One of good knowledge management practice is storing and retrieving knowledge in the form of explicit knowledge. Explicit knowledge can be retrieved from many media, e.g. books, journals, magazines, articles, etc. To give easy access to library, digital library is one of the best solution available today.
Digital library is not merely scanning the physical media into digital format. Digital library means broader than that. It manages collections, either digital or the metadata of physical collections. Scanning the collections also has an issue of copyright and not all physical media appropriate to be made digital.
Another aspect of digital library is how to attract as many users as possible to access the digital library. One of the methods that can be use is by creating a specific interesting theme in library, e.g. digital photo of landscape, tutorial video, etc.
The access of digital collection also needs to be managed. It’s about who can get the access. What material the users can read. Is it allowed to download the material or just online viewing. And many aspect about digital collections access controls.
To optimize the process of conversion from physical media to digital media, it’s necessary to have a standard procedure for writing and converting to digital collections. It also includes the aspect and technique of the scanning methods used.
Sometimes, the best practice of document scanning is not doing it by ourselves but by hiring the document scanning service firms for conversion process. The quality is better than we do it ourselves and the price is not so high (around Rp. 300 per page). But be sure to hire a good company for doing this so we can make sure about the quality, confidentiality, and security of the physical and digital collections.
Digital library also has some standards for metadata storage. Dublin Core is one of metadata that’s simple to be implemented. Digital collections has some additional properties that’s different from the physical one, e.g. file format, resolution, watermarking, encryption, etc. Good digital library also maintains all that properties. Microsoft Office also has document properties editable for each document edited with Microsoft Office.
Good digital library can communicate to another open digital library repository using protocols like OAI-PMH so we can create a virtual large collections of digital media. In Indonesia, there is Garuda (Garba Rujukan Digital) for online access to research paper made in Indonesia.
If digital library and its collections can be managed well, it can be a silent marketing for the institution by giving the community access to knowledge of course by always referencing the taken knowledge to the original source.