Libraries, digital libraries anddigital 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 thegeneral theory of holes.When asked “What kind of hole – holes dug by children in thesand for amusement, holes dug by gardeners to plant lettuceseedlings, tank traps, holes made by roadmakers?” he wouldreply indignantly that he wished for a general theory thatwould explain all of these.This man’s achievement haspassed totally unnoticed except by me.’
Digital libraries and holes … ‘Digital library’ has no precise or agreed referent Different communities of practice Compare ‘archive’ Different incentives • Archival institution • Serve • Archival materials • Build • OAI • Research • A promise of preservation?
Digital library Research Digital library DigitalLibrary libraries
Anthropology/ethnography/ Grid W3C social science Computer science Digital Library and Information science library Economics Research Industrial R&D HCI Semantic web Digital Artstor Entertainment library Jorum Libraries … Library AmazonE-research Digital ‘Business’ Inst RepE-learning libraries Banks arXiv Cultural heritage Internet archive BBC archive
Emphasis: Digital library Library Research Digital library DigitalLibrary 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 are a number of reasons. First and foremost, I am a librarian. I live for records and documents.’
A library as institutionBecause the purpose and result of absorbing informationis always finally to produce further information, i.e., tocontinue the conversation,the function of the library must be understood as onethat assists members of the community both in takingparticular positions and in recognizing and assessing thepositions taken by others. Ross Atkinson. Contingency and contradiction: The place(s) of the Ross Atkinson. Contingency and contradiction: The place(s) of the library at the dawn of the new millennium library at the dawn of the new millennium Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Volume 52, Issue 1, Pages 3-11. Published Online: Technology, Volume 52, Issue 1, Pages 3-11. Published Online: 2001. 2001.
A library as institutionWe often hear it said that libraries (and librarians) select,organize, retrieve, and transmit information or knowledge. Thatis true.But those are the activities, not the mission, of the library.… the important question is: "To what purpose?" We do not dothose things by and for themselves.We do them in order to address an important and continuingneed of the society we seek to serve. In short, we do it tosupport learning. Robert Martin. Libraries and Learners in the Twenty-first Century. Robert Martin. Libraries and Learners in the Twenty-first Century. http://www.imls.gov/scripts/text.cgi?/whatsnew/current/sp040503.htm http://www.imls.gov/scripts/text.cgi?/whatsnew/current/sp040503.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, Scientists: librarians and scientists were • Google asked to name the top scientific • Yahoo and medical search resources • PubMed that they use or are aware of. Librarians: The difference is startling.” • Science Direct • ISI Web of Science • MedLine 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. Its just not evenly distributed yet’ William Gibson
The difficulty in creating a digital management strategy stemsin part from the bewildering convergence of technologicaldevelopments.Developing a digital management strategy is furthercomplicated by the fact that there are no recognized patterns ormodels for managing digital assets.Some managers seek to develop fully distributed institutionalrepositories but still must choose between open-sourcesolutions or commercial providers. Others prefer to place theirmaterial in one of a limited number of dedicated storageinstitutions. While best practices may exist for given technicalprocesses, library managers do not have a single paradigm touse as the basis for developing operational plans and policies tocapture, store, index, preserve, and redistribute the intellectualoutput in digital formats. Managing Digital Assets, CLIR primer Managing Digital Assets, CLIR primer program, 2005 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, IndexData, Cheshire, iPort, … • OAI/OpenURL Local • NISO metasearch – issues still to be addressed successes … Repositories/digital library systems • Multiple communities • Dspace, Fedora, CONTENTdm, DLXS, .. … but we Metadata have many • Growing acronymic density • Collections, rights, policies, services, … open • Complex objects, relations questions. Identifiers/citation Preservation
Collections grid Stewardship high lowBooks Freely-accessibleJournals web resources Uniqueness•Newspapers low•Gov. docs•CD, DVD•Maps•Scores Research and learning materials highSpecial •ePrints/tech reports collections •Learning objectsArchives •Courseware•Rare books •E-portfolios•Local history materials •Research data•Archives & Manuscripts Untransferred records•Theses & dissertations
Collections grid high low disclosurePublishing Amazoogle D2D lowReformatting high E-learning E-researchCultural Digital assetheritage management
lab books PDAs campus portallearning management systems course material exhibitions text bookpersonal collections reading listsuser environmentsresource environment library Virtual reference Institutional repository Aggregations Digital collections Licensed Catalog E-reserve collections Cataloging ILL
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 • 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 Library world • Google • Fragmented systems and • Amazon development effort • E-bay • Does not benefit from • MapQuest scale • Unsustainable local Massively central applications development agendas platforms working in loosely coupled webby world Organizational rearticulation Software as a service difficult. • APIs Application platforms? • CDL • GMAIL • JISC • Paypal • DEF • search • 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 areunprepared 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!