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The terms virtual library,digital library, and electronic library have received growing attention among professional librarians, researchers, and users of information over the past decade. The confluence of exploding sources of data, expanding technical capability, and constrained time and money will quickly move these concepts from exploration to execution by the turn of the century. Converting the potential of the digital library into reality demands a powerful array of services for users. Formulating and delivering those services will test many of the conventions under which researching and online services have operated over the past decade. This paper proposes using software and electronic content to emulate interaction between the reference librarian and the library patron as the model to define and deliver highly valued Digital Researcher services. These Digital Researcher services can fill a fundamental gap between the potential and the reality of digital libraries. Computers, software, and intelligent Content Bases can powerfully augment the traditional research professional. Digital Researcher services will not displace information professionals. Rather they will extend and enhance the value delivered by these professionals. Modeled after the intelligent interactions which many information professionals have daily with patrons and end-users, successful Digital Researcher services will create value, answer questions, and help expand knowledge well into the millennium. (Author/SWC)

Descriptors: Computer Software, Databases, Electronic Libraries, Futures (of Society), Information Scientists, Information Technology, Internet, Library Role, Library Services, Online Searching, Online Systems, Reference Services, Search Intermediaries, Technological Advancement, User Needs (Information), Users (Information)

Autor: Crane, Dennis J.


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