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Contact Info:

Digital Library Federation
1752 N St NW
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Digital Library Architectures

Initiatives for Developing Digital Library Architectures.

DLF seeks to:

  • define, clarify, and develop prototypes for digital library systems and system components;
  • scan the larger technical environment for and encourage the development of potentially important trends and practices;
  • encourage technology transfer and information sharing between and among DLF members, and between DLF and appropriate commercial sectors; and
  • communicate technical directions and accomplishments of the DLF to a wider audience.

These pages provide information about current and past DLF initiatives in this area. See also the Standards section.


The Open Archives Initiative

An international initiative that is developing a technical framework for facilitating the efficient dissemination of content via the network. In September 2004, DLF received an IMLS National Leadership Grant to research a "second generation" OAI finding system. more>>

Assessing Shibboleth

With CNI, DLF hosted a meeting of publishers and resource providers to assess Shibboleth - a technology to support inter-institutional authentication and authorization for access to Web pages, as proposed by Internet2. more>>

Z39.50 Implementers Group (ZIG)

Z39.50 is an international standard search and retrieval protocol that has been widely adopted by libraries as a means of integrating access to information maintained in distributed databases. more>>

Digital Certificates

Digital certificates introduces work to prototype and develop a promising authentication protocol. more>>



DLF Service Framework for Digital Libraries

DLF established the DLF Abstract Service Framework Working Group in November 2004 to develop a shared understanding of how the research library and its services are organized in an increasingly networked environment. more>>

DLF/Crossef Institution Registry

In October 2005, DLF and CrossRef hosted a meeting of stakeholders to examine the notion of developing an institution registry for the efficient exchange of information between libraries and library service providers, e.g., publishers. more>>


OCKHAM was conceived of as a series of discussions about key architectural and technical issues confronting digital library developers. more>>

Courseware/Library System Interactions

Integration of digital library content into the courseware systems we are buying and developing is a general need across the DLF and beyond. In 2003 The Andrew Mellon Foundation provided DLF with a grant, led by Dale Flecker (Harvard) and Neil McLean (IMS Australia) to examine the interaction of digital libraries and learning management systems. The resulting study, A Study of the Interoperation of Learning Management and Library Information Systems, was published in July 2004.

This study examines the interaction of digital libraries and learning management (courseware) systems. Learning management systems are increasingly ubiquitous in higher education, and there is an explosion of internet-accessible collections of digital resources relevant to the teachers and students. A natural context for such resources is course web sites. As these sites are increasingly produced through formal learning management systems, the issue of the interactions of such systems with external repositories and discovery systems becomes important. The IMS Digital Repositories Specification provides a good beginning for the understanding of the functions of discovery (search) and object access for learning management systems.

To make the most effective use of digital content in teaching, learning applications need to be able to easily interoperate with digital repositories so that teachers and students can discover, access, view, quote, adapt, and evaluate appropriate learning material. Unfortunately, many data sources have not been designed to interoperate with other repositories or with learning applications. the following presentations (Spring 2004) provide an overview of some use-case scenarios and a checklist of interoperability guidelines will be presented in this session.
Presentation 1 | Presentation 2 | Presentation 3. more>>

Practical work with FEDORA

DLF is supporting an initiative that is implementing the FEDORA architecture as a digital object repository management system and testing the implementation through a collaborative deployment involving selected digital libraries. The FEDORA architecture was initially developed by Carl Lagoze and Sandy Payette. Details about the project are available from its website, and a paper on a Fedora implementation was given recently at the Spring 2004 DLF Forum: Implementing a Digital Library Architecture at the University of Virginia (Thornton Staples, University of Virginia Library). more>>

Assessment of open source software for libraries

In October 2001, DLF convened a meeting to consider how to assess various claims made for open-source software (OSS) and, if appropriate, to identify steps to move OSS activity into the mainstream of digital library development in a manner that might appeal to all sectors of the library community. A report on the meeting is available, and DLF is following up a number of the next steps that were agreed.

There continues to be an abiding interest in open source software in our digital libraries, evidenced by this report of ongoing work at the Library of Congress: From Creation to Dissemination: A Case Study in the Library of Congress's use of Open Source Software (Corey Keith, Library of Congress).

Tools for Academic Publishing

A meeting convened as a venue for sharing tools and technologies and for encouraging collaborative development amongst the various new electronic publishing initiatives that are beginning to emerge on university campuses and within university libraries. more>>

Reference linking

DLF, along with NISO and others, hosted a series of workshops involving librarians, publishers, members of the indexing and abstracting communities, users from the scholarly community, and technical experts to discuss options for linking between citations of digital works and the works themselves. more>>

Distributed Finding Aids

A report by John Price Wilkin (University of Michigan) on the means and costs of searching encoded finding aids that are distributed at different institutions. The report is based on a study undertaken jointly between Michigan and Harvard Universities. more>>

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