The future of learning with digital libraries

Chang Chew-Hung, John G. Hedberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


While the prospect of using digital libraries for learning becomes more appealing with growing repositories of resources, it is not clear what factors other than the use of technology, determine the learning outcome for an individual. The focus of research on using digital libraries for learning has been on the richness of information that digital libraries afford and on the ability of digital libraries to organize information for information query and research. Any meaningful learning activity using digital libraries must therefore utilize their features for exploration and information gathering around a well designed task or inquiry, to result in effective higher order learning outcomes. The design of the inquiry task is provided by a teacher or even devised by the student, but it is not necessarily inherent within the digital library. However, digital libraries have the capabilities to be more supportive of student learning by providing tools that support processes such as investigation, analysis, transduction of information and scaffolding of inquiry process. Often, students use the digital library for information gathering but turn to other software applications for organizing information and constructing the arguments and learning artifacts for the learning task. While it requires the teachers'-and maybe students'-resourcefulness to choose the right type of tool for the activity, the future of learning with digital libraries rests on integrating supportive tools into a seamless learning environment.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of research on digital libraries
Subtitle of host publicationDesign, development, and impact
EditorsYin-Leng Theng, Schubert Foo, Dion Goh, Jin-Cheon Na
Place of PublicationHershey, PA
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781599048802
ISBN (Print)9781599048796
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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    Chew-Hung, C., & Hedberg, J. G. (2009). The future of learning with digital libraries. In Y-L. Theng, S. Foo, D. Goh, & J-C. Na (Eds.), Handbook of research on digital libraries: Design, development, and impact (pp. 543-551). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.