An online database of digital resources in the form of texts, videos, audios, documents and other media formats, that can be accessed through the internet makes a Digital Library. In simple words, it is a vast expanse of e-resources that anyone can access remotely. The scope and the size of digital libraries can go endless. It can either be maintained by individuals or by organizations offering access to the users. A computer network is sufficient to give access to these resources.
Are All Digital Libraries the Same?
No, digital library as a concept is quite new and it has emerged quite recently. However, it has seen a fast pace in terms of development. So, some digital libraries are digital archives, some run by institutions and some by organizations. Depending upon that, the digital libraries are classified.
Many countries are in the digital league, transforming the economies with the power of digitization and technology. One such booming area of digital transformation is the digital libraries. Hence, National Libraries are an initiative by the governments to make e-resources available for reading over the internet. Most of the government-run digital libraries are free for use and anyone can access a collection of eBooks available in the repository. There are some course books, magazines, journals, and many more formats and types of reading materials in the National Digital Libraries. You can check out a more elaborate list of National Digital Libraries for schools in India, right here.
A few ed-tech organizations are focused on making online learning easy and accessible to all. These companies have built an exhaustive repository of resources available over the internet based on subscription. Some of these organizational digital libraries are even free and give online access to a limited edition of study materials. On the other hand, some organizational digital libraries house a complete collection of course relevant eBooks and study materials, at a bare minimum cost. Mintbook is a great example of this as the platform offers subscription-based digital learning to all. The platform has more than thousands of course books and study plan that comes at an affordable subscription price. These books are relevant to the curriculum prescribed by the universities and boards and school going as well as degree students may benefit from the Mintbook Digital Library.
Academic institutions across the globe are also embracing digital transformation like never before. Thus, these institutional libraries set up by the universities, colleges and schools offer either on-premise access to digital libraries or over the cloud. Institutional libraries aim to offer open access to digital content and hence are free for users most of the time.
Archives are a bit different from digital libraries as they are more of a source of information at the primary level, unlike the full-fledged digital libraries. The contents of the digital archives are organized in groups and not as an individual items, as in the digital libraries. The digital archives are filled with unique and relevant content and hence are an important digital form of the repository to access study content.
The Must-Have Digital Library Tools
Digital library tools are focused on ingestion, preservation, and access of online content for reading. The software requirements for a digital library depends on the software packages in use. How the digital content is being managed is also a deciding factor for setting up a digital library. The design and implementation of the digital libraries are so constructed that they adhere to the computer systems and software so that the exchange of information can take place.
The Scope of Semantic Libraries
Based on several types of metadata, the semantic libraries integrate heterogeneous information from several resources. Semantic libraries are the next generation of digital libraries. The reason behind this is simple, these libraries are equipped with digital tools and features that take the search paradigm for the information space to the next level.
So, for a functioning digital library, the must-have digital library tools comprise the software, metadata, search function, preservation tools, and a recommendation system.
Metadata refers to the cataloguing part in simple terms. Digitizing the libraries from their existing holding may involve simple tasks such as copying or moving a record from print to electronic form. However, it may also involve complex processes like digital works, sustainability and so on. Text search is an important must-have digital library tool that comes under this category. For other catalogue searches that cannot be performed using text are translations of the search text, different editions or volumes of the search, identifying incorrect or poor-quality taxonomy and so on.
The search interface is the most crucial function of a digital library. It is an interface that makes the resources found. Since the resources in a huge digital repository are deep placed, the search engine crawlers cannot generally locate them. Searching is the tool that ensures the visibility of individual resources. The searching tool is usually built from two different strategies- Searching from previously harvested metadata and distributed searching.
It is an important digital library tool that ensures interpretable information systems and media in the indefinite future. In the past couple of years, digitizing books at high speed and comparatively, low cost has improved considerably. As a result, it is now possible to digitize millions of books per year.
Recommendation systems reduce information overload and help the users of the digital library find relevant information every time. More emphasis is given to the content-based filtering under this system along with collaborative and citation-based filtering under this system.
The Must-have digital library tools are collaborative of search, preservation, metadata, searching, recommendation and much more. To get all these benefits at one go, the exhaustive, course inclined and affordable Mintbook digital library is a better choice. It ensures the reach of relevant digital content to a relevant audience and fits every budget. So, rather than investing in the infrastructure, tools, workability, and security at one’s end, Mintbook digital library is a better alternative to online learning and reading.