The library is more than books and bricks. If it is successful, it supports a sense of community among its users, as an archive of its collective knowledge and as a resource for its future. Yet digital libraries thus far have tended to be digitized versions of card catalogs, books and journals, and as such do not evoke a sense of community. But digital libraries might well be designed to do so.
First of all, it seems that digital places can evoke emotional and intellectual engagement. In Life on the screen sherry Turkic. has described the way that software and network communications are transforming psychology. As a sociologist and psychoanalyst she concludes that ‘virtual life’ is emotionally and intellectually part of ‘Read life’, but simulations of virtual life with their anonymous role-playing are capable of supporting emotional experimentation and growth.
- Community networks: Community networks are based upon geographical proximity, but participation in a sense of place and community is extended by network communication, such as electronic mail, Internet relay chat, bulletin boards, and Web pages. Examples of community networks include municipal governments using the network to involve citizens in political deliberation, or corporations using electronic mail and teleconferencing. Clearly and traditional sense of community is dependent upon frequent personal interaction, but community networks reinforce a sense of membership by making information or communication more accessible. Many libraries use Web pages, email, and lists in precisely this way to extend a sense of access into their communities; thus digital libraries should be designed as an extension of a physical library, not their replacements.
- Virtual Extensions:
Virtual extensions sustain in a sense of community among a group of people separated by geographical distance but who have intermittent personal contact. Virtual extensions typically create a sense of place by collaborative work on a shared problem, requiring occasional face-to-face meetings, but sustained by a sense of shared culture and profession. Many classrooms use Web pages and electronic mall as virtual extensions, to encourage discussion outside classroom hours. Professions and academic disciplines use Web pages, email, and lists in this manner, to reinforce professional values and trade information on skilled practice; librarians are exemplars of this.
- Virtual Communities
Virtual communities in this strict sense, then, are groups of strangers separated by geographical distance, but sharing a common interest, expressed by participation in computer-mediated communication. Virtual communities in this specific sense may have relatively little stability over time, and relatively more listeners than speakers. And yet they are of great interest because they may be robust even if the members have never met and are separated by great distances. They are, in essence, a sustained conversation on a (usually) narrow topic of mutual interest or shared problems rather than physical proximity. Thus many of the most successful sites provide scarce information and advice about very specialized topics.
Digital libraries for Virtual communities.
A. Copyright: Libraries (individually and collectively) are creating digital collections on the Internet, often in collaboration with teaching staff and in support of academic programs that reach across institutions. Copyright is retained for the added value that has been created, and educational use is permitted, subsidized by library budgets or paid by subscription.
B. Gift exchange: The World Wide Web allows authors to place their own intellectual property directly into a new, global public domain. The public portion of the Web is the equivalent in size of a library of a million volumes, ranging in content from government information to electronic journals to teaching and learning resources created by faculty and students around the world.
C. Contract: Publishers are creating an e-commerce library, online fee-for-service information on the private part of the Net, that which is protected by password and encryption technologies. In the next few years, it is estimated that 5000 peer-reviewed print journals in the sciences, technology, medicine, and industry will be available online Anywhere in the world, for a fee.
Discovering the relative value of each of these information resources for the design of digital libraries is one of our interesting challenges. However, it is important to remember that if the digital library is still a metaphor, so too is the idea of the Internet economy, and new options may yet emerge.
Online information, while necessary, is not a sufficient vision of a digital library. Libraries are more than information inventories and information management tools such as online catalogues: they are social institutions that support a sense an academic community within disciplines and professions.
Information Property and digital libraries:
Today three kinds of digital libraries are evolving, reflecting three kinds of intellectual property management: the subsidized research library, based on copyright policy; the public domain information of the Web, based on a gift exchange economy; and the market economy of commercial publishing, based on contract law.
- Selvakumar, A. (2002). Acquisition and preservation of digital library resources. University.