The following represent key elements of digital library systems inJapan:
- Advanced, mission-specific, and compelling digital library systems areoperational in some Japanese public institutions and commercialenterprises.
- Technology companies are exploring advanced digital library components andcomputing paradigms. Commercial emphasis is on custom integrations.
- Replicable solutions, services, and outsourcing were not observed except asenvisioned by the Second Generation Digital Library project.
- Japanese businesses and public institutions are engaged in asecond-generation digital library project with a comprehensivearchitecture.
- Most libraries and museums do demonstration projects, while some areaggressive "early adopters" of digital library approaches.
The following points summarize the findings of the trip regarding systemsand architecture:
- Advanced, mission-specific digital library systems are driving certainpublic institutions and commercial enterprises forward. These systems areusually part of a business process reengineering effort caused by rapid changesin the nature of information creation, consumption, and distributiontechnologies that affect core business functions and create new businessopportunities. In these cases, architecture and systems are driven by businessprocesses.
- Individually, technology companies are doing exploratory work on componentsfor integration into current systems, but also looking forward to new computingparadigms that imply fundamental changes in systems, particularly with respectto information access and distribution. In these cases, it is clear that theinterest is in providing advanced core technologies that support manyinformation technology market segments.
- Cooperatively, Japanese business and institutions are engaged in asecond-generation digital library project, which does provide a comprehensivearchitectural and systems point of reference. This is CORBA-based, takesadvantage of advances in networking, features metadata management and manyflavors of search and query.
- Libraries and museums, whose approach to information management in manyways inspires the technologies we saw, are split between those that are doinginteresting, but limited demonstration or exploratory projects, and those thatare aggressive "early adopters" with comprehensive visions and commitments tochange the ways information is acquired, managed, and utilized in theirenvironments. The library and museum sector featured many digitizationprojects, and offered numerous insights into the capture and catalogingsubcomponents of an overall digital library system.
Published: February 1999; WTECHyper-Librarian