Redefining Digital Library Boundaries: Being More than an Information Silo


This article is the final in a series of three publications that reflect on the boundaries and perceptions of what we think of when we hear the term Digital Libraries, with reference to our mainstream digital library systems. In this article we present three digital library examples that push the implementation envelope in terms of digital library systems functionality, thereby challenging expectations and assumptions about what our mainstream digital library systems are capable of delivering. The first example integrates a Digital Music Stand with a digital library environment, and in doing so extends the role of the digital library to include fine-grained interaction and access to document content. The second example is a digital library that supports musicological analysis, and shifts the boundaries of where and how the digital library operates. This second example is notable as it breaks out of the silo mindset prevalent in mainstream DLs software architecture designs. The trends of enhanced flexible and permissive capabilities continue through the third example, where we present a crowdsourced pop-trivia music video website with a Guitar Hero game challenge element. While this description might seem far removed from the notion of a digital library, it is in fact implemented using an off-the-shelf open source digital library solution, where all the additional functionality introduced is achieved through the inclusion of supplemental JavaScript and XSLT files—no change to the digital library architecture is needed. While the three chosen examples all happen to be musical in nature, this is really incidental to the main points being made, and the article concludes by generalising the discussion to other forms of digital library.


Digital Libraries, Digital Music, Music Videos

Full Text:


[ALA+10] Bernie Ács, Xavier Llorà, Loretta Auvil, Boris Capitanu, David Tcheng, Mike Haberman, Limin Dong, Tim Wentling & Michael Welge (2010). A General approach to data-intensive computing using the Meandre component-based framework. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Workflow Approaches to New Data-centric Science, New York, NY, USA, ACM.

[Bai15] David Bainbridge (2015). And we did it our way: A case for crowdsourcing in a digital library for musicology. In: Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Digital Libraries for Musicology, DLfM@JCDL 2015, Knoxville, TN, USA; June 25, 2015. p. 1–8.

[Bai19] David Bainbridge (2019). Digital libraries: Mission accomplished? SRELS Journal of Information Management, 56(4):159–70.

[Bai19] David Bainbridge (2019). Disassembling the software architecture of digital libraries: Getting more out of the building blocks. SRELS Journal of Information Management, 56(5):222-39.

[BB09] David Bainbridge & Timothy C. Bell (2009). An AJAXbased Digital Music Stand for Greenstone. In: Proc. of the 2009 Joint Int. Conf. on Digital Libraries, JCDL 2009, Austin, TX, USA; June 15-19. p. 463–64. nm0509-463. PMid:19424181.

[BHD14] David Bainbridge, Xiao Hu & J. Stephen Downie (2014.). A Musical Progression with Greenstone: How Music Content Analysis and Linked Data is Helping Redefine the Boundaries to a Music Digital Library. In: Proc. of the 1st Int. Workshop on Digital Libraries for Musicology, DLfM’14, New York, NY, USA, ACM; p. 1–8.

[FCN02] Jonathan Foote, Matthew Cooper & Unjung Nam (2002). Audio Retrieval by Rhythmic Similarity. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Music Information Retrieval, p. 265–66.

[GB05] Gómez, E. & Bonada, J. (2005). Tonality Visualization of Polyphonic Audio. In: Proceedings of International Computer Music Conference.

[Pil05] Mark Pilgrim (2005). Greasemonkey Hacks: Tips and Tools for Remixing the Web with Firefox. O’Reilly Media.

[Pil10] Mark Pilgrim. (2010). HTML5: Up and Running. O’Reilly Media.

[RCCd10] Christophe Rhodes, Tim Crawford, Michael Casey & Mark d’Inverno. (2010). Investigating music collections at different scales with audioDB. Journal of New Music Research, 39(4), 337–48.

[Tid08] Doug Tidwell. (2008.). XSLT: Mastering XML Transformations. O’Reilly Media, 2nd edition.


  • There are currently no refbacks.