D-Lib Magazine
July/August 2002

Volume 8 Number 7/8

ISSN 1082-9873


Growth and Maturation

This month's issue of D-lib Magazine, the 79th by my count, is dominated by articles whose existence shows the growth of digital libraries. Four of the six articles address evaluation of or education for digital library efforts, topics that depend upon and layer directly over existing digital library practice. We may still argue about the meaning of the phrase 'digital library', indeed the phrase itself may change or disappear over time, but we are clearly more than a step or two past the starting line, even if we are nowhere close to the finish line.

I recently had a notion to write a short piece for D-Lib on the 10th anniversary of the start of what became the CNRI-led CS-TR project. Not only was that an important early digital library project but it was one of a series of events that indirectly led to the start of this magazine. I was amused to find that I had missed that anniversary by several years. Other signs of maturation abound. The number of digital library conferences continues to grow and the curricula of library schools continue to shift in response to the importance of new technologies and approaches. The number of Google users aware of its Stanford DLI project origins is, at this point, diminishingly small.

Age does not necessarily bring wisdom, but in this case it has certainly brought experience, and that experience has brought expanded horizons. Early worries about storage capacities and scanning techniques have given way to worries about metadata schema interoperation and other relatively esoteric technical topics. The difficulties of remote access have given way to the difficulties of access at remote points in the future, i.e., the archiving problem. Digital entities have value, yet an unlimited number of instances can be created at will, giving us a marvelously complex set of legal, social, and economic issues. And, as we see in our current D-Lib issue, the work of creating functioning digital libraries is naturally creating new efforts in evaluation and education. D-Lib will continue to track this growth and maturation and I, for one, look forward to seeing where it leads.

Laurence Lannom
Corporation for National Research Initiatives


Copyright© 2002 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/july2002-editorial