The IT Law Wiki


Digital libraries are

repositories of materials that are comprised of individual records for each item, each item of which includes a description of elements that use standardized fields for metadata.[1]


An information-driven digital society requires the collection, storage, organization, sharing, and synthesis of huge volumes of widely disparate information and the digitization of analog sensor data and information about physical objects. A digital library encompasses these functions. Digital libraries also provide powerful tools for linking and relating different types of information, leading to new knowledge. These capabilities require new paradigms for information classification, representation (e.g., standards, protocols, formats, languages), manipulation, and visualization.[2]

Digital archives are distinct from digital libraries in the sense that digital libraries are repositories that collect and provide access to digital information, but may or may not provide for the long-term storage and access of that information. Digital libraries thus may or may not be, in functional terms, digital archives and, in fact, much of the recent work on digital libraries is notably silent on the archival issues of ensuring long-term storage and access.


  1. HLWIKI International, "Digital libraries" (full-text).
  2. Revolutionizing Science and Engineering through Cyberinfrastructure, at 20.