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New Report Examines Core Infrastructure Considerations for Large Digital Libraries

Contact: Kathlin Smith

Washington, DC, July 26, 2012-The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and CLIR’s Digital Library Federation program have released a new report, Core Infrastructure Considerations for Large Digital Libraries. The study examines basic functional aspects of large digital libraries and draws on examples of existing digital libraries to illustrate their varying approaches to storage and content delivery, metadata approaches and harvesting, search and discovery, services and applications, and system sustainability.

“The decision to establish a large digital library leads necessarily to a complex set of considerations,” writes report author Geneva Henry. “Decisions in one area will affect decisions in other areas.” Henry, executive director of digital scholarship services at Rice University’s Fondren Library, wrote the report as part of a grant to CLIR from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop a prototype for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

The author stresses that scalability is of fundamental importance to enable long-term growth of the system, and she recommends a modular system, following SOA principles, to enable flexibility, code reusability, and stronger system sustainability. She also underscores the importance of understanding the target audience and its needs when interacting with the digital library. As implementation begins, she recommends establishing a sandbox environment to experiment with differing technologies and architectures. Finally, it is important to decide on a realistic sustainability plan and publish the policies and guidelines that will help enforce the plan.

Core Infrastructure Considerations for Large Digital Libraries is available electronically at Print copies will be available in August for ordering through CLIR’s Web site, for $15 per copy plus shipping and handling.

CLIR is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning. It aims to promote forward-looking collaborative solutions that transcend disciplinary, institutional, professional, and geographic boundaries in support of the public good. The Digital Library Federation (DLF) is a consortium of libraries and related agencies that are pioneering the use of electronic-information technologies to extend their collections and services. DLF is a program of CLIR.

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