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Digital Library Federation
1752 N St NW
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Washington DC 20036

Digital Library Federation Publications

In a digital library, how information is made, assembled into collections, and presented online affects whether, to what extent, and how it can be used. In this vitally important area the DLF is sponsoring initiatives that will help libraries:

  • build better, more useful, and more useable online collections and services;
  • gather and analyze information that reveal how and why library use is changing;
  • build user support services that are effective and appropriate in evolving online library environments.

Our work in this area is described on these pages.

DLF Scholars' Panel

Wednesday June 2-Thursday June 3, Washington, DC

Attendees | Findings | Bibliography

The impulse driving this meeting and the discussions that followed was a desire to learn from working scholars what they value and what they need from our digital library services -- to test and temper our sense of what library users want against the expressed needs of scholars. Everyone who attended is deeply engaged in creating and using digital library content, often in partnership with an academic library.

Discussion ranged widely over such topics as federated searching; mass digitizing ambitions; institutional repositories; tools; shareable metadata; courseware; persistent identifiers; digital preservation; online communities; and examples of "New Scholarship".

The report clusters the main findings under the following headings:

  • Barriers to Digital Scholarship
  • The Need for Tools
  • Services: Repositories and Harvestable Metadata
  • Digital Library Collections

Dimensions and use of the scholarly information environment

In collaboration with CLIR, Outsell Inc., and a small group academic libraries, the DLF initiated a planning process to determine what it might do to enhance understanding of how and why library use is changing. At a kick-off meeting held in March 2001, members of the group convened to consider a white paper that outlined significant trends in library use and documented important areas for further research. The study that developed out of this meeting seeks evidence of how faculty and students at universities and colleges perceive of and use the academic library as part of their overall scholarly information environment. Such knowledge is invaluable for libraries and universities in planning information services to focus explicitly on the current and emerging needs of their faculty and students, and to avoid focusing on what is not, or may no longer be, important. The academic community will also benefit as publishers and content providers that serve the education market create better information products based on an increased knowledge of users' needs. The original proposal outlining the study's aims and objectives is available here. The study was completed in early 2003 and published in the fall of 2003.

Assessing quality in digital reference

The DLF joins OCLC, Syracuse University and others in sponsoring a study to develop methods to assess the quality of digital reference services; test and refine measures and quality standards to describe digital reference services; and to produce a guidebook that describes how to collect and report data for these measures and standards. Information about the project, including the measures and standards and guidelines for their use are available from http://quartz.syr.edu/quality/

Usage and usability assessment. Library practices and concerns

Survey of practices used by DLF member institutions to assess the use and usability of their online collections and services. The study was conducted by DLF Distinguished Fellow Denise Troll Covey and has been published as a print title by CLIR. It supplies a summary of current practices and pays particular attention to those that are proving to be most effective. An early framing document describing the work as initially conceived is also available.

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