PROLIB digital library - how to modernise your library

Marta Bednarek

Biblioteka cyfrowa systemu PROLIB

Sygnity Business Solutions has always focused on solutions to make users’ lives easier. This is exactly how the PROLIB library system was built and exactly how the digital library of the PROLIB system was created. But where did it all start?

Project Gutenberg, an endeavour regarded as the first digital library, had 100 items in its collection in 1994. Thirty years later, the holdings of various digital libraries can be counted in the millions. Basically everything has changed since the first digital documents site was created. However, we may wonder – are these changes still ongoing? “The market” for digital libraries already seems to be stabilised. Collections are constantly growing, the tool available on the market is already very familiar to us. Is there still room for new developments in all this?

A digital library is a product that not only meets all the requirements for publishing digital objects on the web. It is also a tool that is fully consistent with the library catalogue and user account. The application’s interface, for both readers and editors/administrators, is web-based, meaning that it allows users to work from any device and from anywhere. The digital library website is fully responsive (RWD) and compliant with WCAG 2.1 requirements.

Biblioteki cyfrowe SBS

Our PROLIB system’s Digital Library is compatible with the INTEGRO catalogue, allowing the user to access the materials of interest – both traditional and digital – from a single search window. The reader navigates in a familiar interface and uses a single user account. These are solutions that benefit the perception of the institution as a whole. Our audience does not have to learn the various tools in order to make full use of the library’s offer; nor do we require them to set up further accounts. Maintaining the library’s offerings in a single interface is a tangible benefit to its users. This is the direction in which all modern systems and institutions are moving.

Today’s users will certainly appreciate the fact that viewing all digital objects is done directly on the digital library’s website. The reader does not have to worry about installing any additional plug-ins or tools to view the digitally shared material. The digital library is equipped with built-in components for handling PDF and DjVU files. Files in these formats are opened in dedicated viewers that allow readers to easily access their content. If we allow the reader to download a file, he or she chooses in which form to use it – from within the digital library or directly from his or her device. It is in the hands of the library to have full control over licences and how individual files are made available – including the ability to restrict access to a specific group of users only.

In our solution, we do not forget the librarians who work as editors and administrators of the Digital Library. Their work also takes place in a web interface, so they can do it from any device. At their disposal is the Dublin Core schema and, for libraries with more specific requirements, the possibility to create their own metadata schema. The administration panel in the Digital Library, as in the rest of the solutions under the PROLIB banner, guarantees that the entire tool can be customised. We provide our customers with a solution that is immediately ready to use, but at the same time is open to changes and even better personalisation.

All metadata entered into the Digital Library can be disseminated to the major data aggregators. This is possible thanks to the support of the OAI-PMH protocol, which allows the exchange of content with, for example, the Digital Library Federation. This allows the library’s work and resources to be made widely available to the public.

Biblioteka cyfrowa z katalogiem Integro

The digital library was created under the brand name of the PROLIB library system, but it can also operate in a separate mode, i.e. independently of the system used by the library. The flexibility of the solution allows this tool to be widely used in all types of libraries. Complementing the Digital Library’s capabilities is the cloud model, which allows the product to be used without the need for its own server resources.

The era of digital libraries is certainly not over and will continue to evolve. We will still see a lot of material in digital form that is waiting to be digitised and made available to a wide audience. It is worth remembering, however, that in the whole process of making this data available, the end user is crucial. And it is for their convenience that it is worth implementing solutions which are coherent and integrated with other services offered by the library. The PROLIB system’s Digital Library is such a solution.