The IT has almost converted the
whole world into a global village. The revolution in the IT sector is
influencing the information industry at its peak and revolutionized the concept
of libraries where it has been used extensively to record, store, and
disseminate the information in the digital form. Each and every library step by
step shifts over to this dimension to meet the demand put on it.
If one considers that the
information is for use and for all then why should not libraries be for all?
Why should libraries not become universal for all those who seek information,
considering that a large number of organization in the USA and Europe has
already more or less switched over to digital mode i.e. they are making the
digitized images of periodical which are not available in electronic format and
there after no new procurement are being made on print media. Example of such
organization are University of Micrographic Inc (UMI of USA), National
Institute of Scientific and Technical Information (INIST of France), etc.
twenty first century library if not at all digitized, has at least a section
devoted to accessing the growing collection of computer readable materials, the
subscribed bibliographic and full text database, E-Journal, etc. for the end
user. Along with the access of the subscribed databases it also provides the
Internet browsing and searching, E-Mail, Chat, Video Conferencing facilities to
the user. Sometimes it also provides OPAC terminals. The downloaded articles
can be printed upon request. Back issues of selected journals and newspapers
are also available in some library as microfiche or microfilm, with readers and
printers provided for access. All these collection together constitute the
digital library is nothing but a large database of organized collection of
multimedia, data that are globally available directly or indirectly across a
network and eventually act as a portal site providing access to digital
collections held elsewhere for the people who are working on hypertext
Electronic resources accessible on the web for
free or for a fee are undeniably major and important constituent of a digital
library. To build a digital library all these resources need to go through the
process of selection, acquisition (by way of linking) and management. The
information contents of a digital library, depending on the media type, may include
a combination of structured / unstructured text, numerical data, scanned
images, graphics, audio and video recordings. Different types of resources need
to be handled differently in digital library environment.
Definition: In 1938 H. G. Wells dreamed of a world encyclopedia in which
all-human knowledge would be available elsewhere. Today Internet in
collaboration with digital libraries are moving fast to fulfill the dream of H.
term "Digital Library" has a variety of potential meanings, ranging
from a digitized collection of material that one might find in a traditional
library to the collection of all digital information along with the services
that make that information useful to all possible users. In simple a DL is a
library having all it’s holding in the digital form or in a form that can be
stored, processed by the computer system. It is nothing but a large database
for the people who are working on hypertext environment. It is a system of
organized collection of multimedia, data that are globally available directly
or indirectly across a network.
to Lesk (1997) “Digital libraries are organized collections of digital
information. They combine the structuring and gathering of information, which
libraries and archives have always done, with the digital representation that
computers have made possible”.
to Arms a digital library is a managed collection of information with
associated services where the information is stored in digital format and
accessible over a network.
digital library federation in the USA defines the digital library as Digital
libraries are organizations that provide the resources, including the
specialized staff, to select, structure, offer intellectual access to,
interpret, distribute, preserve the integrity of, and ensure the persistence
over time of collections of digital works so that they are readily and
economically available for use by a defined community or set of communities.
digital library is a library in which a significant proportion of the resources
are available in machine-readable format (as opposed to print or microform),
accessible by means of computers. The digital content may be locally held or
accessed remotely via computer networks. It comprises digital collections,
services and infrastructure to support lifelong learning, research, scholarly
communication and preservation. It is an environment which supports full life
cycle of creation, storage, preservation, dissemination and use of data, and
information. It is a process of democratization of information.
Gutenberg, Google Book Search, Cornell
University, The Library of Congress
World Digital Library, The Digital Library at the University of Michigan,
and CMU's Universal Library are considered leaders in the field of digital
archive creation and management.
Characteristic: A digital library is an organized collection of digitized
material or its holding in the digital form which can be accessible by a
computer on the network by using TCP/IP or other protocol. The main
characteristics of digital libraries are as follows
a) The function
of acquisition, storage, preservation, retrieval is carried out through the use
of digital technology.
collection of information objects may be a digital text or any other.
c) Resources are
available in computer readable form.
d) Access to the
entire collection is globally available directly or indirectly across network.
e) Support users
in dealing with information objects.
