The most enriching resource for the modern student is the online library or digital library. According to Techtarget (2015), the online library is a digital collection of study material comprised of organised documents stored on a CD or DVD or available on a server which is accessible through an Internet connection. Such study materials include peer-reviewed articles, journals, periodicals, videos, simulations, books, images, animations, and sound files.
The Online Library Learning Centre (2015) asserts that efficient organisation and access to the digital library is enhanced by the use of online library catalogues. The catalogue is a bibliographical databases that profiles each resource such as journal, periodical, videotape, book, and so on. Key features of this catalogue include Thesaurus, Index, and more popularly the high-speed location of topics of interest by simply typing a keyword, a phrase, sometimes with a combination of wildcards, that a built-in search tool uses to locate information from huge volumes of digital content. Wildcards allow searching for multiple presentations of a keyword. Furthermore, the search tool may employ truncation allowing the search of part of a keyword. According to Online Library Learning Centre (2015), library catalogues improves the search result through controlled vocabulary. The controlled vocabulary forces content that is similar to be grouped together even if the authors classified it differently. This allows the student to find more related content from sources that are structured differently. If the search results to too many finds, the online catalogue provides tools for refining the search; for example limiting the search to a specific period or date.
The digital library provides instant access to information at the click of a button on a computer, thus saving the student a lot of time and effort that would have otherwise been spent visiting a physical library and selecting through hundreds of books. Furthermore, TechTarget (2015) confirms that the online library provides content that the user can store on their computer such as PDF files and videos. This way the user can access information even in the absence of the network. The Online Library Learning Centre (2015) exposes an even greater advantage with using the digital library because of the availability of citations in different styles. This is a major plus for researchers because a lot of time would have otherwise been spent formatting the citation to the required format.
Runnegar (2012) asserts that digital libraries provide facilities for physically-challenged such as the visual-impaired who would otherwise have had no access to such content through the conventional means. Furthermore, the digital library provides an open platform where specialists in different fields of study can enrich and update the content with new developments, arguments, and knowledge. This is beneficial in that all users of the content have more credible, factual and updated information.
Online Learning Library Centre. (2015). A Primer on Databases and Catalogues. Search Types.
Retrieved July 6, 2015, from http://www.usg.edu/galileo/skills/unit04/primer04_06.phtml
Runnegar, C. (2012). Libraries and Public Access. Internet Society. Retrieved July 9, 2015, from
TechTarget. (2015). Definition. Digital Library. Retrieved on July 7, 2015, from