New Roles of Digital Libraries

New Roles of Digital Libraries

Faisal Ahmad (University of Colorado at Boulder, USA), Tamara Sumner (University of Colorado at Boulder, USA) and Holly Devaul (Digital Learning Sciences, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-879-6.ch054


The limited scope of digital libraries can be attributed to the brick and mortar vision of the library metaphor. In order to extend scope of digital libraries, in this chapter we examine the current supports and future possibilities afforded by digital libraries to support conventional consumers (i.e., information- users and information-curators), as well as emerging new types of consumers such as distributed computer applications. A functional analysis of conventional libraries is coupled with metaphor design methodology to explore new promising applications and usage scenarios for digital libraries.
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Roles Of Digital Libraries To Support End Users

In order for a DL to be useful and usable, its users should be able to complete their tasks with relative ease and should feel satisfied with the experience. The complexity and the diversity of user1 populations and tasks demand interfaces, tools and services that are tailored to specific user needs. Hence a wide variety of DL interfaces, tools, and services will be required to meet these needs and improve user experiences. It is impossible to exhaustively list future DL roles hence we focus here on succinctly describing a few promising DL roles resulting from our research experience.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cyber-Infrastructure: Cyber-infrastructure describes new research environments in which the capabilities of advanced computing tools are readily available to researchers and learners in an interoperable network.

Information-Users: An individual who makes use of information in any way to complete a task.

Hypermedia: An extension to hypertext that links multimedia elements in addition to text elements.

Cataloging: The process of creating and assembling metadata about a document.

Metaphorical Design: A software design methodology that utilize metaphors for eliciting user requirements and representing system functionality in the user interface.

Information-Curators: An individual who organizes and manages information and services in order to fulfill information-user needs.

Metadata: Metadata is structured or descriptive information about a document. Metadata can be created by the document creator or by a cataloger.

Concept Map: Concept maps are graphical knowledge representations that are composed to two components: (1) Nodes: represent the concepts, and (2) Links: connect concepts using a relationship.

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