By formulating a vision that provides for a solid foundation for the virtual library, we can dramatically improve existing library services and create new ones with added value. The new library paradigm will be built on software and hardware information technology. Related requirements include distributed computing and networking; open architectures and standards; authentication, authorization, and encryption; and billing and royalty tracking. The “virtual library tool kit” will include reduced dependence on word indexing and keyword/Boolean retrieval; development and application of natural language processing; and effective tools for navigation of networks. Carnegie Mellon University offers some helpful examples of how information technology and information retrieval may be used to build the virtual library.
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