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Número: 71
Año: 2002
Autor: Johann Van Reenen, Editor
Título: Digital Libraries and Virtual Workplaces. Important Initiatives for Latin America in the Information Age

6. Future developments

      This chapter concludes with a brief view of the future of NDLTD. Since the establishment of NDLTD in 1997, there has been a steady growth in membership. This is likely to continue, or perhaps accelerate. Indeed, especially given the joining of large groups in the year 2000, such as the efforts in Catalunya, Ohio, and South Africa, the future shows promise. Yet, technology transfer is slow and change at universities often slower. Further, since the effects of ETD programs will change the whole future of scholarship, there is likely to be opposition, or at least a considerable amount of resistance from inertia. There may be confusion as corporations enter the scene to profit from the results of sharing led by students and universities. There may be confusion as publishers and students grapple with the many changes in policies and economics that will result from ongoing changes in scholarly communication and library practices. Yet, the ETD program has a clear foundation and strives to prepare students and universities for such changes; as one of the most constructive efforts in that sphere it is hoped that it will engender strong support into the future.

      Since NDLTD is primarily an educational program it must necessarily adjust to advances in technology, especially related to electronic publishing, digital libraries, scholarly communication, and dissemination of research. The initiative as a whole, and each university involved, must learn to deal with change, which is one of the key goals. Such change must be balanced with what is feasible for students to learn, what universities can economically support, what will ensure portability, and what will enable preservation. Since NDLTD operates as a federation, now supporting federated search, and in the future enabling harvesting through the Open Archives Initiative, there must be agreement among members to allow interoperation. Following suitable standards, especially regarding metadata, and providing at least minimal services, such as those called for in OAI, will allow very low cost global services to support local and regional efforts.

      In the future, NDLTD plans to offer an increased set of services – not just search but also browsing, annotation, and selective dissemination of information (i.e., routing according to profiles). Searching against millions of works will need to be supported by tools for handling full-text, multimedia content-based matching, query by example, and other approaches. Additional mechanisms for preservation, agreements to enhance performance through mirroring, and flexible handling of works in many of the world’s languages will all be needed. Continual evaluation and refinement of services, tailored training and education, and increased sharing and collaboration should help ensure ongoing improvement and eventual fulfillment of the many goals and objectives of ETD programs.

      One of the aims of this monograph is to invite the reader to learn, participate, and contribute to this cooperative venture!