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Digital libraries are organizations that accommodate the resources, including the specialized staff, to select, structure, action bookish admission to, interpret, distribute, bottle the candor of, and ensure the chain over time of collections of agenda works so that they are readily and economically attainable for use by a authentic association or set of communities. 1
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There are absolutely a large cardinal of activities actuality undertaken in European countries with respect to agenda libraries—some on a European level, some on a civic level, and others on a abundant added bounded level. Some activities awning accountable areas (such as economics or the humanities), others awning types of actual (such as periodicals, attenuate books, or images), while still others focus on the issues and challenges surrounding agenda libraries (such as intellectual property, digitization techniques, or management). In this article, I will accommodate a abrupt overview of some of the agenda library initiatives across Europe that are acclamation the issues and challenges that are confronting libraries in their admiration to go digital.
Projects Adjourned by the European Commission
Telematics for Libraries The Telematics for Libraries affairs of the European Commission (EC) aims to facilitate admission to knowledge captivated in libraries throughout the European Abutment while abbreviation disparities amid civic systems and practices. While it’s not abandoned devoted to agenda libraries—the affairs covers capacity such as networking (OSI, Web), cataloging (OPACs), imaging, multimedia, and copy-right, amid others—many of the 100 or added projects adjourned by the European Commission do cover issues and activities accompanying to agenda libraries. I’ve abbreviated a selection of assorted EC projects for this article.
Candle (Controlled Access to Arrangement Agenda Libraries in Europe) will facilitate admission to digital collections aural and after the library in a controlled way by producing bargain library administration software for rights ascendancy and fee management. The cold is to authenticate how the CaseLibrary agenda management arrangement can be acclimated to beforehand the administration of cyberbanking publications that are acquired by libraries through accord with publishers and supplier agencies. Candle will focus on applying an absolute library management arrangement in environments that animate publishers to action cyberbanking products to libraries in adjustment to accommodated user needs by acclamation authorization metering, control, feedback, monitoring, rights management, admission control, and promotion. It is advancing that there will be allowances for publishers in providing an bigger apparatus for all-encompassing users and managing costs; allowances for libraries in facilitating management, control, and security; and allowances for users in accouterment convenient interfaces and in accomplishing amount reductions as a aftereffect of optimized handling. The activity currently has associates in Greece, Italy, Spain, and the U.K.
The ambition of the Decomate II (Delivery of Absorb Abstracts in Cyberbanking Form) activity is to beforehand a European agenda library for economics—an end-user service that will accommodate broadcast admission to a array of advice resources captivated in altered libraries throughout Europe. It builds on the successful Decomate I activity by accoutrement both absorb and non-copyright materials of altered types and in altered formats and by acceptance users to access the assets in any of the accommodating libraries through a single, uniform interface. Decomate II will accommodate abandoned user casework additional enhanced techniques for adeptness navigation, and will be additionally a analysis bed for license agreements with publishers and advice providers and for standards and models of the use of agenda library services. The software release will be implemented in several European analysis sites to accretion adeptness on best-practice installations and absolute costs and efforts. Tilburg University Library in the Netherlands coordinates the project, which has added partners in Italy, the U.K., Spain, and Belgium, as able-bodied as the Netherlands. A working demonstrator is now attainable with two databases, and chargeless admission is given in acknowledgment for evaluation.
The Dieper (Digitized European Periodicals) activity offers a analysis bed for belief the impact of accouterment fast cyberbanking admission to almost abbreviate abstracts such as account articles. It addresses the charge in Europe for a axial access point or anthology breadth all digitized periodicals can be recorded and from breadth full-text searches of accessories can be agitated out. Annal in the annals are affiliated (via the Web) to absolute athenaeum of periodical abstract throughout Europe. Activity participants are architectonics up a virtual library of periodicals by scanning alleged journals and bond any existing agenda collections both to the annals and to the chase engine. The activity is accepted to beforehand admission to earlier account literature, preserve items, complete collections, analysis standards for digitizing and access, and authorize what infrastructures are required. Dieper is coordinated by the Georg August University in Germany and has ally in France, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Greece, and Estonia.
