The Pacific Rim Digital Library Alliance and the Pacific Rim Library
R. Bruce Miller
Associate University Librarian, User Support Services, University of California, San Diego
Director, International Relations and Pacific Studies Library, University of California, San Diego
Pacific Rim Digital Library Alliance
The Pacific Rim Digital Library Alliance (http://www.prdla.org) was created in October 1997 and includes the following members:
The goal of the Alliance is to facilitate access to scholarly research materials, primarily by using digital technology to share and deliver information resources in a timely and effective manner. Administrative bureaucracy has been minimized, pilot projects with rapid results are preferred over “grand schemes”, and cooperative ventures among subsets of the membership are encouraged. Successful pilot projects deliver needed information resources to scholars and, at the same time, provide the foundations and test beds for the development of even more substantial resources. Funding for Alliance activities has been through a combination of grants from the Henry R. Luce Foundation, the National Security Education Program, fundraising from individual donors, and resources from the participating members.
The Pacific Rim Library
The Pacific Rim Library (http://prl.sdsc.edu) is conceptualized as a virtual “internet library” that will provide conventional library collections and services in support of research and education related to the Pacific Rim. Digitized books, journals, maps, manuscripts, and other materials will be available online and, whenever possible, electronic document delivery and interlibrary loan will provide access to materials that are not available online. A conservative estimate concludes that there are more than 50 million volumes among the combined holdings of the Alliance libraries. The Alliance has initiated a variety of actions and projects to begin creating this Pacific Rim digital library. Building upon expertise and resources within the Alliance, initial technical projects include:
The traditional role of the library to acquire, organize, and deliver information is an enduring one. However, rapid changes in both the quantity and the formats of information resources have combined with budgetary limitations to undermine the viability of the classic library founded on large, comprehensive collections. The US-Korean Joint Workshop on Digital Libraries has underscored the need for continued effort to include cultural information from Korea. The Pacific Rim Digital Library Alliance has begun to demonstrate that political, language, geographic, and technical obstacles can be overcome through a variety of practical projects and agreements.