Exploring Digital Libraries

I was delighted to find a copy of Karen Calhoun’s Exploring Digital Libraries: Foundations, Practice, Prospects in my mail. While many may know of my more recent work around new librarianship, I spent a good amount of my time as a starting scholar in the world of digital libraries.

One thing that always bothered me about the digital library field was a sort of bipolar approach to the topic. On one side were the computer scientists, and on the other the librarians. To be sure there were plenty of folks who bridged this world, but the literature and meetings felt like a sort of parallel play.

This is why I love Karen’s new book. She has done an amazing job of capturing the digital library world from the 90’s to today. She does this not as some sort of annotated bibliography, but as a conceptual evolution. You can see the development of digital libraries from collections of stuff, to communities of interest.

She also merges the disparate worlds of computer science and library science together in a masterful way. She uses the history to create a robust platform for understanding digital libraries today…in essence making the field feel relevant and refreshed. If you have a chance I strongly recommend the book.

Here is some additional information:

Calhoun, Karen. 2014. Exploring Digital Libraries: Foundations, Practice, Prospects. Chicago: ALA Neal-Schuman.
(table of contents available at http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=4247)

Facet has prepared a chapter by chapter synopsis at http://www.slideshare.net/amarintha/exploring-digital-libraries-chapter-by-chapter-summary.