TITLE: Digital Libraries Initiative Phase 2

ACCESS: http://www.dli2.nsf.gov/

Although it seems like light years ago, the Digital Libraries Initiative Phase 1 began just ten years ago. DLI1 featured a definition of digital libraries and a description of the initiative's first six projects, which were all domestic. In contrast, DLI2 contains links to three dozen domestic and more than a dozen international partnerships.

The level of sophistication of the projects has increased as they have proliferated. Early efforts were seminal and represent an important base for the concept of the digital library, but the newer projects (most generated in 1999 or 2000) represent an ongoing commitment to the storage and manipulation of large collections. They also exhibit a renewed commitment to the searching, retrieval and processing of collections and to development in the areas of system architecture, metadata standards, component-based application architecture, and network services.

The current projects span the disciplines and include ventures in the sciences and the humanities. The projects explore such areas as artificial intelligence, information retrieval, and distributed object computing.

Although graphically cluttered, DLI2's homepage offers numerous links and topics such as "DLI2/Special Projects in the News," "Highlights," "Program Announcements," and "Sponsor Agencies and Programs." The vertical navigation bar offers links to a rich array of information. Unfortunately, some of the links to funded projects, the raison d'etre for this site, are no longer viable domain names. It is possible that the DLI2 coordinators believe that the links to the projects' Web sites will be kept current by those responsible for the various projects. Even if the sites are current, the broken links prevent easy access to them.

One of the most interesting and potentially useful educational features of the site is an area on the homepage, "DLI2/Special Projects in the News." The thumbnail illustrations of fifteen of the projects are attractive and invite browsing through articles about these projects. Again, unfortunately, more than one of these links are dated and lead to inaccessible archived news features.

This site, a treasure trove of information about groundbreaking projects is rich in detail, and includes abstracts, summaries, and contact information. Better attention to updating would add reliability to DLI2's many other strengths. DLI2 would be of interest to anyone wanting to know more about successful digital projects.

Shannon Van Kirk
Miami University
vankirk@lib.muohio.edu


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