Practical Digital Libraries: Books, Bytes, and Bucks

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"While others speculate on the organizational dilemmas facing libraries and universities in a digital information environment or argue the relative philosophical merits of print versus digital media, Lesk has constructed an on-the-ground picture of the various working components of the digital environment. Viewed as a whole and with an engineering sense of composition, his picture is remarkable--almost astonishing--because it reveals how advanced the digital environment has truly become."
--Donald J. Waters
Associate University Librarian, Yale University

A digital library is not merely a collection of electronic information. It is an organized and digitized system of data that can serve as a rich resource for its user community. This authoritative and accessible guide for librarians and computer scientists explores the technologies behind digital libraries, the choices to be made in building them, and the economic and policy structures that affect them.

The most comprehensive book on the subject, "Practical Digital Libraries" offers the most wide-ranging overview of digital libraries currently available analyzes economic and intellectual issues in the emerging digital environment shows how text, images, audio, and video can be represented, distributed, used, and collected as forms of knowledge


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Text Access Methods
Images of Pages
Multimedia Storage and Access
Knowledge Representation Methods
Usability and Retrieval Evaluation
Collections and Preservation
Intellectual Property Rights
International Activities
Ubiquity Diversity Creativity

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About the author (1997)

Michael Lesk has put his computer expertise to work helping libraries and other institutions with digital computer technology. Lesk's ties to the computer world really began in the 1960s; he did retrieval code work for the SMART project while acquiring a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics. In the 1970s he helped the Unix computer processing project come to life, providing input into creating word processing, networking, and other features. The following decade Lesk ran a research group at Bellcore and focused on computer-format dictionary and geographic programs. In the 1990s Lesk centered on chemistry computer applications. He helped organize OCLC and other online Internet search engines. Along the way, Michael Lesk also worked with the Commission of Preservation and Access concerning digital preservation; his journeys in the broad computer field have included stops in New York, Massachusetts, and London. As visitor professor in computer science at London's University College, Lesk also serves as the division director of the information and intelligent systems wing of the National Science Foundation. In 1994, Usenix awarded Lesk The Flame, its lifetime achievement award.

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