The TFAO Free Online Digital Library
The library's method of organization of information provides continuity of access pathways with stable and reliable free access to its contents. Catalogues, indexes, hyperlinks and search features enable multiple retrieval pathways. The library's information retrieval system, combined with search capabilities of outside providers, is designed to provide intuitive and efficient navigation to its contents.
Since the library's content is stored in HTML version 2.0 format, it can be adapted to the viewing or listening needs of diverse publics. HTML version 2.0 provides a word-wrap feature which makes possible its content to be read on devices including smartphones, tablets and personal computers. The print size scalability feature of HTML pages displayed in browser windows facilitates reading by persons visually impaired. Also, by the use of text-to-speech conversion software, visually impaired individuals can listen to the text content contained in the library's pages. Also, non-handicapped persons can listen to texts on PDAs and other devices for the same reasons that people now listen to audio books.
Translation software provides a means for people to translate the library's pages into many languages. After text is translated into an alternate language, it may be convertible to speech in that language.
The vision statement of The Universal Library,  hosted by Carnegie Mellon University, explains an important benefit to learning via digital collections. The mission statement of the Universal Library says that "... One of the goals of the Universal Library is to provide support for full text indexing and searching based on OCR [optical character recognition] technologies where available. The availability of online search allows users to locate relevant information quickly and reliably thus enhancing student's success in their research endeavors." TFAO shares that goal.
Physical libraries provide the services of reference librarians. Digital libraries are largely self-serve, as is the case with TFAO's library. Full text indexing and searching by search engines, plus internal catalogues, indexes, and hyperlinks, presently substitute for human assistance.
(above. New York Public Library, New York, NY. Photo: 2022 by Christie Coupe)
Because of the volume of TFAO's library content, the inter-linkage within its content URLs, and large quantity of outside links to its pages, the search engine-generated links to TFAO's library content pages often appear in the top tier of search results. This favorable placement is often the case when using Google, the leading search engine. This top-tier benefit is of great value to patrons. With the web containing millions of pages and images (and billions of words) indexed by search engines, TFAO's library content consistently yields fruitful search results.
As TFAO's library has no reference librarians, and limited capacity to offer assistance through email and phone calls, a near term focus is to provide further online advice for the benefit of patrons who lack sophisticated search skills.
Use of browser refresh or reload feature
Browsers have a page refresh or reload feature. This feature lets users request a fresh copy of a Web page. When you access a page on the Web that has changed since the last time you saw it, you need to click on the refresh button to see the updated version of the page. This is because your computer will remember and display the last seen version of the page until you refresh or reload it. Library pages containing calendars, indexes and lists are often changed to add additional information. Always refresh those pages to view the latest updates.
1. The Universal Library, hosted by Carnegie Mellon University, is conducting a project named the Million Book Digital Library to digitize principally "in copyright," although out-of-print, books on many topics. The books are free to read on the Web.
Links to sources of information outside of our web site are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in judging the quality of information contained in these and all other web sites. Information from linked sources may be inaccurate or out of date. TFAO neither recommends or endorses these referenced organizations. Although TFAO includes links to other web sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over them. For more information on evaluating web pages see TFAO's General Resources section in Online Resources for Collectors and Students of Art History.
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