Digital libraries: new initiatives with worldwide implications

John W. Berry (Director of Advancement and Research Associate Professor, The University Library, The University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, USA)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Publication date: 1 December 1996


We are witnessing an explosion of digital information, some of it in unstructured repositories, some in still primitive digital libraries. This trend is certain to accelerate as the National Information Infrastructure (NII) and Global Information Infrastructure (GII) become a reality. Several digital library projects in the USA and abroad are in progress, with the goal of developing the enabling technologies for creating a single, integrated and “universal” library, composed of the large numbers of individual heterogeneous repositories. These include materials in personal information collections, collections in conventional libraries, and large data collections shared by scientists, engineers and other researchers. Six US institutions received funding for Digital Library Initiatives in the fall of 1994. In addition, the Library of Congress (LC) has a National Digital Library Project under way that is funded, in part, by private corporations and foundations to make some of its large text and image collections accessible via computer networks. Focuses on projects at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Illinois and the Library of Congress, including how these initiatives will affect the way image and text archives are organized as we enter the next century, and their implications for the international community. Addresses the following issues: how can we encourage global intellectual access and p articipation by our citizenry? How does one locate (“navigate”) information of interest in a very large, distributed and possibly disconnected collection of libraries and archives around the world? And how can we protect the intellectual property of authors and publishers and detect violations in this new information environment?



Berry, J. (1996), "Digital libraries: new initiatives with worldwide implications", Collection Building, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 21-33.

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