Blind musicians charge to apprehend agreeable scores, and Braille is currently the abandoned agency in regular assembly whereby this can be done. Assembly requires adeptness of music and Braille music encoding. It is labor-intensive and accordingly expensive. In an accomplishment to abate costs and duplication of efforts, four of the major Braille music libraries accept formed a aggregate archive of Braille music. Assignment is afoot, in a 2-year activity accepted as Miracle (Music Information Assets Assisted Computer Library Exchange), to beforehand a system whereby appropriate libraries can accept admission to and download Braille music in agenda anatomy from a axial database. The Dutch Civic Library for the Blind (SVB) in the Netherlands is analogous the project, which started in 1999 and has ally in the U.K., Italy, Switzerland, and Spain.
Another Collaborative European/World Project Strictly speaking, this activity is an all-embracing one, about I’m including it in this roundup because best of the ally are European. The capital cold of Biblioteca Universalis is to accomplish the above works of the world’s accurate and cultural ancestry attainable to a all-inclusive attainable via multimedia technologies. The aim is to accomplishment absolute digitization programs in adjustment to build up a ample broadcast basic accumulating of adeptness and accomplish it available to end-users via all-around advice networks, appropriately establishing a global cyberbanking library system. Biblioteca Universalis is a G-7 activity and the founding ally were the civic libraries of France, Italy, Germany, the U.K., Japan, Canada, and the U.S.A. The civic libraries of Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland have back abutting the project.
Biblioteca Universalis is accepted to strengthen the action of libraries and beforehand international availability of digitized resources, including not abandoned bibliographic records but additionally advice agreeable (by amalgam text, graphics, still and affective images, and sound). It will be able to beforehand all-embracing digitizing techniques and additionally animate the analogue and acceptance of all-around standards in a cardinal of areas such as digitization, advice protocols, and user interfaces. While architectonics on agenda library initiatives already underway in affiliate civic libraries, Biblioteca Universalis will address interoperability questions, able management, and the applied framework for all-embracing cooperation.
National Agenda Library Initiatives
Gallica is an experimental server that provides alien admission to the agenda collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) based on digitized printed cardboard formats, still and affective images, and sounds. Actual apropos to the 19th aeon was a accustomed best for the antecedent experiments. Of the 30 actor digitized pages of actual in the French civic library (about one-third of which chronicle to the 19th century), Gallica currently allows admission to 2 million pages in angel format. It additionally contains a allocation of the Frantext database of the French Civic Centre for Accurate Research, which offers more than 250 volumes in abounding text. The aim of Gallica is to present a sample of texts from a array of publications (monographs, dictionaries, periodicals, attenuate books) in adjustment to appraise the altitude beneath which such digital abstracts are able to be accessed via networks. To admittance bigger navigation, the Gallica assets accept been classed according to the acceptable range of disciplines begin in 19th-century literature.
The Classical Gallica account will be a advertence basic for advisers alms further agenda abstracts and images via the Internet of the arcane works of the abundant French writers. Gallica 2000, with 80,000 abstracts and a added automatic chase system, constitutes the best important version of the arrangement to date back the conception of the server in 1997. It provides admission to a multimedia library that spans from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.
Global Info, the German Agenda Libraries Project, was launched in 1998 with some $35 million for projects planned for two phases over the afterward 6 years. In contrast to the American Agenda Libraries Project, the German activity is based on furthering cooperation with universities, publishing houses, book dealers, appropriate accountable advice centers, and abstruse societies, as able-bodied as bookish and analysis libraries, rather than with the public. Its goals are to accomplish able admission to accepted information, anon from the scientist’s desktop, while accouterment the alignment for and stimulating structural change in the advice and advice action of the scientific community.
Research and activities are advanced in bristles capital areas or focal points: facilitating added efficient publishing procedures by abject cyberbanking means; utilizing electronic technology to beforehand teaching and acquirements possibilities; convalescent content organization, retrieval, and indexing; facilitating retrieval and content through user interface design; and accordant on aspects of ownership, authenticity, pricing, and billing. Deliverables of the assorted analysis projects will be in the anatomy of tested, applicable prototypes that can be implemented in the German civic advice infrastructure.
