Virtual Libraries Supporting Student Learning

By Gunn, Holly | School Libraries Worldwide, July 2002 | Go to article overview

Virtual Libraries Supporting Student Learning


Gunn, Holly, School Libraries Worldwide


School libraries can exist in two spaces, a physical space or a virtual space. The author argues that students need a virtual library as well as a physical library because of the different learning opportunities that can be supported by virtual libraries. If a virtual library is carefully planned and designed, it can provide a rich learning environment. Although some authors may distinguish between various terms used to describe virtual libraries: digital libraries, electronic libraries, e-libraries, and the broader term virtual library, in this article, the term virtual library is used to describe any managed collection of information sources in an electronic format. Therefore, virtual libraries could include digital collections of pictures, maps, Web sites, or library records.

Introduction

Virtual libraries are organized collections of digital information. They are constructed collections organized for a particular community of users, and they are designed to support the information needs of that community (Saracevic, 2000). Virtual libraries can offer resources from many sources and in many formats, including audio and video. The items in these virtual collections do not have to reside on one server, but they share a common interface to assist the user in accessing the collection. The emphasis in virtual libraries is on organization and access, not on physical collections (Baldwin & Mitchell, 1996).

School libraries can exist in two different spaces, a physical space and a virtual space. Each space enables different learning activities and serves different purposes for learning (Bruce & Leander, 1997). Many libraries exist only in one space, whereas others maintain a hybrid space, both a physical and virtual space, in recognition of the distinct information uses and learning activities that can occur in each environment. all libraries, whether virtual or physical, create an environment for learning (Abram, 1999).

This article explores the advantages of virtual libraries for student learning, the types of learning that can be supported in virtual library environments, the importance of design to enable different types of learning, and the concerns posed by virtual libraries.

Learning in Physical and Virtual Libraries

Marchionini and Maurer (1995b) saw libraries as serving three roles in learning:

* They are places to share expensive information resources;

* They preserve artifacts and ideas; and

* They serve social and intellectual roles of bringing people and ideas together.

Both virtual and physical libraries can fulfill these roles. Libraries, both physical and virtual, support various types of learning:

* Formal learning, the systematic learning that is guided by instruction;

* Informal learning, which is opportunistic, self-paced, and self-directed; and

* Professional learning, the lifelong learning in which library workers engage in order to improve their work-related knowledge (Marchionini & Maurer, 1995b).

The primary purpose of school libraries is to support, facilitate, and enhance the formal learning of the institutions that created them. The resources in these libraries, whether physical or digital, have been selected to support the curriculum that is taught in the schools. These information sources are utilized by students, teachers, and teacher-librarians in resource-based learning activities.

Resource-based learning activity involves students, teachers, and teacher-librarians in the effective use of a wide range of print, non-print and human resources. Resource-based learning fosters the development of individual students by accommodating their varied interests, learning styles, needs and ability levels. (Foundation for the Atlantic Canada English Language Arts Curriculum, n.d.)

Much student learning, however, is not formal learning; it is informal and opportunistic (Marchionini & Maurer, 1995b).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Virtual Libraries Supporting Student Learning
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.