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The libraries sector has been involved in major projects to create, catalogue, preserve, and disseminate digital resources. Many libraries around the world now have digitization policies and digital collections - too many to list in this section. Libraries are collaborating with other cultural heritage institutions - archives, museums - and information technologists, to deliver virtual and hybrid libraries. Standards and guidelines are in place, and being refined, to cover accession and collection policies, cataloguing and resource description; preservation issues; resource discovery and user needs; copyright and IPR; authorisation and charging for access; interoperability. Each of the projects listed in this section has documents and tools to support some or all of these issues. They are arranged under the following headings:
- Electronic libraries programmes
- Virtual and digital libraries
- Electronic journals
- Further reading
See also the other El.pub page on Digital Libraries.
Telematics for Libraries (DG XIII/E-4) and Information Society Technologies (FP5)
The EC funded many projects to promote wider access to library holdings through its Telematics for Libraries programme. These projects are now complete, and details are available through CORDIS (Community Research and Development Information Service). The Fifth Framework Programme does not have a particular area for libraries, though some projects under the Information Society Technologies (IST) programme include a libraries element.
- CORDIS provides information on IST projects through ISTWeb. Some of the IST projects focus on digital libraries, and information about these is available through Digicult, the IST's Digital Heritage and Cultural Content Web site. Also useful is DELOS - Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries. DELOS supports research on digital libraries within the IST programme by providing fora to discuss and exchange ideas and technologies within and beyond IST projects. It coordinates a range of activities, including workshops, conferences, training, and working groups on standards for digital libraries.
- CULTIVATE is a European cultural heritage network linking holdings of libraries, archives and museums across Europe. CULTIVATE-EU has members in 12 western Europe, and started in February 2000. It will run for three years. CULTIVATE-CEE started in January 2001, and has partners in ten central and eastern European countries.
- Renardus is developing a portal to online resources for academics and researchers. It will be a single point of entry for academics and researchers to access digital collections catalogued by quality subject gateways. The project is a collaboration between libraries and research centres across Europe.
Exploit Interactive and Cultivate Interactive are online magazines promoting the EC libraries programmes funded under FP4 and FP5.
Digital Libraries Initiative (phase 2) (DLI)
The DLI's focus is to dramatically advance the means to collect, store, and organize information in digital forms, and make it available for searching, retrieval, and processing via communication networks. Most of the projects are based in the USA, though there is some international collaboration. The first phase of research focused on computer and information sciences applications, and was completed in 1998. The second phase covers a broader range of issues relating to digital libraries, and the projects were announced in August 1999, with end-dates between spring 2002 and autumn 2004. Some are a continuation of DLI1 projects. The larger projects include:
- Re-inventing Scholarly Information Dissemination and Use, University of California Berkeley: This project is developing existing and new tools to support the development and management of digital libraries, and to assist researchers in searching and using their holdings. It looks at ways of supporting creation, documentation and searching of text-based documents, datasets, including GIS, and images. The project carries out research in several areas:
- Document image analysis, seeking to improve the reliability of OCR scanning and decoding of text and mathematical symbols.
- Presentation and manipulation of complex documents - multivalent documents. Available tools include an MVD Java applet, and the GIS Viewer 3.0. The latter enables users to work with geospatial data and images, from large scale views of the globe to detailed images of individual objects.
- Robust referencing - enhancing URLs by adding a textual signature to the address, thereby helping users to locate pages when they are moved.
- Cheshire II, a Z39.50 compliant server to multiple library catalogues.
- Alexandria Digital Earth Prototype Project (ADEPT), University of California Santa Barbara: This is a continuation of a DLI1 project, making available the extensive holdings of the university's Map and Imagery library, and collaborating with related collections held elsewhere. The DLI2 project is developing tools to support flexible and tailored learning environments for users to access the virtual library.
- Informedia Digital Video Library, Carnegie Mellon University: This is also a continuation of an earlier project (of the same name), looking into ways for supporting cataloguing, retrieval and access to video and audio resources. The project makes use of speech recognition, natural language processing, and image understanding to support full-content searching and on-demand delivery across dispersed holdings. The project makes available through its Web site many resources and publications.
- Personalized Search and Summarization over Multimedia Information (PERSIVAL), Columbia University. This project is developing a virtual library to provide clinicians and patients with access to dispersed multimedia holdings, including patient records and medical literature. Results will be summarised and tailored to meet user needs and assumed prior knowledge.
