Introduction to Digital Libraries

Nov 2003 | 384pp

Price: £59.95
CILIP members price: £47.95

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Introduction to Digital Libraries

G. G. Chowdhury and Sudatta Chowdhury

Recent developments in ICT, especially the web, have led to the creation of a growing number of digital library projects in the UK, USA and elsewhere. This new phenomenon is designed to bring a paradigm shift in the ways we create, access and use information. The design and development of digital libraries depend on computer, communication and other technical skills, and the dream of successful digital libraries leading to a global digital environment can only be fulfilled when sufficient practitioners have the skills to design, build and manage them.

This book presents a holistic view of the new digital library scene. Supported by a wealth of international examples, it is an essential guide to good digital practice and techniques. The authors have experience both in teaching courses on digital libraries and in actively researching them, and the text is based on evidence provided by models of major digital library research projects around the globe. Key topics include:

  • digital libraries: definition and characteristics
  • features of some digital libraries
  • digital library design
  • digital library research
  • collection management
  • digitization
  • information organization
  • information access and user interface
  • information retrieval in digital libraries
  • digital archiving and preservation
  • digital library services
  • social, economic and legal issues
  • digital library evaluation
  • digital libraries and the information profession
  • trends in digital library research and development.  

Readership: This invaluable textbook offers an all-round view of digital libraries and is a core text for students of digital librarianship and related courses at departments of information science and computer science. It is also essential reading for practitioners and researchers who need to get a good grasp of issues and developments in the field.


  • Purpose
  • Audience
  • Sources
  • Acknowledgements  

1. Digital libraries: definition and characteristics

  • Outline
  • Introduction 
  • What is a digital library? 
  • Hybrid libraries 
  • Characteristics of digital libraries 
  • The impact of digital libraries 
  • The structure of this book   

2. Features of some digital libraries 

  • Outline 
  • Introduction 
  • Digital libraries: types 
  • Brief descriptions of selected digital libraries  
  • Summary  

3. Digital library research 

  • Outline 
  • Introduction 
  • UK 
  • USA 
  • Joint NSF/JISC international digital library projects 
  • Canada 
  • Europe 
  • Digital library projects funded by the European Union 
  • Australia 
  • New Zealand 
  • Summary   

4. Digital library design 

  • Outline
  • Introduction
  • User-centred digital library models
  • Design issues 
  • Digital library models
  • Hybrid library models
  • The DNER
  • Digital library standards
  • Summary  

5. Collection management

  • Outline
  • Introduction
  • The process of collection management
  • Collection development models
  • Electronic journals
  • Electronic books
  • Databases and services
  • Summary   

6. Digitization

  • Outline 
  • Introduction
  • Issues related to a digitization project 
  • The process of digitization 
  • Technical issues 
  • File formats 
  • Post-processing 
  • Access to digitized information
  • Costs of digitization
  • Summary   

7. Information organization

  • Outline
  • Introduction
  • Problems of information organization in digital libraries
  • Classification of digital information
  • Information organization in selected digital libraries
  • Cataloguing and metadata 
  • Digital content marking and manipulation 
  • Recent research projects  
  • Summary 

8. Information access and user interfaces 

  • Outline 
  • Introduction 
  • Information users
  • Information needs 
  • The four-phase framework for information search 
  • Information seeking and user interfaces
  • User interfaces and visualization 
  • User interfaces of digital libraries 
  • Information access in digital libraries 
  • User-centred digital libraries 
  • Summary   

9. Information retrieval in digital libraries 

  • Outline 
  • Introduction 
  • Information retrieval models 
  • Vocabulary control 
  • Alternative information retrieval models 
  • Multimedia information retrieval 
  • Basic information search techniques 
  • Information retrieval features of various resources accessible through digital libraries 
  • Information retrieval features of selected digital libraries
  • Problems and prospects 
  • Summary  

10. Digital archiving and preservation 

  • Outline 
  • Introduction 
  • Digital preservation 
  • Issues related to digital preservation 
  • Digital preservation strategy 
  • Research projects on digital archiving and preservation 
  • The Internet Archive 
  • E-print archives 
  • Summary   

11. Digital library services 

  • Outline 
  • Introduction 
  • Personalized services: definitions of digital libraries revisited 
  • Reference and information services on the web 
  • Search engine services 
  • Digital reference services and libraries 
  • Current digital library research on personalized services 
  • Current digital library projects on digital reference services 
  • The evaluation of digital library services 
  • Summary   

12. Social, economic and legal issues

  • Outline 
  • Introduction 
  • Social issues 
  • Economic issues 
  • Legal issues 
  • Legal deposit 
  • Summary   

13. Digital library evaluation 

  • Outline 
  • Introduction 
  • Evaluation: the basic problems 
  • What to evaluate? 
  • Evaluation stages 
  • Evaluation criteria
  • Evaluation studies 
  • Summary   

14. Digital libraries and the information profession 

  • Outline 
  • Introduction 
  • Digital libraries: major activities and skills 
  • Summary   

15. Trends in digital library research and development 

  • Outline 
  • Introduction 
  • Digital libraries: growth and development 
  • The impact of digital libraries
  • Digital libraries to bridge the digital divide
  • Users’ information search behaviour 
  • Digital library services 
  • The economics of digital libraries 
  • Digital library education 
  • Digital libraries and knowledge management
  • The future

"...highly recommended as a core textbook for students of digital librarianship and related courses, as well as for essential reading for practitioners and researchers in the field of digital libraries."
- Online Information Review

G. G. Chowdhury, BSc Hons, MSc, PhD, FCLIP is a Professor of Information and Knowledge Management and Director of the Centre for Information and Knowledge Management at the University of Technology, Sydney. He has co-written several best-selling books with Facet Publishing including Information Users and Usability in the Digital Age and Introduction to Modern Information Retrieval and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Documentation, Library Review, Journal of Information Science, World Digital libraries: an international journal, and Online Information Review. Sudatta Chowdhury BSc MLISc MPhil is a Researcher at the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde.

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