e-Journals and Digital Libraries

Many professional and academic journals are now published in electronic form.

These have the advantage of being searchable. Additionally they may be used by any number of simultaneous users and cannot be lost or damaged.

Institutions generally purchase a subscription providing password authenticated access and/or access by IP address, this means resources may be accessed from particular computers or networks.

To gain an idea of the quantity of journals available in electronic form peruse the list of Electronic Journals offered by the University of British Columbia Library.

Digital libraries

The Internet and Web provide learners with access to vast quantities of information from wherever they might happen to be. One of the greatest strengths of the Web is the ease with which anyone may participate and publish their own ideas. However, this is also one of its greatest weaknesses from an educational perspective.

Because anyone can, and many people do, publish information on the Web the content found there does not carry the same authority as, say, papers published in a peer reviewed journal. It is much harder to validate the integrity of information found on the Web, especially for learners – for the very reason that they are (by definition) non-expert in the subjects they are studying.

Digital libraries provide a collection of quality assured (ie by subject experts) resources which may be searched and/or categorized. Resources can be internal documents (eg course notes, research), e-journals and generally available Web sites. Content need not be restrices to textual documents and may include interactive and mulimedia resources.

For examples of Web-wide digital libraries see The Perseus Digital Library and The Internet Public Library.

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