Digital libraries (in all of their variants) can be great tools to help libraries in providing better and faster services to their users. However it is also the very thing that threatens the survival of the (traditional) libraries.
That is if libraries will not redefine their roles amidst the emergence of these new tools. Digital institutional repositories (IR) – as a species of digital libraries (Lynch, 2003) – is the opportunity that libraries and librarians can seize to redefine their roles and re-assert their influence in their user communities.
Digital libraries are commonly used to manage digital collections that usually generated by vendors (eJournals, eBooks, etc.). Acquisitions, Cataloging, Circulation, and Reference that used to be the domains of librarians are being taken away in digital libraries realm. However there are some functions that vendors and publishers will never take away from libraries, which is the development, management, and use of local content (locally-produced information resources and/or information resources that contain features of local entities).
Every community, especially higher education communities, is rich with local contents with their various formats – often in very unconventional manifestations. Based on experiences gained in developing digital local contents at Desa Infromasi project, it is believed that efforts in identifying, collecting, digitizing, cataloging, and disseminating local content re-affirm the roles of libraries as an entity that establish structure in otherwise chaotic world of myriad information resources.
The efforts will also open up avenues for libraries to assume ‘new’ roles as a facilitator of collaborations among different community of users and scholarly communications across disciplines of knowledge (in the context of higher education institutions).
All these will in the end help promoting institutional visibility. Besides dealing with digitization, libraries will find themselves exploring a whole new world of outreach that will redefine their roles in their institution and society. In short, although the chapter will touch on technical aspects of digital libraries, it will focus on the impacts and influence that libraries can assert to their user communities while they are developing and disseminating digital local content using IR.
Thus digital libraries should not be viewed as an end. Instead they are great tools for libraries to reinvigorate their roles in their user communities. The discussion will use Desa Informasi project as a study case.
The discussion on this chapter is the results of the expansion and ‘conversation’ from several of my previous articles, as follows: 1. “Desa Informasi: Local Content Global Reach” published in the proceeding of the 2005 Annual Seminar of the International Council on Archives – Section on University and Research Institutions Archives (East Lansing, Michigan – U.S.A. – Sep 6-9, 2005) 2. “Desa Informasi: The Role of Digital Libraries in the Preservation and Dissemination of Indigenous Knowledge” published in 2006 by Elsevier in International Information and Library Review, 38(3), pp. 123-131. 3. “Desa Informasi: A Virtual Village of “New” Information Resources and Services” published in 2007 by Emerald in Program: Electronic Library and Information System, 41 (3), pp. 276-290. 4. “Surabaya Memory: Representing Minority Voices in the Digital History of A City.” Published in Archives and Manuscripts – The Journal of the Australian Society of Archivists, 37 (2), pp. 127-137. 5. “Surabaya Memory: Opportunities and Challenges of Open Access e-Heritage Repositories” – in writing process for IFLA Satellite Conference in Chania, Greece – Aug 2010.
URL : http://repository.petra.ac.id/15052/