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Role of digital library in support to teaching and learning: a study

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A digital library is a special library with a focused collection of digital objects that can include text, visual material, audio material, video material, stored as electronic media formats (as opposed to print, microform, or other media), along with means for organizing, storing, and retrieving the files and media contained in the library collection. Digital libraries can vary immensely in size and scope and can be maintained by individuals, organizations, or affiliated with established physical library buildings or institutions, or with academic institutions.[1] The digital content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely via computer networks. An electronic library is a type of information retrieval system

What is a digital library?

According to Arms, a digital library is a managed collection of information with associated services where the information is stored in digital format and accessible over a network. A digital library is an organized collection of digitized material or its holding in the digital form, which can be accessible by a computer on the network by using TCP/IP or other protocol.

Digital library: It is a later stage of the electronic library. In a digital library, high-speed optical fiber is used for LAN and the access is over WAN and provide a wide range of Internet-based services i.e. audio and video conferencing and like other. The majority of the holding of a digital library is in the computer readable form and also acts as a point of access to other online sources.

Digital libraries are not going to replace the physical existence of document completely but no doubt to meet the present demand, to satisfy the nonlocal user digitization must be introduced so that at least libraries becomes of hybrid nature. Day by day the cost of digitization is decreasing, the online publication is increasing, the needs of user are shifting towards a different environment so it’s needless to say that after one or two years my library or your library will go to be digitized so it’s the pick time to all informational and library professional that they geared themselves to take the challenge.

  1. To study the role of Digital Library to support teaching and learning.
  2. To know the various advantages of digital library
  3. To know the various disadvantages of the digital library.

Role of libraries to support teaching and learning:-

A library is fundamentally an organized set of resources, which include human services as well as the entire spectrum of media (e.g., text, video, hypermedia). Libraries have physical components such as space, equipment, and storage media; intellectual components such as collection policies that determine what materials will be included and organizational schemes that determine how the collection is accessed; and people who manage the physical and intellectual components and interact with users to solve information problems. Libraries serve at least three roles in learning.

1. They serve a practical role in sharing expensive resources.

Physical resources such as books and periodicals, films and videos, software and electronic databases, and specialized tools such as projectors, graphics equipment, and cameras are shared by a community of users. Human resources–librarians (also called media specialists or information specialists) support instructional programs by responding to the requests of teachers and students (responsive service) and by initiating activities for teachers and students (proactive services). Responsive services include maintaining reserve materials, answering reference questions, providing bibliographic instruction, developing media packages, recommending books or films, and teaching users how to use materials. Proactive services include selective dissemination of information to faculty and students, initiating thematic events, collaborating with instructors to plan instruction, and introducing new instructional methods and tools. In these ways, libraries serve to allow instructors and students to share expensive materials and expertise.

2. Libraries serve a cultural role in preserving and organizing artifacts and ideas.

Great works of literature, art, and science must be preserved and made accessible to future learners. Although libraries have traditionally been viewed as facilities for printed artifacts, primary and secondary school libraries often also serve as museums and laboratories. Libraries preserve objects through careful storage procedures, policies of borrowing and use, and repair and maintenance as needed. In addition to preservation, libraries ensure access to materials through indexes, catalogs, and other finding aids that allow learners to locate items appropriate to their needs.

3. Libraries serve social and intellectual roles in bringing together people and ideas.

This is distinct from the practical role of sharing resources in that libraries provide a physical place for teachers and learners to meet outside the structure of the classroom, thus allowing people with different perspectives to interact in a knowledge space that is both larger and more general than that shared by any single discipline or affinity group. Browsing a catalog in a library provides a global view for people engaged in the specialized study and offers opportunities for serendipitous insights or alternative views. In many respects, libraries serve as centers of interdisciplinary–places shared by learners from all disciplines. Digital libraries extend such interdisciplinary by making diverse information resources available beyond the physical space shared by groups of learners. One of the greatest benefits of digital libraries is bringing together people with formal, informal, and professional learning missions.

