Villanova University

Department of Computing Sciences

CSC 5930/9010 Digital Libraries

Professor:  Dr. Lillian N. Cassel

Semester: Fall 2006

Course Description:  Digital Libraries and other Web-Based Information Presentation : This special topics course will examine the general question of providing organized, efficient access to information through a web-based interface. The emphasis will be on Digital Libraries since this is a reasonably well-developed area that supports storage and presentation of a wide range of information types.

During the class, students will install and populate a digital library using the open source DSpace system. Built at MIT, this software has been widely accepted as a good start for digital libraries. The system is installed and running at Villanova, both in the Computing Sciences department and in the Falvey library. We have developed documentation in addition to what is available at the DSpace site. Students are free to choose their own type of content for their digital library. Examples include copies of work you have done, photos, songs, or any other kind of digital objects or a mixture of kinds.

There is a growing body of work investigating what makes a well organized and well implemented digital library and this will form the basis of this course. We will mix theory and practice to result in expertise and experience.

Course Goals:
Describe Web based information sources (Digital Libraries: Theory)
Contrast a digital library with other types of online resource collections. Enumerate the characteristics of a digital library that distinguishes it from a database or a web site.

Digital Library project (Digital Libraries: Practice)
Create something new in digital libraries.

Characterize Digital Libraries using the 5S model (Digital Libraries: Theory)
Streams, Structures, Spaces, Scenarios, Societies -- the 5 S's that encompass the characteristics of digital libraries. What do they all mean and how can they be used to build and maintain a working digital library.

Organize information in a digital library (Digital Libraries: Theory)
The role of metadata and other ways to describe digital library content

Recognize and Protect Intellectual Property (Digital Libraries: Theory)
Balancing the rights of the author with the desire to share information requires understanding of intellectual property rights. What can we put into our digital library? To whom can we make it available?

Digital Library services (Digital Libraries: Theory)
What besides content makes a library? How are these services expressed in a digital environment?

Install and configure a digital library (Digital Libraries: Practice)
You will install and configure a digital library so that it can hold information and present it to users, along with appropriate digital library services.

Information about the course management:
 Introduction :
Every indication is that the best way to learn is to be actively involved in discovery, in creating your own knowledge. As a result, your active participation is a fundamental requirement of this course. Each class session will involve some discussion. You will make at least one presentation in front of the class. If that idea makes you somewhat uncomfortable, take that as a sign that you need to overcome that feeling and become confident in your ability to speak to a group and to present your work and your ideas.
Additional information :
Attendance: I assume that every student will attend every class unless I have heard previously that you have a reason for missing class. In all cases, you are responsible to discover what has been done in the class you miss. Just keeping up with class by hearing about happenings from other students is not sufficient, however. Your input into our discussions is important. Your absence not only hurts you; it deprives the rest of the class of the valuable contributions you would have made. A part of the grade is reserved for active participation in every class session.
Some of your work will be submitted in written form. The quality of the writing will be considered in grading your work. Resources are available to help with writing well, and I will be glad to give you some asistance. I do recognize that for many people in this class, English is not your first language. I will consider that in evaluating your work. However, I will expect you to make a conscientious effort to write clearly and to present your ideas in a well-organized and understandable form. Villanova has a writing center where any student can obtain assistance with writing. I will be happy to lend assistance also. Learning to express yourself clearly will serve you well in future endeavors.

Grading Policy
Grades will be based on successful and timely completion of assignments and projects, and on active participation in class and in online discussions.

There are both undergraduate and graduate students in this class, each taking the course at their proper level. There are different grading scales for the two groups. There will be somewhat different expectations of the groups and the grades will be appropriate to the level of the student.

For undergraduates: Doing what is assigned at an acceptable level earns a grade of C. Doing a better job than base acceptably improves the grade. Doing a less than acceptable job receives a lower grade. An A is quite possible, but does require exceptional work, not just meeting requirements.

For graduate students: Graduate students are expected to be at a higher level of accomplishment than undergraduates and this is reflected in the grading scales. A graduate student who does what is expected in assignments receives a grade of B. Better work receives better grades. An A is quite possible, but does require exceptional work, not just meeting requirements.

All students: See the descriptions of the grading levels in the scoring templates for assignments. There is one for reports and one for projects.

Semester Schedule
Link to Slides
Digital Libraries: What and Why
Class  Slides

The 5S model of digital libraries
DSpace, Greenstone and other open source packages for installing and managing a digital collection.
Class  Slides
First Reading due: "As We May Think" by Vannevar Bush
Content:  The real thing and its description. Gathering content, classifying it. Metadata standards and application to digital library content. Class  Slides
Reading: Streams, structures, spaces, scenarios, societies (5s): A formal model for digital libraries
from the ACM Digital Library
Guest speaker, Dr. Joseph Lucia, Director of the Falvey Library at Villanova
Class  Slides

Dublin Core, Google Books, DL designs Class  Slides

Access control and encryption
Class  Slides
Reading: Arms, Digital Libraries Chapter 7 "Access management and security"
Reading: NINCH Guide Chapter 4 "Rights Management"
Discuss differences and similarities of these materials
Fall Break

Metadata Harvesting:  The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting
Class Slides

User Interfaces and Usability
Class Slides

Quality in Digital Libraries. How to measure; what does it mean; how important is it
Class Slides
Gonçalves, M. A., Moreira, B. L., Fox, E. A., and Watson, L. T. Quality Model for Digital Libraries to be published soon
Summing up and looking ahead
Class Slides

online class

Project presentations

Project presentations

Project presentations


  1. CIS 661 - Digital Libraries:
  2. Copyright Management Center, IUPUI Indianapolis.  Checklist for Fair Use
  3. Cryptograms.
  4. Cryptograms - Letter Frequencies.
  5. Data Encryption Standard.
  6. Getting Permission.
  7. Giving SOAP a REST
  8. Gonçalves, M. A., Moreira, B. L., Fox, E. A., and Watson, L. T. “Quality Model for Digital Libraries” to be published soon
  9. Gonçalves, M. A., Luo, M., Ali, M. F., and Fox, E. A. “An XML Log Standard and Tool for Digital Library Logging Analysis” In Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries, 6th European Conference, ECDL 2002, Rome, Italy, September 16-18, 2002, Proceedings
  10. Klas, C., et al "A Logging Scheme for Comparative Digital Library Evaluation” Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries, 10th European Conference, ECDL 2006, Alicante,Spain, September 18-20, 2002, Proceedings
  11. Library of Congress. American Memory Project
  12. Library of Congress. American Memory Project.  Map Collections.
  13. OAI For Beginners - The Open Archives Forum online tutorial:
  14. Sale, Tony.  Technical Specification of the Enigma.
  15. Sale, Tony.  Virtual Bletchley Park. The Breaking of Enigma by the Polish Mathematicians
  16. SOAP Version 1.2 Part 0: Primer
  17. US Copyright Office.  Copyright.
  18. Z39.50 An Overview of Development and the Future (1995)
  19. Z39.50 Resource Page: