Assessing the Roles That a Small Specialist Library Plays to Guide the Development of a Hybrid Digital Library

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Abstract

A case study of the development of a hybrid digital library system for a small, specialist library is discussed. It is proposed that small, specialist libraries play different roles for their stakeholders than academic or commercial libraries do, and therefore different models of digital library systems are required. It is primarily shown that the community building and supporting roles are much stronger and more important and that financial resources are even more scarce than for academic and commercial libraries. Although the findings are based on an in-depth analysis of one library, a semi-formal interview study with librarians from similar institutions was undertaken. This demonstrates that the arguments presented here have a good level of generality.