The Birth of Virtual Libraries

The Birth of Virtual Libraries

Edward D. Garten (University of Dayton, USA)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-555-9.ch023
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The phenomenal growth of distance learning programs in higher education worldwide has had immense implications for the provision of library services to students learning at a distance. Major trends such as telecommuting and the changing profile of traditional college students have fueled the demand for distance education. More adults, in particular, are working full time, balancing family responsibilities, and seeking to return to study at the post-secondary level on a part-time basis. Distance learning has become an attractive alternative, especially for working mothers, military servicepersons, and rural residents (Hanson, 2001). One of the most startling new forms of higher education in the last decade has been the development and proliferation of the online or virtual college or university (VCU). The VCU is used today to describe a broad range of entities and activities: corporate training centers, nonprofit and governmental education activities, multi-state and international learning collaborations, as well as the distance learning efforts of individual institutions (Epper & Garn, 2004). This proliferation of distance learning opportunities, especially in the form of the virtual or online university, has had considerable implications for the provision of library services to distance students; indeed, it has been argued that distance learning without access to electronic information resources and services is simply impossible (Faulhaber, 1996). Concurrent with the emergence of the virtual university has been the rise of the virtual library. This article defines the virtual library and situates it within the context of contemporary electronic learning.

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