In reviewing some of the more important efforts to organize the Internet, Britten clearly articulates the potential benefit that a 'library-organized' virtual library would offer:...[T]he long-term institutional perspectives of libraries, librarians' expertise in information organizations, and the library profession's organizational structure ... would add both collection management expertise and permanence [to such a project]" (Britten (1995: 247).
His call for the creation of a central Virtual Library Collection, in place of dozens of similar, yet separate collections (Britten, 1995: 247) and for collaborative collection development effort by subject specialists using the Internet for the selection of WWW and other Internet resources (Britten, 1995: 247) has been realized from a conventional perspective by the OCLC Internet Cataloging Project, and from a significantly different perspective by CyberStacks(sm). These initiatives are not unlike that of the cooperative cataloging effort undertaken by OCLC over a generation ago that has resulted in an internationally-accessible database of over 30 million items. Although the concept of CyberStacks(sm) is significantly different than that of the Internet Cataloging Project, the model of cooperation which it has adopted is adaptable to the CyberStacks(sm) service.
Britten's profile of the characteristics of networked information, namely the potential of a network 'copy' serving the needs of many libraries simultaneously, and the transient and ephemeral nature of some sites and resources, highlights both the benefit that a centralized collection such as CyberStacks(sm) can offer in general to all research and university libraries, as well as the potential role that librarians can play in the maintenance of the virtual collection (Britten, 1995: 249).
Britten's recognition of the potential of incorporating a whole site, or only appropriate parts, into a virtual library (Britten, 1995: 248), is the essence of the CyberStacks(sm) selection strategy. The hypertext nature of the World Wide Web (WWW), and the various browsers used to navigator through it, enable and facilitate the inclusion of an entire collection from a site, or only selected resources considered most relevant. Unlike most other media, an individual resource can also be classified in more than one broad or specific category within a particular organizational scheme. The capability to classify resources in more than one category in hypertext systems such as CyberStacks(sm) has significant implications for enhancing the success of users locating a specific or general information resource.
William A. Britten, "Building and organizing Internet Collections," Library acquisitions: practice and theory 19(2): 243-249 (Summer 1995).