What is a digital collection management system?

collection management system

In this digital era, there is tremendous growth in digital collections as well as print and audio-video collections which increasingly seek management and dissemination. With the advancement of information technology, the working pattern changed, moreover it shifted from print format to digital format.?

One of the reasons behind the management of digital collection is to preserve originals by limiting handling and increasing its access by making the information available on the web.

Apart from maintaining and disseminating digital collection, the management system also has to take care of copyrights management, preservation of data, bandwidth, etc.

Meaning of Digital Collection

Digital collection is a new way of carrying out the functions of traditional libraries encompassing new types of tools, information resources, new approaches for organizing, classifying and cataloguing, involving intensive use of electronic systems and networks, showing a drastic shift in electronic, intellectual and organizational practices.?

Characteristics of Digital Collection

Digitized multimedia products and services require digital tools and technologies and it is a combination of traditional (print) and a digital collection. Digital library consists of mostly electronic documents.

Its characteristics are:

  • Digital collection includes audio, video, text, image, and numeric multimedia components.
  • Digital collection can be accessed from the user?s workplace.
  • Digital collection includes all kinds of data and informative material.
  • Digital collection library supports both formal and informal learning procedures.

Digital Collection Management

Digital collection is user-based that entirely connects the users to the information they need digitally or as to say electronically, regardless of its source. Management of digital library differs from the management of the traditional library. It is very important to organize and disseminate digital collection in an effective way. There are certain factors such as distance from users, delivery mechanism, technology, and organization should be well-planned and managed differently, but deep down the line, the concept of customer-focused managed should remain unchanged. Management of digital collection has to manage certain complexities as well such as copyright issues, cost recovery, etc. There should be an effective way to recover the cost incurred by the technologies used to run and manage the digital collection. And regarding copyright issues, it is said that there should not be any copied material on digital library. With proper training and management, digital collection can be handled efficiently.

Design and Management of Digital Collection

Essential resources involved in the design and management of digital collection are as follows:

  • Man Power ? Personnel who manage digital collection should be well trained and efficient in work and time management.
  • Information resource planning ? The information resources available on the digital library should be well planned and organized.
  • Infrastructure Planning ? For efficient management of digital collection, IT (Information Technology) tools and components, well-furnished space, are the primary requirements.
  • Financial back-up ? There should be enough fund to buy the technologies used to run digital collection system, as the use of these new technologies incurs a heavy cost.
  • Methods and Techniques ? There should be well-defined methods for information resource development and proper techniques for accessing information.

Challenges in Digital Collection Management

There are many challenges for the management of digital collection, such as:

Funding The management system needs content financial support for managing digital information and for providing instant access to this information to its users. Lack of funds is fatal for the management as without funds it is not possible to organize, manage and disseminate information effectively. Specialized Staff ? The staff should be knowledgeable, skilful and well-trained. They should be technologically literate for handling digital information and technical tools. There is always a challenge to hire specialized and skilful staff for managing and updating data collection and implementing new activities on a regular basis with full efficacy. Retrieval of digital information resources ? Retrieval systems are necessary for users for obtaining the information they require the digital library. Textual information can be easily retrieved, but retrieval of images, audio and videos involve some complexities. Whatever the case may be, retrieved information has to be delivered to the user. Protection of Intellectual Property Rights ? It is a challenge for the management to comply with copyrights and intellectual property rights. There should be a serious discussion with publishers and authors to come up with a profitable mechanism to benefit users, publishers and authors. Users may be charged for accessing and downloading information from servers. Bandwidth Problem – Digital collection as well as print and audio-video collection requires intensive use of bandwidth. With the increased use of the network for the dissemination of data, the load on network traffic would increase. A simple text transfer occupies a small amount of space and gets transferred instantly while video, images, sound files, graphics are space-hungry and also take more time for transmission. Preservation Problems ? There should be some form of preservation mechanism as a means of ensuring that what is available today, is available tomorrow also but preserving access to this information possesses a great challenge. With the change in technology and media instability, the information might become inaccessible. Therefore, preservation of digital information is necessary.?

Opportunities in Digital Collection Management

No doubt there are challenges, but there are opportunities too.

By sitting in any corner of the world, user can access numerous databases scattered over the globe and information can be accessed in no time, all this is possible because of the digital collection.

Opportunities in digital collection management are as follows:

  • Information is saved digitally for future access and render access to information in no time.
  • Information can be easily retrieved.
  • Due to cloud storage, physical storage space is saved.
  • The burden of the cost of delivery is reduced up to a certain extent.
  • Due to advanced technology, it provides timely access to information.
  • Due to easy and wide access to the digital collection, the originals can be preserved.
  • Prevention in the manipulation of text and images by enhancing the quality of images in terms of size, brightness, contrast, sharpness, etc.
  • Digital collection provides links for reference and access to bibliographical tools.
  • At a particular point in time, more than one user can access the same piece of information.
  • Electronic archive or history of resources previously accessed should be kept of future use.

All the products developed for the digital library market can be imported, catalogued, edited, stored, searched, retrieved, and generate statistics.

Importing Documents

The ability to import digital information is a standard component of all the products. The documents can be downloaded from a digital storage medium. The documents can be plain-text, images, audio, video and it is also possible to load metadata that already exists for the document that is being imported.

Cataloguing

Many products give the option of copying and pasting information from the actual document to facilitate cataloguing. Metadata means the bibliographic information for a document in digital format. Most of the systems do not limit the number of fields of metadata that can be created. After cataloguing of data, virtual collections can be created and a single document can occur in many virtual collections.

Editing

Digital content can be easily edited. High-resolution documents can be converted into low-resolution documents and thumbnails can also be created. Metadata can be created and edited on the digital collection management system.

Storage

There is a need for substantial disk storage capacity for storing digital files because digital files can be large, especially video, colour images, sound files.

Searching

On the digital collection management system, searching can be done directly. Searching can be done either against both, the full text of the document and its associated metadata or just against the metadata.

Statistics

All the digital collection management system includes a number of reports that summarize importing, cataloguing, editing, storing and searching activity.

With the advancement in technologies, working pattern is changing from print to digital. Through proper management of digital collection, information can be accessed instantly in that too in various formats. Where there are challenges, there are opportunities too. Digital collection management system makes it possible for the information to stay today and forever and for everyone and everywhere.