- PRISM: Information Integrity for Distributed Digital Libraries, Cornell University. PRISM is exploring standards and strategies for ensuring the integrity of data in the expanding digital libraries sector, particularly where these make use of dispersed holdings. It is focusing on five key areas: preservation, reliability, interoperability, security, and metadata.
- Virtual Data Center, Harvard University. The Virtual Data Centre will be a virtual library of social sciences data, for research and education uses within and beyond education institutions. A prototype server is already in use at Harvard, and the project will develop this to support interoperability with other libraries.
- National Gallery of the Spoken Word, Michigan State University: The NGSW will provide access to dispersed collections of audio recordings, in most cases on people and events relevant to the USA. Its users are students and teachers in schools and other education institutions.
- Web-Lab, University of Southern California. Web-Lab is a virtual library and laboratory for economics and sociology. It is developing tools to enable collaborative research between departments within and beyond the USA, including multilingual support. Software, datasets and other resources will be made available through the Web-Lab.
- Stanford Digital Library Technologies, Stanford University. This is a continuation of the DLI1 project California Digital Library. The Stanford Digital Library Technologies project will focus on software to support interoperability across collections described in different ways and delivered on different systems. It will also focus on information retrieval, providing access to resources through portable devices, and economic models for maintaining digital libraries (including payment mechanisms).
- Digital Library for the Humanities, Tufts University. This will be an extension of the Perseus Project, an extensive digital library for the classics combining diverse resources from museums and libraries. The new project will expand its collections to cover a wider range of subjects, explore and develop tools to support complex searching and information retrieval, and to evaluate the impact of digital libraries on learning. Greg Crane has an article on Perseus and the new digital library in a recent edition of D-Lib Magazine (number 6, 7/8) http://www.dlib.org/dlib/july00/crane/07crane.html.
Research Libraries Group (RLG)
The RLG is an international alliance of more than 160 universities, national libraries, archives, museums, historical societies and other institutions. The RLG promotes access to research collections by supporting international research into software development and the creation of bibliographic and other databases, and markets the resulting collections.
- One of its latest projects, the Cultural Materials Initiative, will provide access to a wide range of rare and unique resources in digital form, including published and unpublished texts, sound files and images (and accompanying descriptions) of diverse objects. Users will have ready access to museum, archive and library holdings through a single point. The project is exploring copyright issues, resource discovery, and delivery of resources in multiple languages around the world. The project is due for completion in 2003.
- The Long-term Retention of Digital Research Materials project is developing a digital archiving model to support libraries in managing their growing digital collections. The RLG is collaborating with major international organisations, including OCLC, the National Library of Australia, and the Digital Library Federation. The project is closely linked to PRESERV, a longer-running RLG initiative for preserving and improving access to special collections.
- SHARES will develop tools and strategies for sharing resources between RLG partner institutions. Tools include inter-library loan managers and document delivery software.
The April 2001 edition of RLG's DigiNews contains two articles on archiving the Web, by William Arms and colleagues at the Library of Congress and Cornell University on the Minerva Project, and Juha Hakala of the National Library of Finland on the NEDLIB Web harvester.
A report (March 2001) on the Future of Digital Preservation Metadata, from the RLG and OCLC, is also available online.
UK Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib)
The HEFCE-funded Electronic Libraries Programme is researching innovative uses of technology to help Higher Education libraries better fulfil their role as information-providers. The eLib programme has been running since 1995, and funded more than 60 projects exploring important topics on electronic publishing and access: document delivery, digitization, electronic journals, copyright, pre-print and grey literature, on-demand publishing, training and awareness, quality assurance, and access to networked resources. The most recent projects (phase 3 of eLib funding) sought to bring together many of these topics, and most were completed at the end of 2000:
- The development and creation of hybrid libraries (5 projects). The HeadLine project created a hybrid library, enabling users to access details on multimedia and print resources. HeadLine supported the creation of user profiles, tailoring access to the library to meet individual needs. Resources are delivered in a variety of formats: digital, print, inter-library loans, and order processes. The BUILDER project has developed a range of tools to support the hybrid library, including a toolbox to create Web-based interfaces to library management systems, and training materials. Its final report is now available. Demonstrations of the Hybrid Library and Metadata Index are now available.
- Large scale resource discovery (clumps - 4 projects). All of the projects are using Z39.50 compliant systems to create virtual union catalogues. Three of the projects (CAIRNS, M25 Link, and RIDING) link together catalogues of libraries in the same region/country. The fourth (Music Libraries Online) is making available one-stop searching to music resources in various media held in British libraries.
