Development of a Digital Library based on Cloud Computing Model

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2016

51 Pages


Table of Contents

1.1 Background of the study
1.2 Problem statement
1.3 Research Aims and Objectives:
1.4 Justification of the work
1.5 Scope of the Work
1.6 Organization of the Work

2.1 Overview of Digital Libraries
2.2 Challenges of Digital Libraries
2.2.1 Technological Challenges
2.2.2 Poor Technical Know-How
2.2.3 Security Issues
2.3 Addressing the Challenges of Digital Libraries
2.4 Cloud Computing Technology
2.4.1 Software as a Service (SaaS)
2.4.2 Platform as a Service (PaaS)
2.4.3 Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
2.4.4 Private Cloud
2.4.5 Community Cloud
2.4.6 Public Cloud
2.4.7 Hybrid Cloud
2.4.8 Stakeholders in Cloud Computing
2.5 Virtualization
2.5.1 Properties of Virtual Machines
2.6 Summary of Related Works
2.6.1 Design and Implementation of a Web-Based Personal Digital Library
2.6.2 Constructing Digital Library Information Platform Based On Cloud Computing
2.6.3 Content Oriented Smart Education System Based on Cloud computing
2.6.4 Model Based Approach to Implement Cloud Computing in E-Governance
2.6.5 A Fuzzy Mathematical Model for Performance Testing in Cloud Computing
2.7 Research gaps
2.8 Proposed system

3.1 Research Methodology
3.1.1 Water-fall Model
3.2 Wireless Network Design
3.2.1 Network Design Considerations
3.2.2 Network Equipment
3.2.3 Network Design Architecture
3.2.4 Wireless Network Configuration
3.2.5 Network Security and Access Control
3.3 Digital Library Web Development
3.3.1 Website Design architecture
3.4 Programming Languages and Methods
3.4.1 Programming Languages
3.4.2 Programming Methods

4.1 Result Analysis
4.1.1 Connecting to the network and login in to the Website
4.1.2 Basic Operations on Library website

5.1 Conclusion
5.2 Limitations Encountered
5.3 Recommendations


Appendix A

Appendix B



1.1 Background of the study

Conventional library is a place in which books, manuscripts, literary and artistic materials are kept for use but not for sale [1]. In effect, it is an institution oriented towards collection and custody of information and research materials where people can make use of these facilities. On the other hand, a digital library is a computer-based system for acquiring, storing, organizing, searching and distributing digital materials for end users access. It is not network-based, but designed to be capable of being attached to a network – the internet or the cloud [2].

But in recent times, traditional libraries have played a vital role in human, scientific and technological development as it is the center for information sharing and research. Libraries provides academic institutions, students, researchers, private and public organizations and agencies with a myriad of information which has been of tremendous help in solving scientific, technological and humanitarian problems.

Despite the benefits derived from library resources and facilities, often times, users are faced with difficulties in utilizing these resources, which included poor access time; distance from user location etc. hence the need to devise a means of providing users with hands-on access to these facilities. Cloud computing paradigm could essentially offer a viable alternative in this case.

Cloud computing also known as on-demand computing is a kind of internet based computing where shared resources; data and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand [3]. It is a model for enabling ubiquitous access to a shared pool of information and resources. The cloud services and resources are provided by the cloud vendor or administrator through any of the following service models depending on the user’s requirement [3];

i. Software as a Service (SaaS): SaaS is an on-demand software and is usually priced using pay as you go model. It is typically accessed by users through a browser and has been widely applied in fields such as database management, information virtualization, management information system, costumer relation management etc.
ii. Platform as a Service (PaaS): in this model, cloud service providers offer a computing or storage platform which facilitates the deployment of applications without the complexities of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software and provisioning hosting capabilities.
iii. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): this model offers physical and virtual machines and other resources to the cloud users. Here, all the details related to the infrastructure are handled by the cloud providers.

These service models can be offered to the end user through either of; public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud. In this project, SaaS and IaaS service models will be deployed. SaaS accounts for the digital library website application which runs on the server, while IaaS accounts for the physical hardware component – the server hosting the library website application and providing services to users.

It is now expedient to leverage cloud computing capabilities to address the current limitations and challenges of libraries Nigeria tertiary institutions.

