Designing and Building Integrated Digital Library Systems - Guidelines

by By Bente Dahl Rathje, Margaret McGrory, Carol Pollitt, Paivi Voutilainen under the auspices of the IFLA Libraries for the Blind Section

Series: IFLA Professional Reports 90

The Hague, IFLA Headquarters, 2005. - 67p. 30 cm.
ISBN-13 978 - 90-77897-05-4

Libraries have always been a community’s ‘portal’ to information, knowledge and leisure. Beyond their shelves, libraries are a community’s gateway to information from many sources nationally and internationally. Libraries provide professionals trained to distinguish and verify content, build collections and provide a reference and information service. Today more libraries rely on electronic sources for collecting, organizing and distributing information.

The information age has created unprecedented opportunities to acquire electronic content from many sources including existing digital content in many different types of libraries. The concept of a “world library for the blind” rests on the ability of digital libraries to share and coordinate collection-building resources and to use digital
technology to share content. It requires designing these systems and services with interoperability in mind and using common standards. It begins with a shared
understanding that technology does not fundamentally change library service, but rather the way in which it is organized and delivered. Therefore, guidelines for the development of the digital library must begin with the assumption that the library remains a collection of
organized content reflecting works of imagination and information necessary to facilitate life long learning, career development and an informed citizenry. Its digitization is a means of ensuring that its collections are preserved and accessible to all regardless of disability.

Major work has been done through the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) Consortium and with NISO to establish standards for the recording of navigable digital
audio books. For many libraries for the blind, the focus of the past five years has been on the implementation of these standards and the conversion of their analogue collections to digital audio. Others are building collection resources through the Internet and accessing remote sources for the content they distribute to their users. The Internet is both a source of content and a means for distribution. It has profoundly changed information services for users and libraries. Publishers of content, trade books and magazines, electronic journals and electronic databases offer new opportunities for acquiring, managing and distributing content that is accessible.

The increasing complexity of the environment, the many sources of information, the variety of electronic and other formats such as digital audio books and materials, braille
and large print, which must be managed and integrated into a seamless service have forced libraries for the blind to seek more sophisticated technological solutions designed for their community of users. Consequently, in designing and building of integrated digital library systems, the ”front-end,” or user-facing services, must be considered along with the ”back-end” supporting technologies, systems, and underlying architecture.

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Guidelines, Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities

Last update: 28 October 2016