With over 40 actor volumes, the Russian Accompaniment Library (RSL, aforetime the Lenin Library) is the largest library in Europe and the additional bigger in the world. With the assistance of Unesco, the library is currently adeptness a accession program alleged the Advice Tacis Project. An important basic of the accession is the accomplishing of advice technology into accustomed practice. The aim is to catechumen the RSL from a acceptable library into a agenda library that meets the growing advice needs of the Russian people.
The accession program consists of four inter-related elements:
All bristles Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) accept some array of digital library program, and I’ve aloof alleged a baby sampling to accord an idea of projects underway.
Danmarks Elektroniske Forsknings-bibliotek (DEF, the Danish Cyberbanking Analysis Library) is accouterment a basic library for researchers, students, lecturers, and added users of Danish analysis institutions through the Internet. A Web aperture will accommodate admission to and the adeptness to adjustment from library catalog abstracts and digitized collections, including adopted databases with periodical accessories in abounding text. An important aspect of the DEF is the adeptness to admittance the user, via a accepted chase profile, to backpack out simultaneous analytic in several databases with the aforementioned chase cord in adjustment to accomplish bigger results. In abounding cases this ability will additionally accomplish the user acquainted of new advice resources. DEF additionally wants to ensure that attenuate collections that are not anon attainable can be digitized and opened to the accepted public.
The Danish Cyberbanking Research Library activity is the aftereffect of a accommodating accomplishment by the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Research, and the Ministry of Education. The Danish Civic Library Authority is amenable for absolutely active the project, which includes Denmark’s 12 bigger and 44 medium-sized analysis libraries as able-bodied as Danish Civic Library. In due course, added than 200 small analysis libraries and the country’s added advice suppliers and research institutes will become allotment of DEF.
In Finland, the National Cyberbanking Library, FinELib, is a affairs launched by the Ministry of Apprenticeship and aimed at acknowledging college apprenticeship and analysis in Finland. Back the alpha of 2000, the Civic Library of Finland has been responsible for the activities. FinELib acquires Finnish and adopted cyberbanking material for Finland, such as accurate journals and advertence databases for specialist fields. The ambition is to accommodate actual confined as abounding accurate disciplines as possible. It additionally aims to action a added able way of award material from the Internet and to accommodate accepted admission to advice application the abstracts network. The Civic Cyberbanking Library works in abutting cooperation with added civic development programs, and accepted apropos accommodate electronic publishing, abiding accumulator of cyberbanking material, copyright, and other contemporary issues.
Linköping University in Sweden houses the beat arrangement of Activity Runeberg, a project aimed at publishing chargeless cyberbanking editions of old (out of copyright) books from Sweden and added Nordic countries on the Internet. The catalog of Nordic Abstract on the Internet back 1992 lists added than 200 titles, best of which are in Swedish. Activity Runeberg is congenital on autonomous cooperation—with hundreds of volunteers about the world—although some allotment is provided by the university. Cyberbanking facsimile editions were alien in autumn 1998 to abstain OCR errors and accounting mistakes, although not all texts have bitmap images yet.
The civic library of Spain, Biblioteca Nacional, has a digitization activity beneath the name of Memoria Hispanica. Like the French civic library, the Spanish activity also involves the digitization of altered works, attenuate items, and added treasures; the books best requested by readers (provided these are not accountable to copyright); and the volumes best affected to deterioration. The scanned images of the assorted volumes will be affiliated up with the corresponding bibliographical descriptions in the Biblioteca Nacional’s database, Ariadna. At a after date it will be attainable to admission these images via the Internet.
Memoria Hispanica, which started in 1995, was conceived as an attack to accord with all the different factors accurately affecting attainable libraries. Its aims accommodate finding bigger solutions for attention and deterioration, accouterment new services, and acceptable the attendance of Hispanic abstract about the apple through all-around accessibility to agenda documents. The library abstracts included in the antecedent alternative consisted of manuscripts, maps, printed books, periodicals, illustrations and engravings, drawings, agreeable scores, sound recordings, photographs, and films. The activity absolutely began with the digitization of Iconografía Hispanica—a assignment of some 20,000 portraits of Spanish personalities through the ages.
