General guidelines for designing a low cost digital library suitable for special library users in developing countries and the Arabic speaking world
The world is witnessing a considerable transformation from print based-formats to elec-tronic-based formats thanks to advanced computing technology, which has a profound impact on the dissemination of nearly all previous formats of publications into digital formats on computer networks. Text, still and moving images, sound tracks, music, and almost all known formats can be stored and retrieved on computer magnetic disk. Over the last two decades, a number of special libraries and information centres in the Arab world have introduced electronic resources into their library services. Very few have implemented automated and integrated systems. Despite the importance of designing digital libraries not merely for accessing to or retrieval of information but rather for the provision of electronic services, hardly any special library has started the design of digital library services.
Managers of special libraries and information centres in developing countries in general and in the Arab world in particular should start building their local digital libraries, as the benefit of establishing such electronic services is considerably massive and well known for expansion of research activities and for delivering services that satisfy the needs of targeted end-users. The aim of this paper is to provide general guideline for design of a low cost digital library providing services that are most frequently required by various categories of special library users in developing countries. This paper also aims at illustrating strategies and method approaches that can be adopted for building such projects. Seeing the importance of designing an inexpensive digital library as basic principle for the design accordingly, the utilisation of today's ICTs and freely available open sources software is the right path for accomplishing such goal. The paper intends to describe the phases and stages required for building such projects from scratch. It also aims at highlighting the barriers and obstacles facing Arabic content and how could such problems overcome.
Paper published (IFLA 2009) available at: