the virtual library what does it mean n.
Skip this Video
Download Presentation
The Virtual Library: What does it mean?

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 37

The Virtual Library: What does it mean? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Fiesole Collection Development Retreat Series Oxford 2000. The Virtual Library: What does it mean? . Peter Burnhill Director, EDINA (Edinburgh University Data Library) (Auto-)Biographical perspective.

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'The Virtual Library: What does it mean?' - nhi

Download Now An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
the virtual library what does it mean

Fiesole Collection Development Retreat Series Oxford 2000

The Virtual Library: What does it mean?

Peter Burnhill

Director, EDINA

(Edinburgh University Data Library)

auto biographical perspective
(Auto-)Biographical perspective
  • Full-time worker in the ‘Knowledge Industry’ Research Council then University
    • BA (Econ), MSc (Stat)
    • Research Fellow, Snr. Lecturer, Consultant
      • schooling & survey methodology
      • statistics & information methodology
    • University Support Services: Manager/Director
      • Edinburgh University Data Library (1984 - )
        • computing support to libraries (1987 - 1992)
      • EDINA, a JISC National Datacentre (1995 - )
    • President, IASSIST (1997 - )
      • international assoc. for data librarians, etc
        • ‘putting data in the digital library’
organisational perspective university data library then jisc national datacentre
Organisational perspective - University Data Library, then JISC National Datacentre
  • Edinburgh University Data Library set up in 1984
    • as ‘library of large-scale research data’
  • designated by JISC as UK National Datacentre in 1995
    • Joint Information Systems Committee
      • of UK higher education (& now further education) funding councils
    • to co-operate/compete with BIDS and MIDAS/COPAC
    • eLib (electronic libraries) Programme (1995/99)
      • MODELS workshops -
  • EDINA national services launched on 25 January 1996
    • 100th Centenary Burns Night
edina s mission as jisc national datacentre
EDINA’s Mission as JISC National Datacentre
  • to enhance the productivity of research, learning & teaching in UK higher & further education
    • through provision of specialist data services


  • to provide staff and students with access to key information resources, as part of the Distributed National Electronic Resource (DNER).
  • to ensure EDINA is a well-regarded and cost-effective University-based UK datacentre
    • appropriate resources for support, collaborative inter-working & required technical inter-operability with other service providers.
key online services
... key online services
  • key Abstract & Indexing (A&I) Databases
  • key Geographic ‘mapping’ Databases
  • available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    • 9 - 5 weekday Helpdesk
  • Active outreach programme
    • listening, learning & promoting
  • used by staff & students from 130 UK universities
  • preparing to serve further education
    • life-long learning, vocational needs
  • more information at

Bibliographic information

  • Geographic information
  • Digimap
    • digital map data
      • Ordnance Survey
    • aerial photography
    • historic mapping
    • digital boundary data
    • Census
    • historical record
  • Geo-Reference
  • Gazetteers
  • ‘Geo-cross-walk’ data
  • Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
    • Art Abstracts, Art Index Retrospective
    • EconLit, MLA, PAIS, Palmer’s Index
    • Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts
    • Social Services Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts
  • Agriculture, Environment & Life Sciences
    • AGDEX, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, ESPMD
  • Engineering…& Physical Sciences
    • Ei Compendex/Page One, INSPEC
  • General Reference
    • SALSER, Ulrich’s International
  • JISC service for Ordnance Survey Map Data
    • Launched in January 2000
  • Data covered:
    • Land-Line.Plus®– large-scale, showing manmade and natural features
    • MeridianTM – medium-scale, with boundaries and transport features
    • Strategi® – small-scale, depicting land-use and settlement
    • Land-Form PANORAMATM – contours and terrain model data 1:50,000
    • 1:50,000 place name gazetteer – 258,000 names and grid references
  • Two access options: simple and advanced (Carto)
    • Catering for novice and sophisticated users
digimap generated maps
Digimap generated maps




bricks in the wall of the uk virtual library
… ‘bricks in the wall of the UK Virtual Library’
  • JISC is promoting own version of the Virtual Library
    • ‘Distributed National Electronic Resource’ (DNER)
    • JISC Committee for Electronic Information (JCEI)
  • a national system of JISC-funded facilities
    • National Datacentres and related
      • Arts & Humanities Data Service (Oxford Text Archive, History Data Service, etc), Data Archive
    • Resource Discovery Network (RDN)
      • a set of ‘faculty-based hubs’
      • with subject portals/ gateways to the DNER and ‘beyond’
        • eg BIOME, EEVL, SOSIG
policy practice for the dner virtual library
Policy & Practice for the DNER ‘Virtual Library’
  • Service Delivery
  • Collection Development
  • Infrastructure
role of national datacentres
Role of national datacentres?
  • Role in what?
  • - in the JISC DNER Strategy
  • - in the (UK/global) digital/virtual library
  • - in services that university libraries offer
  • - in the ‘information landscape’
  • - in the (global?) information economy
virtual library what does it mean
‘Virtual Library: What does it mean?’
  • 3 approaches to this exam question ..

