Villanova University

Department of Computing Sciences

CSC9010 Digital Libraries

Professor:  Dr. Lillian N. Cassel

Teaching Assistant:  Prashanth Yella

Semester: Spring 2012

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.  We will also look at some basic topics in Information Retrieval to provide a foundation for retrieving information from digital libraries.

During the class, students will install and populate a digital library.  There are several systems available.  In the past, we have used DSpace and have significant experience with that software.  However, the creators of DSpace and the newer Fedora system have merged their operations.  Their new name is DuraSpace.  (see them at They continue to offer DSpace and Fedora, as well as a new cloud service.  If you wish to use one of these, you are welcome to do so.  There is also a project called Greenstone.  Their software is probably the easiest to download, configure and get working.  However, it does not have the volume of options that the larger systems provide.  More recently, Content Management Systems have become widely available.  We are using one of these, Drupal, extensively in projects that I supervise.  You may find that the most flexible system available.

Whatever you choose as your system software, you are free to choose your own type of content for your digital library. Examples include copies of work you have done, photos, songs, or any other kind of digital objects or a mixture of kinds.  Think about what interests you and what your would like to develop into a library to make visible to others.

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.

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.
You will do a system installation and configuration regardless of what project you choose.  You may extend that initial DL as your project or you may choose to do something different.

Digital Library project (Digital Libraries: Practice)
Create something new in digital libraries.
There are various levels at which you can do this.  You can create a specific digital library to showcase resources in a particular subject area.  You might choose to do something more in terms of adding to what we can do with a digital library.  If you develop a new module for use with Drupal, for example, you would be making this type of choice.

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. 
You will learn to characterize a particular digital library using these characteristics.  You will present your own work in these terms.

Organize information in a digital library (Digital Libraries: Theory)
The role of metadata and other ways to describe digital library content
Your digital library will include appropriate metadata chosen to serve the purpose of your library.

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?
You will answer these questions with respect to the content you have chosen for your digital library.

Digital Library services (Digital Libraries: Theory)
What besides content makes a library? How are these services expressed in a digital environment?
In your own digital library, what services have you included?  What is the purpose of each?  What would you like to include if you had sufficient resources and time?

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.  In the class, you will be with a small group who all have the same requirements and I hope we will all be supportive of each other. 

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 assistance. 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.

A graduate student who does satisfactory work in assignments receives a grade of B. Better work receives better grades. An A is certainly possible, but does require exceptional work, not just meeting requirements. 

There will be some specific deliverables that will be graded.  In addition, there will be periodic quizzes.  If this seems to go well, we will not have any long examinations.  If it appears that we need the forced focus that exams provide, then we will have them.  Expect a quiz about every 2 to 3 weeks.

Course Web Presence

There are advantages and disadvantages to the Blackboard course management system used at Villanova.  I prefer that my materials be open and accessible, so I will use this public web site.  We will use the Blackboard site from time to time to take advantage of tools that are there.  Be sure to log in to the course site and become familiar with its use.

Semester Schedule

The following calendar will be developed as the class progresses.  We begin with an approximate schedule of topics and readings for the first few weeks.


Links_to Slides
Digital Libraries: What and Why
Concept maps
What is a library?
Introduction to the 5S model of digital libraries
Intro - Basics
Read: "As We May Think" by Vannevar Bush
Read: Streams, structures, spaces, scenarios, societies (5S): A formal model for digital libraries
from the ACM Digital Library

Concept map of a digital library
The 5S model of digital libraries
DSpace, Greenstone and other open source packages for installing and managing a digital collection.
Modeling and Formalisms

Characterize a library by the 5S model --
We will look at the library of caches documented at
Produce a diagram such as we saw for the Etana library. 
Content: The real thing and its description. Gathering content, classifying it. Metadata standards (including Dublin Core) and application to digital library content.


Quiz 1 -- the 5 S model
Approximately 30 minutes (There will be time for questions before the quiz)

Design an XML schema for a subject of interest

Establish groups for the first DL installation
Google Books, DL designs
Access control and encryption
Access Control Reading due: Arms, Digital Libraries Chapter 7 "Access management and security"
Reading: NINCH Guide Chapter 4 "Rights Management"
Discuss differences and similarities of these materials

Access rights example


Cryptography example

Finish Access Control

Public Key Encryption and Digital Signatures
Read DL book chapter on Evaluation found in Blackboard.
Quiz 2 -- Access Control
Questions from prior quizzes are fair game for each quiz
Evaluation and Quality in Digital Libraries
Quality and Evaluation
Usability intro
Quality in Digital Libraries.  From the Digital Libraries book by Fox et al.

Team work time for first project

Quiz 3 -- Quality,
Spring break -- no classes this week


Presentation of digital library installations
Presentation of project proposals

Full session used for presentations. 

H.R. Hartson, P. Shivakumar, M.A. Pérez-Quiñones (2004) Usability
inspection of digital libraries: a case study. In International
Journal on Digital Libraries, v4(2), pp. 108-123.
Paper will be sent by e-mail.
Read for next week.
Usability and User Interface
Usability and Evaluation

Interoperability: The Open Archives Initiative

Interoperable DLs

Quiz 4 -- Usability and Evaluation
Fundamentals of Information Retrieval
IR - 1

Information Retrieval, part 2
IR - 2

Web Crawling
Web Crawling

Last day of class.  Summing up and reflection Recap of the semester

Project presentations

References (This list will be expanded as the class progresses)

  1. CIS 661 - Digital Libraries:
  2. Concept Maps:
  3. Copyright Management Center, IUPUI Indianapolis.  Checklist for Fair Use
  4. Cryptograms.
  5. Cryptograms - Letter Frequencies.
  6. Data Encryption Standard.
  7. Getting Permission.
  8. Giving SOAP a REST
  9. Gonçalves, M. A., Moreira, B. L., Fox, E. A., and Watson, L. T. "Quality Model for Digital Libraries"�
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. Library of Congress. American Memory Project
  13. Library of Congress. American Memory Project.  Map Collections.
  14. OAI For Beginners - The Open Archives Forum online tutorial:
  15. Sale, Tony.  Technical Specification of the Enigma.
  16. Sale, Tony.  Virtual Bletchley Park. The Breaking of Enigma by the Polish Mathematicians
  17. SOAP Version 1.2 Part 0: Primer
  18. US Copyright Office.  Copyright.
  19. Z39.50 An Overview of Development and the Future (1995)
  20. Z39.50 Resource Page: