Patron Augmented Digital Libraries

Abstract: Digital library research is mostly focused on the generation of large collections of multimedia resources and state-of-the-art tools for their indexing and retrieval. However, digital libraries should provide more than advanced collection maintenance and retrieval services since the ultimate goal of any (academic) library is to serve the scholarly needs of its users. This paper begins by presenting a case for digital scholarship in which patrons perform all scholarly work electronically. A proposal is then made for patron-augmented digital libraries (PADLs), a class of digital libraries that supports the digital scholarship of its patrons. Finally, a prototype PADL (called Synchrony) providing access to video segments and associated textual transcripts is described. Synchrony allows patrons to search the library for artifacts, create annotations/original compositions, integrate these artifacts to form synchronized mixed text and video presentations and, after suitable review, publish these presentations into the digital library if desired. A study to evaluate the PADL concept and the usability of Synchrony is also discussed. The study revealed that participants were able to use Synchrony for the authoring and publishing of presentations and that attitudes toward PADLs were generally positive.

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