Digital Libraries as a Social System


  • Hannie Riley College Librarian, Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford, Oxford, England, UK


digital libraries, theological librarianship, electronic resources


To keep pace with the rapid development in electronic information sources, new technology and equipment, and the accessibility of social media services as information tools, it has become critical for the survival of libraries in a new user-driven, participatory, personalised online realm.  Hence, libraries are increasingly expending the digital part of their service or digital library. This user-generated, sharing, and personalised web technology allows digital libraries to play a role in society as the libraries are more than just digital repositories.  They perform integral components of our social infrastructure as dynamic social systems, integrating technology, human interaction, and information resources to serve the evolving needs of society.


Their multifaceted role in democratising information access, fostering community engagement, supporting digital literacy, lifelong learning and driving innovative research underscores its significance in the digital age. The influence of digital libraries extends beyond individual users so developing a digital collection or library in our theological libraries, we will bridge the digital divide, offering openings to the underserved, those who do not have, whether it is digital library skill sets or accessibility to certain opportunities or resources. Also they will shape societal structures and norms in enhancing research and innovation, and cultural and social transformation. This inclusivity promotes social equality and economic development.


By serving as collaborative platforms and adapting to technological advancements, digital libraries will continue to address current challenges and expand their impact on society in shaping the future of information access and social development.




How to Cite

Riley, H. (2024). Digital Libraries as a Social System. BETH Bulletin: European Theological Librarianship, 2(1), 32–41. Retrieved from