Digital Libraries as Learning Environments: A Case for Enabling Digital Libraries
Digital libraries have improved the availability of resources by leaps and bonds compared to traditional libraries. The improved availability does not have much effect on improved accessibility of resources. Accessibility is related to making the resources useable and useful for the user . This shortcoming can be addressed by changing the focus from user-centered design to learner-centered design of digital libraries. In this paper, I present a theory of learning that is a natural fit for online digital libraries. Based on this theory, I will present a framework that provides guidance for design and development of educational digital libraries. I call the resulting digital libraries “Enabling Digital Libraries”. Enabling digital libraries are characterized by the interactions that provide processes and representations that enable a learner to grasp a higher level of understanding related to her task / information requirements / learning needs. I will show how the conceptual framework can be used for evaluation of current digital libraries interfaces and how can it be used to guide design of new generation of educational digital libraries.