Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited
Welcome to Digital Library Perspectives (DLP). It is been a while since we had an editorial for opening an issue of the journal. In fact, since the journal was renamed to DLP, we only had one in a guest-edited issue. With the turn of the decade, we are changing this, to ensure that readers also get a welcoming note as a presentation to the issue and a friendly update on what we are doing, which articles are presenting, and if there is also anything noteworthy to highlight in the field of digital libraries and information systems.
Editorially, we are working harder to improve DLP and we have thus reached some important milestones, such as keeping the periodicity, ensuring a very prompt and efficient workflow from submission to publication and, during past year, we have been receiving an increasing number of manuscript submissions that are also increasing in quality. All of this has been possible and is further reinforced by our readers, the contributing authors, our editorial board, the support of the peer reviewers and, of course, the support of our publisher.
We are looking forward to transcending the confines of the journal’s format and build a community around it. To do so, during 2019, we have started a Facebook page for DLP and a Twitter account to have a social media presence and for bringing more opportunities to engage with our community; you are most welcome to visit and follow us there. In these social media sites, we have been featuring the new articles as they are becoming available through EarlyCite, which is Emerald’s early publication option before the appearance of the full issue. We are also encouraging authors to submit a video abstract of their article (if you are interested in doing so, please check Emerald’s guidelines for this), we have published the first call for papers, although we are permanently welcoming high quality research articles to maintain DLP’s periodicity; and we will also be sharing video editorials.
Why is all of the above important? We believe that this allows working toward improving DLP’s quality and positioning within library and information science journals, to build a more dynamic community around the journal and, lastly, altmetrics.
Here is a relevant thought exercise: When was the last time you read through all or most of a scientific journal? The vertiginous speed of our daily lives and our current academic and research endeavors might have driven us away from this long-gone practice. When we study or conduct research, the most usual practice is just to center on the most relevant articles that we retrieve and sometimes we do not even look at the titles of the journals publishing them, except when it is time to reference them. We pose another provocative question: What needs to occur for us to go back and enjoy reading or looking throughout a whole journal issue?
Going back to the topic of altmetrics, as you may know, we have been at a crossroads regarding the assessment of research visibility and impact. Altmetrics is an alternative to bibliometrics and it seeks to measure research’s visibility in places that are not necessarily scientific. So, if a research product is being shared in social media, blogs, Wikipedia, has readers in Mendeley, and is being featured in news sites, then its altmetrics score increases. Hence, as citations, altmetrics allows measuring the interest toward a given research product; but the difference is that it is measured much more quickly than citations. The challenge is that altmetrics has not yet been universally considered for assessing research visibility and impact. Although they are very useful indicators for researchers, especially for those who study these topics.
This DLP issue, which contains seven articles as well as this editorial, opens with an interview in which Sofia Axonidi, Carla Colombati and Valentina Gamboni talked with IFLA Manager Stephen Wyber, under the title “From vision to action: librarians as change agents”. This interview contains interesting insights on IFLA’s 2019-2024 Strategy, which was launched at the World Library and Information Congress 2019 and it centers on a bottom-up approach for ensuring librarians’ participation to work on the professional agenda at their respective local, national and regional levels.
The first research article, by Paul Nunekpeku, presents an evaluation of library automation services from the point of view of clients’ satisfaction at the University of Cape Coast library (Ghana). His findings highlight that library patrons might be wishing to use services that we might not keep as a priority, while the usual services present some opportunities for improving their satisfaction, namely: user training; which may be the most important library role of university libraries.
Working within libraries, we may find that the typical usage data we gather from our services and products might not be enough to fulfill institutional needs or the requirements from the various evaluation and accreditation agencies. In this respect, Khurshid Ahmad, Zheng JianMing and Muhammad Rafi present a proposal for applying the lean-startup method for the execution of big data analytics, drawing from Ranganathan’s principles.
Abdul Rahim Abdul Rahman, Suhana Mohezar, Nurul Fadly Habidin and Nursyazwani Mohd Fuzi present an evaluation of the implementation of a digital library in a military context in Malaysia, from an organizational support perspective and using Delone and McLean’s information system success model, which centers on usage intention, net benefits and user satisfaction as elements for the success of a library service; all of this with some unique characteristics and features, given the unique context in which they worked.
From Mexico, Armando Villanueva-Ledezma, Juan D. Machin-Mastromatteo, Fidel González-Quiñones, Aixchel Cordero-Hidalgo and Jorge Flores-Flores offer us the results from a media observatory that was established in the State of Chihuahua to monitor the ethical treatment of news by digital news outlets, together with the implications that such observatories and their data have for libraries as well as for information and journalism professionals. From the USA, Dennis Della Corte, Wolfgang Colsman, Ben Welker and Brian Rennick present an evaluation of the Allotrope Data Format standard for digital preservation in a library at the Brigham Young University.
In the last article, Johann Pirela, Yamely Almarza and Joel Alhuay-Quispe present a semiotic analysis they conducted on images and multimedia contents available in social media that are related to citizen activism and political protests in Venezuela. Using Omeka software, they have worked on the necessary metadata for describing and preserving this content; which is a challenge with social media content.
As we previously stated, we also wish to include in these editorials a reference to any noteworthy topic related to the field of digital libraries and information systems. This 2020, the topic of the moment in the news and in research has been the coronavirus (COVID-19). As something relevant to information professionals, we wanted to highlight 2016’s Statement on Data Sharing in Public Health Emergencies, which intends to provide the World Health Organization (WHO) and the public with access to medical research findings in the case of a global emergency, either by making contents open access or by providing free access while the emergency lasts. Several recognized scientific academies, repositories, mega journals and commercial publishers are signatories of the mentioned Statement, including our publisher. We hope that scientific research, together with the cooperation of all stakeholders, including those from the information and publishing industries, can lead us through this crisis.
As you may have seen, in our previous issue, as well as in the current one, we have included an interview with a relevant personality from the world of libraries, which is offered in open access. We hope to offer an interview in every issue, so you are invited to submit them. Moreover, to bring further diversity of contents to DLP, in our next issue we will have the first installment of a new regular column, “World Digital Libraries”, which we hope it will start appearing in every issue. In this column, we will have shorter articles, not necessarily under a typical research article format, in which researchers and practitioners around the world will have the opportunity of featuring a digital library or information system from their country of origin. We hope you enjoy our first issue of 2020 and find its contents useful for your endeavors. Thank you for your interest.