What Is a Digital Library Anymore, Anyway? Beyond Search and Access in the NSDL

November 21, 2005

Based on a variety of calibrations1, we are now in the adolescence of digital libraries. Like any adolescence, there is reason for optimism and concern.

The optimism comes from the successes resulting from a decade of research, development, and deployment. Any list of these is inevitably incomplete, but certainly includes Google2, the Handle System® 3, Dublin Core4, OAI-PMH5 (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting), OpenURL [40], arXiv6, Dspace [53], and LOCKSS [50]. These and other accomplishments, in combination with the general explosion of the Web itself over the last decade and a half7, approach the digital library vision of “Universal Access to Human Knowledge” articulated in the 2001 report of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee [45].

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