Library Science

Library Collection Development in Digital World

Alok Kumar Pathak (2017)

Library Collection Development in Digital World

Libraries are the storehouses of wisdom and ages which are kept in the form of recorded information or data which can be used by the present and the future generations. There were many problems with the storage of information for many decades in the form of paper or other traditional techniques but with the advent of digital storage, the job of storage has become very easy and comfortable. The main job of the traditional librarian includes documents selection which has been replaced nowadays to website maintenance or new website creation, teaching specific references, rising of the fund or any other important tasks for which collection development has become a hybrid work which has incorporated both technical and public services. Sometimes it becomes difficult to evaluate the positions that blur the lines among this type of organizational units.

Process of Digital Collection Development
Figure: Process of Digital Collection Development

Digital Library Collection:

In the digital library, the collections are stored in digital formats and accessible by computers. The digital content may be stored locally, accessed remotely via computer networks. On the other hand, a digital library is a collection of documents in an organized electronic form available on the internet or on CD-ROM databases. Following are the collection of digital libraries:

• Metadata describing the data and also having the facility to provide a link to other related databases.

• Open communication protocols for information retrievals.

• Information access tools like browsers, display and search engines.

• Electronic publishing tools.

• Data compression.

• Digital storage device.

• Scanning and conversion technology.

• Multimedia for integration technology.

Trends in Digital Collection Development:

The digital collection development has replaced the old age traditional collection development process. Nowadays, the users need not run from one library to another for gathering the data, they can now find it in a single repository or databases. The data in this repository are gathered adequately and are properly organized.

According to the National information standard organization (NISO) a digital collection is comprised of digital objects that are selected and organized to facilitate access to them and their use. A digital resource collection can be said as the various objected of information, being produced or designed in an electronic format or which are digitalized from a printed original one (Sanllorenti, 2005).

The digital collection can also be said as the application of computer and other technologies for acquisition, organization, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of information.

Stages of Digital Collection:

The stage of digital collection development starts from the collection of information to its various stages, with the vision of the information professionals. It should start from the basic outliving of the collection development to the peculiarities involve in the digital environment.

The digital form of collection development may not be the same as the traditional collection procedure but we cannot ignore the logic and the process of traditional collection development. The stages of collection development are:

• Gathering of information contents.

• Evaluation of information contents.

• Organisation of information contents.

• Construction of digital collection and

• Maintenance of digital collection

Challenges in Digital Collection Development:

The problems of digital libraries are discussed below:

• Complicated procurement and Preservation system: There are limited reliable suppliers of digital information in India. Also, there is a problem in finding a comprehensive and up to date selection tools. There is also a problem with the today’s hardware and tools which may not work after a decade, as it changes radically and frequently. So, while evaluating the preservation or maintenance system we have to take into account the constraints which we might face in future.

• Technological obsolescence: The technology needed for the digital library collection has to be updated or migrated regularly because of the daily advancement of computer technology. Migration helps in preserving the integrity of digital objects and retains the ability of clients to use them in the future. Continuous upgradation is required for the long life of the digital information.

• Financial constraints: The cost involved in maintaining the digital library is very high and the budgets that are allotted to the libraries are very less and static, due to which the libraries face problems in up gradation of the digital collection and its quality deteriorates day by day.

• Decentralization of library services: After the digitization of library services the librarians fear that they may lose their importance among the readers as all the information of the library resources will be available directly at the reader’s desk.

• Access related problems: All the documents or resources that are available in the net are not accessible to everyone, because it may require special programs, software, license for its downloading, which are not affordable by everyone. This used to create a great hindrance to digital collection development.

• Security in library environment: The attack on the computer by viruses, spyware, Trojan horse is on the rise in the computer environment and it has become a great headache for the librarians. The librarians have to install antivirus and update it regularly so that it functions efficiently. The whole database of information that is stored may become corrupt at a second of time if it is not updated at regular intervals; also the issue of piracy has to be stopped. These are somewhat overcome after the intellectual property right (IPR) act and trade-related aspects of intellectual property right act, and it has given some relief to producers of digital data and resource at the international level.

The absence of national repository of digital documents and legislative provisions in this regard: There are no specific locations in India for locating electronic publications; there is also no provision to deposit electronic & optical publications at national center. After much of the hurdles faced by the libraries, the national center for digital publication was established at the foundation for innovation and technology transfer (FITT) at IIT, Delhi which focuses on knowledge and information products and titles published on CD media. This center is now considered as a milestone for digital collection development in

• Problems related to check the reliability and authenticity of digital information: The vast repository of information which is found on the internet is worthless and it is very difficult to find the data which as accurate and sincerely designed and which have important virtues in the transmission of an assertion. So from time to time, we have to hear the reports that contradict or disapprove previous impregnations, also we have to be very judgemental in deciding the reliability and authenticity of the digital information.

Original Reference Article:

  • Kumar, P. A. (2017). Impact of information technology on the collection development in university libraries of Assam: a study. Retrieved from:

Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

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