Libraries, digital libraries and digital library research Lorcan Dempsey


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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


Overview



Holes



Digital libraries and holes …

  • ‘Digital library’ has no precise or agreed referent

  • Different communities of practice

  • Different incentives

    • Serve
    • Build
    • Research








A library as institution



Libraries



A library as institution



A library as institution



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

  • Scientists:

    • Google
    • Yahoo
    • PubMed
  • Librarians:

    • Science Direct
    • ISI Web of Science
    • MedLine


Pattern recognition – libraries now

  • The ‘Amazoogle’ effect

  • Value





Impact of digital library research?

  • User studies

  • Federation and metasearch

  • Repositories/digital library systems

    • Multiple communities
    • Dspace, Fedora, CONTENTdm, DLXS, ..
  • Metadata

    • Growing acronymic density
    • Collections, rights, policies, services, …
    • Complex objects, relations
  • Identifiers/citation

  • Preservation



Collections grid



Collections grid





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
    • Search system, machine interface, metasearch
    • Provide data, externalize search
      • Google, OAI


Webulation …

  • Monolithic applications resistant to

  • 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
    • MapQuest
  • Massively central applications platforms working in loosely coupled webby world

  • Software as a service

    • APIs
    • GMAIL
    • Paypal
    • search


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!




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