- Digital preservation (1 project). CEDARS is exploring a wide range of issues surrounding digital preservation, including strategies and methods for digital archiving and maintenance, and practical issues. Project outcomes include reports on Metadata for Digital Preservation, Guidance for Collection Managers for Digital Preservation, Cost Elements for Digital Preservation, and Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights Issues.
Issue 26 of Ariadne has a retrospective on eLib by Chris Rusbridge - 'After eLib' (10/01/2001). A longer paper by Stephen Pinfield is available from the eLib site - Beyond eLib: Lessons from Phase 3 of the Electronic Libraries Programme (23/01/2001).
DNER - Distributed National Electronic Resource
The DNER is funded by the UK's Joint Information Systems Committee. It will provide links to learning and teaching resources for all levels of UK education, and support collaboration and interoperability with the numerous UK digital library initiatives. In August 2000, the JISC announced 40 new projects to enhance the DNER, allocating a total of £13 million. Some are listed below:
- ANGEL (Authenticated Networked Guided Environment for Learning) will develop tools to link together learning environments and digital libraries, providing students with one-stop, customised interfaces to diverse teaching and learning resources, and educators with course management tools.
- EBONI (Electronic Books On-screeN Interface) is exploring the usability of online teaching and learning resources, and will issue guidelines for authors. The project ends in February 2002.
- JAFER (Java Access for Electronic Resources) is developing tools to support Web authors to create portals to online collections, using Java and the Z39.50 protocol.
- Gate-Z is developing tools to enable Z39.50 gateways following the Bath Profile to other Z39.50 gateways.
The full list of all projects associated with the DNER is available.
In addition, the JISC is working with other institutions and services in the UK to establish a Digital Preservation Coalition. Documents and other information are available from the JISC Web site.
Australian Libraries Gateway
The National Library of Australia maintains an index of completed and ongoing digitization projects in Australian libraries, archives and museums. Other information, including standards and guidelines promoted by the National Library, are available from this site.
Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, Universidad de Alicante
This project started in 1998, and is funded by the University of Alicante, the Banco Santander Central Hispano, and the Fundación Marcelino Botín. It is a growing collection of digital editions of Spanish language texts, the majority in Castilian. The library is collaborating with other institutions in and beyond Spain to increase its holdings.
Canadian Initiative on Digital Libraries, National Library of Canada
CIDL, founded in autumn 1997, has members from more than 50 public, academic and specialist libraries in Canada. The alliance focuses on developing and promoting standards in cataloguing, preservation and copyright, and publicises digital projects based in Canada.
Digital Library, National Library of Scotland
The library has a growing set of digitized special collections, covering the history and literature of Scotland and the activities of Scots throughout the world.
Duke University Special Collections Library
A large online resource, giving 'virtual access' to various historical documentation exhibits. Collections includes the Duke Papyrus Archive which provides electronic access to texts and images of 1,373 papyri from ancient Egypt. Interesting for the account of the full process of getting the papyri online, including their acquisition, cataloguing, and imaging. Associated with the Library is the Digital Scriptorium whose goal it is "to support the Special Collections Library's mission of providing access to historical documentation through use of innovative technology and collaborative development projects".
The Engineering Electronic Library, Sweden (EELS), is an information system for quality assessed Internet resources in the technical sciences.
The Library of Congress: American Memory
The American Memory project (completed in spring 2000) was part of the Library of Congress' National Digital Library Program. major undertaking to digitize and provide access to multimedia resources on American history. It includes electronic editions of books, photographs, prints, drawings, manuscripts, maps, sound recordings, and moving images. Users can access the collection through multiple routes, and run searches across all or parts of the collection. Reports outlining the technical and management issues are available.
NeLH - National electronic Library for Health
The UK's National Health Service has launched a digital library for health care professionals and the general public.
SCRAN - Scottish Cultural Resource Access Network
SCRAN is funded by the UK's Millennium Commission to collect and disseminate multimedia resources of Scotland's material culture and history. SCRAN collaborates with museums, archives, libraries and galleries in Scotland and beyond to obtain records for its collection. The project is aimed at primary and secondary education, though work is underway to extend the collections for the further and higher education sectors.
National Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education (SMETE) Digital Library
The SMETE library will be funded by the National Science Foundation (USA). Deadlines for formal proposals fall in early summer 2001. The NSF funds many digital library and learning environment projects. Zia, L.L. (2001). Growing a National Learning Environments and Resources Network for Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education. D-Lib Magazine 7 (3).
