A drawback to this approach is that the search mechanism is limited by the different indexing and ranking capabilities of each database; therefore, making it difficult to assemble a combined result consisting of the most relevant found items. Searching over previously harvested metadata involves searching a locally stored
index Index may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Fictional entities * Index (''A Certain Magical Index''), a character in the light novel series ''A Certain Magical Index'' * The Index, an item on a Halo megastructure in the ''Halo'' series ...
of information that has previously been collected from the libraries in the federation. When a search is performed, the search mechanism does not need to make connections with the digital libraries it is searching—it already has a local representation of the information. This approach requires the creation of an indexing and harvesting mechanism which operates regularly, connecting to all the digital libraries and querying the whole collection in order to discover new and updated resources.
OAI-PMHThe Open Archives Initiative The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) was an in formal organization, in the circle around the colleagues Herbert Van de Sompel, Carl Lagoze, Michael L. Nelson and Simeon Warner, to develop and apply technical interoperabil ...

OAI-PMH
is frequently used by digital libraries for allowing metadata to be harvested. A benefit to this approach is that the search mechanism has full control over indexing and ranking algorithms, possibly allowing more consistent results. A drawback is that harvesting and indexing systems are more resource-intensive and therefore expensive.


Digital preservation

Digital preservation aims to ensure that digital media and information systems are still interpretable into the indefinite future. Each necessary component of this must be migrated, preserved or emulated.Cain, Mark. "Managing Technology: Being a Library of Record in a Digital Age", Journal of Academic Librarianship 29:6 (2003). Typically lower levels of systems (
floppy disk A floppy disk or floppy diskette (sometimes casually referred to as a floppy or diskette) is a type of disk storage Disk storage (also sometimes called drive storage) is a general category of storage mechanisms where data is recorded by vario ...

floppy disk
s for example) are emulated, bit-streams (the actual files stored in the disks) are preserved and operating systems are emulated as a
virtual machine In computing, a virtual machine (VM) is the virtualization In computing, virtualization or virtualisation (sometimes abbreviated v12n, a numeronym) is the act of creating a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, including virtual co ...
. Only where the meaning and content of digital media and information systems are well understood is migration possible, as is the case for office documents. However, at least one organization, the Wider Net Project, has created an offline digital library, the
eGranary The eGranary Digital Library is a product of the WiderNet Project, a non-profit aimed at providing access to information technology and library services in developing countries 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the IMF and the Unite ...
, by reproducing materials on a 6 TB
hard drive A hard disk drive (HDD), hard disk, hard drive, or fixed disk is an electro-mechanical data storage device On a reel-to-reel tape recorder (Sony TC-630), the recorder is data storage equipment and the magnetic tape is a data stora ...
. Instead of a bit-stream environment, the digital library contains a built-in
proxy server In computer networking A computer network is a set of computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of ...

proxy server
and
search engine A search engine is a software system A software system is a system of intercommunicating software component, components based on forming part of a computer system (a combination of Computer hardware, hardware and software). It "consists of a n ...
so the digital materials can be accessed using an
Internet browser A web browser (commonly referred to as a browser) is application software for accessing the World Wide Web. When a User (computing), user requests a web page from a particular website, the web browser retrieves the necessary content from a web s ...
. Also, the materials are not preserved for the future. The eGranary is intended for use in places or situations where Internet connectivity is very slow, non-existent, unreliable, unsuitable or too expensive. In the past few years, procedures for
digitizing DigitizationTech Target. (2011, April). Definition: digitization. ''WhatIs.com''. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/digitization is the process of converting information into a digital Digital usually ...

digitizing
books at high speed and comparatively low cost have improved considerably with the result that it is now possible to digitize millions of books per year. The Google book-scanning project is also working with libraries to offer digitize books pushing forward on the digitize book realm.


Copyright and licensing

Digital libraries are hampered by
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
law because, unlike with traditional printed works, the laws of digital copyright are still being formed. The republication of material on the web by libraries may require permission from rights holders, and there is a conflict of interest between libraries and the publishers who may wish to create online versions of their acquired content for commercial purposes. In 2010, it was estimated that twenty-three percent of books in existence were created before 1923 and thus out of copyright. Of those printed after this date, only five percent were still in print as of 2010. Thus, approximately seventy-two percent of books were not available to the public. There is a dilution of responsibility that occurs as a result of the distributed nature of digital resources. Complex intellectual property matters may become involved since digital material is not always owned by a library. The content is, in many cases,
public domain The public domain consists of all the creative work A creative work is a manifestation of creativity, creative effort including Work of art, fine artwork (sculpture, paintings, drawing, Sketch (drawing), sketching, performance art), dance, wr ...

