- Slides: 29
Libraries, digital libraries and digital library research Lorcan Dempsey OCLC Keynote presentation at European Conference on Digital Libraries 2004 University of Bath September 12 – 17 2004
Holes ‘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 man’s achievement has passed totally unnoticed except by me. ’
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?
Digital library Research Digital library Library Digital libraries
Anthropology/ethnography/ social science Library and Information science Grid Digital library Research HCI W 3 C Computer science Economics Industrial R&D Semantic web Entertainment Digital library Jorum Library E-research E-learning Banks Cultural heritage ‘Business’ Digital libraries Artstor Libraries … Amazon Inst Rep ar. Xiv Internet archive BBC archive
Digital library Research Emphasis: Library Digital library Library Digital libraries
A library as institution
Libraries ‘So why have I written this? I can’t show it if it’s going to contradict or undermine my case. There a number of reasons. First and foremost, I am a librarian. I live for records and documents. ’
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 3 -11. Published Online: 2001.
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. http: //www. imls. gov/scripts/text. cgi? /whatsnew/current/sp 040503. htm
Libraries and digital libraries § Support research and learning. § Discover position of others and form one’s own position. § In order to uphold their mission and values… § … they must renovate their practices.
“Search engine mindshare” John Regazzi § § “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. ” Scientists: • Google • Yahoo • Pub. Med Librarians: • Science Direct • ISI Web of Science • Med. Line Source: John Regazzi, The Battle for Mindshare: A battle beyond access and retrieval http: //www. nfais. org/publications/mc_lecture_2004. htm
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
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
Impact of digital library research? § § § User studies • How much do we know about changing patterns of research, learning and engagement? Federation and metasearch • FDI, Index. Data, Cheshire, i. Port, … Local • OAI/Open. URL • NISO metasearch – issues still to be addressed successes … Repositories/digital library systems • Multiple communities … but we • Dspace, Fedora, CONTENTdm, DLXS, . . Metadata have many • Growing acronymic density open • Collections, rights, policies, services, … questions. • Complex objects, relations Identifiers/citation Preservation
Collections grid Stewardship Special collections Archives low • Newspapers • Gov. docs • CD, DVD • Maps • Scores low Freely-accessible web resources high Books Journals Uniqueness high • Rare books • Local history materials • Archives & Manuscripts • Theses & dissertations Research and learning materials • e. Prints/tech reports • Learning objects • Courseware • E-portfolios • Research data Untransferred records
Collections grid high Publishing low disclosure D 2 D low Amazoogle high Reformatting Cultural heritage E-learning E-research Digital asset management
lab books PDAs campus portal learning management systems exhibitions course material text book personal collections reading lists library user environments resource environment Virtual reference Institutional repository Aggregations Digital collections E-reserve Cataloging ILL Licensed collections
The world is changing … § Why is it difficult?
Scope, scale, diversity § Systemic issues • No single system is the sole focus of a user’s 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’
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, machine interface, metasearch • Provide data, externalize search • Google, OAI
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
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
Limited application platforms § § § Consider • Google • Amazon • E-bay • Map. Quest 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
Architecture? Theory? § Do we need a big picture? § Allows the articulation of technical and business discussion? § An unnecessary constraint?
Without it we are susceptible to …. § § § Marchitecture Techeology Portal envy Gratuitous acronym requests in RFPs Beauty contests • Dspace, Fedora, ….
A history of consumption means that we are unprepared for contribution § Standards § Open source software § Common services § Limited structures to capture contribution and support.
And finally. . § Libraries need to think about libraries not digital libraries § And they need help from wherever they can get it!