1. Semantic

    • what are the meanings of the two words, thence phrase?

2. Empirical

    • how is the phrase used?

3. Analytical

    • what are the key questions/issues?
  • with quasi-historical-cum-autobiographical asides
    • on a recurrent, periodic question
    • a recurrent issue, with title changes, the new ‘seriality’
alternative title s for exam
  • Virtual Libraries aren’t real: discuss
  • What’s the Meta ( ) for?
    • role of Metadata, role of Metaphor
  • Library, A Collective Verb not Noun: discuss
    • information as object; now debate the subject
  • Not Surfing, but Diving!
    • outline a SCUBA guide to the Internet
      • Where would you really be - Norway’s fijords
virtual library what does it mean1
Virtual Library: What does it mean?
  • I was asked a related question during a job interview in 1984 ..

Q: How would I define a data library?

A: ‘A bit like inter-galactic library loan’

having been reading Phillip K.Dick

  • They laughed & I got the job!
  • Next day, off to Brewers’ to look up ‘data’ & ‘library’
data library
‘data’ & ‘library’
  • The Dictionary of Phrase and Fableby E. Cobham Brewer (The new and enlarged edition) 1894
  • data was not there (too modern?)
    • but as a statistician, I thought I knew something about
      • ‘data as evidence’
      • ‘data’ as collective noun for electronic stuff
      • data not being information
  • library was there ..

One of the most approved materials for writing on, before invention of paper, was thin rind between the solid wood and the outside bark of certain trees. This substance is in Latin called liber, which came in time also to signify a “book.” Hence our library, the place for books.

NB media not message created an enduring institution; no reference to data-, nor virtual- library, but

  • A circulating library. A library from which the books may be borrowed and taken by readers to their homes under certain restrictions. A living or walking library. Longinus, the philosopher and rhetorician, was so called. (213-273.) Public Libraries. The first public library known was founded at Athens (B.C. 540) by Pisistratos. That of Alexandria, founded (B.C. 47) by the Ptolemies, contained 400,000 books. It was burnt by order of the Calif Omar, A.D. 641.

(The First Hypertext Edition of The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable)

  • VirginsThe eleven thousand virgins of Cologne, according to the legend, were born at Baoza in Spain, which contained only 12,000 families.
  • Virginal An instrument used in convents to lead the virginals or hymns to the Virgin.
  • <…>
  • Virtuoso A man fond of virtu or skilled therein; a dilettantë.
  • Vis Inertiae That property of matter which makes it resist any change. Thus it is hard to set in motion what is still, or to stop what is in motion.
  • Vishnu [Indian ]. The Preserver, who forms with Brahma and Siva the divine triad of the system of Hinduism.
empirical approach
empirical approach
  • yielded 504,992 references
    • first 150 mostly WWW virtual library facilities that were themselves annotated indexes of web-accessible resources on a particular subject or theme.
  • EEVL (the Edinburgh Engineering Virtual Library)
    • UK-based guide to engineering information on the Internet.
  • Webhoo
    • ‘a well organized virtual library (yahoo-style)..hundreds of links to web design/building/maintaing related sites.’
  • is ‘the oldest catalog of the Web’
    • started by Tim Berners-Lee.
a more modern online source http foldoc doc ic ac uk foldoc index html
a more ‘modern’ online source

Virtual. Via virtual memory, probably from "virtual image" in optics)

1. Common alternative to logical; often used to refer to artificial objects (like addressable virtual memory larger than physical memory) created by a computer system to help the system control access to shared resources.

2. Simulated; performing the functions of something that isn't really there, eg an imaginative child's doll may be a virtual playmate.

  • Opposite of real or physical.

