Libraries see themselves as central information providers for their clientele, at universities or research institutions with the development of the World Wide Web, the “information search” has grown to be a significant business sector of a global, competitive and commercial market. Powerful players have entered this market, such as commercial internet search engines, information portals, multinational publishers and online content integrators. If libraries do not want to become marginalized in a key area of their traditional services, they need to acknowledge the challenges that come with the globalization of scholarly information, the existence and further growth of the academic internet. Keywords: library, information search, globalization, information portals
With today’s instant anywhere-anytime access to Google, Bing and Wolfram Alpha, where searching for information takes a few micro seconds via an internet connected device, some people regard physical libraries as a quaint relics of a forgotten age. Looking at the practice of today’s digital library portals we get the impression that the internet is almost non-existent in the academic resource discovery environment. What we find are online library catalogues, electronic journals and (sometimes) e-books, which are mainly digitally converted print materials that have traditionally been the focus of library acquisition policies. Also databases have been well known for a long time. Content is generally delivered through well-established service channels by publishers, book-houses or subscription agencies. The digitization of publishing and the advent of the World Wide Web have resulted in the proliferation of avast amount of content types and formats that include, but are not limited to, digitized collections, faculty and research groups’ websites, conference web servers, preprint/e-print servers and, increasingly, institutional repositories and archives, as well as a wide range of learning objects and courses.