History of Digital Libraries

  • Bush Devised Idea

    a device in which an individual stores all his
    books, records, and communications, and which
    is mechanized so that it may be consulted with
    exceeding speed and flexibility.
  • Book authored by Bush on Digital libraries

    about how a computer could
    provide an automated library with simultaneous
    remote use by many different people through
    access to a common database.
  • Research and development started

    research and development activity
    on digital libraries started in the early
  • "arXiv" First system

    This system, originally named
    “e-print archive” and now worldwide known as
    arXiv, was born as an experimental means for
    making scientific communication more effective
    and economic
  • he University of Michigan Digital Library

    (Crum, 1995) focused on creating
    a digital library architecture based on the notion of
    software “agents”
  • ETRDL start

    RCIM, the European
    Research Consortium for Informatics and Math- ematics, asked to join the NCSTRL network. This gave birth to ETRDL, the European Technical Report Digital Library
  • he Alexandria Digi-tal Library

    (Smith and Frew, 1995) focused on building an online, distributed digital library for
    information, including maps,
    aerial photographs, satellite imagery, and cata-
    logue records, and on supporting geographically
    defined queries (
  • the Stanford Digital Library Project

    (Stanford Digital Libraries Group, 1995) focused
    on addressing aspects of interoperability over
    heterogeneous services and collections via the
    “InfoBus” protocol, which provides a uniform
    way to access a variety of services and information
    sources through “translators”
  • the Informedia Digital Video Library

    (Christel, Kanade, Maudlin,
    et al., 1995) focused on establishing a large, on-
    line digital video collection with full-content and
    knowledge-based search and retrieval
  • the Interspace (Schatz, 1995)

    focused on building a large collec-
    tion of technical engineering and physics literature
    that can be searched effectively across multiple
    indexes with a single interface
  • the California Environmental Digital Library

    Wilensky, 1995) focused on developing the
    technologies to access large, distributed collec-
    tions of photographs, satellite images, videos,
    maps, documents, and “multivalent documents”
    and to support work-centred digital information
  • whose pilot project

    system which was of-
    fering services for submitting, browsing and
    searching electronic thesis in PDF format.
  • CogPrints

    was initially conceived as reposi-
    tory allowing the cognitive science community
    to self-archive their papers
  • distributed and networked collections

    (Belkin, 1999) new sys-
    tem development activities started with the goal
    of supporting scholars by providing them with
    the functionality of a traditional library (collect,
    store, organise and discovery information) in the
    context of distributed and networked collections
    of digital information objects in user-friendly
  • Period: to

    DELOS working group

    the main objective of DELOS was to
    advance the state of the art in the field of digital
    libraries by coordinating the effort of the major
    European research teams conducting activities
    in the main fields of interest. One of the early
    important achievements was the establishment
    of a formal collaboration with the US National
    Science Foundation and the creation of five joint
    EU-US collaborative Working Groups.
  • Open Archives Initiative

    CogPrints was made compliant with the protocol defined by
    the Open Archives Initiative and
    then its software was converted into the EPrints
    Digital Repository Software (EPrints, (n.d.)), a
    flexible platform supporting easy and fast set up
    of repositories of open access research outputs.

    Another project, i.e. An
    Integrated Art Analysis and Navigation Environ-
    ment focused on giving providers, publishers,
    distributors, rights protectors and end users of art
    images information, as well as the multi-media
    information market as a whole, a more efficient
    system for storing, classifying, linking, matching
    and retrieving art images. This environment was
    providing, for example, automatic extraction of
    metadata based on iconography, painting style,
    etc; content-based navigation
  • Santa Fe Convention

    combination of organizational principles and
    technical specifications to facilitate a minimal but
    potentially highly functional level of interoper-
    ability among scholarly e-print archives – and to
    the establishment of the Open Archives Initiative.
  • Open Archive Protocol for Meta-data Harvesting

    Open Archive Protocol for Meta-
    data Harvesting (OAI-PMH) ( This is a simple protocol
    made by six protocol requests and responses and
    because of its simplicity and relatively low cost
    of adoption it is so diffuse as to become a sort of
    de-facto standard solution.
  • FIrst large scale DL implementation

    One of the first experiments of implementing
    a large-scale digital library search service across
    multiple data providers was performed by TEL,
    The European Library project, which started in
  • National Science Digital Library

    In the US, the National Science Foundation
    funded the National Science Digital Library
    (NSDL) (Zia, L.L., 2001) with the aim to provide
    organized access to high quality resources and
    tools that support innovations in teaching and
    learning at all levels of science, technology, en-
    gineering, and mathematics education
  • publicly funded research

    The arXiv system opened the way to deal
    with the social and economical issues related to
    the open access to outputs coming from publicly
    funded research, that were later officially stated in
    the Berlin Declaration
  • DARE

    Another important initiative for large-scale
    cross-repository services was DARE, the Digital
    Academic REpositories
    Started in 2003, this was a joint
    initiative by Dutch Universities, National Library
    of Nederland, and other Dutch Organizations. Its
    aim was to store the digital outcome of all Dutch
    research in a common network of Institutional Repositories
  • prototype of repository system

  • European Chronicles On-Line (ECHO)

    ing on the development of a digital library service
    for historical films by using an open architecture
    approach distributing digital film archive ser-
    vices. In addition, it was intended to develop new
    models for intelligent audio-visual content-based
    searching and film-sequence retrieval, new video
    abstracting tools, and user interfaces specifically
    tailored to the new functionality.
  • END of TEL

    TEL was finished in 2004 and now
    delivers a web service for accessing the combined
    resources (books, magazines, journals, etc. – both
    digital and non-digital) of the forty-five national
    libraries of Europe. It offers free searching and
    delivers digital objects – some free, some priced.
  • Period: to

    DELOS evolution

    Its mis-
    sion was to integrate and coordinate the on-going
    research activities of the major European research
    teams in the field of Digital Libraries
  • DL initiative

    The initiatives that started
    giving live to such systems, that can be reason-
    ably considered as substantial digital libraries,
    were the Digital Library Initiative (DLI) in the
    US, while national initiatives, e.g. eLib in UK,
    and EU funded projects including a dedicated
    Network of Excellence, DELOS (DELOS, (n.d.)),
    have characterised the European scene
  • “DELOS DL Reference Model

    a formal and conceptual framework describing
    the characteristics of the Digital Library domain.
  • EDLnet Launch

    Originally known as
    the European digital library network – EDLnet – it
    is the result of a partnership of 100 representatives of heritage and knowledge organisations and IT
    experts from throughout Europe. Objective of
    Europeana is to provide access to Europe’s cultural
    and scientific heritage through a cross-domain