1.2 Problem statement

In recent times, users of traditional libraries has been faced with a number of challenges in accessing library facilities, some of which included poor access time, distance barrier, bulky, large volumes and heavy weights of some hardcopy books and other materials which makes them inconvenient for mobility. In addition, library administrators and librarians encounter difficulties in managing the library facilities in areas of book cataloging arrangement and replacement of used materials in their various shelves and materials, as often times there are cases of loss and misplacement.

However, the recent advancement in information management technology as well as the ever increasing rate of computer communication now creates the frontiers for improving the legacy processes and methods. This project leverages the concept of cloud computing to digitize library resources and develop a virtual information research center i.e. a digital library to curb the challenges associated with traditional library processes.

1.3 Research Aims and Objectives:

The aim of this project is to develop a cloud computing-based digital library which is intended to curb the challenges associated with using conventional libraries by providing hands-on and ubiquitous access to library resources and facilities. The specific objectives include:

1. To carry out a field investigation and determine the level of challenges and difficulties encountered in utilizing the resources and services provided by conventional libraries.
2. To use the findings of the field investigation to evaluate the feasibility and reliability of cloud computing in developing a digital library.
3. To develop a database embedded in a server (a digital library/research center) whose resources can be accessed by workstation/end users (the library users/patrons) through an extended and collaborative access point.
4. To demonstrate the workability of the proposed digital cloud library.

1.4 Justification of the work

In recent times, there has been a perceived decline in the quality of education provided by educational institutions in Nigeria. This has led to poor performance of students in their internal and external examinations, and the turn-out of unqualified graduates. Researches have shown that one of the reasons that have led to poor performance of students is poor access to facilities/study materials required to optimize their academic performance. This project is thus geared towards addressing some of these challenges by providing students with timely and ubiquitous access to library resources to enhance their performance in Nigerian tertiary institutions.

1.5 Scope of the Work

An intensive research will be carried out through internet surfing and field research exercises to study the level of challenges and difficulties associated with traditional libraries, and the measures put in place by the management to handle and proffer solutions to these challenges. Also, information will be sourced on the feasibility of developing a cloud computing-based digital library as a veritable tool in curbing the challenges encountered in utilizing the facilities, resources and services provided by our conventional libraries. In the course of the field research exercise, some libraries and information and communication (ICT) centers were visited.

In this work, a complete prototype of a digital library based cloud computing deployment mode will be achieved. It will consist of three basic sections which are; the server side, the work station and the access point.

1.6 Organization of the Work

This project report is organized in five chapters which are:

Chapter one – the introduction: it covers the following headings;

i. Background of the study: this gives an overview of the background information on traditional and digital libraries and introduces the technology which the project deploys.
ii. Problem statement: this highlights the major problem that is intended to be solved by the project.
iii. Research aims and objectives: this section states the aim of the research and highlights the specific objective carried out to achieve the aim.
iv. Scope of the work: this states the extent of research carried out and the amount of work done.
v. Organization of the work: this shows the order in which the report is organized.

Chapter two – literature review: in this chapter, a review of existing literature on the related works will be carried out. It gives an overview of existing digital library models and related works deploying similar technology. From the review of related literatures, a number of research gaps in the study area were highlighted.

Chapter three – design methodology and implementation: this chapter describes the methodology adopted in implementing the design. It explains the equipment used and the development techniques used.

Chapter four – result and discussion: in this chapter, the result of the work done in chapter three is presented and discussed.

Chapter five – conclusion, limitation and recommendation: from the result of the presented in chapter three, a conclusion is drawn. This chapter highlights the conclusion drawn, the limitations of the project and recommendations.



2.1 Overview of Digital Libraries

Digital libraries have played vital role in the world of knowledge by making the wealth of information materials contained in libraries, archives, data centers and any knowledge repository worldwide, available to large group of users. This is as a result of the technological revolution in communication technology since the birth of the internet. According to the authors in [4], the evolution of digital libraries has not been linear, coming from the contributions of many disciplines. This has created several conceptions of what digital library is, each one influenced by the perceptive of the primary discipline of the conceiver or by the concrete need it was designed to satisfy. Consequently, the history of digital libraries which is now about two decades is the history of the varieties of concepts of different types of information systems that have been called digital libraries.

In statement by the United States (US) Association of Research Libraries, it was noted that there are many definition of a digital library, and that the terms ‘virtual library’ and ‘electronic library’ are often used synonymously. The work identified five elements common to all definitions of digital library, viz [4]

i. Digital library is not a single entity.
ii. The digital library requires technology to link the resources to many libraries.
iii. Linkage between digital libraries and information services are transparent to users.
iv. Universal access to digital libraries is a goal.
v. Digital library collections are not restricted to document surrogates or substitutes but include digital artifacts that have no printed equivalent.

