The Ambient Digital Library

The Ambient Digital Library

Michael J. O’Grady, Gregory M.P. O’Hare
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/jaci.2012040102
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Conventional digital libraries increasingly support remote access from mobile devices. However, the archetypical mobile user differs from the conventional user in a number of aspects; of these the most important is context. Synonymous with mobile computing is the context concept, and factoring the availability of select contextual elements into the design of digital libraries offers significant opportunities for adapting and personalising services for the mobile computing community. This paper proposes the Ambient Digital Library as a construct for integrating digital content, contextual parameters, and user models. In this way, a digital library may be made more accessible to a broader category of mobile user.
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The Digital Library Construct

Research in digital libraries has been ongoing since the early 1990s. Objectively, such libraries may be regarded as amongst the most complex forms of information systems (Fox & Marchionini, 1998) as many different disciplines, for example, databases, information retrieval and Web technologies, contribute to their definition and implementation. One of the inherent difficulties in a multi-disciplinary paradigm is that the expectations of various constituencies may differ. For example, researchers regard a digital library as constituting digital content assembled on behalf of some interested community while librarians focus on the institutional or service perspective (Borgman, 1999). For the purposes of this discussion, the former view is subscribed to.

In recent years, there has been significant effort directed towards establishing some theoretical foundations for digital libraries (Candela et al., 2010). One example of this is the Digital Library Manifesto (Ross, 2010), an initiative of the DELOS Network of Excellence. Such developments are essential if key challenges such as interoperability are to be overcome (Suleman, 2011). Despite a lack of formal foundations, many digital libraries have been developed, albeit in a rather ad-hoc fashion. A variety of subjects are covered, many in the sciences and humanities, for example, archaeology (Ravindranathan et al., 2004) and mathematics (Sylwestrzak et al., 2010).

Developments in mobile computing have led some researchers to investigate the issue of digital library access from mobile devices (Jensen, 2010; Marshall et al., 2001). DL2GO represents a framework for enabling editable and portable personal digital libraries (Kil et al., 2008). How the ubiquitous iPod may host a digital library has also been explored (Bainbridge et al., 2008). In Japan, a tsunami digital library has been developed with the expressed objective of supporting access via mobile phones (Imai et al., 2007).

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