Libraries in the digital ecology: reflections and trends

Libraries in the digital ecology: reflections and trends Purpose – This paper sets out to address the issue of the impact and evolution of digital libraries and information services using the concept of information ecologies. Design/methodology/approach – After setting the perspective, digital libraries are explored from their functional logic inside the social subsystem that deals with transferring knowledge in the form of information among people and generations. The current landscape is then presented, which is complicated by the enormous technological shift in course. The concept of information ecology is useful for reducing this complexity. Findings – Trends affecting modern information ecology in which digital libraries are evolving are studied. Specifically, eight noteworthy processes in this development are analyzed: ubiquity of information management; digital convergence; technological standardization and leverage; the surging of a worldwide space of collaboration, and competition; swift advances in the international division of informational work; the transformation of the physical information units toward the provision of proximity services; the entry of new agents in the field; and the growing emphasis on data management. Originality/value – The changing environment in the libraries field is explored using the concept of information ecologies. Some of the most important trends in the digital environment are identified and their effect on the social and economical functions of libraries is shown. Information ecology is very complex, with many actors, and libraries have some niches ensured (heritage preservation, proximity services …), though others could be better performed by emerging full‐digital organizations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Electronic Library Emerald Publishing

Libraries in the digital ecology: reflections and trends

The Electronic Library, Volume 29 (1): 16 – Feb 15, 2011

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0264-0473
D.O.I.
10.1108/02640471111111460
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper sets out to address the issue of the impact and evolution of digital libraries and information services using the concept of information ecologies. Design/methodology/approach – After setting the perspective, digital libraries are explored from their functional logic inside the social subsystem that deals with transferring knowledge in the form of information among people and generations. The current landscape is then presented, which is complicated by the enormous technological shift in course. The concept of information ecology is useful for reducing this complexity. Findings – Trends affecting modern information ecology in which digital libraries are evolving are studied. Specifically, eight noteworthy processes in this development are analyzed: ubiquity of information management; digital convergence; technological standardization and leverage; the surging of a worldwide space of collaboration, and competition; swift advances in the international division of informational work; the transformation of the physical information units toward the provision of proximity services; the entry of new agents in the field; and the growing emphasis on data management. Originality/value – The changing environment in the libraries field is explored using the concept of information ecologies. Some of the most important trends in the digital environment are identified and their effect on the social and economical functions of libraries is shown. Information ecology is very complex, with many actors, and libraries have some niches ensured (heritage preservation, proximity services …), though others could be better performed by emerging full‐digital organizations.

Journal

The Electronic LibraryEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 15, 2011

Keywords: Digital libraries; Information society; Ecology

References

  • Information ecology: open system environment for data, memories, and knowing
    Baker, K.S.; Bowker, G.C.
  • Information ecology
    Harris, K.
  • Evolution of portals and stability of information ecology on the web
    Shim, S.; Lee, B.

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