DIEPER (Digitised European Periodicals)
DIEPER is a collaboration between 10 European countries to build a virtual library of periodicals, similar to JSTOR (funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation). It is building a central catalogue of electronic periodical holdings, and building on this to support full-text searching across all contents pages of periodicals held in the catalogue, and full-text searching for across a subset. The collection is mostly based on existing digitized texts, though new items are being created to ensure that the library has good regional and subject coverage.
Project Muse, Johns Hopkins University Press
Project Muse provides worldwide, networked, subscription access to the full text of the Johns Hopkins University Press's over 100 scholarly journals in the arts and humanities, social sciences, and mathematics.
AHDS - Arts and Humanities Data Service
The AHDS supports creation and preservation of digital datasets arising from UK-based research projects in the humanities. The AHDS is a consortium of five service providers covering a range of subject areas: the Archaeology Data Service, the History Data Service, the Oxford Text Archive, the Performing Arts Data Service, and the Visual Arts Data Service. Each of the service providers maintains an archive of digital resources. The AHDS is funded by the UK's Joint Information Systems Committee and other national funding bodies.
OAI - Open Archives Initiative
The OAI supports sharing of information and access to research data by developing and promoting standards for interoperability. Version 1.0 of its Protocol for Metadata Harvesting is available online. OAI is funded by the Digital Library Federation, the Coalition for Networked Information, and other national bodies.
Telematics for Libraries (DG XIII/E-4)
Many resources and tools are now available from the completed Fourth and Fifth Framework Programmes (FP4 and FP5). These can be found through CORDIS (Community Research and Development Information Service), along with details of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), launched during December 2002.
IBM DB2 Digital Library
Over the past few years, IBM has been involved in a number of large-scale digital library projects for which they were developing applications for handling digital libraries and large collections of images (including watermarking software). DB2 Digital Library is a digital asset management system, and is incorporated into IBM's Content Manager to support a range of media. IBM is working with the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, to manage its digital collection (based on the museum's extensive collections). DB2 Digital Library supports a variety of search mechanisms, including query by image content.
CITS, CSTB, CPSMA, NRC (2000). LC21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress. Washington, USA, National Academy Press.Available online and in print, this publication sets out strategies for creating, maintaining, cataloguing and accessing digital collections for the Library of Congress.
Ariadne: A Web and print magazine of Internet issues for librarians and information specialists. This newsletter, published every two months, is aimed at an audience of subject librarians and others working within academic libraries. Its aims are described as twofold: 1) to describe and evaluate sources and services available on the Internet of potential use to librarians and information professionals; 2) to report to the library community at large on progress and developments within the Electronic Libraries Programme of FIGIT and ISSC information services, keeping the busy practitioner abreast of current developments.
D-Lib: the magazine of Digital Library Research. D-Lib is coordinated by the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (Reston, Virginia) for the NSF/DARPA/NASA Digital Libraries Initiative. It lists its objectives as 1) the stimulation of the development of a common infrastructure for digital libraries and to coordinate research in those aspects that require consensus; 2) the provision of information exchange about all research and advanced development in digital libraries, particularly federally funded research within the High Performance Computing and Communications program; 3) the encouraging and assisting of the transfer of these research efforts into the creation of the national digital library system. It is mirrored in Europe by the UK Office for Library and Information Networking (UKOLN).
CLIR Issues. The Council on Library and Information Resources is a USA organisation. Their journal covers a range of issues regarding collections management and preservation of traditional and digital collections.
Cultivate Interactive is an online magazine disseminating information about research and tools for the libraries and heritage sectors within Europe. It is funded under the European Commission's DIGICULT programme (5th Framework Programme). The first issue was published in July 2000.
LTWorld. This is published by the Library Information Technology Centre, based at South Bank University, UK. It is the online version of Library Technology. The journal covers recent developments in library automation.
RLG Focus and RLG DigiNews. The Research Libraries Group publish a couple of journals online. RLG Focus provides information about the RLG's computer-based services, including its bibliographic and citation databases. RLG DigiNews reports on digitization and preservation issues, and has a calendar of events for around the world.
Please note that this page was authored during April 2001, and apart from a few minor amendments since that date has remained as it was. Therefore some of the links may have changed or no longer link to the resources indicated. Please contact the firstname.lastname@example.org concerning broken links and he will attempt to direct you to a suitable alternative link. (January 2003)
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