public domain
or self-generated content only. Some digital libraries, such as
Project Gutenberg Project Gutenberg (PG) is a volunteer Volunteering is a voluntary act of an individual or group freely giving time and labour for community service. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, educati ...
, work to digitize out-of-copyright works and make them freely available to the public. An estimate of the number of distinct books still existent in library catalogues from 2000 BC to 1960, has been made. The
Fair Use Fair use is a doctrine Doctrine (from la, Wikt:doctrina, doctrina, meaning "teaching, instruction") is a codification (law), codification of beliefs or a body of teacher, teachings or instructions, taught Value (personal and cultural), prin ...
Provisions (17 USC § 107) under the
Copyright Act of 1976 The Copyright Act of 1976 is a United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consist ...
provide specific guidelines under which circumstances libraries are allowed to copy digital resources. Four factors that constitute fair use are "Purpose of the use, Nature of the work, Amount or substantiality used and Market impact." Some digital libraries acquire a license to lend their resources. This may involve the restriction of lending out only one copy at a time for each license, and applying a system of
digital rights management Digital rights management (DRM) tools or technological protection measures (TPM) are a set of access control In the fields of physical security and information security, access control (AC) is the selective restriction of access to a place ...
for this purpose (see also above). The
Digital Millennium Copyright Act The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a 1998 United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North Americ ...
of 1998 was an act created in the United States to attempt to deal with the introduction of digital works. This Act incorporates two treaties from the year 1996. It criminalizes the attempt to circumvent measures which limit access to copyrighted materials. It also criminalizes the act of attempting to circumvent access control.United States Copyright Office
"The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 – U.S. Copyright Office Summary"
1998, 2.
This act provides an exemption for nonprofit libraries and archives which allows up to three copies to be made, one of which may be digital. This may not be made public or distributed on the web, however. Further, it allows libraries and archives to copy a work if its format becomes obsolete. Copyright issues persist. As such, proposals have been put forward suggesting that digital libraries be exempt from copyright law. Although this would be very beneficial to the public, it may have a negative economic effect and authors may be less inclined to create new works. Another issue that complicates matters is the desire of some publishing houses to restrict the use of digit materials such as e-books purchased by libraries. Whereas with printed books, the library owns the book until it can no longer be circulated, publishers want to limit the number of times an e-book can be checked out before the library would need to repurchase that book. " arperCollinsbegan licensing use of each e-book copy for a maximum of 26 loans. This affects only the most popular titles and has no practical effect on others. After the limit is reached, the library can repurchase access rights at a lower cost than the original price." While from a publishing perspective, this sounds like a good balance of library lending and protecting themselves from a feared decrease in book sales, libraries are not set up to monitor their collections as such. They acknowledge the increased demand of digital materials available to patrons and the desire of a digital library to become expanded to include best sellers, but publisher licensing may hinder the process.


Recommendation systems

Many digital libraries offer
recommender systems A recommender system, or a recommendation system (sometimes replacing 'system' with a synonym such as platform or engine), is a subclass of information filtering system that seeks to predict the "rating" or "preference" a user would give to an it ...
to reduce
information overload Information overload (also known as infobesity, infoxication, information anxiety, and information explosionThe information explosion is the rapid increase in the amount of publication, published information or data and the effects of this abunda ...

information overload
and help their users discovering relevant literature. Some examples of digital libraries offering recommender systems are
IEEE Xplore IEEE Xplore digital library A digital library, also called an online library, an internet library, a digital repository, or a digital collection is an online databaseAn online database is a database In computing Computing is any goal-orien ...
,
Europeana Europeana is a web portal A web portal is a specially designed website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web page A web page (or webpage) is a hypertext File:Douglas Engelbart in 2008.jpg, Douglas Engelba ...
, and GESIS Sowiport. The recommender systems work mostly based on content-based filtering but also other approaches are used such as
collaborative filtering Collaborative filtering (CF) is a technique used by recommender systems.Francesco Ricci and Lior Rokach and Bracha ShapiraIntroduction to Recommender Systems Handbook Recommender Systems Handbook, Springer, 2011, pp. 1-35 Collaborative filtering ...

collaborative filtering
and citation-based recommendations. Beel et al. report that there are more than 90 different recommendation approaches for digital libraries, presented in more than 200 research articles. Typically, digital libraries develop and maintain their own recommender systems based on existing search and recommendation frameworks such as
Apache Lucene Apache Lucene is a free and open-source software, free and open-source Search engine (computing), search engine Library (computing), software library, originally written completely in Java (programming language), Java by Doug Cutting. It is suppor ...
or
Apache Mahout Apache Mahout is a project of the Apache Software Foundation to produce free software, free implementations of distributed computing, distributed or otherwise Scalability, scalable machine learning algorithms focused primarily on linear algebra. I ...
. However, there are also some recommendation-as-a-service provider specializing in offering a recommender system for digital libraries
as a service *aaS is an acronym An acronym is a word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed ...
.


Drawbacks of digital libraries

Digital libraries, or at least their digital collections, unfortunately also have brought their own problems and challenges in areas such as: *
User authentication User may refer to: Ancient Egyptian roles * User (ancient Egyptian official)User was an ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River ...