3. Need for
a Digital Library: Digital libraries are needed to provide quality based
service at the user desktop.
a) Easy to
Understand: The visual or graphical information system of digital
libraries is more popular as compared to text based information system.
Shifting of the Environment: The new generation user becomes only happy
when they will be able to read from the computer screen. The new generation
whose demand for information is never met demands that traditional libraries
should be developed as a well equipped and interconnected DL.
Function of Same Information: In case of digital libraries by using
hypertext it is possible to structure and organize the same digital information
in a variety of ways which serve multiple functions.
Information Explosion: Digital library is expected to be able to handle
the problem of information explosion somehow. It will be able to handle and
manage large amount of digital content by simply providing link, without
actually procuring the document.
Searching Problem in Traditional Libraries: By using digital library
one will be able to retrieve information specifically for e.g. a particular
image, photo, a definition, etc.
Distance Learning: Time is a major factor for each modern user of the
library which is otherwise spent in coming and going to the library, but
digitization will facilitate learning from home, office or other places which
are convenient to users.
Provide Access to Online Publication: As more and more information are
published over internet, digital library needs to procure and provide link to
the online publication and other important sources of information.
Buying Power of Libraries: The collection of every library is
limited to only a fraction of the total. Introduction of digital library will
help to enhance the collection considerably.
Problem in Traditional Libraries: Libraries are spending much of its
budget by way of maintaining the collection in a usable form that also demands
a huge physical space. Digitization hopes to overcome this. Digital Medias
comes with a huge storage capacity.
Cost of Technology: The cost of technologies is much more less than
that of traditional libraries.
Environmental Factor: The use of digital libraries is one of the
cleanest technologies to fulfill the slogan “Burn a CD-ROM save a tree”.
Requirement for Digital Libraries: The internet and World Wide Web provide
the impetus and technological environment for the development and operation of
a digital library. The internet provides the TCP/IP and or its associated
protocol for accessing the information and web provides tools and technique for
publishing the information over internet. Still, for introducing any digital
libraries, the following infrastructure will be needed:-
Hardware: Server, P.C. with multimedia, U.P.S. Etc
Any suitable software from GSDL, DSpace, etc which is interconnected and
suitable for LAN and WAN connection.
LAN, MAN, WAN, etc.
Laser printer, Dot matrix, Barcode printer, Digital graphic printer, etc.
H.P. Scan jet, flatbed, Sheet feeder, Drum scanner, Slide scanner, Microfilming
scanner, Digital camera, Barcode scanner etc
Devices: Optical storage device, CD-ROM, juke box, etc. As in the digital
environment it is reasonable to say that a central back up or archive should be
created at the national level which will store information out put of the
region as well as information from out side the country.
Audio Visual Aid: Color T.V., V.C.R., D.V.D., Sound box, Telephone, etc.
Well trained manpower for online help.
use of search engines, Optical Character Recognition and metadata will allow
digital library to operate.
of a Digital Library: The resources of a digital library are those, which
the computer can store, organize, transmit and display without any intervening
conversion process. The resources of a digital library mainly consist of
e-book, v-book, electronic tax, map, image, sound, and video. The digital
material may be of multimedia types or any other i.e. only digital audio,
video, full text information, photograph, drawing, digitized sound, 3D
representation, etc. The collection may include structured /unstructured text,
scanned images, graphic audios, video recording, etc. In the digital
environment any one who has access to the internet can be a publisher by merely
posting messages to an online discussion group or other, so digital libraries
collection should also be enhanced with links to such resources.
a) On line Resources: Local database of traditional books in
machine-readable form, E-book, v-book, electronic tax, map, image, sound,
video, and multimedia, E-journal, etc.
b) Off line
Resources: C.D-ROM, Juke Box, etc.
