Sign In

Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

ACM Digital Library Enhancements

Launched just one year ago, the Digital Library has been extremely popular with members because it provides searchable access to all ACM publications and conference proceedings back to 1991. This is a truly valuable resource, but if you're like me you really want assistance in how information is filtered and delivered. I want to build descriptions of my areas of interest, find things based on those descriptions, and be informed of new content in my interest areas when it arrives.

We will be launching new Digital Library services that will support this kind of intelligent use of electronic document collections. Following are some specifics on the Digital Library enhancements coming this year.

Technical Interest Profiling (TIP). Members will be able to create their "Technical Interest Profile" (TIP) customizing it based on data elements from the respected ACM Computing Classification Scheme and/or a more general level of technical interest areas. Coupled with TIP will be an "Alert System" emailing you when articles matching your TIP are mounted in the Digital Library.

Virtual binders with notification options. In addition to creating your personal TIP, we are developing "personal views" that will give you the ability to save your customized searches and collect the results in "binders." These binders will contain "notification options" so that you can choose to be notified when new articles matching your specifications are entered in the Digital Library.

Integration of ACM's E-Guide and value links. By integrating the files from the ACM Electronic Guide to Computing Literature into the Digital Library, we add approximately 200,000 non-ACM bibliographic references from 1985 and forward as well as 10,000 abstracts from non-ACM material. We will link this material to appropriate site(s) outside the ACM Digital Library. Integrating ACM's E-Guide sets us on a very important path—content aggregation—which will help us construct a truly global Digital Library.

Article discussions. We will invite members to offer their commentary and informal reviews of materials in the Digital Library through online article discussions. This capability will be possible for any article in the Digital Library. The more our members provide commentary and informal reviews of articles, the richer our Digital Library becomes.

Search enhancements. We will be enhancing the current search capabilities in two ways: 1) you will be able to search using data from the ACM comprehensive Computing Classification Scheme; and 2) you will be able to save your customized searches in your personal virtual binders.

Linked article references. The reference section of an article will either link to other articles within the Digital Library or to appropriate sites outside the ACM Digital Library, if the reference corresponds to non-ACM material. Expanding the article reference sections to include links to non-ACM material introduces the reader to numerous other relevant information sources.

Also in the works:

Significantly enhancing the content of the Digital Library. We will systematically and steadily bring more and more of past ACM publications and conference proceedings into the Digital Library. It is not, however, just a matter of bringing all content into the Digital Library (a significant challenge), but bringing it in intelligently. For example, we are considering:

  • Adding ACM seminal papers to the Digital Library: Many members have asked us to include the seminal articles (or letters) in computing that have appeared in ACM publications prior to 1991—for example, Dijkstra's "Go To Statement Considered Harmful" and Codd's paper on databases. We may organize seminal papers by subject area creating what you might call an "ACM Special Collection Virtual Binder on ____." We may organize panels that would be responsible for selecting the most important and seminal papers (not currently in the Digital Library) to compile these special Virtual Binder Collections.
  • SIG additions to the Digital Library: Some Special Interest Groups are considering placing proceedings published prior to 1991 in the Digital Library. Undertaking these projects would mean that ACM would have a complete library of selected SIG material, further enhancing the Digital Library.

Other Digital Library presentation formats. Some of our Digital Library subscribers have asked us to consider making our full-text files available in other formats besides PDF. We are looking into the feasibility of providing alternate formats such as HTML and XML. In addition, we are looking into some very new electronic document formats that are highly compressed and, therefore, much easier to download and view over the Net.

Our objective is to create the kind of services that will allow members to get the information they need when they need it; and in doing that, I think you will agree that a subscription to the ACM Digital Library is something you will want—and need—to have.

In addition to the Digital Library itself, the ACM Web site (, contains a wide range of member services. For example, you can create your personal professional profile and make it public to other ACM members through the ACM Membership Directory. And soon you will be able to create your personal "Virtual Business Card," a byproduct of our Membership Directory that allows ACM Members to use their contact information in the Membership Directory as their virtual business card. This contact information can include a member's home page URL. You can think of this service as a feature that will allow you to establish a permanent business home much like our permanent email forwarding address; you might change jobs or ISPs, but you'll always be reachable by providing your ACM virtual business card to contacts within and outside the organization. The URL for your business card will appear as

I hope I've whetted your appetite for what's coming; however, above all I'm committed to making ACM even more responsive to your technical and professional needs. To achieve this goal requires your participation—please email me your comments about the Digital Library and the enhancements highlighted here, as well as your ideas for new services you think we should be providing: I look forward to hearing from you.

Back to Top


John White
ACM Chief Executive Officer

©1999 ACM  0002-0782/99/0400  $5.00

Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee.

The Digital Library is published by the Association for Computing Machinery. Copyright © 1999 ACM, Inc.


No entries found