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                                                                      Digital Libraries


                   The only thing common about the range of products and services mentioned above are
                   their being “digital” or  “digitized”. While some of the above mentioned products and

                   services qualify to  be  digital libraries,  others  do  not qualify the  characterstics and
                   definition of a digital library given later in this chapter. The relatively recent use of term
                   “digital library” can  be traced  to  the “Digital Library  Initiatives” funded  by the US
                   National Science Foundation, the Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National
                   Aeronautics  and Space  Administration (NASA) in the United States.  In 1994, these
                   agencies granted US$ 24.4 million to six universities in US for digital library research
                   impelled by the sudden explosive growth on the Internet and web technology. The term
                   was quickly adopted by the computer scientists, librarians and others. Thus, while the
                   term “digital library” is relatively new,  the  concept behind  the term  and  information
                   resources consisting of digitized resources has a history spanning to several years.

                   A digital library is not merely a collection of electronic information, it is an organized
                   system of information  that can  serve  as a  rich resource for its user community. The
                   library and information science community treats digital libraries as “logical extension
                   and augmentation of physical libraries in the electronic information society (Marchionini,
                   1998). The digital library extend and augment their physical counterparts by extending
                   existing  resources and services and  enable  development of new possibilities for
                   information access and retrieval (Fox, 1998).

                   2.  Traditional Library, Information Retrieval System and Digital Library

                   The services  and  collection in a  traditional library  are built around its physical
                   possessions consisting  of books, journals, microforms, vidio and  audio cassettes,
                   technical reports, theses & dissertations, standards and patents, etc.  The primary purpose
                   of a  Library OPAC is to indicate physical location of a document in the library.  In a
                   traditional library environment consisting of physical collection, it is necessary for a user
                   to either come to the library or get the document in order to use it. Moreover, only one
                   person  at a time can use a physical document. However, traditional libraries offer
                   additional social and educational benefits. Besides, most traditional libraries also offer
                   hybrid services. Digital library removes physical restrictions that prevails in traditional
                   libraries,  provides multiple access,  multiple listings and  electronic transmission  of  its
                   collection.  Moreover, newer Web 2.0  /  Library 2.0 applications now enables digital
                   libraries to offer posibilities of “social networking” and “tagging” in web environment
                   thereby imitating some of the social and  educational benefits offered  by traditional
                   libraries.  Digital libraries,  however,  comes with complications such as:  intellectual
                   property, rights management, digital preservation,  licenses and terms and conditions, etc.

                   Information retrieval systems (IRS) can be considered as precursor to the digital libraries.
                   IRS are built with bibliographic databases as target for searching and retrieving textual
                   information stored in them. The process of searching an information retrieval system is
                   based on exact matching  from string of text stored in bibliographic database using
                   Boolean and proximity operators. Mistakes in the IRS system at the time of data entry or
                   in search query  results in mismatch. Digital libraries, in contrast, are based on pattern
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