Essay by kiran_rao_infoUniversity, Master'sA+, November 2004

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Digital Libraries are emerging electronic entities. Digital Libraries are becoming important

information resources. The Digital Libraries concept is appealing because its inherent design

combines end-user needs with technology that has the ability to handle vast amounts of complex

data. Perhaps most importantly, the Digital Libraries concept has longevity because it provides

important services for a society that is identified as being in the process of profound social

change including movement towards a knowledge society and the appearance of a weightless


Validation of the Digital Libraries concept includes the fact that Digital Libraries are

being established throughout the country, often as distributed environments operating under the

auspices of universities and state designated agencies. Internationally, Digital Libraries are also

being established, including UNESCO's Memory of the World which has the express purpose of

protecting endangered cultural materials(2).

The information services provided by Digital Libraries demonstrate a potential for uses that

extend far beyond being a showcase for technological marvels.

In fact, the concept of digital

libraries is a phenomenon that includes the following two complementary ideas:

I. the technologies used for creating, searching and using information in the electronic

environment and

II. the human aspects of information seeking and creation among the community of users(3).

As such, digital libraries can be viewed as extensions and augmentations of traditional libraries

by extending the resources and services that can be offered and augmenting how people can seek

and express information(4). Clearly, Digital Libraries are becoming an important element in the

information cycle and it seems they should also be considered a dynamic, and essential

component of library and information science professionals.

2. What is a Digital Library?

The idea of easy and finger-tip access to information- what we conceptualize as digital

libraries today -begins with Vannenar Bush's Memex machine and has continued to...