The term “digital library” was first used in a report to the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) in 1988. It was later popularized by the NSF/DARPA/NASA Digital Libraries Initiative, which draws heavily on As We Mature. Today, it is used in nearly all libraries, even in small towns. But what exactly is a digital library? How do you get one and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Currently, the electronic library is an undefined field, so terms and definitions are unclear. While the terminology is evolving, the terms will likely not remain consistent. The term “digital library” will depend on the individual writer. This term will be used to describe the digital library’s capabilities. The main goal is to convey information in the most useful form. In some ways, it is like an “exterminator” for computer technology.
Creating a digital library will also require careful consideration of storage procedures. One concern is the fragility of storage media. Libraries have had to transfer information from one format to another to accommodate digital libraries. Beta videotapes replaced card catalogues, and digital books and journals replaced a paper-based format. Other issues include the integrity of materials and copyright legalities. However, Walt Crawford argues that digital libraries will not affect publishing houses.