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IMARK is an e-learning initiative in agricultural information management developed by FAO and partner organizations.
photo The course covers how to store and share information using digital libraries and repositories.
You will learn about:
  • what digital libraries and repositories are
  • processes and tools for setting up digital libraries and repositories
  • intellectual property rights and approaches required with different legal systems
  • electronic formats for pictures and documents
  • the digitization process
  • database management systems
  • how to make content visible and accessible through websites, search engines and social media

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Target Audience

This module is targeted at a broad range of users who are involved in the creation, management and dissemination of documents in an electronic environment. The group of potential users may include library managers, publication officers, communication specialists, archivists, information specialists, system managers, content developers and general management.

Module Content

This course consists of 40 lessons, ranging from approximately 20 to 45 minutes duration, grouped into eight units:

Unit 1 - Concepts and Definitions
This unit introduces the concepts of Digital Libraries, Repositories and Documents, and illustrates how the module can help you in the project of creating a Digital library or Repository.

Lesson 1.1 - Introduction
Lesson 1.2 - What Digital Libraries and Repositories are

Unit 2 - Setting up Digital Libraries and Repositories
This unit covers the processes and resources required for planning and setting up a digital library and building an institutional repository, including an overview of the tools that can be used to manage them.

Lesson 2.1 - Planning for Digital Libraries and Repositories
Lesson 2.2 - Building a Digital Library
Lesson 2.3 - Building Institutional Repositories
Lesson 2.4 - Tools for Digital Collections

Unit 3 - Intellectual Property Rights
This unit describes the concept of Intellectual Property Rights, including the legal framework for copyright and how these issue concern libraries.

Lesson 3.1 - Basics and Legal Framework
Lesson 3.2 - The Basics of Copyrights in Different Jurisdictions
Lesson 3.3 - Copyrights Applied to Libraries
Lesson 3.4 - Copyrights Issues in Scholarly Publishing

Unit 4 - Digital Formats
This unit describes several of the different formats of electronic documents that can be included in a digital library. It provides a technical overview of the various formats, character encoding schemes and encoding scripts, document mark-up, and how to convert between the various formats.

Lesson 4.1 - Comparing Digital Formats: Textual and non-Textual
Lesson 4.2 - Formats of Electronic Pictures
Lesson 4.3 - Character Encoding
Lesson 4.4 - Textual formats: Introduction to Markup
Lesson 4.5 - Word processing (Procedural Markup)
Lesson 4.6 - HTML (Presentational Markup)
Lesson 4.7 - XML (Descriptive Markup)
Lesson 4.8 - Portable Document Format (PDF)
Lesson 4.9 - Conversion Between Formats

Unit 5 - Digitization
This unit covers the activities needed to prepare electronic document for a digital library collection and helps you to decide what should be digitized and the facilities needed for the process as well as advice on how to handle delicate and heritage documents.

Lesson 5.1 - Process Overview
Lesson 5.2 - What to Digitize?
Lesson 5.3 - Basic Facilities and Requirements for Digitization
Lesson 5.4 - From Hardcopy to Electronic Documents: Workflow
Lesson 5.5 - Considerations for Delicate and Heritage Documents

Unit 6 - Metadata and Subject Indexing
This unit describes the role of metadata, metadata types, various standards and their application in organizing electronic documents. The unit also introduces the principles and procedures of subject indexing for document retrieval.

Lesson 6.1 - General Overview of Metadata Standards
Lesson 6.2 - Metadata (Namespaces): Background
Lesson 6.3 - Metadata for Document-like Objects
Lesson 6.4 - Metadata for Learning Objects
Lesson 6.5 - Exchanging Metadata
Lesson 6.6 - Why Subject Indexing?
Lesson 6.7 - Steps for Manual Subject Indexing

Unit 7 - Database Management Systems
This unit provides an introduction to database management systems, and indicates how and when they should be used for storing, managing and accessing electronic documents. Comparison is made between relational and textual databases, and examples of each type are provided (SQL and CDS-ISIS).

Lesson 7.1 - What is a Database?
Lesson 7.2 - Using a Database for Document Delivery
Lesson 7.3 - Using a Database for Document Management
Lesson 7.4 - Textual and Relational Database
Lesson 7.5 - Relational Databases and SQL
Lesson 7.6 - Textual Databases and CDS-ISIS Basics

Unit 8 - Visibility and Accessibility
This unit identifies some issues affecting usability and access of websites and covers how how Internet Search engines and Webcrawlers work. It also describes the term “Library 2.0” and its relationship to Web 2.0 and gives some potential uses of social software to enhance interaction with library users.

Lesson 8.1 - Web Design
Lesson 8.2 - Search Engine Optimization and Feeds
Lesson 8.3 - Digital Libraries and Web2.0


Each lesson includes a list of job aids, online resources and additional reading. Learners can consult a glossary specific to the module, and search within the course materials for specific terms.


The Module curriculum was designed and developed by experts and institutions from an internationally widespread community.

The main contributors and authors are from the following Organizations:
The Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University Mann Library, Cornell University National Centre for Science Information (NCSI) National Centre for Science Information (NCSI)
DFID Department for International Development (DFID) National Library of the Czech Republic National Library of the Czech Republic
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Wageningen University Wageningen University and Research Centre
INASP International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

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