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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Raising ACM's Digital Library

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Wayne Graves

Wayne Graves ( is ACM's Director of Information Systems.

The ACM Digital Library has been around for quite some time; in fact this year it will turn 17. This makes the ACM Digital Library the youngest of my three children. The other two are 22 and 19. Over these past 20 years, all three have given me reason to lose sleep and to be proud. I believe they are all on a solid foundation. The core concepts and values are in place and they have reached a level of maturity that can be built upon to accomplish great things as they all move into their 20s.

The ACM DL ( is a collection of publications serving the needs of approximately five million users worldwide. High-quality ideas, concepts, and views across the breadth of the computing space have been published by ACM for over 60 years. Making critical content discoverable and accessible has been the primary goal of the ACM DL since its conception. Expanding the scope of the ACM DL beyond what ACM publishes to include fully integrated bibliographic data of all computing literature has proven to be an extremely important part of that primary goal.

The ACM DL will be a destination where presentation and collaboration allow for relationships to form, extending the boundaries of the past and envisioning the future.

While the ability to find and access information remains critical, it has become simply an expectation rather than a service. Digital Immigrantsa can remember the days when this was very exciting, and I will admit that I am still actually excited by this, but our community has certainly changed. The ACM DL is extremely useful to the Digital Immigrants and to the Digital Natives,b but we can now build upon "useful" and explore a new vision.

What was thought of as a library, although in fairness this term may already be somewhat foreign, will move to a space in which independent, distributed, concurrent, and parallel interaction becomes a possibility. The space will contain people, datasets, software, simulations, publications, and more. The set of services layered within this space will provide for interaction rather than simply access. The users of the space will become a natural part of the rich resources. The ACM DL will be a destination where presentation and collaboration allow for relationships to form, extending the boundaries of the past and envisioning the future.

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"It takes a village ..."

I would like to engage with the community to help solidify some next steps and some grand ideas. How can the maturation of the ACM DL best fit into your life? What data is important to you and what functionality would you expect or like to see built around it? What kind of interaction would you like to have with fellow consumers or providers? The input I am looking for is absolutely not limited by the few questions here. In my experience dealing with and being a part of this community I have no doubt the strong opinions and creative thinking will come through. I would also appreciate any advice I can pass along to my kids. As with the ACM DL thinking, things were much easier when the problems were "don't touch that, it's hot."

In the ACM DL, you will see a "Feedback" link on the right side of any page. This will allow you to comment generally or on a specific aspect of the existing interface. You can also email me:

ACM has always been led by a very dedicated set of visionary volunteers representing the computing community. Interacting with these volunteers is an extremely rewarding aspect of my role as ACM's Director of Information Systems. Taking these next steps with the community is directly in line with their vision of the ACM DL as well as for the organization itself.

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Wayne Graves ( is Director of Information Systems at ACM's headquarters in New York City.

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a. Coined by Marc Prensky in 2001, "Digital Immigrants" refers to those who were not born into a digital world but have come to adopt new technologies.

b. Prensky refers to those born in the digital generation of computers, Internet, video games, and social media as "Digital Natives."

©2015 ACM  0001-0782/15/03

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