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CODE4LIB  August 2008

CODE4LIB August 2008

Subject:

Re: Open Source Institutional Repository Software?

From:

Leslie Johnston <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 22 Aug 2008 09:57:35 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (102 lines)

Agreed that you need a label for the function/tool/platform.

I have been in many discussions that went around and around on the word
"repository."  Some folks liked it because it was a reasonably generic
term for a class of tool that had some physical association with a place
where things are stored/saved.  Some folks hated it because, well, who
knows what the heck a repository is, and how do you explain it to people
who have no clue what it might be or how it would be of use to them?

Often these discussions ended up with a desire to come up with a name
for the public facing service so we never had to tell anyone what a repo
was but could tell them to use "Edgar" or whatever to add or find
collections.  Not that coming up with a name is any easier...

Just as I was leaving UVA 4 months ago we started to internally refer
to "Library managed content" for digital materials of all sorts that
were under local control.  It successfully draws a circle around a class
of activities — managing and delivering collections housed in the
local environment, but again, it draws a line between those collections
and the majority of the Library's digital content — ejournals and
databases.  The distinction between local and remote should be
transparent to users so, again, not so useful on the public-facing side.
 Very useful on the administrative side, though.

Leslie

>>> Jonathan Rochkind <[log in to unmask]> 8/21/2008 5:22 PM >>>
I agreewholeheartedly with "there is no digital library, it's just the

library".  And just the library increasingly has not only it's 
collections but it's services digital and online (is digital reference

part of the 'digital library'? can you have a 'digital library' without

online reference?  Forget it, it's just the library, but that library 
better be increasingly digital if it wants to survive. )

But of course, you still need some name for this class of software 
intended to be a platform for your digital stuff, possibly with 
preservation, possibly with workflow built in, possibly not. But it's a

platform to hold your digital stuff. One of my local colleagues says 
"digital shelves", which sounds good to me. "Digital library" I don't 
like for the reasons Leslie mentioned, and because I've always been 
confused as to why the "library" in "digital library" is understood to

just be talking about _stuff_, about collections, , when we all work in

libraries and know a library is more than just it's collections!   
"Institutional repository", talk about jargon, and yeah, it's not clear

to me _why_ we'd draw such a distinction between digital copies of our

own institutional output, and digital copies of other stuff.  But if we

did need such a special name for our own institution's output, didn't
we 
already have the word "archives"  for that?   What's the point of all 
these new jargony phrases? They seem only to serve to seperate off 
certain organizational activities and collections in their own silos, 
when they ought to be integrated into a "single business" model
instead.

Jonathan

Leslie Johnston wrote:
> I have grown to really dislike the phrase "digital library."  
>
> In my last job most folks referred to "The DL" when they meant the
> digital collection repository (NOT an IR, but a repo for digitized
> library collections).  Some of us kept making the point that
"digital
> library" meant not just digitized physical collections, but
databases
> and ejournals and licensed digital images and GIS data and faculty
> publications and born-digital scholarship and so on.  And even if we
> used the phrase more inclusively, it seemed silly to semantically
> segregate that content from the physical collections just because it
was
> digital.  
>
> There is no digital library — it's just the library.
>
> Leslie
>
> ----------
> Leslie Johnston
> Digital Media Project Coordinator
> Office of Strategic Initiatives
> Library of Congress
> 202-707-2801
> [log in to unmask] 
>
>   

-- 
Jonathan Rochkind
Digital Services Software Engineer
The Sheridan Libraries
Johns Hopkins University
410.516.8886 
rochkind (at) jhu.edu

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