Rus Articles Journal

Electronic libraries as a special class of information systems

Information systems which began to call electronic libraries appeared thanks to a wide circulation the Internet, to the prompt growth of capacity of memory devices, and also considerable achievements in the field of Web a little more than a decade ago - technologies, in technologies of databases and documentary systems. These prerequisites provided possibilities of creation of big collections of documents, first of all, of publications in an electronic form and mass access to them.

Should emphasize that often it is necessary to meet delusions concerning concept and the place of the electronic libraries (EL) in system of information technologies. So, among library experts quite often confuse and even oppose the concepts “automation of libraries“, “the automated library“ and “electronic library“ that is inadmissible.

the Most widespread ideas of electronic libraries can be united in three groups connected with possible kinds of activity:

• automation of traditional libraries;

• use of databases in the Internet;

• creation of a collection of any information, if only in an electronic form and in the Network.

can hardly recognize These representations correct though they are not useless and connected with a being of a problem at all.

In the first case is supposed that the EB or is part of traditional library or modern information, or completely coincides with an automation equipment of this establishment. Objections against such approach can be reduced to two reasons.

In - the first, the main object of activity of traditional information institutes are printing editions with all specifics of storage inherent in them, processings and uses. EB, in turn, accumulate the electronic information presented in the form of data sets or electronic documents. This information on ways of the organization, the description, storage, on technology of preparation and use, on the applied means significantly differs from printing. Even when it is about representation in an electronic form of printing editions, distinction is very notable.

In - the second, it is hardly possible to agree with opinion of some library workers that their establishments are the only and comprehensive systems of storage and distribution of information. Does not follow from told that within traditional libraries it is not necessary to create electronic libraries. The combination of various forms of service on the basis of various funds, both traditional, and electronic, can give a positive effect. It is only necessary not to forget that it, despite similarity, different entities. At the same time it is obvious that the experience which is saved up by traditional libraries has to be considered fully at design and operation of electronic libraries.

the Second idea of EB is connected with databases and access to them on the Internet. Recently any database begins to be considered often as electronic library. Acceptance of such representation significantly narrows the concept “electronic library“, turning it actually into new designation of already known entities. Emphasis in this case is placed on program and technical questions, in particular, on scalability, distribution and interoperability. Undoubtedly, these questions have to take an important place in the EB problem, however it far is not settled by them. On the other hand, at such approach remain in the shadow or questions of information maintenance are at all ignored, for example, that is the main information object how to work with the objects changing in time as to describe them, etc.

Idea of EB as about collections of any information objects emasculates this concept, deprives of it systemacity. To pertinently draw the following analogy - not any collection or a collection of books can be considered as library. At such approach, as a rule, forget about precisely certain strategy of formation and development of information fund, about cataloguing and the description of information objects and some other questions. Undoubtedly, any EB is a collection of information objects, however the return is incorrect, namely it is declared in the considered representation. Besides, at such understanding of EB it appears the certain hybrid, undifferentiated concept covering a set of the diverse phenomena. Carry to them as meetings of any materials in an electronic form, and lists of hyperlinks on such meetings or materials.

the Tendency to apply the term “electronic library“ to meeting of materials of any type could be lawful on condition of differentiation of these types. For example, it would be possible to leave the name “library“ only for those collections which contain mainly text materials - not very well, whether in a type of the simple or marked text or in the form of the graphic files representing page by page scanned books and other printing materials. Then it would be possible to apply more specific designations to meetings of other type: an audioteka (for audio recordings), a videoshop (for cinema and video documents), a picture gallery (for images), a media library (for any not text materials). Realization of this approach, however, meets the serious difficulties caused by the fact that in the electronic environment the traditional typology on material ceases to work as the concept multimedia when within the separate document or Wednesday in general materials of different types unite and mix up is put in the forefront (the text, a sound, video, the image etc.). Besides, division according to material loses sense and for the reason that practically the same methods of editing / modification can be applied to any electronic object (copying, an insert, morphing, etc.) .

So, does not exist now uniform understanding what is electronic library. To show a range of opinions on this matter, we will give the most constructive definitions of a definition “electronic library“ taken from the western and domestic special literature.

should notice At once that term “ the electronic library“ has a domestic origin. It began to be used widely in our country as an equivalent of the English-language term Digital Library. The use of this term in Russian-speaking literature quickly settled though, in our opinion, it it is inexact reflects sense of an English-speaking source (“digital libraries“) which authors sought to emphasize in it the defining role of digital technologies in information systems such.