User authentication
for access to collections *
Copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

Copyright
* Digital preservation (see above) * Equity of access (see
digital divide The digital divide refers to the gap between those who benefit from the digital age, Digital Age and those who do not. People without access to the Internet and other Information and communications technology, information and communication techn ...
) *
Interface design User interface (UI) design or user interface engineering is the design of user interfaces for machines and software, such as computers, home appliances, mobile devices, and other electronics, electronic devices, with the focus on maximizing usabili ...
*
Interoperability Interoperability is a characteristic of a product or system, whose interfaces are completely understood, to work with other products or systems, at present or in the future, in either implementation or access, without any restrictions. While the ...

Interoperability
between systems and software *
Information organization Knowledge organization (KO), organization of knowledge, organization of information, or information organization is an intellectual discipline concerned with activities such as Documentation science, document description, bibliographic index, ind ...
* Inefficient or non-existent
taxonomy Taxonomy is the practice and science of categorization Categorization is the human ability and activity of recognizing shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience Experience refers to conscious , an English Par ...
practices (especially with historical material) *
Training and development Training and development involves improving the effectiveness of organizations and the individuals and teams within them. Training Training is teaching, or developing in oneself or others, any s and or that relate to specific . Training ha ...
* Quality of
metadata Metadata is "data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative property, qualitative or quantity, quantitative variable (research), v ...

metadata
* Exorbitant cost of building/maintaining the terabytes of storage, servers, and redundancies necessary for a functional digital collection. There are many large scale digitisation projects that perpetuate these problems.


Future development

Large scale digitization projects are underway at
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...

Google
, the Million Book Project, and
Internet Archive The Internet Archive is an American digital library A digital library, also called an online library, an internet library, a digital repository, or a digital collection is an online databaseAn online database is a database In computing ...
. With continued improvements in book handling and presentation technologies such as
optical character recognition Optical character recognition or optical character reader (OCR) is the electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and contro ...
and development of alternative depositories and business models, digital libraries are rapidly growing in popularity. Just as libraries have ventured into audio and video collections, so have digital libraries such as the Internet Archive.
Google Books Google Books (previously known as Google Book Search and Google Print and by its code-name Project Ocean) is a service from Google Inc. Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet ...
project recently received a court victory on proceeding with their book-scanning project that was halted by the Authors' guild. This helped open the road for libraries to work with Google to better reach patrons who are accustomed to computerized information. According to Larry Lannom, Director of Information Management Technology at the nonprofit
Corporation for National Research Initiatives The Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), based in Reston, Virginia Reston is a census-designated place A census-designated place (CDP) is a Place (United States Census Bureau), concentration of population defined by the United Sta ...
(CNRI), "all the problems associated with digital libraries are wrapped up in archiving." He goes on to state, "If in 100 years people can still read your article, we'll have solved the problem." Daniel Akst, author of The Webster Chronicle, proposes that "the future of libraries—and of information—is digital." Peter Lyman and Hal Variant, information scientists at the
University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...

University of California, Berkeley
, estimate that "the world's total yearly production of print, film, optical, and magnetic content would require roughly 1.5 billion gigabytes of storage." Therefore, they believe that "soon it will be technologically possible for an average person to access virtually all recorded information." Digital archives are an evolving medium and they develop under various circumstances. Alongside large scale repositories, other digital archiving projects have also evolved in response to needs in research and research communication on various institutional levels. For example, during the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic A pandemic (from , , "all" and , , "local people" the 'crowd') is an of an that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple or worldwide, affecting a substantial numbe ...

COVID-19 pandemic
,
libraries A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A library provi ...

libraries
and higher education institutions have launched digital archiving projects to document life during the pandemic, thus creating a digital, cultural record of collective memories from the period. Researchers have also utilized digital archiving to create specialized research databases. These databases compile digital records for use on international and interdisciplinary levels. COVID CORPUS, launched in October 2020, is an example of such a database, built in response to scientific communication needs in light of the pandemic. Beyond academia, digital collections have also recently been developed to appeal to a more general audience, as is the case with the Selected General Audience Content of the Internet-First University Press developed by Cornell University. This general-audience database contains specialized research information but is digitally organized for accessibility. The establishment of these archives has facilitated specialized forms of digital recordkeeping to fulfill various niches in online, research-based communication.


See also

*
Bibliographic database A bibliographic database is a database In , a database is an organized collection of stored and accessed electronically from a . Where databases are more complex they are often developed using formal techniques. The (DBMS) is the that int ...
* Content repository * Digital Library Federation * Digital Collections Selection Criteria *Digitization * ''D-Lib'', a magazine dedicated to digital library research and development * Full-text database * List of digital library projects * Mobile library * Shadow library * Traveling library


References


Further reading

* Candela, L.; Castelli, D. & Pagano (2011)
History, Evolution and Impact of Digital Libraries
In P. Iglezakis, I.; Synodinou, T. & Kapidakis, S. (ed.) ''E-Publishing and Digital Libraries: Legal and Organizational Issues'', IGI Global, pp. 1-30. A description of the initiatives and understandings leading to digital libraries *


External links

{{Authority control Digital libraries, Library science Types of library