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Libraries, digital libraries and digital library research Lorcan Dempsey OCLC Keynote presentation at European Conference on Digital Libraries 2004 University.

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Presentation on theme: "Libraries, digital libraries and digital library research Lorcan Dempsey OCLC Keynote presentation at European Conference on Digital Libraries 2004 University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Libraries, digital libraries and digital library research Lorcan Dempsey OCLC Keynote presentation at European Conference on Digital Libraries 2004 University of Bath September 12 –

2 Overview

3 There was once a man who aspired to be the author of the general theory of holes. When asked What kind of hole – holes dug by children in the sand for amusement, holes dug by gardeners to plant lettuce seedlings, tank traps, holes made by roadmakers? he would reply indignantly that he wished for a general theory that would explain all of these. This mans achievement has passed totally unnoticed except by me. Holes

4 Digital libraries and holes … Digital library has no precise or agreed referent Different communities of practice Different incentives Serve Build Research Compare archive Archival institution Archival materials OAI A promise of preservation?

5 Digital library Digital library Research Digital libraries Library

6 Internet archive Anthropology/ethnography/ social science Economics Libraries … Inst Rep Industrial R&D Amazon HCI Library and Information science Computer science Grid Semantic web Library arXiv BBC archive E-research E-learning Cultural heritage Banks Entertainment Jorum W3C Artstor

7 Digital library Digital library Research Digital libraries Library Emphasis: Library

8 A library as institution

9 Libraries So why have I written this? I cant show it if its going to contradict or undermine my case. There are a number of reasons. First and foremost, I am a librarian. I live for records and documents.

10 A library as institution Because the purpose and result of absorbing information is always finally to produce further information, i.e., to continue the conversation, the function of the library must be understood as one that assists members of the community both in taking particular positions and in recognizing and assessing the positions taken by others. Ross Atkinson. Contingency and contradiction: The place(s) of the library at the dawn of the new millennium Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Volume 52, Issue 1, Pages Published Online: Ross Atkinson. Contingency and contradiction: The place(s) of the library at the dawn of the new millennium Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Volume 52, Issue 1, Pages Published Online: 2001.

11 A library as institution We often hear it said that libraries (and librarians) select, organize, retrieve, and transmit information or knowledge. That is true. But those are the activities, not the mission, of the library. … the important question is: "To what purpose?" We do not do those things by and for themselves. We do them in order to address an important and continuing need of the society we seek to serve. In short, we do it to support learning. Robert Martin. Libraries and Learners in the Twenty-first Century. Robert Martin. Libraries and Learners in the Twenty-first Century.

12 Libraries and digital libraries Support research and learning. Discover position of others and form ones own position. In order to uphold their mission and values… … they must renovate their practices.

13 Search engine mindshare John Regazzi Scientists: Google Yahoo PubMed Librarians: Science Direct ISI Web of Science MedLine Source: John Regazzi, The Battle for Mindshare: A battle beyond access and retrieval In a survey for this lecture, librarians and scientists were asked to name the top scientific and medical search resources that they use or are aware of. The difference is startling.

14 Pattern recognition – libraries now The Amazoogle effect Value User behavior opaque Uncertainty about digital directions The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed yet William Gibson

15 The difficulty in creating a digital management strategy stems in part from the bewildering convergence of technological developments. Developing a digital management strategy is further complicated by the fact that there are no recognized patterns or models for managing digital assets. Some managers seek to develop fully distributed institutional repositories but still must choose between open-source solutions or commercial providers. Others prefer to place their material in one of a limited number of dedicated storage institutions. While best practices may exist for given technical processes, library managers do not have a single paradigm to use as the basis for developing operational plans and policies to capture, store, index, preserve, and redistribute the intellectual output in digital formats. Managing Digital Assets, CLIR primer program, 2005

16 Impact of digital library research? User studies How much do we know about changing patterns of research, learning and engagement? Federation and metasearch FDI, IndexData, Cheshire, iPort, … OAI/OpenURL NISO metasearch – issues still to be addressed Repositories/digital library systems Multiple communities Dspace, Fedora, CONTENTdm, DLXS,.. Metadata Growing acronymic density Collections, rights, policies, services, … Complex objects, relations Identifiers/citation Preservation Local successes … … but we have many open questions.

17 Collections grid highlow high Stewardship Uniqueness Books Journals Newspapers Gov. docs CD, DVD Maps Scores Special collections Archives Rare books Local history materials Archives & Manuscripts Theses & dissertations Freely-accessible web resources Research and learning materials ePrints/tech reports Learning objects Courseware E-portfolios Research data Untransferred records

18 Collections grid highlow high E-learning E-research Publishing Cultural heritage disclosure Reformatting Digital asset management Amazoogle D2D

19 lab books exhibitions PDAs learning management systems campus portal course material text book personal collections reading lists Institutional repository Digital collections E-reserve Catalog Licensed collections Aggregations Virtual reference Cataloging ILL library user environments resource environment

20 The world is changing … Why is it difficult?

21 Scope, scale, diversity Systemic issues No single system is the sole focus of a users attention How do systems and services work across the four quadrants of the collections grid How do they fit into wider enterprise systems Structure of costs does not reflect users value perception Reallocation of resources difficult Little substitution – and not or

22 A new world Co-evolution with research and learning behaviors which are themselves changing Unsure about appropriate economy of presence Place, network hub, channel, … Web services, portlets, channels, … Ambience, diffusion, ubiquity, recombinance, … E.g. Trajectory of search Search system Search system, machine interface, metasearch Provide data, externalize search Google, OAI

23 Webulation … Monolithic applications resistant to Webulation Service oriented architectures Massive legacy investment in knowledge structure unconnected to the web How to release its value in a network environment Content does not easily flow into user space for manipulation, packaging, aggregation

24 Vendor environment Many libraries have outsourced development effort Library vendors do not have large R&D budgets Poor out-of-the-box support for below-the-line materials in digital form Interesting tension between commodity (standards) and added value OSS environment very unsophisticated Limited support for logistics/supply chain/integration services

25 Limited application platforms Consider Google Amazon E-bay MapQuest Massively central applications platforms working in loosely coupled webby world Software as a service APIs GMAIL Paypal search Library world Fragmented systems and development effort Does not benefit from scale Unsustainable local development agendas Organizational rearticulation difficult. Application platforms? CDL JISC DEF OCLC/RLG

26 Architecture? Theory? Do we need a big picture? Allows the articulation of technical and business discussion? An unnecessary constraint?

27 Without it we are susceptible to …. Marchitecture Techeology Portal envy Gratuitous acronym requests in RFPs Beauty contests Dspace, Fedora, ….

28 A history of consumption means that we are unprepared for contribution Standards Open source software Common services Limited structures to capture contribution and support.

29 And finally.. Libraries need to think about libraries not digital libraries And they need help from wherever they can get it!


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