LIS 385T.6   Digital Libraries INSTRUCTOR: Dr. John Leggett
Fridays, June 6 to August 15, 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm PHONE: 979/845-0298

Course Description

This class covers current research and practice in the field of Digital Libraries. Current practice will be investigated by studying common architectures and techniques for building and maintaining digital libraries. The Greenstone open source digital library system will be used as a vehicle for building digital collections throughout the semester. Current research will be investigated by reading the research literature and will cover the breadth of this highly interdisciplinary area.


Students should have a basic knowledge of computing and the humanities, the ability to learn new software tools on their own, and the ability to generate a basic web site by authoring web pages. A TA will be available to help.

Reading Materials

The practical part of this course will focus on reading, presentation and discussion of the textbook, acquisition of skills with the Greenstone open source digital library system, and building digital collections. The research part of this course will focus on reading, presentation and discussion of the research literature. We will read approximately 45 research papers (three per class hour) taken almost exclusively from the best papers in the JCDL (and previous) conferences. The papers will be available online (mostly from the ACM digital library).


   How to Build a Digital Library
   Ian H. Witten and David Bainbridge
   Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2003


The grade will be based 30% on class participation, 30% on class assignments, and 40% on digital collection development.

Class Participation

Class sessions covering the research literature will include a discussion of reading materials. One student will be assigned to present a brief overview of the reading and other students will be ready to discuss the important topics in the readings. All students are expected to have read the materials and be able to participate. Students will be able to sign up in advance for particular readings.

Class Assignments

Several short assignments will be given throughout the class. These assignments may require use of specific software outside of class time and will take the form of short essays, written answers to questions, and design documents. Most materials will be delivered through the web and will be linked from the class web site to the student's web pages for the class. Some materials may have to be delivered via email or in a MOO.

Digital Collection Development

Students are expected to build digital collections during this class. The collections could be several small, interesting collections, one or two medium size collections, or one large collection. This will be discussed in detail in class and the collection building effort must be approved by the instructor. The collections will be presented to the class on the last class day.