Establishing the Digital Library: Don’t Ignore the Library Standards and Don’t Forget the Training Needed

Establishing the Digital Library: Don’t Ignore the Library Standards and Don’t Forget the Training Needed

Alan Hopkinson (Middlesex University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-335-5.ch014


The literature on Digital Libraries tends to be about developing your own digital library, but most usage of digital libraries worldwide is access to commercial databases of full-text material: initially scholarly materials, but more recently, newspapers and monographs. There is no difference in principle between the industrialized world and developing countries; everyone want to access the same materials. Electronic materials are cheaper to deliver to developing countries when compared with printed materials. The main problems concern spending wisely the little money that developing countries have and establishing the infrastructure to get the digital material to the users who need them. The standards needed to implement digital libraries are universal, and librarians in developing countries need to be aware of these standards and support their implementation in their systems, develop an appropriate infrastructure, and put resources into training so that the tools can be used to good effect. The Open Access movement must be taken into account and repositories set up for institutional materials as in the industrialized world.
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Academic Material In Developing Countries’ Libraries

In developing countries there has always been a problem for libraries acquiring books and journals. In the days of print journals, they were too expensive to purchase at the price they were available in the industrialized world, and additionally there were postage costs to be accounted for making it actually more expensive to provide materials to developing countries than to the industrialized world. In the case of journals, there was a feeling that a run should be complete and subscriptions could often not be kept up for financial reasons. Today material can be transferred digitally either on CD ROM or over the internet which reduces postage charges although it requires a certain level of bandwidth if the material is accessed over the internet.

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