The divergent view on the term “Digital Library” has led to different conception as to what constitutes a digital library. Some consider the World Wide Web as a digital library while others consider it as a collection of universal resource locator (URL) on a web page. A digital library provides access to resources such as database, electronic journals, electronic references and other e-resources. The terms; electronic library, digital library and virtual library has been used synonymously, however, there exist some basic differences as noted by the author in [5]. The author stated that an electronic library consists of electronic materials and services such as video tapes and CD-ROM, while a digital library consists of digital services and materials that are stored, processed and transferred through digital devices and networks. The virtual library on the other hand, consists of both digital and electronic libraries existing virtually. The author also stated that digital libraries can exist without a virtual library, but a virtual library cannot exist without a digital library. After carrying out a comparative analysis of the terms – electronic library, digital library and virtual library, the following characteristics of digital libraries were highlighted, viz [5].

i. Digital libraries are the digital face of the traditional libraries that includes both digital collections and traditional fixed media collections. So they encompass both electronic and paper materials.
ii. It comprises digital materials that exist outside the physical and administrative bounds of any digital library.
iii. It includes all the processes and services that are the backbone and nervous system of libraries. However, such traditional processes, though forming the basis of virtual library work will have to be revised and enhanced to accommodate between new virtual media and traditional fixed media.
iv. It ideally provides coherent view of all the information contained within a library no matter its form or format.
v. It could serve a particular community or constituency as traditional libraries do now, though those communities may be widely dispersed throughout the network.
vi. It will require both the skills of a librarian as well as those of computer scientist to be viable.

The building block of digital libraries is its digital collections, which are not just a random assemblage of digital objects or uniform resource locator (URL) of free web-based resources. Building digital resources requires traditional library skills. The process of building a digital library may include the following [5].

i. Digitization

This involves the process of making non-digitally created materials available in digital format. Theconversion of printed library cards into a machine-readable format. Cataloging represent one of the earliest digitization process librarians has been involved with. The digitization process include; selection of materials/collections, scanning, transcription and creating mark up and an index, creating meta data, quality control of subject specialists, populating the appropriate digital asset management software (DAM) which collect, index and provide queries over of a catalogue of metadata records that are accessible locally and remotely.

ii. Acquisition and collection development

Acquisition involves acquiring and securing ownership of an electronic resource such as database, e-books and journals through license. Subscribed electronic resources are stored on a remote server hosted by the vendor and made accessible to a target community after authentication and authorization.

Digital collection of information resources involves selection and optimization based on an explicit collection development policy that addresses the information need of a particular community. Storage and retrieval of digital resources for a digital library is exclusively dependent on computers and electronic network systems. Hence in selecting materials, basic information on the hardware and software system needed to access the resources and the existing technology within the library must be taken into consideration.

iii. Enabling technology for a digital library

The authors in [5] also noted that digital library services and resources are delivered over the internet which depends on a network of operating system running on a web server computer. The enabling technologies deployed in a digital library are a web-based technology that includes web design using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Extensible Markup Language (XML), Cascading Style Sheet (CSS), and web scripting languages such as JavaScript and Hypertext Pre-Processor (PHP). A digital library collection application depends on relational database for organization storage and retrieval of information.

Similarly web scripting language, work in concert with relational database by sending queries to the database and then processing the returned data. Relational database management system is installed on a webserver hosting the digital library. Some popular relational database management systems includes; MySQL, Oracle, Postgre SQL and Microsoft SQL Server.

Digital library web servers are specially configured to authenticate users as they access various areas of digital library and run application that are crucial to the delivering of services and digital resources. Popular web servers used by most organization includes; Apache HTTP server and Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS). A web server provide web pages on request, providing essential tools for routing users to resources on a website and provides support for special web servers extension or modules used by digital library software [6].

Storage of electronic resources in a digital library is either on a local server maintained by the library or parent institution of the library on a remote server hosted by the vendor [7]. Limits of network bandwidth and slow transmission speeds may make the effective access to a digital library problematic for many users. One of the challenges of providing access to subscribed materials will be how to handle access to subscription based databases and aggregator services for journals and textbooks. Many vendors restrict access to Internet Protocol (IP) address and require authentication of institutionally affiliated computers or remote users to access subscribed resources. Authentication can include automatic login username and password, automatic login using IP address, library authentication and use of proxy server. A proxy server provides access to IP restricted resources. After a proxy server authenticates and authorizes the user, it retrieves the restricted resources using the server’s IP address and sends it to the user who is browsing from an un-authenticated IP address.

