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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: June 2018

20 - The role of digital libraries in helping students attend to source information



This paper introduces the Digital Libraries in the Classroom programme and then details the particular approach to evaluation undertaken by Michigan State University as part of the Spoken Word project, which is exploring the role of digital libraries in helping students attend to source information.

Digital Libraries in the Classroom

Digital Libraries in the Classroom is jointly funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) ( and the National Science Foundation (NSF) ( and is running from 2003 to 2006, with embedding activities within the host institutions in the UK continuing to 2008. The programme has been developed to bring about significant improvements in the learning and teaching process by bringing emerging technologies and readily available digital content into mainstream educational use. Projects are examining some or all of the following issues:

  • • The innovative use of distributed, multimedia multisource digital content and advanced network technologies and capabilities in education.
  • • Radically improving and extending the way teachers and students approach knowledge in a given subject area; this might involve re-examination of the foundations of a topical area and the methods by which topical knowledge is accumulated, understood and legitimized.
  • • Examining how the classroom experience can be enriched for both teachers and students through the use of innovative applications and access to digital resources.
  • • A better understanding of students’ requirements for effective use of information and communication technology (ICT), virtual learning environments (VLE) and electronic information resources.
  • • How teachers can be assisted to incorporate ICT, VLE and electronic information resources appropriately, to provide balanced courses for students.
  • • The institutional information infrastructure required to deliver courses in these innovative ways, including the provision of suitable networks, resources, applications, and the development of strategies to manage all of these effectively.
  • • The organizational changes that will be required to deliver courses in this way and support the staff and students involved, and how these can best be managed by the institutions.
  • • The development needs of the teaching staff, the information service support teams and administrators, and consideration of the reward mechanisms for staff engaged in innovative activities.
  • • Economic models for the development, delivery and long-term support and development of ICT-based learning.