Library <programming, library> A collection of subroutines and functions stored in one or more files, usually in compiled form, for linking with other programs. One of the earliest forms of organised code reuse. ... The linking may be static linking or, in some systems, dynamic linking.

attempt at analytic approach
Attempt at analytic approach
  • What have others been saying?
  • What’s different about digital?
  • What’s special about the scholarly?
cutting the keys to the virtual library
Cutting the keys to the virtual library
  • Virtual Library‘a network of connections to information resources worldwide, unlimited by distance, or opening hours, or well-intentioned gatekeepers’ … much ‘due to activities of Coalition of Networked Information (CNI) .. Representing professional interests of university computing centres, libraries and administrations’

Peter Stone (Deputy Librarian, Sussex Univ.) IUSC Workshop on Specialist & Bibliographic Datasets, Manchester, 7-8 July, 1992

  • associated with early move to ‘access, rather than holdings’
  • he put focus on services in the ‘virtual library’
information science
‘Information Science’
  • Michael Buckland, Presidential Address, American Society for Information Science, on JASIS’s 50th (1998):
  • 2 traditions or mentalities co-exist in Information Science
    • document, signifying records
    • various uses of formal techniques, mechanical & mathematical
  • admixture of these complementary, non-convergent mentalities in the ambiguous ‘digital library’

(i) modernisation of library services

(ii) infrastructure to access complex databases

  • want to identify a 3rd tradition
    • data as evidence, library as facility for re-use
    • (IASSIST now in it 26th year; data librarians been worrying about this)
what s different about digital
What’s different about digital?
  • Digital objects can be manipulated in v.wide variety of ways
    • copied, reformated, modified, combined with another, etc
  • Use, per se, does not diminish the object
  • Focus on ‘availability for re-use’
  • Digital telecom, means disregard to distance
    • remote ‘non-territorial’ access, (WWW/Internet), etc
  • and yet, we really do need to have international gatherings such as this in nice places!
what s special about scholarly our business
What’s special about Scholarly? (Our Business)
  • Nothing sacred, it’s an industry and we have to be business-like
  • that industry is ‘Knowledge manufacture & dissemination’
  • peer communication + client enlightenment
    • teaching as form of client enlightenment
  • it has an internal and and external economy
  • universities: businesses which co-operate & compete
    • invisible college but visible career-paths
research library publication
research, library & publication
  • peer communication is driven by search for recognition and revenue to support future research activity
  • library & publication are part of research production process
  • digital/virtual library & electronic publication as part of search for productivity gains
  • put ‘data’ and other ‘scholarly resources’ in digital library
  • publications are not science, they are information objects that contain the results of such
  • there is an economy for (digital) information objects
  • what will endure in the knowledge industry
    • role of universities & other enduring institutions
  • ?? Separate the economics & business needed to support ‘peer communication’ from that of ‘client enlightenment’
  • how to deal with externalities
    • infrastructure must be funded somehow
  • timeframe/perspective
    • SF & History
    • no time like the present
searching for analytic framework
Searching for analytic framework
  • the information-for-academics economy
    • within higher education
    • within the global economy
  • the economy of information objects of desire
  • researcher’s search for evidence & for recognition



Desk top



Local Inst.



A&I Database

A&I Database

A&I Database

A&I Database





Union List






Other Information Organisations

Printed Volume:


Electronic Versions

Document Delivery



Desk top



Local Inst.


The Joined-Up View of Discover - Locate - Request - Access

























Document Delivery Service

Union List

Text Sources:


casa cooperative action on serials articles
CASA‘Cooperative Action on Serials & Articles’
  • Funded by the European Union 4th Framework Telematics for Libraries Programme
    • 2nd phase began January 1998
    • led by University of Bologna, with ISSN-IC (Paris), NOSP, EDINA (SALSER), ICCU
  • how to exploit the telematic opportunity
    • to enhance ISSN world serials database
    • to provide network access to ISSN database (Z39.50, HTTP)
    • to link union catalogues through Serials Services Directory
  • regard serial as well-described, complex information object
  • role of ISSN-based identifiers (eg SICI, DOI)
  • combines ‘user-view’ with ‘electronic commerce’
four useful user verbs
four useful ‘user’ verbs
  • discover information object of interest
          • eg an article found in bibliographic citation or Abstract & Index databases (eg BIOSIS, WoS, etc)
  • locate organisation offering service
          • eg serial via library catalogues - union catalogues
  • request use of service
          • via payment or privilege from membership (of university, etc)
  • access object of interest
          • consult article via personal visit, document delivery, online access

based on MODELS workshops (UKOLN/JISC eLib)

provider or supply side verbs
+ ‘provider’ or ‘supply-side’ verbs



article of interest




article service



use of service

e.g. visit, I.L.L., eDoc



article of interest

can digital libraries electronic commerce co exist in this information economy
can digital libraries & electronic commerce co-exist in this information economy?
  • size of serials economy is very large and costly
  • publishers are becoming online vendors, seeking direct sales from end users (our staff & students)
  • universities are
    • content creators - via researcher/authors
    • and also customers - via libraries
  • authors make bad publishers
    • authors may write, but ...
    • publishers package and find market & that’s a commercial business
    • value of the serial as an arena of discourse