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Defining a digital library

Michael Seadle (Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany)
Elke Greifeneder (Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 19 June 2007

Abstract

Purpose

This editorial seeks to examine the definition of a “digital library” to see whether one can be constructed that usefully distinguishes a digital library from other types of electronic resources.

Design/methodology/approach

The primary methodology compares definitions from multiple settings, including formal institutional settings, working definitions from articles, and a synthesis created in a seminar at Humboldt University in Berlin.

Findings

At this point, digital libraries are evolving too fast for any lasting definition. Definitions that users readily understand are too broad and imprecise, and definitions with more technical precision quickly grow too obscure for common use.

Originality/value

A functional definition of a digital library would add clarity to a burgeoning field, especially when trying to evaluate a resource. The student perspective provides a fresh look at the problem.

Keywords

Citation

Seadle, M. and Greifeneder, E. (2007), "Defining a digital library", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 169-173. https://doi.org/10.1108/07378830710754938

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited