Digital library

  • CD -ROM series Digital Library → Digital Library (product)
  • Internet - Portal Digital Library → Digital Library (library catalog)

A digital library is a collection of electronic media, the (now mostly on the Internet ) can be used over a computer network. Digital libraries offer such as e -books, digital books, electronic magazines, audio files and movies.

Operators of digital libraries can be traditional libraries, but also groups of volunteers, associations and private companies. Access to the offered media can be at no cost or for free. The books can be either in full text or may be limited to read. Some digital libraries offer downloads of their media, other media are only usable online.

The oldest digital library is the American, created by volunteers Project Gutenberg, the most extensive is the system operated by the company Google Inc. Library Google Books. A huge profit project is the Internet Archive, which in 2012 already 10 petabytes made ​​freely available.

In contrast to digital libraries, virtual libraries do not own the media, but only convey the offers from suppliers of electronic media.

  • 3.1 Full-Text Search
  • 3.2 Information collection
  • 3.3 Search and Order
  • 5.1 standards
  • 7.2 Libraries Act 7.2.1 Library Law in Austria
  • 7.2.2 European Union


The DELOS Digital Library Reference Model defines a digital library as an organized, permanent collection of digital content that provides its users according to specified rules and defined quality special services for these contents:

"An organization, Which might also be virtual, did comprehensively collects, Manages and

Preserves for the long term rich digital content, and offers to its user communities Specialised

Similar to digital archives and digital museums to digital libraries deal with the preservation of cultural heritage in digital form. The three areas also show overlap in their definitions and are not clearly distinguishable from each other. With issues around the preservation of cultural heritage, currently employs UNESCO.

Organizational forms of digital libraries

Digital Library

A digital library in the narrow sense is an information system that captures the services and content of a real library systematically in digital form, which is accessible via the Web or via local disk. Only when the data, i.e., Digital copies (image data ) or full text ( text data) and metadata ( information about the object, such as author, signature, date of origin, tags, etc.) to objects of a library are available in digital form, you can from a digital library in the narrow sense speak. Also, the services of a traditional library ( lending, interlibrary loan, manage user accounts, etc. ) are usually dealt with by a digital library electronically.

Hybrid library

" Be in the electronic objects and services mixed with traditional sources and services ... " The term was coined by Chris Rusbridge 1998 and refers to a library, the hybridity of a library that is called the way of the progress of digitization of a traditional library. Can one, for example, Get an online library catalog, although metadata, but not digitized, so need to be able to inspect the object can still visit the library, it is called a hybrid library. Digital and hybrid libraries are directly related to a traditional library, the difference is in the progress of digitization of objects and the service sector.

Virtual Library

On the contrary to a digital library and a hybrid library is a virtual library is a digital information system that brings together independent of a physical library, information from multiple libraries (data and metadata) in a new context and thus provides, in a new context of meaning. Therefore, virtual libraries are without media stocks, instead are allowing users access to information held by other libraries. These additions mainly include online access for research and digital information services, when needed but also printing products, which are provided on the classic interlibrary loan or document delivery services. "


In this context, recent developments can be mentioned, such as E -books and publications that are originally published in digital form. These forms are usually in existing digital, hybrid or virtual libraries, mostly associated with cost, embedded, or form the body to its own virtual library that maps any real existing library such as the central directory of electronic publications

Forms addition to the above, there are also electronic library catalogs, library networks and library portals on the Web. The scope of an electronic library catalog is purely in the systematic recording of the stock of a real library in metadata. Such may be part of digital and hybrid libraries often. In a composite library holdings of several libraries in a single place. The purpose of organizational forms library network and portal is the complete summary of the objects of several libraries in one place on the Web to the user as to simplify the search for objects.

Possibilities of digital libraries

Full text search

Many journals provide abstracts and full journal articles free of charge or on the basis of micropayments. Many items are on the portals of the university libraries accessible (for each customer ). Meanwhile, it is also common that dissertations may be submitted in electronic form so that they can be made available on the internet. Among other things, the Project Gutenberg digitized literature provided online, which has become public domain.

Information collection

Digital libraries offer categorized collections of information on specialist topics. This information may be electronic texts, links, electronic reference works, or Electronic Journals Libraries.

Search and Order

For information literature, there are literature databases whose data can be queried via retrieval systems.

With regard to the monographs of the Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog is currently the most important possibility of global research on a meta- search engine. Important databases for journal articles are in Germany JADE and MEDLINE. At the JADE ordering options digitized articles via JASON and SUBITO are attached in MEDLINE direct orders are possible. The items will be delivered here as scans by e -mail.

Development of the digital library

The three major pioneer in the direction of a digital library are:

Vannevar Bush

After the Second World War, Vannevar Bush tried to contribute in the dissemination of knowledge. He was using a Memex machine that worked based on micro -film technology, bringing the 10,000 pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica on the size of a DIN A4 sheet.

John Licklider

Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider was working on a research program of the Ministry of Defense of the United States, which invented the Internet. He had the idea of ​​creating a large central computer at the heart of a library. His idea after several computer should be connected together in order to form an information service.

Ted Nelson

Ted Nelson had the idea of ​​a single global network-based library. Everyone should have access to all documents. Nelson coined the terms " hypertext " and " hypermedia ".


  • IT Management and Online Public Access Catalogue: OPAC
  • OCR: OCR


  • Rules for alphabetical categorization RAK
  • Machine exchange format for libraries MAB
  • Machine - Readable Cataloging MARC
  • Metadata Object Description Schema MODS
  • Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard METS

Quality improvement efforts

  • The International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries (formerly European Conference on Research and Advanced Technologies for Digital Libraries) takes place annually.
  • In Asia, there is the International Conference on Asian Digital Libraries ( ICADL ).
  • The Joint Conference on Digital Libraries ( JCDL ) has been conducted annually in the U.S. and by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM ) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers ( IEEE) support.
  • The Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries ( DELOS ) is funded by the EU.

Legal Aspects

In the center of the legal aspects of a digital library are among others the Copyright Law and the Law Library.

Copyright Act

  • Copyright Act Austria
  • Copyright Law Germany
  • Copyright Act Switzerland

Library Law

Main article: Law Library ( Germany )

Library Law in Austria

In Austria there are loud as of December 2010, no law library. On 5 June 2007, a motion was made ​​to the National Council, that a law library for Austria is to be decided by the Deputy Dr. Wolfgang Zinggl. However, the output of this process is still open.

European Union

In January 2000, the Euro Europe had published together with EBLIDA the " Guidelines for Library Legislation and Policy in Europe". These guidelines require the Member States of the Council of Europe on "to prepare in their respective countries appropriate library laws that conform to the principles of the guidelines or to check existing laws based on the guidelines. "