Suggestions & Comments to:
Roberta Tipton
Chair, RUL Planning Committee
Updated March 21, 2003

Digital Library Initiative Planning Page

A Bridge to the Future: the Rutgers Digital Library Initiative ( was written between 1997 and 1999. The plan has served us well, but the environment in which we operate has changed so much that it is time to prepare an updated plan. The RUL Faculty Planning Committee has organized this web site for two reasons: a) to provide a sense of the many planning activities taking place within the University Libraries; and b) to provide entry points to some of the concepts relating to digital libraries and organizational planning.

Planning for the Rutgers University Libraries

Presentation by Marianne Gaunt, University Librarian, at the State of the Libraries meeting on November 11, 2002.

Presentation by Grace Agnew, Associate University Librarian for Digital Library Systems, following the faculty meeting on November 8, 2002. (

Presentations from Building Digital New Jersey: The Metadata Foundation (, a conference held at New Brunswick on November 18, 2002.

The Data Architecture Working Group ( reports to the Technical Services Council. It is charged with developing a sustainable, interoperative, and extensible data architecture that will serve digital initiatives at Rutgers University.

The Digital Architecture and Infrastructure Working Group ( reports to the Technical Services Council. It is charged with developing a digital infrastructure to support an integrated, sustainable digital library initiative. The committee maintains useful links ( to a few selected models, metadata standards, and digital library systems.

To propose a digital project at the Rutgers University Libraries, contact Linda Langschied, Head of the Scholarly Communication Center, at

To participate in our current NSF grant projects, contact Grace Agnew, Associate University Librarian for Digital Library Systems, at

For training opportunities at the Rutgers University Libraries, please consult the Training and Development page or contact Marilyn Wilt, Training Coordinator, at

Digital Libraries

Projects calling themselves digital libraries range from groups of links to commercial databases, through full-text or full-image representations of rare or unique materials, all the way to collections of digital objects that have never existed in another format. Although the list of sites below is far from exhaustive, the group was chosen for the variety of projects represented and the amount of background and planning information available for those who want to learn more about the digital library world.

The Association of Research Libraries maintains the searchable ARL Digital Initiatives Database ( ), originated in 1997, which lists a wide variety of digital projects and initiatives. ARL has also provided us with an early (1995), but widely-quoted, definition of a digital library (

The Colorado Digitization Program ( provides “access to the unique and special resources held in and by Colorado cultural heritage institutions - archives, historical societies, libraries, and museums” [from the site]. This is also a great place to begin exploring standards, metadata, and other aspects of a working digital library.

D-Lib Magazine (, is an online journal devoted to information about digital libraries. All past issues are freely available on the site's archive. Note especially the Ready Reference links ( leading to excellent sites about digital libraries.

The Digital Library Federation (DLF) (, a subdivision of the Council of Library and Information Resources (CLIR) (, is “a consortium of libraries and related agencies that are pioneering in the use of electronic-information technologies to extend their collections and services” [from the site]. DLF's pages offer a wealth of information on standards, protocols, projects, and meetings concerning digital libraries and scholarly collections.

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) maintains several pages on digital libraries and related topics. Digital Libraries: Resources and Projects ( is a good starting point for access to this wealth of material. The IFLA site is well-organized for independent learning, international in scope, and maintains links to many of the basic documents on digital projects in the library world.

The National Science Foundation projects funded in Phase I ( and Phase II ( of the NSF Digital Libraries Initiative are a “Who's Who” of interesting, well-developed, large-scale digital projects from academic institutions. These websites include additional information about the rationale, methods, and procedures for the projects themselves.

The National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage, actually an international effort hosted at New York University, publishes the NINCH Guide to Good Practice in the Digital Representation and Management of Cultural Heritage Materials (, a blueprint for planning and executing digital projects in the humanities. The guide covers everything from planning the project to working in groups.

The Perseus Digital Library ( is one of the best-known humanities collections, freely available on the Web. Perseus originally dealt only with ancient Greece, but now includes a number of sub-collections dealing with Rome, Shakespeare, medieval Europe, and a variety of ancient civilizations. For a quick look at some of the technologies and planning methodologies behind Perseus, read “Drudgery and Deep Thought” by Gregory Crane, Robert F. Chavez, Anne Mahoney et al, in Communications of the ACM, Vol 44, No. 5, May 2001, 35-40 (

Library Issues: Digital Libraries ( is a section of the massive Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography maintained by Charles W. Bailey, Jr., University of Houston. Some of the most noteworthy digital projects from major research libraries are included.

The United States Government Printing Office maintains GPO Access (, arguably the largest digital library in the world. The site includes extensive planning and maintenance information for the FDLP (Federal Depository Library Program) Electronic Collection (


Metadata is often described as “data about data”. In fact, libraries have produced data about their collections for many years. MARC cataloging tags, for example, are metadata. The reason we need to understand metadata better these days is the appearance of new digital collections with widely varying systems of description. Librarians and others in the scholarly community are searching for a common ground from which to make sense of our expanding information universe. New standards for metadata are emerging to allow the ready location, organization, and exchange of digital information, no matter where it is stored.

PowerPoint presentations from Building Digital New Jersey: The Metadata Foundation ( give a snapshot of planning activities at RUL on that date. [See also the Planning for the Rutgers University Libraries section].

For a non-librarian view of how metadata fits into Web page coding and design, visit (, mounted by CNET Networks, Inc. a “source of information and services for buyers, sellers and suppliers of technology” [from the site].

The Colorado Digitization Program [see the Digital Libraries section] provides a well-organized page describing metadata and other digital indexing information ( Links to many of the most-used and most-quoted standards (METS, SCORM, Dublin Core, Open Archives Initiative) can be found here.

The Federal Geographic Data Committee, originator of the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata, maintains an extensive site with definitions and online tutorials regarding metadata in general and the FGDC standards in particular (

The Getty Research Institute, affiliated with the J. Paul Getty Museum, “produces online resources based on the collections of the Research Library and the activities and programs of the Research Institute” [from the site]. As part of the Getty Standards and Digital Resource Management program, and in line with the Institute's educational mission, the organization maintains Introduction to Metadata: Pathways to Digital Information ( The site features informative introductory articles, a glossary, and an extensive list of links for relevant standards and organizations within emphasis on art and visual media.

Digital Libraries: Metadata Resources ( is another useful site maintained by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions [see Digital Libraries section].

The Library Technology Reports September/October 2002 special issue entitled Metadata and its Applications can be found via Academic Search Premier (Ebscohost) at (

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