Repositories and One More Thing
While editing one of the articles in the current issue, Representation and Recognition of Subject Repositories, I had to ask the authors why CiteSeer was classified as a repository, since I knew it as an index. The authors educated me on this (see the article, Note 6, for their answer) and, as they pointed out, the exchange between us made one of their points that the topic of subject repositories was underdeveloped and in need of clarification. I believe that they make their case and also that the notion of repositories in general, at least as it relates to digital libraries, is indeed evolving. Are repositories primarily storage mechanisms, primarily access mechanisms, mainly about technology, mainly about policy, or some combination of the above? Is this what libraries are becoming or are repositories just another technology to be used in whatever finally becomes of what we now think of as libraries? The answer will surely be more nuanced than any simple yes or no answer to my rhetorically simplistic questions, but it is clear that the topic is increasingly central to any discussion of digital libraries.
Most of the other articles in this issue also relate to repositories, either directly or indirectly. We lead with an article tracing the history of repository development at Stanford University Libraries, covering both the technology as well as the organizational efforts involved. Two additional articles in the issue relate to repositories from different perspectives. The first of these looks at documenting and sharing metadata practices as key to inter-repository interoperability, using the case of PREMIS in METS. The second describes the Simple Publishing Interface (SPI) as an approach to facilitate communication between authoring tools and repositories.
One more thing our May/June issue this year was dedicated to digital library developments in China. As promised in that issue, we had a few more articles on the topic that would be appearing throughout the rest of the year. This first of those appears in this issue and describes the strategy in place to enhance the development of science and technology journals in China. Those readers who found the May/June issue of interest won't want to miss the latest in the series.
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