In his well-known book The Library (1987)1, Umberto Eco writes about the role of the library which has evolved and changed over the centuries according to the social, historical, and cultural contexts of society in general, adapting to the transformation of mentalities and the conquests brought about by the constant advancement of knowledge and science. From collecting to treasuring, from transcribing, disseminating, lending, and reading, the library has adopted different connotations from those which traditionally directed our minds to the universe of books.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Digital Library: “A distributed system of information that guarantees the creation, reliable archiving and the effective use of heterogeneous collections of electronic documents (texts, graphics, audio, and video) through global networks of communication, in a convincing form for the end user” (Fernandes, 2005, p. 11)
Electronic Library: (Digital Library; E-Library) A set of documents available through electronic means by the use of digital technologies that allow for the retrieval, archiving, preservation, and dissemination of those documents (Cf. Grand dictionnaire terminologique).
E-Book: “The term e-book has a variety of meanings, but generally it applies to published materials, such as reference books or monographs, that have been converted into digital format for electronic distribution. E-books offer significant advantages to the learner with improved access to reading material, 24 hours a day, from any location .” (Secker, 2004, p. 17)
Web Library/Web Internet Library: It means a part of a Web site that offers visitors a repertoire of Web sites. These Web sites also obey a specific categorisation, as it happens in a traditional library (Cf. Le signet informatique, OQLF).
Virtual Library: An entity that does not pre-suppose a physical existence, that only exists on the net, and that is mainly destined to signal the existence and location of electronic documents.
Virtual Reality (VR): “An environment that is simulated by a computer. Most virtual reality environments are primarily visual experiences, displayed either on a computer screen or through special stereoscopic displays, but some simulations include additional sensory information, such as sound through speakers or headphones.” (From Wikipedia Web site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_reality).