How to Build a Digital Library (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Multimedia Information and Systems) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

ISBN-13: 978-1558607903
ISBN-10: 1558607900
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  • Length: 518 pages
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Digital List Price: $81.95 Save $3.15 (4%)‎

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Although this somewhat technical work is aimed primarily at software developers who will be writing the programs to encompass digital information, the authors never lose sight of the importance of the role that librarians play in the selection and collection of information that will form digital libraries. [The authors, both computer science faculty members at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, are involved with the New Zealand Digital Library research project; Witten is the director.] Anyone who has ever done an Internet search will benefit from understanding some of the concepts underlying the structures of search engines. The section titled "Presentation: User Interfaces" is particularly enlightening in its descriptions of how various search engines can treat the same search differently. For example, this section contains easily understandable explanations of the importance of language stemming using morphological reduction and of case folding. For librarians wanting to try their hands at creating a digital library that can stand alone or be accessible via the Internet, the authors suggest the freely available Greenstone software (, for Windows or UNIX operating systems. Librarians, particularly those who envision building their own full-text digital libraries, will find useful information here.
Margaret Sylvia, St. Mary's Univ. Lib., San Antonio
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

Given modern society's need to control its ever-increasing body of information, digital libraries will be among the most important and influential institutions of this century. With their versatility, accessibility, and economy, these focused collections of everything digital are fast becoming the "banks" in which the world's wealth of information is stored.

How to Build a Digital Library is the only book that offers all the knowledge and tools needed to construct and maintain a digital library-no matter how large or small. Two internationally recognized experts provide a fully developed, step-by-step method, as well as the software that makes it all possible. How to Build a Digital Library is the perfectly self-contained resource for individuals, agencies, and institutions wishing to put this powerful tool to work in their burgeoning information treasuries.


  • Sketches the history of libraries-both traditional and digital-and their impact on present practices and future directions
  • Offers in-depth coverage of today's practical standards used to represent and store information digitally
  • Uses Greenstone, freely accessible open-source software-available with interfaces in the world's major languages (including Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic)
  • Written for both technical and non-technical audiences
  • Web-enhanced with software documentation, color illustrations, full-text index, source code, and more

Product Details

  • File Size: 8314 KB
  • Print Length: 518 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (July 16, 2002)
  • Publication Date: July 16, 2002
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001CESJ7E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,698,985 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
This work would be more aptly entitled: "How to Build A Digital Library Using Greenstone Software", since it is largely a primer and manual for Open Source software. The publishers present the work as a book and a website. The website's technology is useful, allowing the reader to search words and phrases.
The choice of example projects for digital libraries given in the opening Orientation section are laudable, centering as they do on the support for human development, improvement of scientific communication, and preservation of indigenous cultures.
The authors provide a valuable cross-fertilization of ideas, which comes from a computer science perspective.
The main focus of this book is the fact that the digital library can be whatever we as librarians envision. A major objective is to use technology to replace repetitive human intervention. Surely this is a most valuable attainment for any organization. There are significant insights throughout the book that deal with user interfaces and how search engines operate on the Internet. Perhaps the strongest and best thread that runs throughout is the role of open standards. Bursting out of the chapter on Standards and Protocols, are excellent, non technical descriptions of major industry and formal standards like TWAIN, MPEG, Unicode, XML, OEBPS, and library standards, like Dublin Core, OAI, and Z39.50 on which the interconnecting webs of library systems are based. The authors, however, have most difficulty describing library standards, for example, MARC and AACR. The authors, however, are most at home with the technical aspects of Greenstone and provide an excellent overview of processes like indexing using optical character recognition, and searching free text using phrases and key phrases.
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Format: Paperback
As a pediatrician working in a third-world hospital (and not as an information professional) I found this a fascinating and useful book. Its scope includes everything from the history of libraries to problems of preservation of digital data to some details of JPEG encoding algorithms.
I definitely sensed that I was reading a book by professional librarians ... this is not just a book about how to throw some text onto the Internet or onto a CDROM. Rather it covers the whole area of how to organize large quantities of information of all types in ways that make it most accessible to users.
The most useful part of the book for me is the guide to the structure and use of the Greenstone open-source digital library software, which has great potential for organizing and distributing (via Internet or CDROM) libraries of all sorts. The software site... includes some documentation but this book is far more detailed, for those wanting to go beyond the basics. The Greenstone site includes links to examples such as the New Zealand Digital Library Project ...The book includes an introduction to XML and related topics. Greenstone stores and processes XML data so the reader will have to understand XML to some degree to be able benefit from the subsequent explanation of how to use Greenstone. As a newcomer to XML I thought that the presentation was good for the amount of space that could be devoted to it, but I still had a hard time following some of the later material.
The only problem I had with the book was that it had an uneven mix of broad strokes and technical detail. I found even much of the detail interesting (including a good introduction to Unicode) but I wished that the space had been devoted instead to a slower-paced, fuller explanation of the Greenstone architecture and how to build on it.
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