Digital Libraries: Problems, Issue And Challenges

4066 words - 16 pages

Digital Libraries are emerging electronic entities. Digital Libraries are becoming importantinformation resources. The Digital Libraries concept is appealing because its inherent designcombines end-user needs with technology that has the ability to handle vast amounts of complexdata. Perhaps most importantly, the Digital Libraries concept has longevity because it providesimportant services for a society that is identified as being in the process of profound socialchange including movement towards a knowledge society and the appearance of a weightlesseconomy(1)Validation of the Digital Libraries concept includes the fact that Digital Libraries arebeing established throughout the country, often as distributed environments operating under theauspices of universities and state designated agencies. Internationally, Digital Libraries are alsobeing established, including UNESCO's Memory of the World which has the express purpose ofprotecting endangered cultural materials(2).The information services provided by Digital Libraries demonstrate a potential for uses thatextend far beyond being a showcase for technological marvels. In fact, the concept of digitallibraries is a phenomenon that includes the following two complementary ideas:I. the technologies used for creating, searching and using information in the electronicenvironment andII. the human aspects of information seeking and creation among the community of users(3).As such, digital libraries can be viewed as extensions and augmentations of traditional librariesby extending the resources and services that can be offered and augmenting how people can seekand express information(4). Clearly, Digital Libraries are becoming an important element in theinformation cycle and it seems they should also be considered a dynamic, and essentialcomponent of library and information science professionals.2. What is a Digital Library?The idea of easy and finger-tip access to information- what we conceptualize as digitallibraries today -begins with Vannenar Bush's Memex machine and has continued to evolve witheach advance in information technology(5). What is a digital library? There is confusionsurrounding this phrase which is stemming from the following three factors. First, the librarycommunity has used several different phrases over the years to denote this concept - electroniclibrary, virtual library, library without-walls-and it never was quite clear what each of thesedifferent phrases meant. "Digital library" is simply the most current and most widely acceptedterm, and is now used almost exclusively at conferences, online, and in the literature. Secondfactor adding to the confusion is that digital libraries are at the focal point of many differentareas of research, and what constitutes a digital library differs depending upon the researchcommunity that is describing it. Digital Libraries mean differently to different to differentpeople. For example :-· from an information retrieval point of view, it is...

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