Projects within DEF include development activities financed – or partly financed by DEF. It is mostly library staff who conduct the projects with considerable co-financing from the individual research library. Present projects fall within the following main areas:
- User facilities – development of tools to support and develop the user’s information capabilities
- Subject gateways – establishment of gateways within specific subject areas
- Digitisation – preparation of suggested prioritisations and guidelines for digitisation as well as concrete digitisation projects
- Archiving – archiving on the Internet and in due course possibly also archiving of electronic journals
- Testing technical solution – evaluation of for example new modules for library systems, new systems for access control, new media etc.
- Other – for example development of tools to measure degree of satisfaction, electronic publishing etc.
Completion of projects
The appropriation for the project Denmark’s Electronic Research Library (DEF) terminates on 31. December 2002, and all projects which have received financial support from DEF will have to be completed by this date.
The DEF secretariat has been approached by projects which might have difficulties completing their project before this date. The questions have mainly concerned payment of grants for these projects, submission of accounts and reporting on the projects.
By 1. November the DEF secretariat will estimate which project activities cannot be expected to be completed by 31. December.
After an estimation of the individual project and based on preliminary accounts and status, it might be possible for the rest of the amount to be paid in advance, if the project is otherwise progressing according to plan and is expected to be completed shortly after 31. December 2002. Final accounts and reporting must be submitted to the Danish National Library Authority.
In the case of some projects the procedure might be that DEF transfers means to the Danish National Library Authority who then takes on the responsibility for paying out the remaining amount, as well as the endorsement of the project’s submission of accounts and reporting.
The establishment of Denmark’s Electronic Research Library makes it possible to serve the users wherever they are placed physically. They have access to far more information than previously through searching in journal databases and simultaneous searching in the libraries’ catalogues.
The user’s opportunity for using the library’s information resources independently of the library’s physical space involves the risk that he gets insufficient guidance or that the library does not register the need for guidance. The electronic library makes greater demands on the user’s information skills (i.e. the user’s ability to define his information needs and subsequently to locate, select, organise, evaluate and possibly communicate information.
The library’s traditional guidance to the user is therefore extended to encompass actual instruction and development of new tools for the user. It is furthermore necessary to test and development forms of guidance which will function independently of the library’s physical room.
It can be difficult for a student to find the right information on the Internet. As the volume of information continues to grow - as does the need for finding the right information – more systematised entries to the Internet become essential. It may also be problematic to judge the quality and validity of the information and therefore to use in a academic study. This is part of the reason for DEF having so far established six subject gateways with another five in the pipeline.
The subject gateways are the result of development projects which have been conducted by the relevant libraries and institutions within the subject area in question, and the projects thus act as a catalyst for co-operation within these subject areas.
Denmark’s Electronic Research Library should of course not only contain information which is "born" digital. In the longer term the idea is to convert traditional information to digital form in order to exploit the possibilities of digital material for simultaneous use, improved access, new search facilities and easier distribution. There is, of course, a need for an overall prioritisation, and DEF is therefore engaged in preparing guidelines for this kind of prioritisation within the library sector. Actual digitisation projects are also being carried out with financial support from DEF.
Apart from the need for digitisation of existing traditional materials, there is, of course, also the need for preservation of already existing digital material. The Internet is probably the most obvious example. As an ever-increasing part of our communication takes place via the Internet, the need to preserve this for posterity also increases. Already a great deal of material is lost which was available via the Internet only a few years ago. DEF has given financial support to two projects that want to develop strategies and methods for preserving the Danish part of the Internet for posterity. Another important activity area for DEF in the future will be the preservation of electronic journals.
Test of technical solutions
The technical solutions which the libraries can make available to the users are often very complicated, and it may be difficult for the individual library to know which solution to choose. DEF therefore support joint projects where several libraries co-operate on testing systems and are prepared to pass on their experiences to the rest of the library sector.
DEF supports projects which cannot be placed within the other areas, like for example a joint project on developing tools for the measurement of user satisfaction regarding services in the electronic library, projects on electronic publishing, e-learning etc.
See list of projects here.