Thursday, December 13, 2007

sharing personal libraries

I am very excited by the news about the joint project between the Zotero group at the Center for History and New Media and the Internet Archive.

Zotero is a very easy-to-use tool for developing personal citation repositories for distributed resources. The creation of a "Zotero Commons" registry of sorts where materials used by researchers can be shared is a powerful idea. It's an institutional repository without institutional boundaries. The idea of tying this in to the Internet Archive's archive of the web so that materials citied but not directly deposited are also not lost is even more intriguing. That there will be the capacity for both individual and group work is as it should be.

Here's the core of the project to me: "The combined digital collections present opportunities for scholars to find primary research materials, to discover one another’s work, to identify materials that are already available in digital form and therefore do not need to be located and scanned, to find other scholars with similar interests and to share their own insights broadly."

I wonder how this will fit into the landscape with other digital registries and collections. The DLF/OCLC Registry? OAIster? Aquifer? American Memory? What is the relationship between what institutions digitize, what their research communities have deposited in IRs, what is harvested into larger aggregations, and what scholars personally create? This is a problem space that bears a lot more discussion.

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