Tuesday, March 28, 2006
New Collections and Services
(The 5th and last part of my whitepaper.)
To adapt to the information age, the library must expand its functions to encompass the entire life cycle of information. The library must go beyond acquiring information from our traditional sources, such as publishers, vendors, and the government. Our imperative is to develop and cultivate digital collections owned and hosted by the library, tailored to the information age.
Academic libraries now have the capability of developing (publishing if you prefer) digital content. Digital collections in the library can be roughly divided into two types: digitized special collections and born-digital collections. While digitizing special collections is an important endeavor, there is greater potential in cultivating born-digital collections. Born-digital collections include learning object repositories, institutional repositories, online journals (both open access and fee-based), university press imprints, and online collaborative environments. Modern scholarly resources tend to be born digital in the first place, so it makes sense to develop collections of high-quality born-digital resources and manage the digital version as the format of record. The digital format allows for more variety in information delivery, including print-on-demand services. Library based publishing can also provides scholars an alternative to commercial publishers and places competitive pressure on publishers to reduce costs and improve their products.