Personal Digital Libraries

Personal Digital Libraries

Juan C. Lavariega (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico), Lorena G. Gomez (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico), Martha Sordia-Salinas (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico) and David A. Garza-Salazar (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-879-6.ch005


This chapter presents the services and functionality that a personal digital library (PDL) system should provide. The chapter includes a reference architecture for supporting the characteristics and functionality of the personal digital library. In particular, a currently available project called PDLib is used as an example of this type of system. The authors address some of the particular problems that personal libraries impose with respect to the overall administration of personal collections of digital documents and how personal libraries may become a commodity and a way of social interaction. The chapter objective is to increase the research interests on personalized digital libraries and their usability in our daily live.
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Digital library research has produced specialized, cohesive repositories, typically delivered via a Web interface and targeted to support both academic and industry organizations. A requirement to bridge organizational boundaries has been issued as the interoperability challenge (OAI, 2006), which calls digital library systems to take measures to share data with other digital repositories. Traditional digital library systems are seen as large data repositories that provide services to multiple users. Many of these systems are supported by distributed architectures for scalability purposes (Janssen, 2004; Smith, Barton, Bass, Branschofsky, McClellan, Tansley, et al., 2003; Witten, Boddie, Bainbridge, & McNab, 2000; Witten, Moffat, & Bell, 1999).

We propose a different perspective of the digital library, that is, a PDL universally available. The objective of personal digital libraries is to take the concepts of traditional (or collective) digital libraries to the user level and provide tools to promote the social interaction. Our PDL’s concept proposes the notion of providing one repository for each user, enabling users to interact with each other with regards to both personal and shared data objects. We also emphasize on universal access, that is, users should be able to access their own personal libraries wherever they are.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Middleware: Any software component that mediates between an application server and a set of mobile clients.

Personal Collection: A set of digital documents that belongs to a specific user.

Thick Client: Software product that request information to a central information server. Thick clients have both application code and data residing on the client device (e.g., desktop, laptop, PDA, or cell phone)

Thin Client: Software product that request information to a central information server. In thin clients, the application is delivered on a browser (for large or middle size devices) or microbrowser (for a more restrictive device such as a PDA). Thick and thin clients can coexist in a single device.

Digital Document: Any document in a digital format. A digital document can be text, image, video, or any combination of these formats.

PDLib: The personal digital library project developed at Monterrey Tech. Information and product available at

Social Computing: The ways of using computer applications to enhance and influence forms of social relations. The term “social computing” also refers to the social and ethical implications that software professionals have in an increasing “computerized” society

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