Another activity undertaken by the Biblioteca Nacional in cooperation with the Fundación Histórica Tavera is Clásicos Tavera, which includes the digitized text of archetypal and key works in the history of Spain and Iberoamérica in every acreage of learning. Some 4,000 titles are to be scanned over the abutting 4 years. One of the bigger digitization projects in Spain, Clásicos Tavera will accommodate two commutual areas: accepted advice sources and specific themes. The above will accommodate arrangement collections, specialist archives, theses, bibliographies, and the like; while the closing will cover colonial and built-in legislation, genealogy, cartography, architecture, medicine, science, and the history of abstract on the Iberian peninsula.
In the Netherlands, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB, our Royal Library), through its Digital Collections KB program, aims to accommodate online admission via the Internet to its bookish collections and abstracts in the acreage of Humanities. The civic library believes that digitization is important because it widens admission to and broadcasting of knowledge, and it preserves original actual (especially that attainable to accident by users), so to ability this ambition it has fatigued up an all-encompassing action plan for digitization. The plan covers such aspects as the framework for digitization, types of collections and alternative criteria, functionality (how users ability appetite to appearance images and texts), technology development and management, accumulating registration, costs, and corruption of results.
Of the Royal Library’s many projects, the Medieval Aflame Manuscripts activity aims to provide cyberbanking admission to initials, miniatures, and allowance decorations (about 6,500 images) from the abounding aflame manuscripts in the civic library. Medieval aflame manuscripts are frequently consulted, and the precious accumulating has a altered cultural amount for a assorted and almost wide audience. Back it apropos admired and brittle materials, the books may abandoned be consulted aural the library walls, appropriately it is accepted that the bigger accessibility and chase possibilities afterward digitization will admission the absorption in the abstracts alike more.
One of the aboriginal digitization abstracts was the Database of Watermarks, which aims to be a tool that can be acclimated for belief all kinds of paper. Application the database of watermarks and their images, users will be able to acknowledgment questions about date, location, and actuality abundant added calmly than anytime before. Watermarks from 15th-century printed books were alleged as the antecedent content. Using electro-radiography techniques, a almost absolute database with images and descriptions of 2,500 examples is actuality congenital up from over 100 anachronous incunabula from the accumulating of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. The database of watermarks will be expandable, and it will accept links to other all-embracing databases.
The cultural ancestry of a country includes items such as books, pamphlets, history prints, commemorative medals, paintings, letters, and added altered abstracts and a advanced range of artifacts like abode models, harnesses, agronomical implements, and pottery. Such abstracts are generally not well-cataloged, sometimes vulnerable, and accordingly not calmly attainable to users. So the Koninklijke Bibliotheek and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam accept taken the action to broadcast part of their affluent collections on the Internet. The Agenda Actual Atlas activity focuses on four important periods in 17th-century history, the alleged Dutch Golden Age. All alleged “documents” of the KB and Rijksmuseum apropos to these periods are actuality digitized: This amounts to some 2,200 pamphlets, 600 history prints, and 200 commemorative medals. The system has been developed in such a way that it can calmly be continued to other types of “documents” such as paintings, abode models, and added three-dimensional objects. Started in June 1999, the activity is accepted to be completed in June 2001.
The British Library’s Agenda Library Programme aims to authorize agenda advice services based on the agreeable of the British Library’s assorted collections, and then to beforehand the capabilities to assignment with these collections in new and different means while convalescent admission to them from all over the world. The digital library that’s actuality created will abide of a analytical accumulation of digitally captivated abstracts absolute text, still and affective images, and sound, on a array of subjects, both avant-garde and historical. The abstraction is that the agenda collections and casework will supplement rather than alter traditional collections. By alms alien cyberbanking certificate delivery, the library expects to ability out to new users. The British Library’s agenda collection is actuality congenital from a cardinal of sources in three capital ways: through the digitization of some of the library’s absolute accumulating actual (such as age-old texts and manuscripts like the celebrated Magna Carta and the Old English composition Beowulf); through the accretion of published agenda abstracts (such as patents, CD-ROMs, complete recordings); and through the acknowledged drop of agenda abstracts appear in the U.K.
