Bawden, D. (2008), "Emerging Technologies for Knowledge Resource Management", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 316-317. https://doi.org/10.1108/00330330810892721
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
This is a rather odd book. Its title suggests that it deals with a variety of technologies for information and knowledge handling. The “resource” element of the title suggests that the domain examined is likely to be, or at least to include, commercial information resource management. But in fact, the book is concerned with digital libraries; and with a rather limited set of their capabilities and associated issues.
The other odd feature of the book is that nowhere is its purpose stated, nor for whom it is intended; a strange omission in a book from an established publisher. It reads rather like an extended set of lecture notes, explaining issues clearly and in detail, but with little or no contextualisation.
Apart from short introductory and concluding chapters, the book has four main chapters. The first of these gives an overview of digital libraries in the round. While clearly written, it is necessarily limited in scope and depth, and has a very dated air, relying in places on quotations from the mid‐1990s; while such references are always useful for historical perspective, here they are not always balanced by recent material.
The second of the main chapters deals with issues around the sharing of resources in digital libraries: interoperability, user access and authentication, resource description and discovery, and so on. The writing is clear, and numerous examples are provided, but again there is a reliance on rather elderly material.
The third and fourth chapters deal with “unified portal models”, providing respectively a review of the concept and a proposed design. The former refers to, and describes, a number of widely known examples, such as The European Library, DecoMate, and the National Library of Medicine systems. The latter is largely based on the authors' own work, though with some other examples included.
There is a detailed index, a number of useful tables of acronyms and the like, and copious diagrams and flowcharts. There is an extensive set of references, but the great majority come from the 1990s and early 2000s, greatly reducing the value of a book with a publication date of 2007.
It is difficult to know who would gain great benefit from this book. It lacks sufficient breadth and structure to compete with texts such as those as of Borgman (2000, 2007), or the volumes in Facet Publishing's Information Futures series. Its rather dated selection of material means that it cannot be taken as a useful guide to current trends. It may be most useful to students and specialist practitioners as a detailed snapshot of some trends and issues in digital library technology at the start of the century.
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