The future of Libraries is rapidly evolving in a collaborative effort to preserve and sustain resources and materials, past and present, to be available to the world.  The idea is to create “libraries for all” to access and retrieved information for educational, research and personal use no matter where you are in the world, or your economic status. Digital libraries are being created for this exact reason.  The vision of Digital Libraries (DL’s) composed today are to preserve and provide the invaluable resources in fun, educational, and interactive environments our generations and generations to come.
        In the past, efforts in digital libraries were “very resource-consuming since, each new DL, both the content and the software providing the DL functionality were built from scratch” (Castilli, 2006).  As a result, only entities with the technical skills and support could afford to build a DL. Now, many professionals, organizations, libraries, archives and museums are banning together and collaborating to provide interoperability through open source systems and technological advances.  These efforts will produce their unique resources in digital form in a number of different multi type formats.  Articles, case studies, literary reviews, conferences, workshops, consortiums, websites and tutorials are being developed to supply knowledge for the future DL’s. 

Technology Advances
       The next step for DL’s is to re-focus the priorities. The focus areas are to utilize the features of web 2.0 and 3.0, and digital preservation by taking advantage of the huge opportunities this digital age has established.  The DL’s future features will be able to operate over a wide variety of information object types.  These information objects will be composed of several multi-type and multimedia systems produced and combined in a variety of formats.
These multi – types include:
  • 3D images   
  • Interactive learning simulations      
  • Videos
  • Powerful searching and sharing capabilities
  • Better context, annotations and summaries
  • Earth observation data
  • Education multimedia games
  • Multi lingual options
  • Readable text
  • Zoom and rotating
  • Page turning like a real book
  • Bookmarking, note taking 
       These new information objects will offer innovative and more powerful means to the people of the world. It is important for Digital libraries to keep up the pace with technology and utilize these advances to our advantage. This is is not limited the only future advances but merely a list 

The Content and Consumers
       Other focuses and priorities of the future libraries are the consumers and the content. This is specifically focusing on the user capabilities and functionalities as well as content, summaries and annotations of the digital objects. The idea is to provide services that captures the attention and awareness of the users so that they feel comfortable and at ease using the DL. In How to Build a Digital Library, Chapter 9.1 - Future of Digital libraries states “Tomorrow’s digital library will feel less like a computer, and more like a kitchen or workshop” (Witten,I., Bainbridge, D., Nichols, D.M., 2010).   The focus on the physical feel is to make the DL’s of tomorrow more personalized by using dynamic person-centric system. “The library will work alongside you, tracking your activity, unobtrusively rearranging itself to put what you might need in the context of what you are doing, just there where you can see and read it” (Witten,I., Bainbridge, D., Nichols, D.M., 2010).. The new DLs are thus required to offer services that support the authoring of these new objects and the workflows that lead to their publication.

       Digital libraries still have a lot of work to do. We have to keep advancing with the digital age and preserve the past so that it is available for the future generations.  We need to use these technological advances and mold them to give our consumers quality information and a learning experience. We can do this if we utilize the tools being developed in the growing digital age. 

DILIGENT Future Organizational Roles

The role of libraries in future DLs in the framework envisaged by DILIGENT, libraries play an important role at the organizational level. In particular:
  • As providers of resources, they can help to enhance the amount of available resources by making stakeholders aware of the importance of sharing. In particular, as far as the sharing of content is concerned, they can operate by promoting digitization campaigns and the open access approach. These actions may result in a vast amount of new digital information accessible online which can be exploited by advanced services.
  • Within a digital framework, libraries are certainly the best candidates for carrying out content description, maintenance and preservation of resources. By exploiting their large experience acquired in the past, they can contribute to the long-term availability and to the quality of the resources disseminated by the DLs.
  • Long-term availability also requires the implementation of models able to support the sustainability of the resources provided. Libraries, either alone or as members of library consortia, can also act as the organizations deputed to define and put in place these models.
  • As main resource providers, libraries can work jointly on the definition of common policies and standards. An agreement on these aspects would strongly contribute towards facilitating the design and development of the new complex services required to fulfill the emerging user needs.
  • In the future envisaged by DILIGENT, libraries can also play an important role as mediators between the infrastructure and the user communities. In particular, they can proactively promote and facilitate the creation of DLs that respond to the needs of the user communities. They can also assist users by providing, if necessary, the skills required to select, update and exploit the DL content and services.