2.2 Challenges of Digital Libraries

Despite the wide use of internet and computer technology in implementing digital libraries, many institutions (government and private) have not leveraged on this technology to implement and effectively manage a digital library. Some of these challenges that have plagued the successful transition from traditional libraries to digital libraries are discussed below.

2.2.1 Technological Challenges

Building and sustaining a digital library requires proper technological infrastructure. These infrastructure includes; telecommunication equipment, servers, application platform and software applications. Telecommunication equipment is a major factor in the deployment of information and communication technology (ICT), particularly in the implementation of digital library. The Nigerian Communication Commission’s (NCC) effort has led to increased competition and availability of wide range of voice, data and internet application services. The improvement have led to the proliferation of internet cafes in all parts of the country and this has also made a significant impact in all sectors; commerce, social and educational [13].

However, a lot still needs to be done to further revolutionize the information and communication technology sector in Nigeria to address the poor state of infrastructure and modern communication equipment which has been a major issue in the successful implementation of digital libraries. Bandwidth and connectivity for higher educational institutions and their internet service providers are deployed using expensive technologies like VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal), thereby reducing the number of higher education institutions that can benefit from digital libraries as well as eliminating its advantages.

Also, the erratic nature of electric power supply is another major problem that needs to be addressed for the successful implementation and running of a digital library. The authors also noted that most internet cafes and ICT centers are run using generators which significantly increase the cost of internet access. Providing a reliable electric power supply has to be part of the planning and deployment of a network infrastructure for a successful implementation of digital library.

2.2.2 Poor Technical Know-How

It has also been observed that lack of requisite knowledge of computer and the internet among librarians in our public libraries has also hindered the timely transition from traditional to digital libraries. In a research carried out to investigate the level of computer skill among librarians in some academic institutions in Nigeria, it was observed that the shortage of computers and lack of computer skills was a major problem in the development of digital libraries in higher institutions in Nigeria [9]. The authors therefore recommended that fund should be provided by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the training of staff and procurement of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in public libraries. Also the authors in [10], in their research to investigate the computer literacy level among professionals in Nigerian university libraries, concluded that most of the professionals do not possess high level of computer skill and that their knowledge of the internet is still maturing. They recommended that library management and leaders should organize and offer an in-house training program geared towards enhancing the proficiency of its staff in operating and using ICT equipment and that adequate number of computers and other equipment should be made available to facilitate the training to produce librarians who are proficient enough to carry out the roles of a digital librarian. The work also noted that the multimedia nature of the next generation digital libraries requires a digital librarian to be essentially a kind of specialists librarian who has to manage and organize the digital library, handle specialize task of massive digitization, access, digital knowledge mining, digital reference services, electronic information service, search co-ordination and manage the archive and its access [11]. The librarian should be well versed in mark-up languages, cataloging, metadata, multimedia indexing and database technology, user interface design, programing and web technology.

2.2.3 Security Issues

In a digital library, resources are stored and in electronic form and the services are made available through the internet so that users can access them from a remote location. This refers to the e-services which most of the libraries are trying to embrace in a digital environment. The authors in [12] stated that as libraries embrace digital environment, their most crucial role is not that of providing e-resources alone but also of establishing services that ensures the security of the information available. E-resources provided by a typical university library are [12];

i. Textbooks
ii. Thesis and dissertations
iii. Project works
iv. Journals, articles and publications
v. Multimedia etc.

For these materials to be readily available for students and researchers, it entails that the digital library would be open at all times for consultation of materials, except when erased by the website administrator. This makes a digital library vulnerable to some security threats. The major security threat associated with a digital library is copyright and issues related with plagiarism [12].

Another challenge is abuse of intellectual property right of the author. It is an aspect where librarians and researchers need to take precaution. There is an increasing unease among members of library community that copyright challenges will adversely affect the ability of libraries to provide digital collection of services. The authors in [8] stated that “if libraries do begin to systematically collect digital information on a large scale, the provision of effective access could be questionable. In fact, copyright could end up preventing libraries from providing open access to the digital information they collect. Questions of copyright must be managed so that digital information can be created and distributed throughout digital libraries in a manner that is equitable for both information producers and consumers. Copyright could become an insurmountable barrier to development of digital collections”

According to the library of congress (LIC), intellectual property right is one of the challenges in building a digital library. It stated that a key element of digital libraries is appropriate recognition and protection of legal right such as copyright, publicity, piracy, matter of obscenity, and defamation of intellectual property as well as less logistic but serious concerns with the ethics of sharing and providing access to folds of ethnographic materials.

