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PG University of Ploiesti,
Digital Libraries (DLs)

DLs – not traditional libraries with bytes instead of

books! DLs - not replacing traditional libraries!
DLs - organized collection of information
DLs – new tools for achieving human goals by changing
the way the information is used in the world
DLs – new ways of dealing with knowledge: preserving,
collecting, organizing, propagating, and accessing it

Digital Libraries’ scope
DLs – have an immense range of applicability:
exploring popular music or movies
supporting instruction, education, and human development
providing support for scientific research or
topic-specific search
preserving traditional culture
helping propagate culture in a multimedia form
and many more …

Digital Libraries’ definition

DLs – focused collection of digital objects, along with

methods for access and retrieval, for selection and
organization, and for maintenance of the collection
digital objects include text, 2D- or 3D-graphics,
animation, audio, video, simulations, dynamic
visualisations, and virtual reality worlds
the definition accords equal weight to user (access and
retrieval) and librarian (organization and selection, and
Librarian is essential

the librarian function are often overlooked

by DL proponents who generally have a
background in technology and approach this
work from this perspective rather than
from the viewpoint of library of information
selection, organization and maintenance
are central to the notion of a library

Terms to work with

data – recorded facts

information – set of patterns, or
expectations, that underlie the
knowledge – the accumulation of
one’s set of expectations
wisdom – value attached to

What to include in a collection?

all information is not created equal, and it’s the

wisdom that librarians put into the library by
making decisions about what to include in a collection
and following up with appropriate ways of organizing
and maintaining the information

exactly these features distinguish DLs from

anarchic mess that we call WWW
DLs need boundaries as well

DLs are libraries without walls, but they need boundaries

• the very notion of collection implies a boundary: some
things are in, while others lie outside it
• every collection should have a well-articulated
purpose, which states the objectives it is intended to
• every collection should have a set of principles, which
are the directives that will guide decisions on what
should be included and – equally important – what
should be excluded

WWW, and websites vs. DLs
WWW - marked by lack of plan, order, or selection and
organization; WWW - uncontrolled and uncontrollable
Web site – even one that offers a focused collection of well-
organized material and provides appropriate methods of access
and retrieval should not be considered a library
libraries are storehouses where material can easily be added
most well-organized web sites are created manually through
hand-crafted hypertext linkage structure
as adding new acquisitions to a physical library does not involve
making rewriting on existing books, so it should be possible for
new material to be included in a DL without any need for manual
updating of the structures used for access and retrieval
what connects a new acquisition into the structure of a
physical library is partly where is placed on the shelves,
but more important is the information about it that is
included in the library catalog
this information is called metadata – data about data –
this is equally important for DLs as well
to be effective, metadata needs to conform to
standards so that
• interoperability between different computer apps can be achieved
• searchers can use a standard set of retrieval techniques to maximize
their chances of finding the resources via a search engine
Traditional libraries –the oldest
one which still exists!
Libraries are society’s repositories for knowledge
Libraries are temples of culture and wisdom
the oldest library is a collection of more than 2000
engraved stone slabs (steles), situated in Xi’an, an
ancient walled city in central China with a long and
distinguished history (established ca. 1100 A.D.)
each stele stands 2 or 3 meters high and is
engraved with a poem, story or historical record
for example, Confucius’s works are here
this collection gathers together the work of many
calligraphers over a period of 3 millennia!
Traditional libraries – evolution (1)
over the years have evolved beyond recognition
originally intended for storage and preservation,
libraries have refocused to place users at the
center, with increased emphasis on information
ancient libraries were only useful to the small
minority of people who could read
they were accessible within stringent limitations
imposed by social conditions

Traditional libraries – evolution (2)
the public library movement took hold in the 19th
century. Still, the libraries of the day had book
stacks that were closed to the public
the books were chosen from the catalog and then
handed out over the counter
in Europe, most libraries still operate this way
however 20th century librarians came to realize the
advantage of allowing readers to browse among the
shelves and make their own selections
open-access libraries became widely accepted in
English-speaking countries
Traditional libraries – evolution (3)
the famous library of Alexandria is widely
recognized as the world’s first great library
long before that, Chinese written records began,
having a history that extends to 18th century B.C.
created around 300 B.C. the Alexandrian Library
grew at a phenomenal rate and contained 200,000
volumes in 10 years
before being burned it had 700,000 volumes
more than 2,000 years would pass before any other
library would attain this size
the work of the acquisitions dept. was dramatic! 
Traditional libraries – the largest
library today
The Library of Congress is the de facto national
library of the United States;
Its collections include more than 29 million
catalogued books and other print materials in 470
more than 58 million manuscripts; the largest rare
book collection in North America, including a
Gutenberg bible
over 1 million issues of world newspapers spanning
the past three centuries, 33,000 bound newspaper
volumes, 500,000 microfilm reels,4.8 million maps,
and 2.7 million sound recordings 13/38
Virtual libraries to come

technology advance provides for surrogates to

substitute for physical works
technology advance provides for surrogates to
substitute for physical works
users can browse the collection using virtual reality
but what really matters in libraries is information
and knowledge

Legal aspects of DLs (1)

collecting information and making it widely available

to others has far-ranging social implications
builders of DLs must act responsibly and be aware
of the legal and ethical issues that surround their
particular application
copyright is the place to begin
access to the information in DLs is generally less
controlled than it is in physical collections

Legal aspects of DLs (2)

putting info into a DL has the potential to make it

immediately available to a virtually unlimited
audience - this is great news!
user: info around the world becomes available
wherever s/he is
author: a greater potential audience can be reached
than ever before
publisher: new markets open up that transcend
geographical limitations
.. but there is a flip side! 
Legal aspects of DLs (3)

authors and publishers ask how many copies of a

work will be sold if networked DLs enable
worldwide access to an electronic copy of it
the nightmare is that the answer is one
the threat for users is that publishers will adopt
technical and legal means to implement restrictive
policies governing access to information (e.g.
imposing expiry date)

