LIS654 lecture 1Introduction Thomas Krichel 2011-09-13
introduction • This lecture is to introduce the topic of digital libraries. • Some of it is based on Bill Arms’ book, from its introductory chapter.
contents • digital libraries • digital librarianship • a course on digital libraries • with the aim of training digital librarians
digital libraries • Generally, we can think about digital libraries are • information stored on a computer • delivered via a network • mimics existing libraries • As Arms puts it “a managed collection of information, with associated services, where the information is stored in digital formats and accessible over a network”.
prospects • We are at the start of digital libraries. • The problem is that the technology is still expensive, the cost is still coming down. • The opportunity is that we can build pioneering systems now, that will have a lasting social impact.
example • ISI journal citation report is based on two years of data of citations to journals. • When Eugene Garfield founded it, he published the report in the second year of getting data. • For the next issue, he chose the same horizon of data. • Citation rankings of journals still use 2 years, almost 50 years after.
benefits: availability • Digital libraries bring the information closer to the user than physical libraries can • physically • temporarily • Even when you are in the physical library you still get faster access to digital library items.
benefits: findability • Information can be more easily found in digital than in print. • Some non-textual information is still only findable via metadata. • But computer scientists are working on that.
benefits: sharing • Information can be shared. • Items can not be damaged. • Items can not be stolen.
benefits: updating • Information can be kept up-to-date more easily. • To update a book, you have to reprint all copies, and replace them.
benefits: new media • Information can be created and manipulated in completely new ways. • For example location information can be mixed up with subject information.
issue: costs • The cost of storing print information is very high. It is a multiple of acquisition costs. • Digital storage devices decline in price. • But digital information manipulation requires skills that are not easy to procure. • The overall cost comparison is difficult to assess.
drawback: preservation • Preserving information is easy on paper. • Preserving digital information looks very hard. • We will look at this issue in the course.
drawbacks: monopoly dangers • Since the information only needs to be kept in one copy, and others can access it, there are inherent dangers of the build-up of monopolies. • One example is Google search engine.
drawbacks: free information • Since the information is more easy to copy it is harder to police illegal sharing. • Some creators and intermediaries are feeling the pinch. • The newspaper industry is one. • Physical libraries are one potential victim.
drawbacks: professional upheaval • Digital librarianship is as yet, largely undefined. • This leads me to the next topic.
digital librarianship • Librarianship has always been a bicephal occupation. • Libraries always have a collection and service aspect them. • Digital libraries are no different.
collection aspect • The collection has to be managed and organized. • The organizers deal with dead matter, documents. • This organization is a scientific activity. • Librarianship is a natural science. • The librarian is a cataloger in a corner.
service aspect • Users have to be shown how the library works. • Librarians have to understand users’ needs to build services users want. • All these are social activities. • Librarianship is a social science. • The librarian is a people service person.
digital information was hard to use • Computers had to be driven by esoteric commands. • Screens were hard to read from. • Telephone lines where hard to get to work to transmit information • Access costs to digital information was high. • The service aspect was important.
digital information is becoming easier • Computers are more and more easy to use. • Digital information providers tend to communicate directly with customers, bypassing libraries. • Subject literacy becomes relatively more important than information literacy. • The service aspect is being reduced over time.
an important caveat • Most items in the modern (19th, 20th century) are mass-produced. • There is no mass production or mass storage in the digital library. • The difference between publishers, archives and libraries become very blurred.
a course on digital libraries? • My initial thought is that a course on digital libraries is nonsensical. • In the recent future, all libraries will be digital.
digital libraries course • Literacy and use of digital media. • The idea is to look at what digital libraries exist and how to use them. • This is really already done in LIS511. • The course has the “building” theme to it.
building aspect • Building a digital library can basically take three for • electronic resource management • repository building • cross-repository services
electronic resource management • Libraries license digital contents from providers and make them available. • There are some minor technical issue • authentication • integration with ILS • legal issues with the licensing • minor training issues with users
repository building • Libraries are building repositories of local digital or digitized contents. • This is firmly on the technical side. • It is the main focus of the LIS654 course as it has been developed in the past. • We cover digitization as part of repository building.
cross-repository services • I think of repositories as publishers, rather than libraries. • Digital libraries are cross-repository datasets and services attached to them. • This is where I have done almost all my work. • It can not be done without custom computer programming.
course syllabus • It draws heavily on Brian Hoffman’s syllabus in Manhattan, Spring 2011. • It is sharply non-technical. It draws a line at web interfaces. • One can argue that without computer programming, one can not be a digital librarian. • But most digital libraries fail because of non-technical issues.
my expertise • My main expertise is in setting up completely new open-access digital library services and collections. • In non-technical terms, I can discuss how to set up these service and how they run. • But I am reluctant to appear like a self-promoting pompous git.
http://openlib.org/home/krichel Please shutdown the computers when you are done. Thank you for your attention!