Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Balnaves, Edmund (2008). IFLA Information Technology Section Newsletter, July 2008, p.10.

Balnaves, Edmund (2008). IFLA Information Technology Section Newsletter, July 2008, p.10. www.ifla.org/VII/s21/news/ITSnewsletter_July_08.pdf

There could be no better demonstration than this work that a critical mass has been achieved in the software toolkit and professional competency around Digital Library development. Das has compiled a survey of digital library initiatives in the South East Asian region. The work draws its focus and inspiration from the Open Access Movement. It traverses from open courseware initiatives to open access journals, metadata services, and digital library repositories.

The narrative of digital resource development has passed from isolated heroic achievements to a widespread adoption. An added impetus has been gained by the open access movement, combined with the release of open source tookits for the effective deployment of open access resources. The Whole Earth Catalog inspired a generation to the “power of the individual to conduct his own education, find his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whoever is interested.“ This work provides a regional snapshot of the ways in which the open access movement is similarly inspiring the creative deployment of digital library initiates.

The screen shots of resources and applications presented in this work are often of a poor resolution, and are irregularly referenced in the discussion. A more systematic presentation of each different system would have added to the utility of this resource.
Nevertheless, this work provides a valuable snapshot of current Digital Library initiates in the South Asian region. It would be very interesting to repeat a comparative survey in 10 years time to review:

  • Which services have survived the test of time. The sustainability of digital resource initiatives is a very interesting issue.
  • How services have changed, expanded and grown, and the degree of distributed resource sharing that has evolved.

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