ICT and Information

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Digital Library

Chandana Patra (2010)

Advantages and disadvantages of the digital libraries are discussed below

1. Advantages of the Digital Library:

A digital library is not confined to a particular location or so called building it is virtually distributed all over the world. The user can get his/ her information on his own computer screen by using the Internet. Actually it is a network of multimedia system, which provides fingertip access. The spoken words or the graphical display of a digital library is again having a different impact from the words that are printed. In the new environment owing a document will not be problem for the library because the user will pay for its uses. Digital Library

1. No physical boundary: The user of a digital library need not to go to the library physically, people from all over the world could gain access to the same information, as long as an Internet connection is available.

2. Round the clock availability: Digital libraries can be accessed at any time. 24 hours a day and 365 days of the year

3. Multiple accesses: The same resources can be used at the same time by a number of users.

4. Structured approach: Digital library provides access to much richer content in a more structured manner i.e. we can easily move from the catalog to the particular book then to a particular chapter and so on.

5. Information retrieval: The user is able to use any search term bellowing to the word or phrase of the entire collection. Digital library will provide very user friendly interfaces, giving click able access to its resources.

6. Preservation and conservation: An exact copy of the original can be made any number of times without any degradation in quality.

7. Space: Whereas traditional libraries are limited by storage space. digital libraries have the potential to store much more information, simply because digital information requires very little physical space to contain them. When the library had no space for extension digitization is the only solution.

8. Networking: A particular digital library can provide the link to any other resources of other digital library very easily thus a seamlessly integrated resource sharing can be achieved.

9. Cost: The cost of maintaining a digital library is much lower than that of a traditional library. A traditional library must spend large sums of money paying for staff, book maintains, rent, and additional books. Digital libraries do away with these fees.

2. Disadvantages of the Digital Library:

The computer viruses, lack of standardization for digitized information, quick degrading properties of digitized material, different display standard of digital product and its associated problem, health hazard nature of the radiation from monitor etc. makes digital libraries at times handicap.

1. Copyright: Digitization violates the copy right law as the thought content of one author can be freely transfer by other without his acknowledgement. So One difficulty to overcome for digital libraries is the way to distribute information. How does a digital library distribute information at will while protecting the copyright of the author?

2. Speed of access: As more and more computer are connected to the Internet its speed of access reasonably decreasing. If new technology will not evolve to solve the problem then in near future Internet will be full of error messages.

3. Initial cost is high: The infrastructure cost of digital library i.e. the cost of hardware, software; leasing communication circuit is generally very high.

4. Band width: Digital library will need high band for transfer of multimedia resources but the band width is decreasing day by day due to its over utilization.

5. Efficiency: With the much larger volume of digital information, finding the right material for a specific task becomes increasingly difficult.

6. Environment: Digital libraries cannot reproduce the environment of a traditional library. Many people also find reading printed material to be easier than reading material on a computer screen.

7. Preservation: Due to technological developments, a digital library can rapidly become out-of-date and its data may become inaccessible.

Original Reference Article:

  • Patra, C. (2010). Digital repository in ceramics A Metadata study. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle.net/10603/212642


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