Secondly, database infiltration is another security threat plaguing the effective operation of digital libraries. A digital library database is said to be infiltrated when an unauthorized person(s) hack and gain unauthorized access to the resources and some sensitive information embedded in the database.

2.3 Addressing the Challenges of Digital Libraries

To effectively implement, manage and run digital libraries in Nigeria, the authors in [13] made the following proposals:

i. The Federal government on Nigeria must as a matter of urgency improve the basic National Information Infrastructure, particularly electricity and telecommunication. The government must also ensure the full implementation of the National Information Technology Policy. All digital library initiatives must include librarians and information professionals, particularly subject specialists and collection development specialist who will be involved selection and acquisition of resources for the digital library.
ii. Librarians and information professionals involved in building the digital library should be trained in information and web technology skills. With the dynamic nature of digital technology, they must constantly learn and retool in information and web development technologies through professional development, conferences and workshops.
iii. The digital library should provide access to electronic resources, locally digitized resources and open access resources.
iv. To help address the cost of electronic resources and proprietary software, the government of Nigeria should encourage the use of open source software and open access electronic resources.
v. Each higher institution should be provided with the enabling technology to access the digital library.
vi. Libraries should seek more grants and other sources of funding to upgrade or establish the necessary information technology infrastructure.
vii. The shift in emphasis to access rather than ownership, the high cost of both hardware and software, and the lack of web technology skilled librarians make the formation of library consortium very critical to building a successful digital library project.

2.4 Cloud Computing Technology

Many authors have given various but deferring definition of the term cloud computing. However, the generally accepted definition of cloud computing was given by the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) which defines cloud computing as follows, “cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g networks, servers, storage, application and other services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort and/or service provider interruption” [14]. From this definition, NIST highlighted five (5) characteristics of cloud computing, stated as follows [14]:

i. Storage and computation of huge amount of data which is the core of cloud computing.
ii. Cost saving by providing variety of resources on-demand with dynamic flexibility using pay-as-you-go pricing strategy.
iii. Resource sharing by providing information infrastructure and abstracting resources such as physical servers, virtual machine, event and file processing capacity or task process and storage resources, which are served for various kinds of applications.
iv. Rapid elasticity which means that the system can be easily expanded in scale.
v. Dynamic allocation which achieves to automatically assign real time monitor and schedule resources.

Cloud computing provides immediate access to cloud resources. These resources can be provided in a number of ways or formats which are known as cloud computing service models. According to the author in [15], the following cloud computing models are commercially utilized in providing services to end users:

2.4.1 Software as a Service (SaaS)

In this model, a complete application is offered as a service on demand. A single instant of the service runs on the cloud and multiple end users are serviced. On the customer side, there is no need for upfront investment on servers and software licenses, while for the provider, the cost are lowered, since only a single application needs to be hosted and maintained. Today, SaaS is offered by companies such as Google salesforce, Microsoft, Zoho etc.

2.4.2 Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Here, a layer of software or development environment is encapsulated and offered as a service upon which other higher levels of services can be built. The customer has the freedom to build his own applications, which runs on the provider’s infrastructure. To meet manageability and scalability requirements of the applications, PaaS providers offers predefined combination of operating system and application servers such as LAMP platform (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) or WAMP platform – (Windows, Apache, MySQL) and PHP). Examples of PaaS services are; Google’s App Engine and

2.4.3 Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

This model provides basic storage and computing capabilities as standardized services over the network. Servers, storage systems, networking equipment, data center space etc. are pooled and made available to handle workloads. The customer would typically deploy his own software on the infrastructure. Some common examples are; Amazon, GoGrid, 3 Tera etc.

The above cloud computing service models can be provided to the users through one of the following deployment models as stated by National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) [14]


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Development of a Digital Library based on Cloud Computing Model
Communication Engineering
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development, digital, library, cloud, computing, model
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Chimdi Walter Ndubuisi (Author), 2016, Development of a Digital Library based on Cloud Computing Model, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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