There was a discussion on diglib a while ago about what is a digital library. This was more interesting than most, especially when it came to Eric Hellman's question about whether particular services counted as digital libraries or not.

A digital library is "Any collection of digital resources managed with the primary goal of maximizing the collection's utility to a defined user community". [diglib@infoserv.inist.fr]

Comments: 0

Jul 19, 2004
Brian Lavoie

Interesting that this definition suggests that part of being a digital library means being targeted toward a "defined user community". It seems to me that one consequence of networked digital technologies is that the notion of "user community" is becoming more and more blurred around the edges. Instant access over the Web makes information collections of all descriptions accessible to much wider audiences, and used for a broader range of purposes, than might have originally been intended.