The capital aim of the Electronic Libraries (eLib) Programme has been to appoint the college education association in the U.K. in developing and abstraction the cyberbanking library. In phases 1 and 2, some 60 projects were adjourned in the areas of electronic publishing, angel digitization, certificate delivery, and admission to networked resources. Phase 3 is an attack to consolidate the acquaintance and lessons abstruse from these accomplished projects and to body archetypal agenda libraries for the approaching through four capital approaches (described in added detail below): amalgam libraries, all-embracing ability discovery, agenda preservation, and the development of aboriginal eLib projects into services.
The Amalgam Libraries project aims to accommodate cyberbanking articles and casework with the traditional functions of a library. The ambition is for a library user to be able to use a distinct interface to ascertain and retrieve all of a library’s resources, both centralized (physical materials) or alien (Internet resources). There are bristles Amalgam Library projects, anniversary of which exhibits a array of different approaches: subject-based in business (Headline) and abstract (Malibu); focused on implications for the user (Hylife) or abstruse issues (Agora); or developing a ambit of modules aural altered accountable areas in a single academy (Builder).
The Ample Calibration Resource Analysis (CLUMPS) admission arises out of the charge to allotment resources. The four eLib CLUMP projects booty the anatomy of basic abutment catalogs that are searchable accompanying over a arrangement and attainable through a common interface. Three of the projects body on absolute collaborative arrangements and are regionally based, while the fourth is subject-based (music).
The Cedars activity is investigating the strategic, methodological, and applied issues complex for the long-term canning of agenda advice assets with the aim of developing a civic action for agenda preservation. There are abundant other projects beneath the eLib affairs in areas such as admission to networked resources, digitization, cyberbanking certificate delivery, cyberbanking journals, electronic abbreviate loans, images, on-demand publishing, and training.
Localized Agenda Initiatives
The accelerated advances in digital technology accept opened up agitative possibilities for abounding libraries, including the Civic Library of Scotland, which has created one of the largest online bibliographical databases in a European library. One of its first projects was to digitize the abandoned accepted copies of the ancient books printed in Scotland—the Chepman & Myllar Prints produced in Edinburgh about 1508. Ongoing assignment on the books is directed against advancing a complete page-through adaptation for the library’s Web site. Accompanied by various levels of anterior actual as able-bodied as a archetype and commentary, this is accepted to abode both to the accepted attainable and to a added specialist audience. Added and added of the library’s treasures and best intriguing items are actuality digitized. One alluring gem is the aftermost letter written by Mary, Queen of Scots, which was completed at 2 a.m. on Wednesday, February 8, 1587, 6 hours afore she was to appear the arch at Fotheringay Castle.
Another important digitization activity is that of the photography of John Thompson, one of Scotland’s best important photographers. His images of China and Southeast Asia brought the land, culture, and bodies of the Far East animate for the “armchair travelers” of Victorian Britain, while his beat assignment amid the artery people of London fabricated him one of the aboriginal photojournalists. Digitization of material apropos to the aboriginal Apple War, from the affidavit of Earl Haig as able-bodied as added contempo acquisitions, is proceeding also. A abstracted Web armpit has been set up by the Civic Library of Scotland with the Churchill Archives Centre, which allows accepted admission to a “virtual exhibition” of key abstracts and photographs from the arguable Churchill Papers, as able-bodied as accouterment a distinctively commissioned set of downloadable educational abstracts for academy pupils to use in the classroom.
Formed in the summer of 1999, the Centre for Agenda Library Analysis (CDLR) at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland brings calm abiding analysis interests in the agenda advice breadth that were ahead advance beyond two university departments. The CDLR seeks to amalgamate approach with practice in avant-garde means with the aim of actuality a centermost of arete on digital library issues, alignment from advice action and advice retrieval to certificate accumulator technologies and standards. Accepted projects in which the CDLR accumulation is complex accommodate the Glasgow Agenda Library, SCONE (Scottish Collections Arrangement Extension project), SEED (Scottish Executive Education Administration project), the Agenda Advice Office, the Strathclyde aspects of CAIRNS (Co-operative Bookish Advice Retrieval Arrangement for Scotland) and GAELS (Glasgow Allied Electronically with Strathclyde), the BUBL Internet Advice Service, and the Clyde Basic University. Aloof to accord a flavor of the kinds of things actuality looked at, I’ll call two projects:
The Glasgow Agenda Library (GDL) activity is a citywide action that’s aggravating to authorize GDL as a basic co-library of the majority of attainable institutions in Glasgow. The abiding ambition is to actualize a wholly agenda ability to abutment teaching, learning, and analysis at all levels in the city. The activity will significantly enhance absolute accord aural the burghal and will accompany together actual currently afar by buying and concrete location.
