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In the last 2 years 2,500 libraries across 58 countries deployed NewGenLib as Primary Integrated Library System. Now you can use Vufind as your OPAC for NewGenLib Click here. NewGenLib GUI can now be viewed in 51 languagesClick here.
NewGenLib & Digital libraries
Home | NewGenLib | Digital libraries
Introduction
Sun Microsystems, a leading technology provider in the fast emerging area of Digital Lbraries, defines a digital library as the electronic extension of functions users typically perform and the resources they access in a traditional library. These information resources can be translated into digital form, stored in multimedia repositories, and made available through Web-based services. The emergence of the digital library mirrors the growth of e-learning (or distance learning) as the virtual alternative to traditional school attendance. As the student population increasingly turns to off-campus alternatives for lifelong learning, the library must evolve to fit this new educational paradigm or become obsolete as students search for other ways to conveniently locate information resources anywhere, any time.
With the advent of the Internet, individuals’ expectations for access to information have increased dramatically. It is no longer considered practical or acceptable to travel to a specific location during certain hours to locate needed information. Library patrons are not satisfied to locate an item of interest that is housed at yet another physical location, request the item, and then wait days or weeks for the item to arrive at the building where it was requested. Patrons increasingly expect instant access to all the information resources they require, from any location, at any time, and from any device. This is the objective that the digital library is fulfilling.
With digital libraries, an individual can:
  • Gain access to the holdings of libraries worldwide through automated catalogues.
  • Locate both physical and digitized versions of scholarly articles and books.
  • Optimize searches, simultaneously search the Internet, commercial databases, and library collections.
  • Save search results and conduct additional processing to narrow or qualify results.
  • From search results, click through to access the digitized content or locate additional items of interest.
A fully developed digital library environment involves the following elements:
  • Initial conversion of content from physical to digital form.
  • The extraction or creation of metadata or indexing information describing the content to facilitate searching and discovery, as well as administrative and structural metadata to assist in object viewing, management, and preservation.
  • Storage of digital content and metadata in an appropriate multimedia repository.
  • The repository will include rights management capabilities to enforce intellectual property rights, and if required, E-commerce functionality may also be present if needed to handle accounting and billing.
  • Client services for the browser, including repository querying and workflow.
  • Content delivery via file transfer or streaming media.
  • Patron access through a browser or dedicated client.
  • A private or public network.
Many librarians have expressed the view that digital libraries would, for the foreseeable future, need to span both print and digital materials and that the central issue was to provide a coherent view of a very large collection of information. In this sense, an emphasis on content solely in digital format is too limiting. Really, the objective is to develop information systems providing access to a coherent collection of material—more and more of which will be in digital format as time goes on—and to fully exploit the opportunities offered by the materials that are in digital formats.

In traditional library collections, materials such as multimedia works, geospatial data, or numerical datasets are not always well represented, easy to access or effectively usable. On the other hand, the ability of a digital library system to integrate such materials in digital format can help significantly strengthen the comprehensiveness and value of such a collection. There is, in reality, a very strong continuity between traditional library roles and missions, and the objectives of digital library systems.

Open Access Repositories
In the last few years, a new web services protocol called the open access initiative protocol for metadata harvesting (OAI-PMH) has been used to create metadata records to which digital objects (e.g., full text, audio, video) may be attached. Two open source software, Dspace and Eprints have been widely used to create OA repositories in institutions. These expose metadata and digital content to any harvester that is compliant with OAI-PMH.
NewGenLib is complaint with OAI-PMH and thus it is possible for NewGenLib libraries to create OA repositories of their institutions.
How NewGenLib can help
  • NewGenLib is a web-based library automation and networking solution. As a result a metadata database created by a library using NewGenLib is searchable on the web, the platform which digital libraries worldwide are using.
  • NewGenLib allows the description and storage of data of not only on the conventional material types such as print-on-paper textual materials but also digital content such as images, audio, video, web pages and full text. Such content may not necessarily be ‘owned’ by the library. These could be anywhere but accessible on the web. All such material will be accessible to end-users (e.g., faculty, students) in a university -- they can actually see full text, view images, and play video and audio clips from their desktops. Where permitted, users can even download such content to their local machines.
  • The above is possible because NewGenLib allows any metadata record in its database to have digital content attached to it. For instance, a record could have images (e.g., photographs, say of the person whose biography is being discussed in the book), full text (e.g., a PDF file of the full text of the book), a video clip (e.g., of the Salt Satyagraha), or an audio clip (if a gramophone record of Beethoven’s 9th symphony is being described). All digital content in NewGenLib is stored as a repository on the web server side of the NewGenLib application. Click here to learn more about NewGenLib technology.
  • NewGenLib uses international standards, notably the MARC-21 standard which is used in over 70 countries of the world. Many digital library initiatives and library automation software in the world are based on using such standards. In addition, NewGenLib uses UNICODE 3.0 so that it will be possible to create metadata records in non-Roman scripts, including Indian languages. Click here to see how data in other languages can be entered.
  • NewGenLib allows browser-based access to its database from anywhere as long as the user is connected to the Internet. The user can not only see digital content on his desktop, he can download it, listen to it, or view it as long he has authorization to do so. The delivery could be as streaming content or via file transfer.
  • NewGenLib provides extensive search, display, retrieval and formatting features, enabling users to easily find information from the library’s metadata database and link to other databases that a library could identify as being useful to its clients.
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