Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, and Annotated Content
(24 resources)
This category of new digital publication includes resources in all disciplines
attempting to provide comprehensive, authoritative reference for a topic as
well as resources that layer primary source material with definitive scholarly
commentary. Most of the resources found through this field study are
completely open access, although a few require some minimal level of
registration for visitors.
Perhaps the most innovative aspect is the use of user-generated content to
populate some of these resources. Some, like the Stanford Encyclopedia of
Philosophy, function as scholarly peer-reviewed sources, with articles written
and reviewed by credentialed scholars in the field, finding online benefits
largely in facilitating the editorial process, and speeding the revision of articles.
Others are innovating by making use of the general public to develop data and
other content that is then made available to scholars. Encyclopedia of Life
describes itself as an “online reference and database” of information about
Earth’s 1.8 million known species. It encourages contributions from the lay
public but has a team of experts to authenticate and select the material that
will ultimately appear in each entry.
The digital environment also enables scholars to publish commentary
and annotations around primary source content, making them richer forms of
publication than simple libraries of digital images. Roman de la Rose Digital
Library is a collection of digital surrogates of versions of that medieval
illuminated text, whose originals are dispersed in special collections around
the world. The project allows side-by-side comparisons of digitized
manuscripts that would be impossible otherwise. In addition, scholars
contributed to the development of metadata for these digital surrogates,
based on different critical interpretations of this work. The digitized texts are
therefore searchable based on criteria reflecting scholarly output—and the
research enabled by these searches will lead to new scholarly conclusions
not possible in an analog world.
Data Resources (41 resources)
The sciences were among the first fields to use technology to aggregate and
share the results of research. There are several types of examples reported in
this study: sites hosting the data output of a particular scientific endeavor for
RLI 263 15
Digital Scholarly Communication: A Snapshot of Current Trends
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C O N T I N U E D
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APRIL 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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