It seems inevitable that the class of works available through digitallibraries will include electronic-only publications, ephemeral and unreviewedmaterials and even fabricated or counterfeit matter. The ease of publishing onthe Internet combined with the absence of traditional methods for evaluatingreliability makes it likely that library users will be retrieving works ofquestionable authenticity and value. Issues concerning the Internet and digitalmaterials include:
- Reliability. How can a user (or an automated agent) evaluate thereliability of digital materials? What information must be maintained about thesource of the item and its creator to facilitate a decision?
- Version control. How can changes made to a document be tracked and theappropriate catalog entries updated?
- Archiving. What assurance can there be that the digital materials will beretained somehow in their original form for an indefinite period?
- Authenticity. How can the genuineness of materials be assured?
- Reviews. The system should allow the user to scan reviews of the retrievedwork and then add his own reviews or comments to a database.
- Citations. How may a user readily learn which works have cited theretrieved work, either favorably or unfavorably?
Published: February 1999; WTECHyper-Librarian