Digital libraries and archives
are being created around the globe. Educational institutions, publishers,
corporations, governments, librarians, archivists, museum curators,
and individual collectors are all trying to find ways to use digital
media to help preserve, store, catalogue, disseminate, and share
their materials. Developers of digital repository, however, face
a number of difficult decisions, including:
or pieces of collections should be digitized?
How should digital files be catalogued, organized, stored and
Should work be done in house or outsourced?
What metadata practices should be implemented?
What technical specifications should be used for digitizing the
various kinds of objects (texts, images, sound, artifacts, artwork)?
Having a single
set of "standards" to guide these decisions would be ideal.
However, computer, Internet, and digital technologies change too
rapidly and institutions have too many varying needs and resources
for a single set of standards. Nations also have differing visions
and laws. While the promise of the new technologies is to
help people around the world to share resources and knowledge, digitizing
projects must respect the rights of individuals, cultures and nations
who own the materials. Thus the best solution is not to work toward
standards but develop sets of "best practices" that can
be used to best meet the needs of specific institutions and collections.
Digital Library Project in particular poses interesting practical
and research questions about collaborating on international digital
information systems in a cross-cultural context. The African Digital
Library Project will seek to create and identify those best practices
that will support the effective development, interchange, persistence,
and assessment of digital repository collections and services.
This work will be an ongoing part of our research and thus this
page will be updated regularly and will seek input from the various
institutions and individuals involved the project.
AODL White Papers
Digitizing Best Practices
Selection for deciding what to
digitize (html, pdf)
Metadata Best Practices
based on Dublin Core (rtf,
General Overview of initiatives
monitored by the AODL (html, pdf)
Rights Management Statements
Library of Congress: Bulding Digital Collections
Policies, Standards and Practices
Digital Library Federation: Standards