It seems inevitable that the class of works available through digital
libraries will include electronic-only publications, ephemeral and unreviewed
materials and even fabricated or counterfeit matter. The ease of publishing on
the Internet combined with the absence of traditional methods for evaluating
reliability makes it likely that library users will be retrieving works of
questionable authenticity and value. Issues concerning the Internet and digital
- Reliability. How can a user (or an automated agent) evaluate the
reliability of digital materials? What information must be maintained about the
source of the item and its creator to facilitate a decision?
- Version control. How can changes made to a document be tracked and the
appropriate catalog entries updated?
- Archiving. What assurance can there be that the digital materials will be
retained 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 retrieved
work and then add his own reviews or comments to a database.
- Citations. How may a user readily learn which works have cited the
retrieved work, either favorably or unfavorably?
Published: February 1999; WTEC