Understanding Digital Libraries


  • Michael Lesk, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

This fully revised and updated second edition of Understanding Digital Libraries focuses on the challenges faced by both librarians and computer scientists in a field that has been dramatically altered by the growth of the Web.At every turn, the goal is practical: to show you how things you might need to do are already being done, or how they can be done. The first part of the book is devoted to technology and examines issues such as varying media requirements, indexing and classification, networks and distribution, and presentation. The second part of the book is concerned with the human contexts in which digital libraries function. Here you’ll find specific and useful information on usability, preservation, scientific applications, and thorny legal and economic questions.
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digital librarians, researchers


Book information

  • Published: December 2004
  • ISBN: 978-1-55860-924-2


"Lesk is the senior and most knowledgeable author in the field. His dry humor and clear explanations, combined with his uncanny ability to uncover and address key ideas and problems, make this a "must read." --Edward A. Fox, Ph.D., Professor of Computer Science, Virginia Tech "Michael Lesk does for digital libraries what David Macaulay does for every day objects: he lucidly depicts how things work. In the digital world the ways things work is necessarily always in flux. In this second edition, Michael Lesk has done a masterful job of making us feel more at home with this flux." --Michèle Valerie Cloonan, Dean and Professor, Graduate School of Library & Information Science, Simmons College "Lesk's insights are distilled from a lifetime of pioneering activities in information retrieval, text processing and digital libraries, culminating in a most creative period at the National Science Foundation. He has written a book that brings these insights alive with well-chosen examples: facts and figures, tables and graphs. Digital libraries have not replaced books. This book illustrates why." --William Y. Arms, Professor of Computer Science and Co-Director of Information Science, Cornell University

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Evolution of Libraries1.1 Why Digital Libraries?1.2 History of Libraries1.3 Vannevar Bush1.4 Computer Technology1.5 Early Language Processing1.6 The Internet and the Web1.7 SummaryChapter 2 - Text Documents2.1 Computer Typesetting2.2 Text Formats2.3 Ways of Searching2.4 Web Searching2.5 Thesauri2.6 Statistical Language Processing2.7 Document Conversion2.8 SummaryChapter 3 - Images of Pages3.1 Scanning3.2 Image Formats3.3 Display Requirements3.4 Indexing Images of Pages3.5 Shared Text/Image Systems3.6 Image Storage vs. Book Storage3.7 Large Scale Projects3.8 SummaryChapter 4 - Multimedia Storage and Retrieval4.1 Sound Formats: Vinyl, Tape, and CD4.2 Pictures: GIF and JPEG4.3 Color4.4 Image Search4.5 Automatic Speech Recognition4.6 Moving Images4.7 SummaryChapter 5 - Knowledge Representation Schemes5.1 Library Classifications5.2 Indexing: Words and Thesauri5.3 Metadata5.4 Knowledge Structures5.5 Hypertext5.6 Vector Models5.7 XML and the Semantic Web5.8 User-Provided Links5.9 SummaryChapter 6 - Distribution6.1 Books, CD-ROMs, and DVDs6.2 Computer Networks6.3 Information on the Internet6.4 Grid Computing6.5 Open Source and Proprietary Systems6.6 Handheld Devices6.7 Security and Cryptography6.8 Privacy6.9 SummaryChapter 7 - Usability and Retrieval Evaluation7.1 General Human Factors Considerations7.2 Text Displays: Fonts and Highlighting7.3 Image Displays and Compression Systems 7.4 Web Page Graphics7.5 Interface Controls: Menus and Keywords7.6 Access Methods7.7 Retrieval Evaluation7.8 Page Ranking and Google7.9 SummaryChapter 8 - User Needs8.1 Overview8.2 User Services8.3 Acceptance in the Past: Why Not Microfilm?8.4 Finding Library Materials8.5 Web Searching8.6 Performance Measurement8.7 Need for Quality8.8 SummaryChapter 9 - Collections And Preservations9.1 Traditional Paper Collections9.2 Traditional Preservation Problems9.3 Digitizing Special Collections And Archives9.4 Preservation Through Sharing and Distribution9.5 New Materials and Their Durability9.6 Emulation as a Preservation Technique9.7 SummaryChapter 10 - Economics10.1 Library Benefits10.2 Traditional Economics and Economies of Scale10.3 Scholarly Publishing Today10.4 Models for Library Funding10.5 Access vs. Ownership10.6 Administrative Costs10.7 Electronic Commerce10.8 The “dot-com” Boom and Bust10.9 The Future of Quality Information10.10 SummaryChapter 11 - Intellectual Property Rights11.1 History of Copyright Law11.2 History of Patent Law11.3 Access Regulation and Control11.4 Technology for Intellectual Property Protection11.5 Peer to Peer Systems11.6 Summary and Future ResearchChapter 12 - A World Tour of Digital Libraries12.1 Information Policy, Not Industrial Policy12.2 Multilingual Issues12.3 Multicultural Issues12.4 Text-oriented Projects12.5 Images12.6 Sound and Music12.7 Video12.8 3-D Images12.9 Scholarship in Digital Libraries12.10 Scientific Data12.11 Access and Infrastructure12.12 SummaryChapter 13 - Scope of Digital Libraries13.1 Readers13.2 Authors13.3 Flow Control13.4 Education13.5 Science13.6 Technology and Creativity13.7 How Big Can They Get?13.8 SummaryChapter 14 - Future: Ubiquity, Diversity, Creativity, and Public Policy14.1 Dream to be Realized14.2 Future Roles in Information Handling14.3 Effect of Digital Technology on Universities14.4 Digital Libraries and Society14.5 Digital Libraries, Society, and Creativity14.6 Public Policy Questions14.7 ProjectionsReferencesIndex