COVID-19 Update: We are currently shipping orders daily. However, due to transit disruptions in some geographies, deliveries may be delayed. To provide all customers with timely access to content, we are offering 50% off our Print & eBook bundle option. Terms & conditions.
Understanding Digital Libraries - 2nd Edition - ISBN: 9781558609242, 9780080481517

Understanding Digital Libraries

2nd Edition

0.0 star rating Write a review
Author: Michael Lesk
Paperback ISBN: 9781558609242
eBook ISBN: 9780080481517
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 2nd December 2004
Page Count: 456
Sales tax will be calculated at check-out Price includes VAT/GST
Price includes VAT/GST

Institutional Subscription

Secure Checkout

Personal information is secured with SSL technology.

Free Shipping

Free global shipping
No minimum order.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Evolution of Libraries
1.1 Why Digital Libraries?
1.2 History of Libraries
1.3 Vannevar Bush
1.4 Computer Technology
1.5 Early Language Processing
1.6 The Internet and the Web
1.7 Summary

Chapter 2 - Text Documents
2.1 Computer Typesetting
2.2 Text Formats
2.3 Ways of Searching
2.4 Web Searching
2.5 Thesauri
2.6 Statistical Language Processing
2.7 Document Conversion
2.8 Summary

Chapter 3 - Images of Pages
3.1 Scanning
3.2 Image Formats
3.3 Display Requirements
3.4 Indexing Images of Pages
3.5 Shared Text/Image Systems
3.6 Image Storage vs. Book Storage
3.7 Large Scale Projects
3.8 Summary

Chapter 4 - Multimedia Storage and Retrieval
4.1 Sound Formats: Vinyl, Tape, and CD
4.2 Pictures: GIF and JPEG
4.3 Color
4.4 Image Search
4.5 Automatic Speech Recognition
4.6 Moving Images
4.7 Summary

Chapter 5 - Knowledge Representation Schemes
5.1 Library Classifications
5.2 Indexing: Words and Thesauri
5.3 Metadata
5.4 Knowledge Structures
5.5 Hypertext
5.6 Vector Models
5.7 XML and the Semantic Web
5.8 User-Provided Links
5.9 Summary

Chapter 6 - Distribution
6.1 Books, CD-ROMs, and DVDs
6.2 Computer Networks
6.3 Information on the Internet
6.4 Grid Computing
6.5 Open Source and Proprietary Systems
6.6 Handheld Devices
6.7 Security and Cryptography
6.8 Privacy
6.9 Summary

Chapter 7 - Usability and Retrieval Evaluation
7.1 General Human Factors Considerations
7.2 Text Displays: Fonts and Highlighting
7.3 Image Displays and Compression Systems
7.4 Web Page Graphics
7.5 Interface Controls: Menus and Keywords
7.6 Access Methods
7.7 Retrieval Evaluation
7.8 Page Ranking and Google
7.9 Summary

Chapter 8 - User Needs
8.1 Overview
8.2 User Services
8.3 Acceptance in the Past: Why Not Microfilm?
8.4 Finding Library Materials
8.5 Web Searching
8.6 Performance Measurement
8.7 Need for Quality
8.8 Summary

Chapter 9 - Collections And Preservations
9.1 Traditional Paper Collections
9.2 Traditional Preservation Problems
9.3 Digitizing Special Collections And Archives
9.4 Preservation Through Sharing and Distribution
9.5 New Materials and Their Durability
9.6 Emulation as a Preservation Technique
9.7 Summary

Chapter 10 - Economics
10.1 Library Benefits
10.2 Traditional Economics and Economies of Scale
10.3 Scholarly Publishing Today
10.4 Models for Library Funding
10.5 Access vs. Ownership
10.6 Administrative Costs
10.7 Electronic Commerce
10.8 The “dot-com” Boom and Bust
10.9 The Future of Quality Information
10.10 Summary

Chapter 11 - Intellectual Property Rights
11.1 History of Copyright Law
11.2 History of Patent Law
11.3 Access Regulation and Control
11.4 Technology for Intellectual Property Protection
11.5 Peer to Peer Systems
11.6 Summary and Future Research

Chapter 12 - A World Tour of Digital Libraries
12.1 Information Policy, Not Industrial Policy
12.2 Multilingual Issues
12.3 Multicultural Issues
12.4 Text-oriented Projects
12.5 Images
12.6 Sound and Music
12.7 Video
12.8 3-D Images
12.9 Scholarship in Digital Libraries
12.10 Scientific Data
12.11 Access and Infrastructure
12.12 Summary

Chapter 13 - Scope of Digital Libraries
13.1 Readers
13.2 Authors
13.3 Flow Control
13.4 Education
13.5 Science
13.6 Technology and Creativity
13.7 How Big Can They Get?
13.8 Summary

Chapter 14 - Future: Ubiquity, Diversity, Creativity, and Public Policy
14.1 Dream to be Realized
14.2 Future Roles in Information Handling
14.3 Effect of Digital Technology on Universities
14.4 Digital Libraries and Society
14.5 Digital Libraries, Society, and Creativity
14.6 Public Policy Questions
14.7 Projections


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.

Key Features

  • Thoroughly updated and expanded from original edition to include recent research, case studies and new technologies
  • For librarians and technologists alike, this book provides a thorough introduction to the interdisciplinary science of digital libraries
  • Written by Michael Lesk, a legend in computer science and a leading figure in the digital library field
  • Provides insights into the integration of both the technical and non-technical aspects of digital libraries


Digital librarians, researchers


No. of pages:
© Morgan Kaufmann 2005
2nd December 2004
Morgan Kaufmann
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:


"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

Ratings and Reviews

About the Author

Michael Lesk

Michael Lesk joined the computer science research group at Bell Laboratories after receiving his Ph.D. degree in Chemical Physics in 1969. He went on to manage the computer science research group at Bellcore, where he is now a chief research scientist. He is best known for his work in electronic libraries, but has worked in document production and retrieval software, computer networks, computer languages, and human-computer interfaces as well. Past chair of the Association for Computing Machinery’s special interest groups on Language Analysis and Information Retrieval, Lesk was Senior Visiting Fellow of the British Library in 1987 and is currently Visiting Professor of Computer Science at University College London. Lesk has been recently elected to the US National Academy of Engineering, in recognition of his contributions to UNIX applications, information systems, and digital libraries.

Affiliations and Expertise

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA