Collections in the digital era

Volume 47 NO. 2 2014

Using the iPad might result in students that in the future will be better off than stdents who are mainly print-based. Photo: Juozas Kaziukenas/Flickr CCDoctor’s order: a tablet, digital course books and paperless curriculum

Every new medical student at the University of Helsinki will be given an iPad when they start their studies. The campus library is heavily involved in the process and we proactively offer a comprehensive package of digital content, services and tools. As a consequence, medical studentship is already highly paperless.

According to the law, the digital deposits should be delivered on a physical data carrier, but the National Library of Sweden will also provide delivery channels through data transfer. Photo: Annika HjerpeDetailed digital deposits

In Sweden, an act on deposits of digital material was implemented in July 2012. During an initial trial period, a number of institutions, national agencies and media corporations will be delivering content. The idea is to allow time for the development and implementation of effective delivery and deposit routines by 2015, when the legislation is to come fully into effect.

More advanced digital offers

97 of Denmark’s 98 municipalities have now joined the Danish Digital Library (DDL), whose purpose is to strengthen, streamline and visualise the collective digital public library service. DDL has just launched a homepage solution, which 75 of the country’s libraries will use as their new front vis-à-vis the public.

Digital book collections as a cultural telescope

A digital book collection is much more than a collection of digital versions of printed texts. It may, for example, be used as a corpus, a structured body of text that can be the subject of systematic, automatic analysis. The National Library of Norway has taken a first step in this direction by developing a so-called n-gram search based on its digital book collection. This search service application can make important contributions to new knowledge in many different fields of research.

Editorial: As of yet, we have only glimpsed the outline of the new opportunities

In 1989, Norway was one of the first countries in the world to adopt a legal deposit act that included digital documents. These were referred to as “EDP documents”, and mainly included whatever content was produced with the aid of word processors, spreadsheets and the first generations of desktop publishing tools. Content was collected and distributed in the form of CD-ROM disks that were physically distributed to readers, who inserted them into a disk drive and read the content on a screen.

Illustration: Jakob Heide PetersenThe public library’s collection in a digital age

Media development and the expansion of the Internet pose a challenge to the public libraries’ traditional approach to their core service, i.e. the collection, and the digital age produces a veritable media glut. Is it, therefore, relevant for the public library to offer the public access to just part of the media? Or should the library in fact ensure access to all media for all citizens? The question is whether focusing on the collection and the media is the right point of departure for the public library’s future development?

Aktive shelves. Photo: Nikolaj Jonas BlegvadThe library catalogue of the future

In the last five years the Oslo Public Library has worked on its information service and its digital mediation based on the libraries’ catalogue data. The current MARC format has proven to be rather unsuited for the library catalogue of the future. In contrast, faith in the RDF format has been strengthened.

Digitizing all of the records in the National Library of Sweden’s collection with conventional methods, by playing them, would take more than 20 years, Stig-Lennart Molneryd is trying to find a way to do it faster through pre-commercial procurement. Photo: Annika HjerpeFaster than real time

The National Library of Sweden has 148,000 gramophone records in its collections and wishes to make them accessible. A method based on optical image scanning and transfer of the information from the record faster than real time could be the solution.

More than half of the people in Finland use a smart phone and one third uses a tablet. The expectations towards e-materials offered by libraries are increasing. Photo: Aino KetonenNational cooperation in Finland

The concept of consortium refers to the loose, voluntary union of organizations. Since the end of February, the public libraries in Finland have had the opportunity to join a consortium agreement. At that time, libraries around Finland were informed about the agreement. Approximately 60 municipalities have joined the consortium since the agreement was introduced.