This chapter aims to discuss the development of digital libraries in Pakistan. It gives an account of the digital transformation taking place in the country and reviews a few digital library initiatives. It discusses a number of issues associated with the development of digital libraries with specific reference to Pakistan. The major issues appear are as follows: misconception about digital libraries; lack of technological applications; lack of human resources with needed skills; copyright and publishing; cultural divide; digital divide, and insufficient financial support. The authors believe that understanding the underlying issues will not only accelerate the development of DL in Pakistan, but also in other developing countries with more or less common environment.
Libraries And Information Resource Centers In Pakistan
Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive and current directory available to quote the latest number of libraries/information resource centers in Pakistan. However, an overview is given in the following:
Key Terms in this Chapter
Digital Divide: A term coined by former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Telecommunication and Communication Larry Irving, Jr., to focus public awareness on the gap in access to information resources and services between those with the means to purchase the computer hardware and software necessary to connect to the Internet and low-income families and communities that cannot afford network access. Public libraries are helping to bridge the gap between information “haves” and “have-nots” with the assistance of substantial grants from industry leaders such as Bill Gates of Microsoft. The E-rate established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TCA) has helped schools, public libraries, and rural health care institutions bridge the gap. Digital Divide Network is a Web site devoted to the issue. Synonymous with information gap. (Reitz, 2004, p. 216).
Digitization: Defined as “the process of converting, creating, and maintaining books, art works, historical documents, photos, journals, etc. in electronic representations so they can be viewed via computer and other devices” (IMLS, 2002, p. 22). Digitization of valued information resources opens up new avenues of access, use, and research and is an important aspect in the development of digital libraries.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT): The computing and communications facilities and features that variously support teaching, learning, and a range of activities in education.
Digital Library (DL): “A managed collection of information, with associated services, where the information is stored in the digital formats and accessible over a network” (Arms, 2000, p. 2).