Legal aspects of DLs (4)

possessing a copy of a document certainly does not

constitute ownership in terms of copyright law
each document has only one copyright owner
this applies not only to physical copies of book, but
to computer files too, whether they have been
digitized from a physical work or created
electronically in the first place
when one buys a copy of a document, one may resell
it, but may not redistribute it
Legal aspects of DLs (5)

who does own a particular work?

the initial copyright owner is the creator, unless
the work is made for hire (=available for use or
service in return for payment ) – in this case the
employer or contracting organization owns it
the owner can transfer/assign copyright to another
party through a specific contract, made in writing
and signed by the owner

Legal aspects of DLs (6)

copyright protection begins and ends at different

times, depending on when the work was created
in the U.S., older works are protected for 95 years
after the date of first publication
newer ones are protected from the moment of the
fixation in a tangible medium of expression until 70
years after the author death
works for hire are protected for 95 years after
publication or 120 years after creation, whichever
comes first
Legal aspects of DLs (7)

copyright law is complex and varies from one

country to another
most countries are signatories to the Berne
Convention that governs int. copyright law
most countries allow material to be copied for
research purposes by individuals, a concept known
as fair use
making copies for distribution or resale is prohibited
it’s not necessary to register docs for copyright – it
applies automatically and regardless bearing or not ©
Legal aspects of DLs (8)

legal situation with regard to computer files, and

particular docs published on the WWW is murky
it is widely accepted that one can view web docs –
after all that’s what they’re there for 
note that docs are copied and saved behind scenes
to improve performances
in the comps’ world the “copy” is perhaps no longer
appropriate for the foundation of copyright law

Legal aspects of DLs (9)

many DL project involve digitizing docs

first, the builders should consider if the work to be
digitized is in the public domain or if it attempt to
faithfully reproduce a work in the public domain
if the answer to either question is yes, then one
may digitize that work without permission
of course, the result will not be protected either,
unless it is more than a faithful reproduction
if the docs have been donated by the original
copyright owner then they can be used in the DL
Legal aspects of DLs (10)

if the previous considerations do not apply, one

should consider whether s/he can go ahead under
the concept of fair use, from copyright owner’s
point of view
otherwise one needs permission from the © owner,
provided that s/he is the original copyright owner!
DL projects must be undertaken with a full
understanding of ownership rights and with full
recognition that permissions are needed for
materials that are not in the public domain
Legal aspects of DLs (11)

looking at the situation from an ethical point of

view helps shed light on fundamental issues:
• it is unethical to steel: deriving profit by distributing
a book on which someone else has copyrights is wrong
• it is unethical to deprive of the fruit of their labor:
giving away e-copies of a book on which someone else
has copyrights is wrong
• it is unethical to pass someone else’s work as your own:
making a DL collection without due acknowledgment is
• it is unethical to willfully misrepresent someone else’s
point of view: modifying docs before including them in
the collection is wrong 13/38
Collecting from the Web

DLs are organized collection of information

the Web is full of unorganized information
downloading parts of it in order to organize info into
focused collection and make the material more useful to the
others is a prime appl area for DLs
search engines do so – they use software robots to
download huge portions of the web and create indexes to
Web sites can safeguard against indiscriminate downloading
by using robot exclusion protocol (comps that try to violate
it will be punished with denial-of-service)
now search engines automatically assume permission unless
the provider has set up an exclusion mechanism
Archiving the entire WWW

the reason to do this is to offer services such as supplying

docs that are no longer available and providing a copy of
record for publicly available docs, in effect supplying the
raw material for historical studies
it raises interesting issues involving privacy and copyright
(for ex. a person can erase previous info posted on the web
about him or her?)

What could it happen inside DLs?

most DLs aim to provide more comprehensive searching and

browsing services than do search engines. Like archives they
most likely want to store docs locally, to ensure their
continued availability
DLs are more likely to modify docs as an aid to the user,
least invasively by highlighting search terms or adding
metadata, more invasively by re-presenting them in a
standard format, or by producing computer-generated
summaries of docs, or extracting keywords and key phrases
the builders need to consider carefully the ethical issues

DLs push the society’s frontiers

the world is changing

DLs are pushing at the frontiers of society’s
norms for dealing with the distribution of
intellectual property
those who run large-scale Internet information services tell
interesting war stories of people’s differing expectations of
what is reasonable for the services to do
some material is illegal and harmful and clearly inappropriate
for public presentation (see violence and pornography)

Cultural sensitivity

most DLs are international

more often they are produced by people from Western backgrounds,
yet the majority of people in the world live in countries that have very
different cultures (e.g. in Polynesian cultures representations of people,
including pictures, are “tapu”, which means sacred, and is inappropriate
for them to be on public display!)
language is the vehicle of thought, communication, and cultural identity,
so the DL users should be able to work in their most suitable language
More, particular labels or icons may have strong undesired connotation
(for ex. dogs are offensive in Arabic cultures)
thus it is essential for DL developers to consider how their creation will
affect others

Conclusion and discusions (1)
the information revolution supplies the
technological power that drives DLs and fuels and
unprecedented demand for storing, organizing and
accessing information
this demand is economically driven rather than
curiosity driven as in days gone by
if information is the currency of knowledge
economy, DLs will be the banks where it is in
indeed Goethe once said that visiting a library was
like entering the presence of great wealth which
was silently paying untold dividends
Conclusion and discussion (2)

A DL is not really a digitized library!

DL’s software support users to search and
browse the collection
equally it supports librarians as they strive to
provide appropriate organizational structures
and maintain them effectively