Impact of Digitalization of Libraries Essay.

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Impacts of the digitization of libraries

 

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Over the past few years, library digitalization has had a significant impact on the library field. From the Library of Congress to public libraries, academic libraries, organizational and special libraries, digitalization has turned out to be a major part of the work of many libraries especially in America (Inayatullah, 2007). With the number of libraries digitalizing their collection rapidly increasing, technology problems and policy concerns are becoming increasingly dominant. According to a survey by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a quarter of public libraries and a third of academic libraries are involved in the efforts of digitalization; however, a large number of these libraries have not formulated guidelines to control the execution and format of such efforts (Lopatin, 2006). This paper intends to highlight the advantages and impacts of library digitalization.

 

The Potential of Library Digitalization

 

Just like archives and museums, libraries are filled with materials recorded in various analogue formats. These includes papers and canvas for printed words; glass plates, negatives and microfilms for images; film, audiocassette, videotape and LP records for moving image and sound. Despite the availability of this wide array of formats and the associated playback devices, analogue information has three consistent attributes. Firstly, analogue information is tied to a physical medium, this implies that the content linear, fixed and bounded (Pandey & Misra, 2014). Secondly, it is temporal and bound to a predetermined sequential representation. Finally, analogue information degrades over time.

Digitalization refers to the process of transforming analog materials into a digital format. Digital information has common qualities and characteristics, irrespective of whether the content is stored in flash drives, CDs or other digital storage media devices: it can be connected to other materials to create multimedia; it is also not dependent on hierarchies or temporal barriers; it can be stored and availed in a number of ways, and can be copied limitlessly without destroying the original. Additionally, digital information allows compressed storing, this implies that large amounts of analogue content can be easily stored in a flash drive or a computer’s hard disk. Library information in a digital format further allows the easy searching and browsing of content, information can also be collated or indexed instantly (Rieger, 2008). Most importantly, information in a digital format can be linked to a wide network of other different content, either locally or globally through the internet.

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