What is a Digital Library Anymore, Anyway ?

Great article in the last issue of D-lib: What is a Digital Library Anymore, Anyway ? Beyond Search and Access in the NSDL by Carl Lagoze, Dean B. Krafft, et Sandy Payette, Cornell University, et Susan Jesuroga, UCAR-NSDL.

Based on a variety of calibrations1, we are now in the adolescence of digital libraries. Like any adolescence, there is reason for optimism and concern.

The optimism comes from the successes resulting from a decade of research, development, and deployment. Any list of these is inevitably incomplete, but certainly includes Google, the Handle System, Dublin Core, OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting), OpenURL, arXiv, Dspace, and LOCKSS . These and other accomplishments, in combination with the general explosion of the Web itself over the last decade and a half7, approach the digital library vision of "Universal Access to Human Knowledge" articulated in the 2001 report of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee

Why do I blog this? Normally, I don't like the statement that sometimes technology is seen as the ultimate solution for lots of problems but in this case IT can be a good earthquake for librarians (or a wake-up call) to encourage them to move forward and pay attention to some better user-centered tool than their services. Well.. anyway.. the article is very interesting and presents good insights about the future roles of libraries, based on their answers to the neverending discussion about "In the age of Google, what is a digital library anymore, anyway?"