The Digital Library North project has been designed with a number of different research contexts in mind. The following pages outline these contexts in detail.
Digital Libraries are “collections of information that are both digitized and organized” (Lesk, 1997; Lyman, 1998; Saracevic, 2000), are made available through the Web (Comeaux, 2007), and can contain text and multimedia (Zaphiris et al., 2004). Examples include the First Nations Collection of the Southern Oregon Digital Archives; the Tibetan and Himalayan Library; the Arctic Science and Technology Information System (ASTIS), which includes the Inuvialuit Settlement Region database; and Haathi Trust. Harper (2006) identified five key elements for developing a good digital library, including system architecture, digitization of content, metadata involvement, visual interface, and preservation of digital objects. Digital libraries are appropriate platforms for multilingual and cultural applications (Zaphiris et al., 2004; Dunn, 2011; Nakata et al., 2008; Maina, 2009; Parandjuk, 2010) and have the potential to serve users with different types of needs and abilities. For instance, oral history collections in audio format can benefit the community through use by non-readers aided by appropriate interfaces (Deo et al., 2002). Recent developments include the use of social media applications, user-generated content, and interactive features and functionalities that enhance user experience. Web 2.0 technologies are being widely adopted (Srinivasan et al., 2009; Lagoze, 2010; Harper, 2006; Shiri and Rathi, 2012; Parandjuk, 2010). However, there is little research on how information needs and information-seeking behaviours of rural, remote and northern communities can be used as a basis for the development of a digital library. This project aims to fill this lacunae.