Digital Libraries

In today’s post we are going to discover what digital libraries are. We can define them as libraries in which collections are stored in digital formats and accesible by computers. We can affirm that digital libraries are a type of information retrieval system.

Digital library concept

Digital library concept

Moreover, one of the main ideas of this post is to present some of the most important digital libraries that nowadays exist such as Project Perseus, Project Gutenberg, Google Book Search, etc. However, as I am studying a degree in English I thought that it would be appropriate to focus on one important digital library with contents in English. That is the reason why we are going to talk today about the Darlington Digital Library (University of Pittsburgh).

The Darlington Digital Library was created from the collection of books, atlases and maps that were assembled, in the first place, by the attorney William M. Darlington, who was born in Pittsburg in 1815. After his death in 1889, it was his family that continued his passion for recollecting documents and materials about colonial American history. In 1938 the University of Pittsburgh Press published a magnificent overview of the whole collection.

In adittion, the Digital Research Library (DLR) department started digitalizing and scanning books from the Darlington collection in the year 2006. In this project there are involved scanning technicians and graduate students who spend 90 hours per week digitalizing the already mentioned materials. But would you like to know how does this process take place? Then pay attention to the following video:

As a result, what we obtain is a whole series of atlases, books, broadsides, images, manuscripts and maps that can be consulted online, at any time and all around the world. Besides, with this system of digital libraries the materials that we have access to do not suffer any harm and they are preserved in optimum conditions. So, if remained skeptical about the benefits of digital libraries give them a try. You will not regret.


(Note: in the future this article could be modified several times in order to include more up-to-date information.)


1 Response to “Digital Libraries”

  1. 1 Joseba Abaitua 25 October, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    “In this project there are involved scanning technicians and graduate students who spend 90 hours per week digitalizing the already mentioned materials” … umh! what a good idea!, that’s about 18 hours a day (not including Saturdays and Sundays)

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