Castelli, D. (2006) Digital libraries of the future – and the role of libraries. Library Hi Tech. 24(4). pp.496 – 503. Retrieved 


Brindley, D.L. (2009). Challenges for Great Libraries in the Age of the Digital Native. Information Services & Use29(1), 
          3-12. Retrieved from http://0-web.ebscohost.com.bianca.penlib.du.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?

           Lynne Brindley has played a key role in digital library developments since the early 1980s, and since 2000 as Chief 
           Executive of the British Library. During that time, the role of academic and national libraries has changed significantly. 
           Ever-increasing expectations of researchers are requiring libraries to re-focus their priorities by utilizing web 2.0 and 
           3.0 and digital preservation. The digital age offers huge opportunities, but the decline of information literacy skills    
           risks robbing a generation of the ability to fully utilize these. Lynne assesses the changing role of special collections 
           and the continuing importance of stimulating physical space. Libraries and information services must step up to the 
           plate to provide services which meet the needs of the new generation, and add value beyond the search engine. This 
           speech will discuss what the importance of influence the Digital Natives has on the  great libraries, now and in the 

Castelli, D. (2006) Digital libraries of the future – and the role of libraries. Library Hi Tech. 24(4). pp.496 – 503. Retrieved 

          The purpose of this article is to introduce the digital libraries of the future, their enabling technologies and their 
          organizational models. Research on digital library systems started in Europe in the mid-1990s. Today, the DLs of the 
          future will be able to operate over a large variety of information object types. These information objects will be 
          composed of several multi-type and multimedia elements added in a number of formats. This paper has introduced a 
          vision of the DLs of the future and it has presented DILIGENT, a new technology that is being developed to support 
          this new vision. This article is important because it illustrate the efforts of the Digital Libraries moving forward to keep 
          up with the advances and demands of technology.  We are already behind and these are the ways we can provide 
          future digital resources and content in a number of ways to our users. 

Chowdhury, G. (2010). From digital libraries to digital preservation research: the importance of users and context . 
          Journal of documentation66(2), doi: 10.1108/00220411011023625
          Research in digital libraries and digital preservation has progressed side by side for nearly two decades. The 
          mission: to make digital information accessible and useable to the user community of the present and future. This 
          paper looks into the issues of context and users, discusses some of the major challenges, and highlights some 
          recent research activities aimed at resolving some of the problems especially within the field of digital preservation 

Jen-Shin, H., Bai-Hsuan, C., Sheng-Hao, H., & Jieh, H. (2005). Toward an integrated digital museum system - the Chi Nan 
          experiences. International Journal on Digital Libraries, 5(3). Retrieved from http://0-

          The essentials of a museum are multifaceted and include collection , preservation, research, exhibition, education, 
          and entertainment. Hence, the march toward a full-fledged digital museum must evolve from the digital library concept 
          with the addition of various “interactive edutainment modules.” This paper describes various phases of the digital 
          museum systems constructed by the National Chi Nan University, Taiwan. “The long-term goal is the construction of 
          an integrated digital museum that provides digital archives with user-friendly information access interfaces, intriguing 
          virtual exhibitions, adaptive online courseware, and adaptive interactive games.”  They feel that the ultimate mission of 
          an online game is to let the users achieve greater understanding of the content through more entertaining and 
          engaging interactions. The design of such highly interactive modules for online games to integrate with digital 
          archives and exhibitions requires further study.

Patkar, V., & Chandra, S. (2006). e-Research and the ubiquitous open grid digital libraries of the future. IFLA 
          Conference Proceedings, 1-17. Retrieved from 

          In these modern times, the library is constantly required to meet the challenges of information overload.  
          Standardizing resources and restructuring practices to process the large data both in the print and digital is very 
          important. The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) is one recent development, created to assist the libraries in setting up 
          virtual learning environment and integrating research on an almost universal scale. Future extension of this concept 
          is envisaged to be that of Grid Computing. The technologies driving the ‘Grid’ would let people share computing 
          power, databases, and other on-line tools securely across institutional and geographic boundaries without sacrificing 
          the local autonomy. This is the “knowledge-leveraging framework of the cyberinfrastructure initiative.” This 
          environment has the potential to benefit more than just the industrialized nations. The participation in e-science and 
          e-learning and the ability to benefit from the research and experience of the pioneers will be a significant lever to 
          developing nations moving into the digital age.



