Classification of Digital Libraries-An E-Business Model-Based Approach

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT: The impact of digital libraries on information processes steadily increases. Today, users may choose from a rapidly increasing number of digital libraries with various characteristics. Business models for digital libraries evolve from mere content providers to sophisticated service suppliers. They offer a rich variety of information services combined with collaboration, e-learning and portal features. Traditional classification schemes for digital libraries do not sufficiently take this development into account or fail to meet it at all. In this paper we present a novel approach to the classification of digital libraries. It is based on business model characteristics with special emphasis on the evolution of digital libraries from content to information service providers. Our classification approach helps suppliers to communicate benefits and features of their libraries more effectively. It also supports customers when selecting an appropriate digital library.

Subject Headings and Descriptors

H.3.5 [Online Information Services]; Web-based services: H.3.7 [Digital Libraries]; Systems issues

General Terms

Digital Information Processing, Digital Libraries Classification

Keywords: Digital Libraries, Information Processing, Digital Libraries Evaluation

1. Introduction

The impact of digital libraries on information processes steadily increases. The 21st century will probably see the complete breakthrough of digital libraries into the Gutenberg Galaxy. During the last years the number of digital libraries has rapidly increased. They offer various information products and services. Traditional business models for digital libraries evolve from mere content suppliers to sophisticated service providers. They offer complex information services combined with

* collaboration functions, e. g. AARLIN [1], Merlot [2],

* e-learning services, e. g. COLIS [3], [4], CLOE [5], and

* portal features, e. g. ACM [6], DSAL [7].

A rich variety of business models for digital libraries and information services has emerged. Traditional classification schemes for digital libraries do not sufficiently take this development into account or fail to describe it at all.

We are currently involved in the DMGLib (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library, http://www.dmg-lib.org) project [8]. The objective of DMGLib is to provide a digital library for mechanical engineering. DMGLib offers a vast amount of digital documents representing more than 1,000 gear models, 100 machines, 3,500 photographs, 100 videos and animations, 400 books published before 1898 and nearly 10,000 mechanical engineering documents, technical reports, patent specifications, and research papers. The DMGLib-project is supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; German Research Foundation). When the financial support--now granted by DFG--ends, DMGLib will have to generate new sources of revenues.

The objective of this paper is to propose a novel approach to the classification of digital libraries. Classification approaches for digital libraries are well known in the research context of evaluating digital libraries [9]. Within the framework of the DELOS-project [10] the "Interaction Triptych Model" [11] was presented. The main structure of this model uses technology, data, and users as primary classification criteria. The approach defines a number of metrics for the classification of digital libraries [11], [12]. Results of a survey conducted by the DELOS-project have been fed into a database (http:// www.sztaki.hu/delos_wg21/metalib/). It is structured according to the classification scheme indicated above. It offers classified information on each digital library.

Our approach is based on business model characteristics and takes into account the evolution of digital libraries from mere content providers to sophisticated information service suppliers. …