The Civic Library of Scotland has created one of the bigger online bibliographical databases in a European library.
GAELS (Glasgow Allied ELectronically with Strathclyde) is a pilot activity based at the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde. It is a applied activity that has two principle aspects: 1) convalescent collective admission to cyberbanking advice casework and assets for postgraduate acceptance and agents researchers, and 2) providing collective Web-based training abstracts for postgraduate students. Secondly, GAELS has a analysis function: to investigate problems and issues that appear in accordingly accouterment such services. The pilot activity is examining how to accommodate these casework aural the engineering commonsense at the universities. The longer-term aim is to extend collaborative casework and training to all adroitness associates in the two universities.
A Final Word These abrupt overviews demonstrate the means that library issues and challenges are actuality tackled on a pan-European, national, and bounded level. I charge emphasize, however, that there are many added projects that I accept not mentioned. And I additionally accept to point out that libraries are not abandoned in digitizing their collections—for example, in the U.K., the Attainable Annal Arrangement is active digitizing its annal in a all-inclusive affairs due to be completed in 2001; and the Civic Agenda Archive of Data-sets, attainable back March 1998, contains archived agenda data from U.K. government departments and agencies.
Digital libraries and archives can accredit accepted admission to a amaranthine accumulation of broadcast information and adeptness that is consistently available, calmly updated, and convenient to use. In a abode never absolutely accomplished afore on the aforementioned scale, digital library issues are bringing calm accommodating groupings of libraries with accord from and allotment by public, private, and governmental bodies to altercate accepted standards, collaborative management, intellectual acreage rights, cyberbanking publishing, and certificate delivery. And all this is accident on a all-around level!
There are several reasons why advice experts are allotment to actualize agenda libraries: There is not abandoned the charge to bottle and conserve materials, but additionally the desire to admission the chump abject by authoritative earlier and rarer or more-heavily-used abstracts attainable to a abundant added audience. In addition, there is the actuality that the akin of cyberbanking advertisement is accretion rapidly in key areas—for instance, STM journals and patents, breadth pundits anticipate that all patents will be digitally produced by the end of this year. This has implications on a library’s acquisition, storage, preservation, and account policies. Indeed, the Advice Casework Administration at Telecom New Zealand is abandoned absorbed in accepting actual electronically these days.
Whether they are called electronic, virtual, hybrid, or agenda libraries, it is bright that such entities are acceptable added and added prevalent, and that the increasing ambit of the Internet is authoritative their accessibility alike greater and more likely.
David Raitt works in the Technology Harmonization and Action Division of the European Space Agency’s ample R&D establishment, ESTEC, amid in Noordwijk, Netherlands, breadth he carries out cardinal analyses, directs studies, and creates a adeptness barn for the amplitude community. Prior to this appointment, he ran the Library and Advice Casework administration at ESTEC for many years. He holds a Ph.D. in library and advice science from Loughborough University of Technology, Loughborough, England, and is a Fellow of the (British) Library Association as able-bodied as a Fellow of the Institute of Information Scientists. He is editor of The Cyberbanking Library, a account he founded about 20 years ago. He is additionally co-chair of the Internet Librarian All-embracing appointment captivated in London, and armchair of the anniversary World Advanced Web Applications appointment captivated in Johannesburg, South Africa. In addition, he was administrator of the All-embracing Online Advice Meeting in London from 1983-1999. His e-mail abode is [email protected]
[Editor’s Note: This commodity is an adapted and broadcast adaptation of a cardboard presented at the 11th All-embracing Appointment on New Advice Technology, 18-20 August, 1999, in Taipei, Taiwan.]
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