Kacyra, B. (2009). Digitally preserving and sharing the world’s cultural 
       heritage. Retrieved from. http://CyArk.org

       CyArk is a non-profit entity whose mission is to digitally preserve cultural heritage sites through collecting, archiving and providing open access to data created by laser scanning, digital modeling, and other state-of-the-art technologies. Unlike cultural artifacts safely housed in museums, cultural heritage sites are constantly at-risk. They are exposed to the daily effects of the natural environment, from the seemingly benign: sun, wind, and rain; to the dramatic: earthquakes, fire, and human aggressions. In order to meet the challenges facing cultural heritage, CyArk has developed the Total Process for Digital Preservation. 

Hathi Trust Digital Library

Hathi Trust Digital Library. (2010). Retrieved from 

       Hathi Trust is committed to preserving the intellectual content and in 
       many cases the exact appearance and layout of materials digitized for deposit. HathiTrust stores and preserves metadata detailing the sequence of files for the digital object. Currently, HathiTrust relies on 
the extensive specifications on file formats, preservation metadata, and quality control methods that are detailed in the University of Michigan digitization specifications. HathiTrust is committed to bit-level preservation and format migration of materials created according to these specifications as technology, standards, and best practices in the digital library community change.

World Digital Library

UNESCO & Library of Congress .(2009). World digital library. Retrieved 
       from http://www.wdl.org/en/

       The basic idea was to create an Internet-based, easily-accessible 

       collection of the world's cultural riches that would tell the stories and 
       highlight the achievements of all countries and cultures, thereby 
       promoting cross-cultural awareness and understanding. 

Mission: The World Digital Library (WDL) makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.
The principal objectives of the WDL are to:
  • Promote international and intercultural understanding;
  • Expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet;
  • Provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences;
  • Build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and between countries.


Joonace. (2007, October 18). World Digital Library Promo Video. [Video file]. Retrieved from 
          This 3:00 minute promotional video demonstrates is the vision of a project being developed by multiple entities 
          including the Library of Congress and UNESCO.  The video is edited by Joon Yi and soundtrack produced by Fred 
          Simonton. This promo shows the future of digital libraries and the usability features of the World Digital Library.  
          Some of these capabilities include document page turning, zoom, readable text, multilingual formats, and emailing 
          for educational use that is free to all.
TEDtalksDirector. (2008, September 11). Brewster Kahle: A digital library, free to the world. [Video file]. Retrieved from 

          This 20:07 minute video was filmed at a TEDtalks EG conference in 2007.  Brewster Kahle – leading digital libraries 

          and library activist – talks about “building a truly huge digital library -- every book ever published, every movie ever 
          released, all the strata of web history” and more.  He explains all media types – books, Audio, moving images, TV and 
          software – the cost of storing and maintaining and how we can use these digital resources worldwide and even waits 
          to put books back in the hands of the users. His idea is to “one up the Greeks” by creating “universal access to all 
          knowledge” and if we do it, this “will be one the greatest achievements of the millennia if we can do it.”  This is a great 
          and inspiring speech. 

Zeitgest08. (2008, September 18). Serious Sustainability – 3 D Digital Preservation. [Video file]. Retrieved from 

          Ben Kacyra, Founder, CyArk.org gave a presentation at the 2008 Zeitgest conference in Los Angeles, California.  This 
          presentation was based on the importance of preservation and efforts to sustain heritage and our memories.  To 
          create true sustainability through transferring the technology – taking millions of photos of a historical place, scanning 
          them and making it available for educational use. He presents  his organization’s digital library and the types of 
          media they have used – specifically “3D cloud of points” and viewing it on the web.  This is a great example of digital 
          libraries of the future.