The term "library" conjures a variety of different images. For some, a library is a dim and dusty place filled with out-of-date texts of limited historical interest. For others, it is a rich collection of archival quality information which may include video and audio tapes, disks, printed books, magazines, periodicals, reports and newspapers. As used in this report, a library is intended to be an extension of this latter concept to include material of current and possibly only transient interest. Seen from this new perspective, the digital library is a seamless blend of the conventional archive of current or historically important information and knowledge, along with ephemeral material such as drafts, notes, memoranda and files of ongoing activity.
The potential utility for the Digital Library System technology is extremely high if agreement can be reached on appropriate standards and the relevant parties participate on a national scale. The efforts of multiple organizations such as computing equipment suppliers, publishers and other information providers and communications companies are needed to achieve the goals of the project. If successful, the results of this research offer the distinct possibility of enhancing productivity and should stimulate others to develop a vast array of new information products and services. The societal implications of success are very significant.