|Imagine a library where
you could find every occurrence of a given word without turning a single
page. Where a thought in one book leads directly to a related thought in
another. Where every book could be turned inside out, so its information
appears in whatever order it's needed.
Those are just a few of the advantages you would enjoy
if you were to visit a Digital Library - something that's built into every
The Digital Library is a means of storing, accessing and
using information that goes far beyond the physical limitations of books.
It's made possible by two NeXT innovations.
The first is the optical drive, which easily provides
storage on the scale needed to store a "library" of books. The
second is a powerful new cataloging and searching software called Digital
As you'll find as you read further, the optical disk that
ships with the NeXT Computer contains an unprecedented number of programs
and resources - including the fully functional Digital Library. The books
that comprise this library were chosen primarily to give you an idea of
the power of a book in digital form.
There's Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary,
which includes all the definitions, pronunciations, etymologies and
illustrations you grew accustomed to in your analog years. All the
original typefaces are intact (you can set your preference to any size
you'd like), so it all appears quite dictionary-like. But in the digital
dictionary you'll find that listings are much more understandable.
Different definitions appear on separate lines, and you view each listing
outside the traditional sea of small dictionary type. The dictionary is
linked with Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Thesaurus, which is every bit as
complete. So when you look up a word, you have the option of seeing its
dictionary listing, its thesaurus listing or both.
Also included are The Oxford Dictionary of
Quotations and William Shakespeare: The Complete Works.
You're hardly limited, though by the books included on
the NeXT optical disk. Other companies will soon be making available
their own additions to the Digital Library. Dow Jones, for example,
is already demonstrating a digital edition of The Wall Street Journal.
Accessible via disk (a single optical disk stores an entire year of
Journal articles) or direct connection, this resource will let you locate
any article with just a few keystrokes.
Type in a key word, such as a person or a company, and
in seconds you see a list of all the articles containing that word - any
of which can be summoned with one click. You can narrow your search
by typing more than one word, in which case only articles containing all
of your key words will appear.
The NeXT System also makes it easy to create your own
libraries. The Digital Librarian's cataloging function lets you enter
large amounts of information, while automatically creating an index of key
words for you. This index then allows you to search your own information -
a new "book" in the Digital Library - the same way you would
search the dictionary.
As for the kinds of Digital Libraries you can create,
there are no limitations. Professors, for example, might build
libraries containing a history of their own collected writings. A
legal or medical office might construct a library of often used reference
materials, while a business might build a reference library of contracts
A personalized Digital Library is an immensely powerful
tool. Yet, thanks to the Digital Librarian, the process of creating one is
accessible to everyone.