Advantages of the Digital Library: A digital library is not confined to a
particular location or so called building, it is virtually distributed all over
the world. The user can get his/ her information on his own computer screen by
using the internet. Actually it is a network of multimedia system which
provides finger tip access. The spoken words or the graphical display of a
digital library is again having a different impact from the words that are
printed. In the new environment owning a document will not be problem for the
library because the user will pay for its uses.
Physical Boundary: The user of a digital library need not go to the
library physically; people from all over the world could gain access to the
same information, as long as an Internet connection is available.
the Clock Availability: Digital libraries can be accessed at any time,
24 hours a day and 365 days of the year
Accesses: The same resources can be used at the same time by a number
Approach: Digital library provides access to much richer content
in a more structured manner i.e. we can easily move from the catalog to the
particular book then to a particular chapter and so on.
Retrieval: The user is able to use any search term bellowing to the
word or phrase of the entire collection. Digital library will provide very user
friendly interfaces, giving clickable access to its resources.
and Conservation: An exact copy of the original can be made any number
of times without any degradation in quality.
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. When the
library had no space for extension digitization is the only solution.
A particular digital library can provide the link to any other resources of
other digital library very easily. Thus a seamlessly integrated resource
sharing can be achieved.
The cost of maintaining a digital library is much lower than that of a
traditional library. A traditional library must spend large sums of money
paying for staff, book maintenance, rent, and additional books. Digital
libraries do away with these fees.
of the Digital Library: The computer viruses, lack of standardization for
digitized information, quick degrading properties of digitized material,
different display standard of digital product and its associated problem,
health hazard nature of the radiation from monitor, etc. makes digital
libraries at times a handicap.
Copyright: Digitization violates the copy right law as the
thought content of one author can be freely transferred by others without his
acknowledgement. One difficulty to overcome for digital libraries is the way to
distribute information. How does a digital library distribute information at
will while protecting the copyright of the author?
As more and more computer are connected to the internet its
speed of access is reasonably decreasing. If new technology will not evolve to
solve the problem then in near future internet will be full of error messages.
Cost is High: The infrastructure cost of digital library i.e. the cost
of hardware, software, leasing communication circuit is generally very high.
width: Digital library will need high bandwidth for transfer of
multimedia resources but the band with is decreasing day by day.
With the much larger volume of digital information, finding the right material
for a specific task becomes increasingly difficult.
Digital libraries cannot reproduce the environment of a traditional library.
Many people also find reading printed material to be easier than reading material
on a computer screen.
Due to technological developments, a digital library can rapidly become
out-of-date and its data may become inaccessible.
8. Role of
Librarian in Digital Environment: Though the digital environment is built
as a system which can be used by its ultimate end user directly from their desk
top PC but the role of librarian cannot be overlooked. In digital environment
also the librarian and information scientist will be needed for packaging and
repackaging of information, for electronic publishing, for reference purpose,
to advice the user about the strategy to identify relevant electronic sources,
etc. Thus the librarian will be more or less a hypertext engineer. In the new
environment it will be very difficult for the librarian to decide what should
be organized; how to give citation; how to organize the collection; etc because
the new environment will be really challenging one for the librarian to decide
who the authors are, who the publishers are and who the users are?
Conclusion: Digital libraries are not going to replace the physical
existence of document completely but no doubt to meet the present demand, to
satisfy the non local user digitization must be introduced so that at least
libraries becomes of hybrid nature. The initial cost of digitization is high
but experiment shows that once digitization is introduced then the cost to
manage this collection will be cheaper than that of any traditional library.
Day by day the cost of digitization is also decreasing, the online publication
is increasing, the need of users are shifting towards a different environment
so it is needless to say that after one or two years all library will shift
over to digital mode, if not fully at least to some extent. So it is the pick
time to all library and informational science professional to gear them in
building digital library and taking it as a challenge.
scale digitization projects are underway at Google, the Million Book Project,
MSN, and Yahoo!. With continued improvements in book handling and presentation
technologies such as optical character recognition and e-books, digital
libraries are rapidly growing in popularity.