A digital library, also known as the digital repository is an enormous collection of online databases of digital entities. The collection may include texts, images, audio-visuals, and various other digital media formats. It may also include contents actually produced digitally like word processor files, datasheets, and posts from social media. Apart from storage, a digital library also suggests ways to organize, search, and restore the belongings of the collection.
Digital libraries can be of various size and scope and can be perpetrated by an individual or an organization. The stored contents can be accessed locally and remotely as well through a computer network.
In other words, the basic role of a digital library is essential to manage, preserve, and make accessible digital objects. A couple of other features of a digital library are to offer a friendly interface to users and avail network facilities.
Concept And Journey
Unfortunately, the initial story of the digital library has not been properly documented. However, Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine’s Mundaneum are believed to give birth to the concept of it. It might have started in 1895 with an effort to gather and catalog the world’s knowledge methodically. Nevertheless, almost a century later during the development of the internet, the vision received a major scope. Millions of people got gradually accustomed to having access to books and search documents on the internet.
Types Of Digital Library
There are a few varieties, of course. A number of conventional academic libraries are these days involved in building Institutional Repositories. It includes the institution’s papers, books, theses, and other works which can be given a digitized form. Many of them allow the general public with an aim to provide open access, however with certain restrictions. Digital Archives of the National Archival Service of Norway is a website that publishes digital archival material.
The website has sources that are both thesauri and scanned. Available in both Norwegian and English, the website offered access to 12,697 photographed parish registers and 15,473 mortgage registers. Metadata is another variety which means data that provides information about other data. Metadata could be descriptive (helps to find discovery and identification) and structural (shows how compound materials are put together).
Administrative Metadata helps in managing a resource while Reference Metadata and Statistical Metadata are about process and statistical data.
Why Are They So Important Today
With the course of time, digital libraries are becoming more acceptable because of the following reasons.
Firstly, the user will not require any physical effort to access the library. People across the globe can have access to the same information with internet facilities only.
Secondly, without the hassles of copyright material, multiple access can be gained to the same information. The information is available round the clock saving valuable time.
Thirdly, a user can search for information using search terms (words, phrases, names, titles), information retrieval is easy here.
Fourthly, digitization helps in the preservation and preservation and conservation of materials which could otherwise face degradation from repeated use. Contrary to the limitation of storage space in conventional libraries, digital libraries can store huge information. Evidently, because media storage techniques are far more efficient and need very less physical space. Most importantly, certain content characteristics, image qualities may be improved, digitization enhances legibility adding enormous value to the information.