Discussion about the digital library. Reality and myths.
From 2012, nearly a half from all periodicals in Latvia is available on a digital form at The National Library of Latvia. You can easily find some facts about previous years from a newspaper published a hundred years ago, read news articles, see photos and pictures. Now it’s possible without searching the news in some discoloured print. Still, digitizing issue is wrapped around myths and even scandalous misunderstandings while reality comes out quite pragmatic.
A common myth about the digital library is that is might be easier to digitize the whole collection from The National Library instead of building The Castle of Light.
Another myth is that the digital library is used by young people or IT professionals only. Sometimes people who are not aware of the various range of the library issues think that a library is just a collection of books, therefore, only books should be digitized. Some may think that www.periodika.lv texts are hand-written. How is it in real life? Is digitizing an intelectual process or more like automatic functions? Is digitized copy better thant the original?
We tend to hear that the digital library should be absolutely free of charge and available at home, but there are circumstances that do not allow to realize this idea.
The National Library of Latvia together with 17 European partner institutions has joined the „Europeana Newspapers” project in order to digitize more than 18 million newspaper pages and put it at European digital library called „Europeana” network. Discussion will cover issues related to necessity of a new portal where all European digitized newspapers would be put. Or is it more important that only Latvian digitized press is available?
The National Library of Latvia invites everyone to share their opinion about newspaper digitizing process and experience on using www.periodika.lv.