‘Digital Library’ may mean different things for different people. Some may think of it as merely a collection of electronic information. But the reality is that it is much more than that – it is an organized collection of digital objects including text, audio, and video, along with the mechanism for organizing, storing, and retrieving the files and documents. Moving towards digitization is helping libraries preserve valuable information for present and future generations.
Libraries are turning to off-site book repositories to store duplicate copies of print books and archives in order to improve the storage and maintenance of book collections. Though the concept is not something new, it is becoming widespread across the U.S. Florida Polytechnic University’s library is an example of a library that has gone completely digital. Students can now download or purchase digital copies of books, thereby avoiding the overheads of handling traditional print books.
Factors Fueling Digital Archiving
- Widespread usage of the Internet and web technologies as media of information delivery and access
- Availability of highly evolved, extraordinarily simple, and intuitive user interfaces like Internet Explorer
- Advances in online storage technologies for archiving large quantities of content at affordable costs
- Improved information retrieval and enhanced document delivery capability
- Improved access to digital contents that can be managed from remote locations, providing a way to enrich the teaching and learning environment
- Digital documents can be accessed simultaneously by multiple users, ensuring continuous availability of documents
- Dramatically reduces the physical storage space requirements
Document Conversion to Digital Format
The storage system of a digital library should be capable of managing information in a wide variety of formats such as text, data, graphics, video, and sound. Some materials maybe already available in electronic format such CD-ROM.
Printed text, images and graphs are transformed into computer accessible forms using digital scanners or digital cameras. Scanned documents and images are usually made available in TIFF format. As documents available in TIF format are not easily searchable an cannot be manipulated like text documents, they can be converted into text format by making use of Optical Character Recognition (OCR).With this technology, it is possible to save the file in any format like doc, html, and so on.
User expectations are escalating, and libraries and other types of repositories which have limited financial and technical resources are struggling to meet these expectations. Professional document scanning companies are providing rapid, accurate migration solutions to help such institutions meet their digital preservation requirements at affordable costs.