Formal learning is systematic and guided by instruction. Formal learning takes place in courses offered at schools of various kinds and in training courses or programs on the job. The important roles that libraries serve informal learning are illustrated by their physical prominence on university campuses and the number of courses that make direct use of library services and materials. Most of the information resources in schools are tied directly to the instructional mission. Students or teachers who wish to find information outside this mission have in the past had to travel to other libraries. By making the broad range of information resources discussed below available to students and teachers in schools, digital libraries open new learning opportunities for global rather than strictly local communities. Much learning in life is informal–opportunistic and strictly under the control of the learner. Learners take advantage of other people, mass media, and the immediate environment during informal learning. The public library system that developed in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century has been called the “free university” since public libraries were created to provide free access to the world’s knowledge. Public libraries provide classic nonfiction books, a wide range of periodicals, reference sources, and audio and video tapes so that patrons can learn about topics of their own choosing at their own pace and style. Just as computing technology and worldwide telecommunications networks are beginning to change what is possible in formal classrooms, they are changing how individuals pursue personal learning missions.

Advantages of the Digital Library

A digital library is not confined to a particular location or so-called building it is virtually distributed all over the world. The user can get his/ her information on his own computer screen by using the Internet. Actually, it is a network of a multimedia system, which provides fingertip access.

  1. No physical boundary: The user of a digital library need not go to the library physically, people from all over the world could gain access to the same information, as long as an Internet connection is available.
  2. Round the clock availability: Digital libraries can be accessed at any time, 24 hours a day and 365 days of the year
  3. Multiple accesses: The same resources can be used at the same time by a number of users.
  4. Structured approach: Digital library provides access to much richer content in a more structured manner i.e. we can easily move from the catalog to the particular book than to a particular chapter and so on.
  5. Information retrieval: The user is able to use any search term bellowing to the word or phrase of the entire collection. Digital library will provide very user-friendly interfaces, giving clickable access to its resources.
  6. Preservation and conservation: An exact copy of the original can be made any number of times without any degradation in quality.
  7. Space: Whereas traditional libraries are limited by storage space, digital libraries have the potential to store much more information, simply because digital information requires very little physical space to contain them. When the library had no space for extension digitization is the only solution.
  8. Networking: A particular digital library can provide the link to any other resources of another digital library very easily thus a seamlessly integrated resource sharing can be achieved.
  9. Cost – The cost of maintaining a digital library is much lower than that of a traditional library. A traditional library must spend large sums of money paying for staff, the book maintains, rent, and additional books. Digital libraries do away with these fees.

Disadvantages of the Digital Library

The computer viruses, lack of standardization for digitized information, quick degrading properties of the digitized material, different display standard of digital product and its associated problem, health hazard nature of the radiation from monitor etc. makes digital libraries at times handicap.

  1. Copyright: – Digitization violates the copyright law as the thought content of one author can be freely transferred by other without his acknowledgment. So One difficulty to overcome for digital libraries is the way to distribute information. How does a digital library distribute information at will while protecting the copyright of the author?
  2. The speed of access: – As more and more computer is connected to the Internet its speed of access reasonably decreasing. If new technology will not evolve to solve the problem then in near future Internet will be full of error messages.
  3. Initial cost is high: – The infrastructure cost of digital library i.e. the cost of hardware, software; leasing communication circuit is generally very high.
  4. Bandwidth: – Digital library will need a high band for transfer of multimedia resources but the bandwidth is decreasing day by day due to its overutilization.
  5. Efficiency: – With the much larger volume of digital information, finding the right material for a specific task becomes increasingly difficult.
  6. Environment: – Digital libraries cannot reproduce the environment of a traditional library. Many people also find reading printed material to be easier than reading material on a computer screen.
  7. Preservation: – Due to technological developments, a digital library can rapidly become out-of-date and its data may become inaccessible.

Digital libraries combine technology and information resources to allow remote access, breaking down the physical barriers between resources. Although these resources will remain specialized to meet the needs of specific communities of learners, digital libraries will allow teachers and students to take advantage of wider ranges of materials and communicate with people outside the formal learning environment. Clearly, digital libraries have important roles to play in teaching and learning. Existing physical schools and libraries will continue to exist since they serve cultural and social roles as well as informational roles. There will always be a need for physical objects and social settings in learning; the vicarious is not enough. Parents will continue to demand child care, assurances of organized and shared culture beyond television, and human direction and guidance in learning at all levels.

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