This electronic literature review is an introduction and summary of the state of the art for those who have not been intimately involved in the evolution of digital libraries. We have tried to identify the main issues in the field and to point users to likely sources for exploring and keeping informed on those issues.
Readers will include managers who are called upon to run digital library projects, archivists who are becoming involved in institutional digitization projects without the benefit of a technical background, and students of information science. At the same time, we hope that this pulling together of resources will be a useful starting point for the experts, who at the very least will have a site to point to when they are asked to summarize digital library activities.
Ed. note: The full text of this paper is available on the ITAL Web site with links to the sites discussed.
Because the literature on digital libraries is wide ranging and somewhat ephemeral, this article tries to organize the "big picture" and is more likely to set readers on a trail of discovery than to summarize the state of the art in a neatly packaged bundle. We have been selective rather than exhaustive in our choices. It is tempting to provide a thorough listing of every resource concerned with digital libraries, but it is probably more useful to suggest a few rich starting points for exploration. Because the field is changing so rapidly, we have tried to exclude resources that have not been updated in the last couple of years. Online resources are emphasized, although the list also includes a number of print publications.
This article adopts an inclusive definition of digital libraries, including all types of library materials in digital form:
* Retrospectively converted materials, as well as newly published materials, which may be derivatives of print works or original electronic publications
* A wide range of material types, including journals, reference works, monographs, visual materials, sound recordings, moving pictures
* All types of digital formats, from bit-mapped page images to SGML-encoded texts to page images stored in proprietary format
Many consider the digital library to be a worldwide entity, including all networked digital information resources. Others more modestly deal with the digital library as an institutional project. Both have to face many of the same issues, and both are included. We consider the digital library to include only those information resources that are available on the Internet, although there are some who might include CD-ROMs and other local non-networked resources. Abroad definition of the digital library can be found at http://sunsite.berkeley. edu/ARL/definition.html. The University of Illinois has assembled a handy glossary of terms at http://dli.grainger.uiuc.edu/glossary.htm.
Issues in Digital Libraries
Overview and General Resources
We recommend the following starting points for exploration of the digital library. These WWW sites are updated regularly and include top-level tables of contents that organize digital library topics meaningfully, providing a road map to the issues.
This site, maintained by the University of California at Berkeley's Digital Library Project, is particularly helpful because of its excellent organization of issues and its selection of materials found at locations other than Berkeley.
This more exhaustive site, maintained by IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations), uses a more international approach and takes a slightly different, but just as helpful, approach to organizing the issues.
This site is maintained by the UK Office for Library and Information Networking, based at the University of Bath. It covers initiatives in the UK and provides a number of general pointers as well.
Digital Library Bibliographies…