Browsing Around a Digital Library

Ian H. Witten
University of Waikato, New Zealand

What will it be like to work in the digital library of the future? We begin by browsing around an experimental digital library of the present, glancing at some collections, seeing how they are organized, and noting their enormous potential for information distribution in developing countries. Then we look to the future. Although present digital libraries are quite like conventional libraries, we argue that future ones will feel qualitatively different. Readers--and writers--will work in the library using a kind of context-directed browsing. This will be supported by structures derived from automatic analysis of the contents of the library--not just the catalog, or abstracts, but the full text of the books and journals--using new techniques of text mining.

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