A digital library system is the critical point of contact between the information provider and the information consumer.
While a digital library may consist of nothing more than a collection of electronic resources on a CD-ROM or web site, a digital library system is more than just the resources. A digital library system supports an extra layer of functionality -- the functions that would, in a physical library, be the responsibility of the librarian.
- For the consumer a digital library system is a one-stop information workstation -- a place to purchase titles, borrow resources, explore catalogs, search databases, cite bibliographic data, read articles and books, take notes and collaborate with others. It is a place to extend inquiries beyond the desktop to remote web-based library collections, databases and other libraries containing both digital and print resources.
- For the publisher a digital library system is a commerce-enabled gatekeeper that tracks rights and permissions, respects copyrights, and increases revenue opportunities.
- For the librarian a digital library represents a common workstation for a wide range of disparate digital materials from multiple vendors. The common user interface and integrated search window greatly reduces the burden of library staff support and handholding. The digital library also provides connectivity to the library’s patron access catalog allowing the user to browse library holdings and digital full text materials from the same workstation.
The Libronix Digital Library System is designed to combine the power of direct high speed access to data on the user's own PC while simultaneously processing additional data on the world wide web. This creates a powerful dual system that takes full advantage of the user's high-speed hard disk drives, powerful desktop processors and virtually limitless remote data over the Internet.
The Five Functions of a Digital Library System
A digital library system, like a real librarian, facilitates five key functions of a library:
The Web, traditional online databases, hand-held electronic books, and CD-ROM products have all addressed two or three of these functions, but until now few systems have addressed all five.
The Libronix DLS is able to address all five functions by combining powerful software on the desktop machine with information and processes on the Internet.
Acquisition is the process by which the consumer selects digital products to borrow, rent, or purchase.
Acquisition is essentially the e-commerce component of the digital library system. The Libronix DLS facilitates acquisition through the use of "metadata" packaged with the individual digital titles. Metadata includes both marketing and bibliographic information. The metadata allows the Libronix system to provide a wide range of features including catalogs, bibliographies, MARC records and commerce enabled features like "one-click" purchasing, royalty allocation and library management. Acquisition sources include both the Internet and locked CD-ROM's and DVD-ROM's.
Cataloging is the management of acquired resources and accompanying rights and permissions.
The Libronix DLS is designed to help users build their own personal libraries, rather than forcing them to choose from a limited set of pre-defined collections. Once a user acquires resources the DLS automatically organizes them by Author, Title, Subject, etc. using international library standards. Since permission and access are separated the Libronix DLS helps users take their resources with them -- to new machines, to portable electronic book readers, handheld computers, etc.
Retrieval is the process of searching resources and managing the results.
The heart of the Libronix DLS is a distributed search architecture that can take a single query, translate it into the proper form for various back-end databases, and then integrate the results. The search management system is data type independent so it doesn't care if it's searching for Unicode text in a specific language, a user-hummed melody, or a latitude/longitude point. And support for installable query and result interfaces means that complex resources or data types don't have to be forced into a least-common-denominator user interface.
A common search interface simplfies the search process for the user and at the same time enables the publisher to select the best data format for the task.
Interpretation involves seeing information in the context of related resources and being able to discover and create connections between information sources.
A rich user-interface and support for powerful features like scrolling related texts in parallel facilitates interpretation within the Libronix DLS. KeyLinking, (a type of dynamic hypertext), automatic concept extraction, and support for installable features all help users to get the most out of their library.
Sharing means having tools and processes for annotating resources, extracting from and citing sources, and collaborating with other users.
The end product of research is often shared with others. The Libronix DLS helps get the information out with features like collaborative annotation -- where inline markup and comments on resources are automatically shared over the Internet -- and a powerful bibliographic citation system that automatically footnotes copied text.
In a world of information overload content isn't enough. The Libronix Digital Library System is designed to bring full-text library holdings to a desktop. For the first time data in multiple formats can be cataloged, browsed, searched and annotated from a common software interface. Libronix represents the logical next step beyond digital books by elegantly addressing all five key functions of a digital library system.
The Libronix DLS is a standards-based, completely expandable system that scales to deliver digital library products ranging from basic consumer reference CD-ROM titles to large corporate information systems.