Monday, March 1, 2010

International Digital Library Research & Development Meeting

The UC's efforts at digitizing library material in cooperation with Google and the HathiTrust are being paralleled by other cooperative efforts as described in a report called "International Digital Library Research & Development Meeting" which describes an international meeting at Stanford University on library cooperatives. The report can be found in full at ( .

The report claims that "in an era of retrenchment, [senior administrators and senior technologists] are seeking to extend the reach of their institutions through unprecedented integration of their digital collections with others' in the international library community." In other words, crisis is opportunity and in a time of budgetary challenges, library leaders hope not only to reduce costs but expand service at the same time. These twin imperatives lead to a sense of urgency. "We need to be positively impatient," according to one of the participants.

Progress, however, has foundered or at least been held up by an irresolvable "tension" between two different points of view. On the one hand, "The piece-by-piece maturation of the digital library, growing as it has from separately funded initiatives that are often redundant, is neither efficient nor sustainable." On the other, "Striving to achieve widespread agreement on priorities for digital library development" is slow and even "counter-productive." In other words, neither a top-down nor bottom-top method serves the purpose and no procedural compromise has been discovered. Yet, the report elsewhere describes this tension as "fertile" and productive. Specific initiatives include:

1. Repository Architectural Review
2. Data Curation and Preservation
3. Digital Manuscripts
4. Digital Forensics
5. Semantic Web
6. Hydra/Blacklight - tools for building an environment for hosting and managing digital assets (
7. PLANETS - a European-based initiative for building tools, codifying best practices, and fostering a community around digital preservation (

and many more.