The roles of digital libraries in teaching and learning

Gary Marchionini (University of Maryland, College Park, MD/USA,
Hermann Maurer (Graz University of Technology, Graz/Austria,

Libraries have long served crucial roles in learning. The first great library, in Alexandria two thousand years ago was really the first university. It consisted of a zoo and various cultural artifacts in addition to much of the ancient world's written knowledge and attracted scholars from around the Mediterranean who lived and worked in a scholarly community for years at a time. Today, the rhetoric associated with the National/Global Information Infrastructure (N/GII) always includes examples of how the vast quantities of information that global networks provide (i.e., digital libraries) will be used in educational settings [16].

This paper describes how digital libraries are evolving to meet the needs of teaching and learning and identifies issues for continued development. We distinguish formal, informal, and professional learning and argue that digital libraries will allow teachers and students to use information resources and tools that have traditionally been physically and conceptually inaccessible. We illustrate the types of information resources that digital libraries offer to teachers and learners and discuss some of the issues and challenges that digital libraries present for teaching and learning.

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