Thursday, April 26, 2007

Communities and aggregation is the name of the digital game

Since 2005, all NHS staff and students in Greater Manchester have been able to access 30,000 books and reports in 28 NHS libraries and are not just limited to their local library. Irrespective of job and location staff can now see what books, audiovisual resources and ebooks are available. This ensures all these staff and students access the evidence base and information services that they need at a convenient location.

The library is being hosted by OCLC PICA, the European library co-operative.
In January more than 70 higher education institutions backed the Ethosnet project, which aims to digitise past doctorate theses in preparation for the Electronic Theses Online Service (ETHOS) planned for 2009. In two years the rarely visited library stacks of these could be fully online and available to all.

JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) and (CURL) Consortium of Research Libraries have developed the prototype and the service will be run by The British Library. There are the usual issues around copyright and intellectual property especially third-party rights and commercially sensitive content.

Both these show that the geography restrictions around physical inventory have gone and bodies are starting to look at communities, aggregation and potentially workflow. This digital evolution is significant and will start to reshape our definition of content and it use.