Final Reflection

This class gives me a great chance to improve my knowledge of digital libraries in the last semester in SLIS. I have had some classes which have provided many concepts in the field of digital library, but this course let me have more systematic understanding of it. I have learnt many content management systems (CMS) and used OMEKA as a tool in the assignments. Since I am using another CMS – CONTENTdm for my practicum this semester, I can compare between these two CMS. It is a very good learning experience for me. Moreover, I have also had good experience about posting blogs and leading a discussion.

After I have read Borge’s and Bush’s articles again, I find that I can answer some of the questions asked by myself in that blog post. My questions are: How can we enlarge the storage space? How can we manage our information and retrieve them quickly when needed? I think the digital copies of material have helped libraries to save storage space. For digital materials, the size of each material should depend on the needs of the community and the material itself. In the future, there will be fewer shelves of print books inside the library. Instead, there will be more space for holding the activities and classes. Most of the print books can be shelved in the remote shelving facilities. For the second question, I think many topics we have discussed in this class can help to answer it. For example, the learnability of digital library can decide whether users can search for the information quickly. All the efforts made on the web design and metadata editing aim at high usability of the users.

I have had more in-depth and detailed knowledge of DPLA and HaithiTrust through discussions. I have heard about some features of DPLA and HaithiTrust in other classes. Though they are usually discussed as an example for explaining copyright and digital collections in other classes, I have not learnt them systematically. Moreover, I like that we can choose different topics to discuss in our blog posts. This gives me more chances to see how others understand the new concepts. So I have not only updated my knowledge of digital libraries, but also had in-depth discussion on related topics.

Also, I have good experience using OMEKA to develop small collections. I have faced some difficulties while using OMEKA for the first assignment. I did not realize that I should save every change that I have made separately after I created and uploaded one digital image. I thought I could fill in each field for a digital image later and save them together. This make me learn that I should try and test on one digital image before I start developing the whole collection. I cannot imagine what will happen if the collection that I should upload contains more than 100 or 1000 materials. So this experience is very important for me. I would like to work on OMEKA or other CMS in the future.

By creating metadata for the digital images in OMEKA, I have known more about the metadata standards. It is a good start for me to create metadata for my own collection in assignment 1. Because I know my collection very well, I can focus on using the features and metadata standard in OMEKA. Then, since I am also working on CONTENTdm for my practicum, I have compared the way used to creating metadata in it to the way used in OMEKA. I find that it is easier for a new user to get started on metadata editing in OMEKA. It has friendly user interface, as well as useful video tutorials.

The first thing that has surprised me in the course of taking this class is the definitions of modern digital libraries mentioned in the readings. In my point of view, the digital library is another kind of library that can collect digital materials and provide searchable information on the basis of these resources. What I have learnt from the readings and discussions is that the digital library now is designed to be “a place for users to change their ideas”. This definition describes the digital library more from a user’s perspective, which let me think more about digital library’s services that can be provided to the users. So I am surprised and find that this is a better and animated definition for digital library.

Another thing that has surprised me is that there are so many ongoing projects related to digital libraries and collections now. For example, CAPM project that has been discussed in my blog post let me understand that how the evaluation of this project has been made for meeting users needs. In the CAPM project, they provide digital copies of the print materials in the remote shelving facilities to the users. Since more libraries have put their print material into remote shelving facilities in order to save space, the understanding of this project can make it easier for me to understand other projects.

Through discussions and readings, I have changed my mind on many things. For example, I thought that DPLA was just public digital library before I took this class. But I have had more concrete ideas about the mission and strategic plans of DPLA now.

Finally, I am glad that I can have this class in my last semester in SLIS. Since I am focusing on digital library in SLIS, it is important for me to keep updated with the information in this field.

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