DIGITAL LIBRARY— Definition and Misconception

DIGITAL LIBRARY— Definition and Misconception

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A digital library, also called an online library, an internet library, a digital repository, or a digital collection is an online database of digital objects that can include text, still images, audio, video,
digital documents, or other digital media formats or a library accessible through the internet.
Objects can consist of digitized content like print or photographs, as well as originally produced digital content like word processor files or social media posts. In addition to storing content, digital libraries provide means for organizing, searching, and retrieving the content contained in the collection (Wikipedia).

The concept of a “digital library” is not merely equivalent to a digitized collection with information management tools. It is rather an ENVIRONMENT to bring together collections, services, and
people in support of the full life cycle of creation, dissemination, use, and preservation of data, information, and knowledge.

The internet indeed offers an exhaustive range of reading materials all for free. However, it is not a complete or organized reading system that has inbuilt features that facilitate learning. It does give you the right exposure as it is not made to pull relevant and premium books that one should read for studying a subject. The search engines are only trained to crawl through the database and present information that is nearly relevant to what you are searching for.

However, digital libraries are built to offer course relevant premium as well as free or informative materials for reading. Digital Libraries help students access educational books that adhere to the syllabus
and read and re-read them for study.

Association of Research Libraries has identified the following five elements in various definitions of the digital libraries:

1.The digital library is not a single entity;
2.The digital library requires technology to link the resources of many
3.The linkages between the many digital libraries and information services are transparent to
the end users;
4.Universal access to digital libraries and information services is a goal;
5.Digital library collections are not limited to document surrogates: they extend to digital artefacts that cannot be represented or distributed in printed formats.

Features of a digital library:
● Variety of digital information resources
● Digital Libraries Reduce the need for physical space
● Users at remote
● Users may build their own personal collections by the facilities provided by Digital Library
● Provide access to distributed information resources
● Same information resource can be shared by many at the same time
● Paradigm shift both in use and ownership
● Collection development be based on potential usefulness and appropriate filtering mechanisms be followed to negotiate the problem of plenty
● Ability to handle multilingual content

Misconceptions of Digital Library

Misconception: The Internet is the digital library
The concepts of organization and selection separate digital libraries from the Internet as a whole. Locating information on the internet remains highly inefficient especially for unfamiliar users, the quality of the information is quite variable, and sometimes unreliable.
On the other hand, information in a digital library has been organized in some manner to provide the resource collection, cataloging, and service functions of a traditional library.

In addition, the resources in digital libraries have gone through some sort of formal selection process based on clear criteria, such as including only resources that come from original materials or authoritative sources. Digital libraries are thus an effort to address the problem of information overload often associated with the Internet.
Schools and organizations must therefore develop a digital library encompassing all the five elements of a model digital library as documented by the Association of Research Libraries.

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