Digital Libraries at a Crossroads
Digital libraries constitute a relatively young scientific field whose life spans roughly the last 10 years. Despite its youth, the field has made a long journey from its initial conception to the present state of the art and has reached a level of maturity that warrants taking stock of its course so far and paving a path for the immediate and long-term future. In this paper, we analyse the recommendations of several activities that were initiated by the DELOS Network of Excellence under the Fifth Framework Programme of the European Commission and demonstrate that there are several issues that arise in similar form in most digital library efforts. We thus conclude that generic digital library management systems that address all these issues in a common fashion can and should be developed, so that future digital library efforts are able to build on such platforms and focus only on the hard issues that specialised functionality raises.